5 Tips for new homeowners on improving your home’s energy efficiency
Recently moved into a “new to you” home? Here’s the first in a series on things you can do to improve your home’s sustainability.
by Peter Speckner, Communications Coordinator
- Complete a home energy evaluation
Knowing where the weak points are in your home’s energy efficiency is required place to start. Prioritizing these points into a plan of action will enable you to maximize your results. Be sure to see how you can get up to $5000 to help from the Home Reno Rebate program or other financial incentives available.
- Upgrade your home’s insulation
Insulation lasts forever – most other upgrades do not. Options include upgrading what you have now (walls, attic), or adding where there might not be any at all (basement, crawl space).
- Draftproof the openings in your home
Your evaluation will have identified the locations where drafts exist. Sealing them will decrease the number of air exchanges in your home and help to maintain an even temperature in the house.
- Check the age and efficiency of your heating source
If you have a low to mid-efficiency furnace, or a 15+ year-old high efficiency furnace (90-92%), then it might be worthwhile to upgrade to a modern high efficiency furnace (97%+). It will save money and be better for the environment. Natural Resources Canada has information about choosing a high-efficiency furnace available online here.
- Check your windows for proper installation and good fit
Windows that haven’t been installed properly or have warped and no longer fit securely are not only dangerous, but also a place for drafts and other things to come in (ie. moisture, critters). If they can’t be properly sealed (see #3), or are only single pane, then they should be replaced.
- Replace the air filters on your furnace and AC unit
When you first move in, you almost always need to replace the air handling filter or the filter on your furnace or AC unit. An outdated filter not only doesn’t filter air as well, it also has a negative impact on air flow, meaning your air handling system or HVAC unit has to work harder — and use more energy — to pump out lower quality air.