Energy-saving tips as we head into winter

Save money and stay warm!

With those long, dark winter nights and colder days on the horizon, it’s a good time to start thinking about staying warm and conserving energy. Not only is it better for the planet, it’s better for your hydro bill, too.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, it pays to save energy. So here are some tips to keep in mind as we all start to prepare for another winter.

Take your home’s temperature

Aside from putting on a sweater and slippers and turning down the heat a notch, there are a few more things you can do with the thermostat and furnace. Before going to bed or leaving the house, turn your thermostat back to about 16°C. A smart or programmable one makes it simple to adjust temperatures through a 24-hour period. Also, keep air vents and baseboard heaters clear of furniture and appliances so things work more effectively. And keep your furnace tuned-up and filters clean to improve efficiency.

Avoid heating unused rooms by shutting doors and any warm-air supply registers. And don’t waste energy by heating uninsulated areas like garages, attics and crawlspaces.

Work the windows

Start by opening and closing the curtains. When the sun is out, take advantage of its rays. Then shut the blinds as the sun sets and things begin to cool to reduce the chill you may feel off them.

If your windows are drafty, use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on the outer frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window. A tight seal will reduce drafts.

Start a fire, then close things up

Fireplaces and stoves can be great sources of heat, but when not in use a chimney can act like an open window, so make sure the damper is closed. If you can, check to see if the flue damper seal is snug.

If you don’t use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. If you do use it, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.

Speaking of air . . .

Make sure you change your ceiling fan’s airflow direction. In winter, use the fan to push warm air down toward the floor.

And seal air leaks by applying caulk or weather-stripping around doors and windows. While you’re at it, take a good look around the house for other leaky areas, such as gaps around pipes, chimneys and recessed lights, as well as any unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.

A couple other things to think about

  • If you throw down an area rug, that will both help to insulate your floors and cut down on noise.
  • By turning down your water heater temperature to the warm setting (120°F), you’ll save energy and avoid scalds.
  • If your heating system allows, adding a humidifier may let you to turn your thermostat down and be comfortable at lower temperatures. (Aquariums and houseplants naturally add some humidity.)
  • And, finally, if your house is cold, don’t crank the heat up to high to get things going. The house will warm up at the same rate regardless of the temperature setting, so just set it to where it’s supposed to be and perhaps get close with a hot water bottle for a while.

Hope this helps you to stay cozy this winter!

For more information about all aspects of housing and living in the Comox Valley, visit my website or my Facebook page. For specific real estate questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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