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Smart Ways to Improve Your Home’s Efficiency

The world around us is getting smarter and smarter every day. Our phones can help us find anything from anywhere in mere seconds, our cars warn us when we veer into the other lane, and even our shoes communicate with our computers to tell us how efficient our workouts are. So if we have all this technology built around improving our lives why don’t we use more of it to improve create more eco friendly homes?

Let’s take a look at some smart ways to foster eco friendly homes so you can save money every month and use it for more cool technology to improve your life in other ways.

Start with a Home Energy Audit

Unlike the one performed by the tax man, these kinds of audits are actually really helpful. A home energy audit’s goal is to identify areas of your home that are costing you money and showcase what you can do about it. The home energy auditor will do things like determine where insulation can be improved, where hot or cold air leaks are taking place, measure what devices are using excessive energy, measure moisture across the home, and detect areas of the home that give off excess heat and how you can prevent it.

A home energy audit is the most comprehensive and hands-off way to figure out how to save energy at your home. However, these audits can be costly and some families may wish to perform specific energy-saving measures on their own.

The DIY Home Energy Audit

A professional home energy auditor is likely to have more tools and experience than the average homeowner but there is nothing wrong going at it on your own! Here are some tips for taking the do-it-yourself walk-through at your home.

Conceal Air Leaks

Many air leaks are easy to spot but a walk-through can help you examine other potential areas that may need to be addressed. Common areas that have air leaks include:

  • Areas where different building materials meet (ex. Brick and drywall)
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Electrical outlets
  • Door and window frames
  • Baseboards
  • Old weather stripping
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall or window-mounted A/C units
  • Cable, TV and phone lines
  • Dryer vent pass-throughs
  • Vents and fans

To fix these types of air leaks you’ll need to caulk around the edges of the problem areas or plug holes. Weather stripping material is also an important piece of the air concealing puzzle and is likely to be used to help address windows and doors.

Insulate Your Home

One of the most common areas where energy leakage can be improved is in the attic. Check your attic to see if it has proper insulation or if it is possible that it might now be inadequate. If the insulation in the attic was installed more than a few years ago, it is possible that it is not maintaining as much hot or cold air in the home as possible. Furthermore, the attic hatch is an area that is also susceptible to leakage. This area should also be insulated heavily, weather stripped and be capable of tight closure.

The walls are also an area that can benefit from heavier insulation. Checking this out on your own is a task in and of itself. Seeing how you are a true DIYer and love a challenge, we are sure you’ll figure out if this area is up to par.

Heating and Cooling Efficiency

If you have a heating or cooling unit that exceeds 15 years, it is likely this can be the reason for much of your high energy costs. While you can do your part to check the filters of your forced-air furnace and replace them regularly, this alone may not help you to reduce your energy costs substantially.

Should you choose to purchase a new heating and cooling air conditioner, have the A/C company check your ductwork as well as pipes for areas that may leak or where insulation can be improved.

Lighting Efficiency

Light bulb replacement is one of the simplest ways to reduce energy costs at the home and may account for as much as 10 percent of your energy bill. LEDs, CFLs or energy-saving incandescent bulbs are all logical choices if the goal is to save money on energy bills.

Water Usage Savings

Dated toilet bowls, shower heads, clothes washers and dishwashers are all directly related to your energy consumption costs each month. Toilet bowls that are 10-15 years old or more can use 2-3 times as much water as modern systems. Similarly, older shower heads also waste more gallons per minute than modern fixtures. Installing shower fixtures throughout the home is a smart way to reduce the usage of your water heater as well.

Dishwashers and clothes washers are also important appliances that can waste more water than necessary. If you can only budget for one, opt for the clothes washer as this is likely the home’s least water conservation-friendly appliance.

Energy Rebates and Incentives in Toronto

Livegreen Toronto has a section on rebates and incentives for homeowners who are looking to make their homes more efficient. Check out the links on this page and more of their tips for finding energy advisors and other useful resources.

Once you become aware of all the areas of the home that are potentially wasteful you can do your best to prevent the waste of energy and put a little more cash in your pocket. The energy auditor is the most comprehensive way to determine the areas of your home that can be improved. However, there is nothing wrong with putting in a little bit of your own hard work to make your home more eco friendly.

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Filter Butler
Filter Butler offers whole Home Filters, Whole home Salt Free Softeners, and other drinking water solutions for residential and commercial customers.
Categories: Home