Toronto Home Maintenance - Save Energy This Winter
Here are some No-Cost and Low-Cost strategies to help reduce energy needs over the cold winter months. Some are free and can be used daily, while others are simple to implement and ensure maximum savings through the winter.
- Use the Heat from the Sun
Open curtains on south-facing windows over the day, so sunlight can naturally heat your home, and close the curtains at night to insulate the cold windows.
- Cover Drafty Windows
Add a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame, or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. A tight seal reduces cold air infiltration.
If windows still fee drafty, install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades.
Consider other window treatments and coverings to improve energy efficiency.
- Adjust the Thermostat & Temperature
When at home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
When you are asleep or out of the house, lower your thermostat back 5°-10°C. Each eight hours like this can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
Use a programmable thermostat to set temperatures automatically over each day and week. There is an ENERGY STAR's June 5, 2008, podcast with video instructions on operating a programmable thermostat.
- Find & Seal Leaks
Seal any air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, around chimneys, electrical, phone and cable outlets, around recessed lights in insulated ceilings.
Insulate any unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
Add caulk or weatherstripping around leaky doors and windows. Check seals around panes of windows, in the gap between the door and doorframe and the floor, as well as around the frames
- Properly Maintain Your Heating Systems
Schedule service for your heating system, and read the manual to find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Many manufacturers have PDF manuals online on their website's Support section.
Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed. If you have not replaced your furnace filter in a year, you definitely need to!
Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly, and periodically clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush to ensure efficient heating.
- Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. An open damper allows warm air to escape up the chimney, and allows cold air to enter your house unimpeded
When using the fireplace, reduce heat loss by either opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or opening the nearest window about an 1 inch-and closing doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 10° and 13°C.
If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. Note that you've done this, in case you sell your house.
If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system to blow heated air back into the room.
- Check the fireplace flue damper seal and make it as snug as possible
- Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room (a low-tech heat exchanger).
- Caulk around the fireplace hearth.
- Reduce Your Water Heating Costs
Water heating can account for 14%-25% of the energy consumed in your home.
Lower the thermostat on your water heater to "warm" setting (120°F/50°C)Save energy and avoid scalding your hands in the sink or yourself in the tub.
Add insulation to the hot water pipes in the home to reduce thermal loss to the kitchen, washer, and the bathroom(s).