Winters seem to be getting colder in Nova Scotia and energy bills are increasing. Here are our top 5 recommended renovations to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
- Changing your Heat Source
Heat Pumps: Heat Pumps are a wonderful invention that keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They are very energy efficient as compared to alternative heating and cooling options and have become a staple in new home construction.
Wood stoves: Wood Stoves can be a lot of work, but these babies can really throw the heat in the winter time and help save on oil and electricity bills. Customers who have installed wood stoves have come back to us and said their oil bill was less than half the price from the previous year after they installed a wood stove and exterior insulation. Every little bit adds up for your pocket book and for the environment.
- New insulation in the attic: Improper attic insulation can be the biggest culprit for high energy bills in the winter time as heat rises and escapes of the attic. Re-insulating the attic is one of the simplest things you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Blown in insulation can be a terrible job to do, especially in the middle of the summer when attics are worse than saunas. If you are thinking about getting more insulation added to your attic, plan to do it around October before it gets too cold and while it is still a reasonable temperature outside. You want to make sure you wear proper ventilation equipment as well to not breathe any in. Most home improvement stores like Home Depot or Kent will rent home owners the machines to blow the insulation in. It takes a min of 2 people to get the job done, one person to load the machine with the bags of insulation and the other to be up in the attic. The trick is to start along the edges and make sure to get an even layer everywhere. What else?
- New Windows and Doors: Have you ever felt a bit of a cold draft around your windows or doors in the winter time? If you have, it might be time to consider either getting new windows and/or doors or re-insulating them. If windows and doors were not installed properly, the window seals are broken, or they have been damaged there is a good chance they could be leaking large amounts of cold air into your home. If your windows are new, it is most likely they need insulation. Sometimes the fix is as simple as removing the interior trim around the windows and spraying spray foam into the cavity between the wall and the window/door. But windows that were not installed properly will need to be removed and reinstalled. The cost of materials is extremely low to re-insulate a window, around $10 for a can of spray foam which can make a world of difference. It takes us about 4 hours to remove and reinstall a window including interior trim.
- Insulate exterior of home: If you are looking at upgrading the siding to your home in the near future consider also adding some extra insulation to the exterior walls of your home. The price of exterior insulation is about $……. a square foot. It is quite simple to install, just nail the foam sheets with siding nails. Adding this exterior insulation will help keep heat in over your entire house, it makes a big difference and increases the efficiency of your home – saving you on your electricity bill.
Other energy saving ideas: Wash clothes in cold water, hang clothes out to dry, turn off any lights or appliances not in use, use energy efficient lightbulbs. For more information on general energy savings and rebates visit Efficiency Nova Scotia.