High energy bills have you feeling down? Keeping your home comfortable in the winter time can be a real challenge financially. Naturally, there are many products and services geared toward maximizing the contents of your wallet while minimizing the impact of a Canadian winter. Every window company will tell you that their products will improve your home energy efficiency, and save you thousands of dollars.
But how do you know it’s working for your home, so you don’t have to?
In an ideal scenario, your home would be at net zero, meaning it doesn’t require any additional energy to heat or cool it. But that would also mean that your house would have to not only retain the energy, but also somehow generate it. While a lot of products, and especially quality custom replacement windows, can contribute to the energy efficiency of your home, it is still impossible to completely eliminate energy use – you simply wouldn’t be able to turn your lights on or run your water.
That is why so many people are easily convinced by products that promise improved energy efficiency. It has also been a major factor in the evolution of eco-friendly windows from wood to aluminum to vinyl to fiberglass. Canadian window manufacturers and suppliers have gone from single to double and even triple pane glazing. The bells and whistles that come standard on new windows like gas fills, films, and spacers, were all created to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.
Ultimately, the biggest detriment to improving the energy efficiency of your home, is you. In theory, new windows lower the amount of energy needed to heat a home. But what often happens in reality is as soon as someone gets replacement windows, or other energy efficient products, their energy use tends to increase. More often, once we stop worrying about the energy consumption of our homes, we also stop thinking about our own energy consumption. These products will make your home more efficient only if the energy use by its residents stays at the same level or decreases as well.
Consider the analogy of a smart car. Because these cars use less fuel and are more energy efficient, you are likely to drive it more, thus negating the energy savings that come with efficient fuel consumption. It is the same with window replacement: just because you got energy efficient windows, doesn’t mean you should put the money you save towards buying a hot tub.
How can you make your home more efficient?
While new triple pane windows are a great step toward improving the efficiency of your home, there are some steps you could take to minimize energy costs and keep your money in your wallet. Switching off the lights alone may not reduce your monthly bills by much, but getting into these easy energy-saving habits will amount to significant savings in the long run. Check our some of these tips:
This is a classic one! Instead of filling up the bathtub with water, short showers are more effective at reducing energy costs. Some people install water-saving shower heads to save more money, although environmentally friendly shower heads often give off way less pressure. This is a good dual solution: you are using less water and your water heater will require less energy.
Certain appliances in the home generate more heat than others. Your washer, dryer, and oven are the biggest consumers of energy. If you can, use these appliances during the cooler parts of the day, the morning and at night. Using these appliances during the day in the summer months causes the air conditioner to work harder to cool the home, driving energy costs up. You can also reduce energy costs by using these appliances during the cooler parts of the day in the winter months. This will allow you to set your furnace to low, and have it come on when you come home.
Washer & Dryer
There are several tips you can follow when wanting to make the most efficient use of your washer and dryer. First, always make sure wash loads are full. This means you use these appliances as little as possible, saving you energy. If you’re really about the details, take the weight of clothing into consideration. Keeping similar weights together can help reduce the length of dryer time for lighter loads. Consider investing in cold water detergent. Cold water cycles will greatly lower heating costs.
It is also important to keep these appliances functioning at their best to conserve energy and save you money. Clean the dryer filter or lint trap after every load to keep it efficient. Also, clean the tubing that runs from the dryer to the wall every six months to ensure optimal energy use and cost savings.
Electric cooktops can pose a problem for anyone looking to conserve energy. This type of cooktop requires a lot of energy to be used effectively. One way to minimize energy consumption is by matching burner sizes with pots. Keep surfaces clean by wiping down after each meal, and clean carbon buildup around pilots in a gas stove. You want all the gas coming out of your stove to go to cooking your meal.
Make it a habit to turn lights off each time you leave a room. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which are available everywhere now. These bulbs do cost more initially, but the costs will be recovered in savings. For instance, a 25-watt fluorescent bulb projects as much light as a 100-watt regular light bulb. Fluorescent bulbs also last ten times longer than standard bulbs.
Some older homes may not have them, but most homes today should have exhaust systems. An exhaust system in the bathroom helps reduce humidity and potential mold build-up on frames. Generally though, try to keep exhausts running as little as possible in the winter time as they take the warm air out of your house, making the furnace work harder.
And last but definitely not least.
Open windows in summer months to cool the home with fresh air. Open drapes and blinds in winter months to maximize heating in your rooms. Because used windows tend to be the area where most energy gets lost in a home, maximizing solar heat gains from the sun can go a long way to warming your home for less money.
There is a wide range of products available to consumers that are all designed to improve the energy efficiency and comfort in your home. But ultimately it is up to you as a homeowner to monitor and improve the energy consumption to make these products be truly beneficial.
Learn more about getting replacement windows:
Find out how much a window project should cost
See what features make your windows truly energy efficient
Follow the replacement process from start to finish in our INFOGRAPHIC