How to Save Money on Utilities at Home
Improve the Energy Efficiency and Health of your House
An energy efficient home uses less energy, water, and natural resources, ultimately creating less waste and a healthier, more comfortable environment for everyone to live in. Homes use up to 17% of Canadian energy and 83% of that is used to heat your space and the water you consume. With some easy to manage upgrades or practices you’ll experience lower energy and water bills, and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins.
Vancouver Island is considered to have the most moderate climate in Canada, but we endure those wet and chilly Pacific Northwest Coast winters. Record highs in recent summers have got Greater Victoria homeowners looking for ways to stay cool in the city. We have a list of tips that will work all year round to keep your home in good working order and performing in a clean way.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Having control over the temperature of your home night and day can save on heating costs. Lower the heat at night and those times when you know you’ll be away from the house. Programming desired temperatures can reduce the load on your heating system by gradually increasing temperatures instead of forcing it to do all the work at once.
- Your furnace should be reliable and works hard through the cold months to keep your home warm. Some don’t ever stop working and function to circulate cool air in warm months, so it needs care and attention to stay in good working order. Annual inspections by a pro are recommended but you can easily keep the filters clean to help it run efficiently. If your furnace uses disposable filters, it’s recommended to change them every 1-3 months unless you have an annual filter. Don’t forget to check filters more frequently during home renovations when there’s more dust flying!
- Check the caulking around your windows, doors, and any other small openings on the exterior of your house, like plumbing and vents. That old, cracked caulking can cause you to lose up to 30% of your heat. The best outdoor caulking is rubberized as it’s flexible and will move with expansions and contractions. Installing weather stripping will also help to keep those cold drafts out.
- Get up into your attic to make sure you have at least 12-15 inches of blown-in insulation and that it’s sealed with a vapour barrier. The attic should be well ventilated to allow moisture out; this will be a cold zone in the house with temperatures close to those outside.
- Have your walls and floors inspected for insulation. You’d be surprised how many older homes are without it.
- New windows for an older home can give huge savings. To make it easy, look for the ENERGY STAR certification when you’re shopping. They’re known to keep noise from the street out and collect less condensation too.
- Buy long lasting ENERGY STAR certified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). They’ll not only save energy, but you’ll be amazed how little attention they need from you over the years.
- Buying new appliances? Look for the ENERGY STAR label, it’s internationally recognized and a trusted mark of high efficiency. Fortis BC is looking out for you and the environment offering rebates when you buy qualifying ENERGY STAR products.
- Low-flow faucets, toilets and showerheads are a great investment for saving water.
- Checking for leaky faucets and running toilets is valuable time spent and finding a leak can save you a bundle.
- A simple and quick way to determine if your toilet is leaking is to place a couple drops of food colouring into the tank and don’t flush your toilet for 20-30 minutes. Then, check the toilet bowl for the coloured water. If there is, then you have a running toilet leak, however, it could be a quick fix of a faulty flapper or floater.
- Last, but not least, dress for the weather when you’re at home. Wear warm clothes in the winter and lighter clothing in the summer to keep your heating and cooling systems from working harder.
- Join Team Power Smart with BC Hydro to get more energy saving tips, find resources and products you need to help make your home greener.
Have questions about energy efficient homes currently for sale in Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay or Sidney – or want recommendations on which improvements will increase the value of your current home contact us.
TOGETHER, Hal Decter, LL.B. and Audra Poole bring a unique level of knowledge, experience and service that is hard to find.
For eleven years, Hal Decter was a practicing real estate lawyer and partner with one of Canada’s top law firms. His client experience ranges from some of the country’s largest corporations to individuals and couples starting their first businesses or buying their first homes.
Audra Poole brings her research acumen and luxury marketing and sales talents to the team. She is a highly respected marketing and public relations executive with more than twenty years of local, regional and international experience.
Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney or Saanich – we’ll be on your side and make the process as stress free and seamless as possible.