Keeping your home warm during a Nova Scotia winter is not an inexpensive undertaking, but there are more and more options available to help you take the heat off of your wallet and put it into your house!
One of the biggest ways that home heating can cost you money? Air leaks. If your heat is sneaking out into that snowy world, you’re not only losing the warmth you’re pouring your money into, but that also means the cold air is getting in — a lose-lose battle.
Older homes in particular are more susceptible to this, but this is something you can check and many of the leaks are surprisingly easy to fix. Feel around your windows, doors, and fireplace — if there’s an air leak, you’ll feel the temperature drop around these, and you may even hear or feel a bit of a draft.
Older windows, especially single pane, should be replaced wherever possible, as technology has come a long way in changing the way windows are constructed. They are now made to maximize energy efficiency, keeping your home cool during the summer and cosy during the winter. Is it just the window frames that need an update? Re-caulk them! There are some great products available now to help stop heat from escaping around your doors.
Ensuring that your chimney flue is closed when your fireplace is not in use will help, as well as maintaining the chimney stack itself, ensuring everything is in proper working order.
Inadequate insulation is one of the leading culprits in raising your home heating costs. Repairing this is a project you should probably have a contractor aid you with, but the cost of materials is low, this is not a lengthy process, and you will instantly see the savings on your energy bill this winter. This is a worthwhile investment in your home for your comfort as it will also keep your home cooler in the summer. As well, ensuring that your home is properly insulated will add major re-sale value.
Some other parts of your home that can have major air leaks? Basements, attics, baseboards, outdoor electric sockets, and uninsulated ductwork. Ensuring that your furnace or hot water boiler are properly maintained, and replacing them when they’re no longer serviceable, are also important steps in caring for your home and the money you’ve already put into it.
Subsidizing your home heating system with one that is more cost-effective to run is another excellent way to keep the temperatures in your home up this winter, but the cost down.
Electric fireplaces are a very popular choice. Available in a huge array of styles, colours, and sizes, you’re definitely going to find one that suits a space in your home. They run for just pennies an hour, and can project major heat, while also adding that lovely fireplace ambiance without the maintenance of a real fireplace. Instead of chopping wood, you can flick a switch — the ease is definitely appealing.
If you have one, using your real fireplace is another great solution. Just ensure that your chimney is properly maintained and have a specialist check it at least once a season for safety reasons.
Wood and pellet stoves are also great sources of heat, and often having one of these can heat your entire home without your electric or oil heating source even needing to kick into action. These great sources of warmth have also had modern updates to make them more user friendly and more energy efficient.
Heat pumps are a highly energy efficient product, and as an added bonus they also help keep your home cool in the summer months.
Efficiency Nova Scotia and the government have some rebates and programs to help you make your home more energy-efficient, so when you’re tackling any or all of the above options, look into these — saving money is always welcome.
If this winter is anything like the last one, you’re going to be hunkered down with your family in your home quite a bit — some relatively easy steps will ensure that when those days come, your house is cosy and comfortable — and that keeping it this way isn’t costing you a fortune.
Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald - October 30, 2014
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.