Even though we’ve been enjoying warmer than seasonal temperatures we should take notice that Winter is right around the corner. This means putting away your BBQ and outdoor patio furniture and of course starting to make preparations for the cold winter months ahead. There are a variety of things to consider when looking at your home and we’ll cover some tips that every homeowner can implement and a few that will require that you call in the professionals.
Window Insulation Film/Insulation Kit
Among the easiest things to do that yield the best results are installing either a window Insulation film or a plastic film kit. The insulation film gets applied directly on top of your windows and will create a thermal barrier to keep warm air inside and prevent cold air from making its way inwards. The plastic film works under a similar premise but gets installed to the inside of your window frame creating a pocket of air in between the window and the film. This also acts as a barrier against the transfer of hot and cold air.
If you are going to this extent we also recommend applying a clear indoor caulking around where the window meets the frame as gaps here will also allow air to penetrate inwards or escape. This type of caulk is removed once spring rolls back around.
You should also inspect your door and replace any weather stripping that looks worn out and old. There are also products that get installed on the interior of the door on top of the weather-stripping that help to further reduce air leakage. They come in a variety of styles but essentially perform the same task. We recommend that you take measurements beforehand and match the colors in-store for a seamless replacement and installation. Installation is straight forward and doable by the average homeowner.
Pretty soon it’ll be time to fire up the furnace if you haven’t already done so. Now is the best time to have someone come out and check on your equipment to see if there are any issues that need your attention. Find a reputable contractor that will service your equipment and be weary of those who state your best bet is to upgrade to a new one. Provided your current unit still works and you maintain it regularly you can hold off on upgrading until it’s absolutely necessary.
Don’t forget to switch your humidifier to the Winter Setting by adjusting the valve!
If you haven’t already invested in a programmable thermostat you should strongly consider doing so. If your home is left unoccupied for a large portion of the day you can save a considerable amount of money by scaling back the temperature during that time and have it set to scale back up an hour or so before you get home. This way you’ll be saving money during the day and whenever you’re home it’s as if it was that temperature the whole time. You don’t necessarily need a Wifi enabled unit however they do have their advantages. Consider your budget and choose the unit that best suits your needs.
Leaks in your ductwork are the key reason why you experience the hot & cold room phenomenon on the second floor. Conditioned air is being lost throughout all the various holes in the system before it has a chance to make its way to the rooms. By sealing the leaks you’re optimizing the system for maximum airflow and that leads to feeling more comfortable upstairs. If your basement is unfinished you can use HVAC rated aluminum tape to tape around the joints you have access to as a first step. Most of the leakage points are on branch off’s and take off’s which are not as easily accessible as joints may be. This would be a situation to call the professionals at Aeroseal
It’s getting warmer now and its about that time of year when we’re all used to turning up the AC to bring the temperature down indoors. What if you could scale back the thermostat and still achieve the same amount of cooling? The leakage in your ductwork can account for between 20-40% of the conditioned air that your AC is producing. That makes up a considerable amount of airflow getting lost along the way which can make a significant impact on your feeling of comfort. Not to mention the fact that you’re paying to create this conditioned air that instead of cooling your rooms is trapped inside floorboards, ceilings and wall spaces. In essence its being trapped in a dead space where it is of no use to you whatsoever.
Call us today to learn more about how we can help restore comfort to your home this summer.
The Ontario Energy Board has just approved Enbridge’s application to increase natural gas rates by 40% to offset the acquisition of additional supplies at the current open market prices. These rate changes will take into effect as of April 1st and are on an interim basis allowing them to be adjusted in future. These adjustments can occur as frequently as every three months when these suppliers submit applications. Union Gas and NRG who are also providers in Ontario have also filed similar applications for increases.
In the wake of wide-scale increases across the industry consumers are left to figure out how to make sense of it and manage their own expenses. Heating your home is considered and essential need and as such not one that you can go without. Since heating and cooling makes up over 40 % of the costs of owning a home this may be a good time for consumers to start looking at ways to minimize their consumption at the source. Having your ducts sealed is the best way to improve your comfort and save energy in the process. Right now your furnace is losing on average 20-40 % of conditioned air through leaks in the ductwork meaning that this air never makes it to the rooms that need it most. Now some will argue that it’s still within the house so that shouldn’t matter however what good is the warm air that you’re paying to create doing you inside your walls and in your floor boards? It’s not of much use to you there at all and because of the leakages your furnace is being forced to run more often and longer to try to get the temperature up to where you want it. When you think about it logically it makes sense that you would want all of the warm air your paying to produce to get to the rooms of the home.
Just last week the Aeroseal system was featured in a segment on Ask This Old House where they went through the process of how a home is sealed and the benefits of sealing your ductwork. If you didn’t catch it be sure to check out our Video page for a direct link here.
It comes as no surprise to anyone that this has been one of the coldest winters Ontarians have faced in recent years. This has pushed home owners to have to turn up the temperature in an effort to stay warm. Even though winter is ‘officially’ over the after effects are still being felt.
Enbridge has filed an application with Ontario regulators to increase natural gas prices by 40% province wide. These changes have yet to implemented and are still subject to review by the Ontario Energy Board. The proposed rate increase would take into effect on April 1 and would result in an annual increase of approximately $400 for a customer that burns 3,000 cubic meters of gas a year.
With prices increasing home owners have to find ways to save money. An excellent way to do so is to have your ductwork sealed. As it stands right now your furnace is working harder than it should be to get to the preset temperature. With all the leaks that exist it has to run more frequently and stay running for longer periods of time which is costing you money. By sealing the leaks your furnace will run less often and use less natural gas and electricity.
Are you noticing that certain rooms in your home are colder than the rest? Do you find yourself raising the temperature on your thermostat or layering up just to stay warm indoors? The extreme cold weather conditions we’ve faced this winter have made these problems worse. A major cause of this lack of comfort and cold room temperatures are due to leaks from holes in your ductwork.
These holes cause your warm air to escape into the ceiling and walls before it has a chance to get to your rooms. By sealing these holes you make sure that the warm air gets to where its needed most; your rooms. The leaks are present in all joints where two separate pieces of ductwork connect with each other and at the elbow joints where it changes directions and branches off from the main line. These hole exist because your ductwork is only held together by screws that on their own cannot come close to forming an air tight seal.
These leaks may seem small but when combined together they result in a significant impact to the flow of air in your ductwork. Over the last two years of homes sealed in Ontario the average initial leakage encountered has been between 250-350 CFM which equates to a single hole between 45-65 square inches in size. With a hole of that size it should come as no surprise that you may be experiencing comfort issues in your home.
We can effectively reduce your leakage by at lest 85-90% in most cases. The difference in airflow will be felt immediately as the hot air gets channeled to your rooms instead of being lost in between your walls, floorboards and ceilings. Another benefit will be that your furnace will operate less frequently and for shorter intervals of time resulting in additional savings on your utility bills.
Test your energy IQ and learn ways to save money and regain comfort.
Which home improvement will usually lower a household’s annual energy costs the most?
a) Replacing windows
b) Adding insulation to an attic
c) Installing light-colored roof shingles
d) Sealing all air leaks, including leaky ducts
Effective marketing is the reason that 34 percent of people thought that windows would be the number one choice. However testing shows that due to the large upfront cost it could take 20 years to recoup the investment.
The number one choice is actually sealing air leaks in your homes wall’s, windows and especially the ductwork. Leaks in your ductwork cause air to fill wall cavities and floorboards instead of making their way to the rooms that need them most. In addition this is wasted energy as your furnace has to work harder and more often to maintain that temperature. It is also the most affordable option when compared to the rest meaning you can recoup your investment in as little as 5-6 years.
“If you don’t like your hydro bill, then it’s up to you to do something about it.” -Bob Chiarelli (Energy Minister)
Firm words from the government letting us know that we shouldn’t be expect them to step in an reduce energy prices. The responsibility has now fallen on individual home owners to take measures into their own hands. Amidst rising prices consumers are left wondering where to turn for answers.
The government has undertaken several initiatives to raise awareness about energy conservation and its benefits. The issue with energy is that as demand increases it also increases the cost to manufacture and deliver to the end user. Many consumers already restrict their usage when prices are highest during the day and tend to run more energy hungry appliances such as dryers on weekends and evenings when prices are low.
The usage of programmable thermostats is an excellent way to save money and are now very easy to setup and use. Save money by turning down the temperature a few degrees when no-one is home and then have it turn on just before you arrive back from work. This way you save money throughout the day and the home is still nice and warm by the time you get back.