As winter approaches, it’s important to not only prepare yourself for the cold weather but your home as well. If your home is not properly winterized, it will leak both warm air and money. Here are some helpful tips to avoid winter complications!
Run Fans In Reverse
Many ceiling fans come with a switch allowing the blades to reverse their direction. By switching the blades from counterclockwise to clockwise, the breeze becomes warmer which helps heat your home! This small but effective tip is often overlooked yet it can make a difference in your home (and bills) over the winter months.
Air leakage is very common in homes and cool drafts can increase the cost of heating your home. According to Union Gas, 30-40% of heat loss is due to air leakage. Here are some effective ways to protect your home from air leakage:
- Add draft snakes along the bottom of drafty doors to eliminate breezes that sweep under doorways.
- Install plastic window seals to stop drafts. These kits can be found anywhere, including the dollar store and require little to no labour.
- Caulk gaps to effectively seal off air leakage for a more permanent solution.
- Install storm windows and doors to stop the cold winter winds. Government incentives are often available if you choose to install storm windows and doors.
Change Furnace Filters
It’s important to remember to change your furnace filter every 2-3 months (depending on your model) in order to ensure your furnace runs effectively and efficiently.
Permanent filters are also a great, environmentally friendly option that will save you the trouble of having to remember to change your filters as often. Remember that you can always call on Afterglow for help getting your furnace ready for the wintry days ahead.
Trim Back Your Trees
The arrival of changing temperatures and winter storms can often mean trees get a heavy coating of ice which can cause breakage. It’s crucial to trim back the branches near your driveway, roof or windows to avoid the risk of damage or injury.
Clean Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can cause water to pool and freeze creating ice dams, jamming the flow of water. This can cause damage not only to your gutters, but also cause leaks inside your home. When your gutters are clogged, the melted snow from the roof pools up, eventually seeping into the house. To prevent this issue, make sure all leaves and other debris are cleared from the gutter before winter.
You can prepare your home for winter by ensuring each of these areas receives attention before it develops into a larger problem. But if you are worried about whether your HVAC is prepped for winter, contact us to check that your major systems are ready.
The heat is on! We have some cool tips for you as the temperature rises, and for the “techies” out there, a great way to start saving money and make your home a smart home! Our feature product of the month is the EcoBee3 Smart Wifi Thermostat. The EcoBee promises “all over home comfort”. Ordinary thermostats read the temperature in one room (usually the hallway) which can make your favourite rooms uncomfortable. That’s why EcoBee3 was created. It works with remote sensors to deliver the right temperature in the rooms that matter most.
With a one-year warranty, Afterglow can install EcoBee in your home for $395 +HST and walk you through your new Smart Thermostat.
“We have installed many EcoBee3’s across Waterloo Region and Guelph. Our customers love the way it keeps their homes at a livable temperature and saves them money on their heating bills.” Stephen McDonald Afterglow GM.
EcoBee is compatible with 95% of residential heating and cooling systems in North America and virtually all commercial heating and cooling equipment.
EcoBee is a one-time investment that gives you remote access, online reports and mobile app capability. Security is a top priority for EcoBee using similar security technology as banks, government agencies and e-commerce sites.
Don’t wait! Get access and start saving money. Call us to install EcoBee3 today!
Why not Nest
Nest is another smart wifi thermostat and arguably EcoBee3’s largest competitor. Nest has apps, allows you to change the temperature via the apps, set schedules and choose temperature preferences. What Nest doesn’t have is remote sensors to let your thermostat know you’re “home”. Using Echo, the voice activation technology associated with EcoBee, you can set your home to a specific temperature, turn the temperature up or down or simply as EcoBee to make your home cooler or warmer.
Who else has been enjoying the gorgeous spring weather this week? Waterloo Region residents can finally go outside, enjoy fun outdoor activities and soak up some vitamin D! Aside from this, spring opens up many opportunities for reducing your home energy bill.
The drastic improvement in weather means you’ll be using the furnace less and might even consider turning on the air conditioning soon. Yipee! But before you blast your cooling system, you may want to consider opting for ceiling fans first.
Why? Let us explain.
Are Ceiling Fans Effective?
Did you know that ceiling fans are considered one of the most effective forms of indoor circulation? That’s because they can effectively circulate the air in a room to create a nice, cool draft. If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. In temperate climates, similar to Waterloo Region’s spring season, ceiling fans may allow you to avoid using your AC altogether.
Just remember to turn fans off when you’re not in the room — the cooling effect created by the breeze only works for people, not the room itself. It’s a good idea to use fans in the bathroom to dissipate heat and humidity as well.
How Can I Use Ceiling Fans To Save Money?
Fact: Ceiling fans use far less energy per hour than AC units. That means ceiling fans may be able to make you more comfortable on their own, helping you avoid turning on the AC and save money on your energy bills!
For example, running your AC unit for three hours a day for a year uses 3,832.500 kWh, while a ceiling fan only uses 19.71-109.5 kWh. With the average price of energy at 12.1 cents/kWh, that means using your fans instead of your AC could save you more than $400 per year (or close to 41 cents per hour) (HVAC.com).
Consider how a combination of ceiling fans and AC can save you more than just turning on the AC alone. If you feel cooler when you have your ceiling fans on, you can keep the AC turned up to a higher temperature, meaning it will run less often. The less your AC unit runs, the less money it will cost you! Put simply, ceiling fans save money.
When buying ceiling fans, look for the ENERGY STAR label. Fans that earn the label move air 20% more efficiently, on average, than standard models.
Take advantage of spring! Let the nice weather do its work to lower your home energy use.
Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.
There sure are a lot of devices to help us out with our activities! I recently got a Fitbit for myself. You know, the wearable electronic gadget that keeps track of how much you run, how much energy you burn, and how much you sleep? It really helps with my fitness regimen!
And I’m not alone; there are millions of Fitbit users. All together we have trod more than 80 billion steps!
Wouldn’t it be great to keep track of the fitness of your heating system?
I’m always thinking about heating and cooling and I wondered if you have ever thought about devices that could track your furnace, boiler and even water heaters efficiency? That can really help with heating costs. If we’re in for another long, cold winter, those costs can add up.
Heating and cooling has gone high tech!
Many of the new thermostats that Afterglow sells do just that. They track run times and energy use to help save you money. You don’t have to do any of the calculations or try and guess. Imagine having that kind of help with your heating bill!
Check it out: come in to Afterglow today for a visit– or contact us by phone or email.
We’d love to tell you how our thermostats can make heating easier and more affordable.