Decorating & Design - Green Living

Make your home energy efficient for winter

The 15 best ways to make your home energy efficient during the winter months.

Saving energy is top-of-mind for homeowners and renters alike. Energy costs continue to rise, as does awareness of environmental issues. As we head into the heavy-usage winter months, finding ways to conserve is a big priority. Here are our top 15 to-dos to make your home more energy efficient for winter.

1 First off, book an energy audit. An accredited energy advisor can perform an energy evaluation of your home, identifying energy-wasters and suggesting improvements and upgrades. Under the federal government's ecoENERGY Retrofit initiative, if you implement the suggested changes within 18 months, you can qualify for up to $5,000 in reimbursement grants.

2 Pump up your insulation. It's an effective way to reduce heat loss so you don't have to work the thermostat so hard. Improving your attic insulation can earn you back up to $400 in grants through ecoEnergy.

3 Weather-strip your exterior doors. It's inexpensive, easy, and keeps warm air in -- and chilly drafts out.

4 Load up on stylish cardigans and hoodies and chic throw blankets. Use them to stay snug when you lower your thermostat by 1°C. Each degree lower you set your thermostat, you'll save 3% on your heating bill. Turn it down another three degrees when you leave the house or go to bed.

5 Install an inexpensive (from $30!) programmable thermostat. That way, maintaining the correct temperature throughout the day and night is a no-brainer.  

6 Switch to a high-efficiency heater. It's another opportunity to cut energy use while cashing in with ecoEnergy rebates.

7 Buy new furnace filters
. Keep your furnace filters clean and regularly replace old ones so your furnace can run more efficiently -- thus cutting costs. If your filters are disposable, replace them once a month. If they're washable or reusable, clean them every two or three weeks during high-use season and only replace them when they become damaged.

Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.

This article is featured on Prepare your home for winter

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