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It's important to be an informed consumer for your home and family. The Direct Energy Learning Center is your trusted source for a wide range of home-related topics to help you make decisions, improve your home, and live brighter.
You invited us into your home - the least we can do is help make it a comfortable, happy space for you and your family. The Direct Energy blog opens conversation on home improvement and family life, from household repairs and maintenance, to living green and saving money, to home decor, travel, and more. We're here to talk about what matters most.
Put on a sweater and lower your thermostat by 2 degrees Celsius, about 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
You could save as much as 4 percent on your heating bill.
Throw down a rug
You'll not only help insulate your floors, but you'll cut down on the noise too.
Install a furnace filter alarm on your furnace.
This will let you know when it is time to change your filters. These alarms will make a whistling sound when they sense that the filters are dirty.
Don't forget to check your furnace filter monthly during the winter months and replace it if it's dirty.
Keeping your furnace properly maintained will reduce energy consumption and could save you up to 5 percent on your heating costs.
Keep supply and return air vents clear of furniture and appliances so your furnace can work more efficiently.
Did you know that heat recovery ventilators improve indoor air quality by expelling stale indoor air continuously and using its heat to pre-heat the incoming fresh air? Installing one of these may give you the added savings you're looking for on your next energy bill.
Avoid heating areas that are not insulated,
such as a garage, crawlspace, attic or storage sheds.
Save up to 10 percent on your heating bill by programming your thermostat to a lower temperature at night and after you leave for work.
It's recommended that you don't reduce the temperature more than 3 - 4 degrees Celsius, or about 6 - 8 degrees Fahrenheit.
When using your wood-burning fireplace, split wood into pieces that are 10-15cm (4-6-inches) in diameter.
The wood will burn more cleanly with more surface area exposed to the flame.
Don't use your fireplace at all when the outside temperature is below -7 Celsius, or 19 degrees Fahrenheit.
The infiltration of cold air into your house through the open flue wastes more heat than is gained.
Consider installing a fireplace thermostat
to help you control your room temperature.
To check if a door provides good insulation, place your hand against it from the inside.
If it feels cooler than the inside walls, it might be time to install a door that's better insulated. Install fully insulated doors on all entrances to garages, cold storage rooms and un-insulated basements.
Not ready to replace your furnace?
A tune-up can save 3 to 10 percent on your next heating bill. Don't forget to clean or replace your furnace filter regularly for even more savings.
Insulate! Insulate! Insulate! Have a look at your attic.
To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure its thickness. If there is less than R-22 (7 inches of fiberglass or rock wool or 6 inches of cellulose) you could probably benefit by adding more. And while you're up there, consider installing some roof vents and inlets to improve ventilation.
Clear plastic sheeting on your windows
can add more insulation and reduce icy drafts with minimal effort and minimal cost.
Tip! Cranking up the heat to warm the house quickly doesn't work.
The house will warm up at the same rate, regardless of the temperature setting.
Don't lose heated air up your chimney! The chimney acts like an open window.
Be sure your damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use. Check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible. Consider installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warm air into the room. When you do use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly and close the doors into the room. Lower your thermostat setting to between 10° and 13°C.
Open the drapes or blinds on sunny days and bask in the 'free' heat.
Keep those south-facing windows squeaky clean to let the light through. Remember to close the drapes or blinds when the sun sets.
Adding a humidifier to your heating system may allow you to turn your thermostat down and be comfortable at lower temperatures.
PS: Aquariums and houseplants can add humidity too.
Canadians rely heavily on electrical lighting during the long, dark winter nights.
Help conserve energy by installing automatic timers, motion sensors, dimmers, and solar cells at your house.
Did you know that halogen lighting uses up to 40 percent less energy than traditional bulbs?
Halogen lighting is also excellent for gardens and pathways.
Did you know it costs approximately $2.55 per year to light one room for one hour each day?
Remember to switch off the lights when you leave a room and you'll save money.
During the winter months, don't forget to keep the garage door tightly closed as much as possible.
In doing so, you'll retain warmer air against the garage-side wall of the house and it will act as a buffer against the colder outdoor air.
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