Small Changes Add Up

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Why make your home work harder than it needs to? Read these tips on how to improve your home’s efficiency just by making these simple changes.

Making energy efficient home updates this summer can make a big difference on annual energy bills.  By performing five energy efficient upgrades around the house, such as sealing leaks and topping up insulation, we calculated that Ontario homeowners could save more than $600 on their combined energy bills annually— a much-needed savings now that electricity during peak hours is double the rate of off-peak hours (as of May 1).

With warm weather upon us and the recent rise in electricity rates, now is the time for homeowners to make upgrades around the house and increase energy efficiency.  Implementing professional upgrades, as well as simple do-it-yourself techniques could help Ontarians conserve energy and reduce their gas and electricity bills, which is good for the environment and their wallets too.

Using data from HOT2000 software (recognized by Natural Resources Canada as the Canadian tool for use by trained and certified energy auditors), we calculated that homeowners who invest in the following upgrades will see a return of more than $600 per year on their combined energy (natural gas and electricity) bills:

  • Caulking and weather-stripping around doors, windows and exterior wall electrical outlets to keep the moist hot air out in the summer, and warm air in during the winter.
  • Installing high-efficiency windows. Up to 30 per cent of the heating and cooling costs in a home can be lost through poorly fitted windows and doors.
  • Checking that there is at least 16 inches of insulation in the attic – anything less and homeowners will need to budget to get it topped up. A properly insulated home is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to cut down on heating and cooling costs.
  • Replacing an HVAC system that’s older than 15 to 17 years with a high-efficiency air conditioner and furnace.
  • Upgrading a traditional hot water heater to a tankless or condensing water heater can save up to 40 percent in energy consumption.

Savings were calculated with pre-May 1 electricity rates and current natural gas prices using a typical Ontario home profile, which is defined by the Canadian Real Estate Association, Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada as 1,860 square feet, 40 years old and two stories. Depending on a home’s size, age and energy use patterns, some homeowners could see an even greater return on investment with these upgrades.