There are many good reasons to become more energy conscious at home including saving money, making your home healthier and more comfortable, decreasing the impact on Ontario’s natural resources and even potentially increasing your home’s value. To help you make your home more energy efficient, the Ontario Real Estate Association and your local Realtor offer the following tips.
Finding ways to reduce your use of water, gas or electricity can be as simple and inexpensive as switching to energy efficient light bulbs. For example, a 15-watt compact fluorescent light gives as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb and can last 10 times as long.
Install a programmable thermostat
When properly set, a thermostat can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10 per cent. Turning down your thermostat to about 15C when you go out or at night when you sleep can save you 10 – 15% on your total energy bill. Also, change your furnace filter monthly and have your furnace serviced by a professional every year to ensure it is running at maximum efficiency.
Install weather stripping around doors, fireplace dampers, attic hatches and air conditioners. Reducing drafts can save up to 30 per cent a year on heating costs. Block heat from entering unused areas of your house, like a storage room or crawlspace, by closing doors.
Take advantage of lower energy prices during off-peak hours. Run your dishwasher, washer and dryer early in the morning, in the evening or on weekends when electricity rates are lowest. Be sure to unplug electronic items not in use. Devices like computers, TVs and cell phone chargers continue to consume small amounts of electricity unless they are unplugged. If you plug them into a power bar that you can switch off, you’ll not only save money on energy use, but you won’t need to reprogram your equipment when you turn it back on.
Be water wise
Make an effort to quickly repair leaky faucets. Even a small drip can waste litres of water per month and add to your water heating costs. In your home, the toilet uses the most water – accounting for approximately 30 per cent of indoor water use. But, water efficient toilets use up to 80 per cent less water than regular toilets. You can save even more by installing a dual flush toilet that provides an option for a 3-litre or 6-litre flush depending on need. Switch from having baths to taking showers and use about half the amount of water. Installing low-flow showerheads can also reduce water consumption by as much as 65 per cent while still providing a forceful spray.
Washing your clothes in cold water will save you loads of money over time since up to 80 per cent of the energy you use to wash clothes comes from heating the wash water. Also, if you are in the market for a new washing machine, consider buying an Energy Star model which uses 35-50 per cent less water and at least 50 per cent less energy per load.
Throughout your home, choose Energy Star appliances and equipment (your furnace for example). The Energy Star symbol means the product has met or exceeded technical specifications that ensure they are among the most energy efficient on the market.
Small changes, big results
When you think energy conscious, even small changes can have big results. As concerns about our environment continue to grow, more homebuyers will demand energy saving features in a home. If you are planning on updating your home to sell it, be sure to speak to a realtor. He or she can advise you on the types of improvements you can make to enhance your home’s “saleability.”
If you are buying a home, talk to a realtor about what features you should look for that will help save you money on energy costs.
This article is provided by local REALTORS® and the Ontario Real Estate Association for the benefit of consumers in the real estate market.