When it comes to warming up a room, wood-burning fireplaces are a favourite. Unfortunately, they are also the most inefficient option, because they allow the heat to escape up the chimney. As if that is not bad enough, the heat that leaves your room is replaced by cold air that enters through the same opening, causing the furnace to work extra hard just to keep the house warm.
But since everyone loves to gather round the hearth, you can make your old fireplace energy efficient by fitting a door with operable vents that remain shut except when there is a fire in the fireplace. Alternatively, you can replace your old fireplace with a high-efficiency system.
Here are a few other tips to make your home energy efficient this winter:
- Improve the insulation in your home
- Replace your windows
- Replace your old appliances with rated, energy-efficient ones
- Turn down your thermostat
Proper insulation is important to ensure that your home does not lose the heat you generate, as it could increase your heating bills. Effectively insulating your walls and attic slows down the rate of heat flow out of your home in winter, which improves your level of comfort and reduces the energy required to heat the rooms.
There are different insulation materials that can be used to reduce heat loss, including foam, cellulose, and fibreglass, but more important that the material used is the contractor’s expertise. Make sure you’re trusting a reputable company
Many of the older types of windows are not energy efficient, causing you to lose a lot of heat during the colder months. You should consider enhancing their efficiency with weather-stripping and storm windows, or replacing them with energy-efficient models.
Choosing Energy-Star rated replacement windows can save you 7 to 24 percent of the heating and air-conditioning bills, especially when replacing windows that are single-glazed and aluminium frames with double panel windows and other vinyl frames.
It is estimated that 20 percent of a household electricity bills is used for running appliances. This number can be reduced significantly by replacing dishwashers, clothes washers, fridges, and other appliances with Energy Star-rated appliances. The newer, more efficient models are claimed to use half as much energy as those manufactured 15 years ago.
The department of energy claims that you can save one percent of your energy bill for every degree you lower the thermostat. Since this will make your rooms colder, you may consider using a space heater in the common room, or wearing extra clothes to stay warm.
Finally, get an energy audit to identify insulation problems and air leaks in your home. The 2-3 hour test uses an infrared camera and blower door test to pinpoint leaks and provides solutions to improve energy efficiency. Or, alternatively, simply contact your window and door installation company! They will be able to asses your energy situation and give you insight as to what you can do to lower your energy costs and make your home a more efficient space.