Winnipeggers are well known for their staunch resiliency in the face of winter. But, how is your home handling the recent frigid temperatures?
While most newer homes are built with energy efficiency in mind, it pays to consider additional heat-saving strategies that are easy to implement, and could save you money.
TIP 1: Start in Summer with Landscaping
Some of the most important strategies for winterizing your home begin long before the first snowflakes hit the ground.
Planting shrubs around the foundation of your home is an easy, effective way to prevent cool air from entering, and keep the warm air inside. This kind of ‘smart landscaping’ also pays off in summer, as the foliage shades your windows from direct sunlight. It’s a win-win! Planting shrubs, especially evergreens, also contributes to clean and healthy air, which means your helping your community and the environment too.
Other proactive steps you might want to take include installing a programmable thermostat and having your furnace filter changed, ensuring it will burn cleaner and use less energy all through the coming winter.
TIP 2: Keep the Home Fires Burning
There’s nothing like a sitting in front of the fire on a chilly winter evening, and while many people do not have wood burning fireplaces, electric and gas options are popular features in new homes.
Gas fireplaces not only look great, adding an element of visual warmth to your living room, they are also a great way to heat the space your in, rather than the whole house. Don't have a fireplace? High-efficiency space heaters can be used to the same effect.
TIP 3: Get a Feel For It
Winterizing your home is essentially about keeping the warm air in and the cold air out. The best way to find out where air is escaping is to feel around all of the doors and windows that lead to the outside.
If you feel a leak, apply caulking to effectively seal the gap. According to Manitoba Hydro, 20 percent of air leakage gets in through holes where plumbing pipes and telephone wires enter the house. Each little gap you seal may seem minimal but when you add them up, this simple, cheap method can make a big difference to your winter heating bill. (If you’re having trouble identifying the leaks, consider investing in an infrared thermometer.)
If you haven't already, you may also want to consider storm windows, which can reduce heat loss by more than 50 percent, especially when they’re used over single-pane windows.
TIP 4: The Hype about Pipes
Improperly maintained piping is can burst upon freezing, and this can create a huge headache for homeowners during the wintertime.
However, it’s entirely preventable. The problem arises when increased pressure builds up in frozen pipes and forces the water downstream, causing pressure. Once a pipe bursts, flooding may occur and clean-up can be extensive — and expensive. Seasonally inspecting, sealing and insulating pipes can do wonders to avoid the problem in the first place!
Owning a home, and the pride that comes of it, can be one of life's great pleasures. Taking the time to care for your investment can reward you many times over. If you have other ideas and tips you would like to share with Winnipeg homeowners, connect with us on Facebook!