The approach of fall, with winter close behind it, brings the anticipation of curling up by a crackling fire, snuggling in flannel pajamas, and enjoying the festivities and cheer of the holiday season.
But if you are like most Canadians, it also conjures up less endearing memories of dry skin, freezing weather, and flu season.
In other words, staying healthy while keeping your heating costs budget-friendly and your heating sources sustainable is a tall order. But you and your wallet will thank you for making the effort!
In this post, get some tips for how to prepare your home, your budget, and yourself for the onset of the cold season.
Tip 1: Turn the tables on high heating costs
In last week’s blog post, we highlighted the truly jaw-dropping truth about how much the average Canadian spends on heating annually.
Out of all the activities you use energy for (cooling, lighting, cooking, heating water, etc.), nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of your annual energy bill goes to one single source: heating your home.
But there are some ways to turn the tables on high heating costs, whether you plan to continue with your current heating system or this is the year you finally upgrade.
Apply for energy incentives from your province
Each province offers a selection of energy efficiency rebates and incentives for homeowners who are pursuing energy efficiency HVAC activities. These include having a home energy audit, upgrading to Energy Star equipment, retrofitting with energy-efficient LED/CFL bulbs and lighting/ventilation fixtures, updates such as weather stripping and piping in insulation, and more.
Qualify for $2,600 off qualifying equipment
Shipton’s Heating & Cooling is currently offering the option to save up to $2,600 on qualifying HVAC (heating and cooling) equipment.
Get your heating system a tuneup before temperatures drop
Not only will scheduling your heating system’s annual inspection and maintenance tuneup ensure your house is not in danger of HVAC-related fire this winter, it will also get your heating system into tip-top shape to deliver the most heating for the least energy output this winter.
Insulate, insulate, insulate
Wrapping your water pipes will stave off pipe bursts when temperatures dip below freezing. Also, insulating HVAC ducts and water heater pipes, and adding insulation in attic crawl spaces and basements, in walls and under floors, and even to windows (using the new breed of insulated window panes) can keep more warm air in, lessening your need to turn up the heat or run the heater.
Tip 2: Choose sustainable appliances and energy sources
In spite of your most dedicated efforts at maintenance and repairs, you can’t always predict when your heating system might breathe its last. Winter storms, with their water damage, electrical surges and heavy snowfalls, can compromise even the most robust structural safeguards.
But what you can control is what you will do when the unexpected suddenly becomes today’s news. What kind of heating system would you choose, if you had to choose a new system right away?
Here, it can be helpful to know the most sustainable options for both appliances and energy sources.
Cleanest, greenest energy sources
To date, solar hot air, solar thermal, passive solar, wind, hydro (water), air-source, and geothermal (ground-source) energy number among the greenest, cleanest types of energy you can use.
If you have a choice between wood, kerosene, oil, and other fossil fuel-based energy and energy generated from natural planetary conditions such as light, wind, and water, opt for the latter. They will help you lower your monthly energy bills and help the planet as well.
Energy Star certification
Any appliance, light bulb, or fixture that is stamped with the Energy Star logo can help you save on your energy costs in summer and winter. Energy Star-certified appliances, fixtures, and light bulbs have undergone a rigorous process to ensure they maximize output for the energy they use.
However, this only holds true if the installation process is done the correct way. If you plan to upgrade to Energy Star-certified heating and cooling, be sure to bring in a professional technician to oversee the installation. Your reward will be 15 to 20 percent energy savings in the future.
Tip 3: Opt for the cleanest possible indoor air
One extra perk of keeping your heating system well maintained, using rebates and incentives to make efficient, sustainable choices, and opting for Energy Star appliances and fixtures is that you also provide yourself with ever cleaner, purer indoor air.
Winter definitely has a strange sense of humour, bringing with it the usual round of winter holiday parties right alongside the winter cold and flu season. When lots of people are gathered together in winter’s dry indoor air conditions, it gets easier than ever to pass germs and toxins around.
Choosing clean energy sources and efficient fixtures and appliances means reducing the level of indoor air irritants, toxins, and pollutants to their lowest possible levels. By cleaning or replacing your furnace filters (if applicable); doing an energy audit to find out where you can improve on efficiency; reducing or eliminating your use of fossil fuels and especially wood/kerosene; keeping your home well ventilated; and updating your seals, weather stripping, and insulation to keep airborne toxins outside your home, you can look forward to breathing in cleaner air all winter long.
Contact Shipton’s Today
Fall is here! Fall is a great time to schedule your heating system’s annual inspection and maintenance tuneup. During your inspection and tuneup, we will make sure your heating system is safe and working at maximum efficiency before winter arrives. Contact us by phone at 905-549-4616 or online. Be sure to ask how you can save up to $2,600!