With electricity rates soaring across the continent, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep your energy bill at a reasonable level. Our whole lives revolve around pumping a steady stream of electricity into our homes and businesses, and, on average, 40% of it is converted to heat or AC to keep us nice and cozy – whatever the weather. While more homes are being built with energy efficiency as a priority, the reality is that the majority of people live in older dwellings with outdated and inefficient technology.
A lot of home heating problems can be fixed quite easily – but it can come at a significant cost. For a culture that’s emphasizing green living more and more, it’s sometimes hard to find a solution that won’t break the bank. New windows and insulation are the first steps in making any home more reliable, but retrofitting an entire house can start to run the bills up to thousands of dollars. Same with installing a new furnace or heat pump. The innovations of the future, like residential solar panels and batteries, are rapidly decreasing in cost but still remain out of reach for the budgets of many families. Studies have shown that over half of North Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and even more would not be able to support themselves for more than six months without a job. Even with many government programs and financial subsidies, it’s beyond the financial reach of many homeowners to start the process of turning houses green.
That leaves most people at a double disadvantage: they’re spending more money to heat their homes than they shouldn’t have to and they don’t have the money to fix it. It’s a cycle that’s hard to break. Luckily, there are a number of more cost-efficient options and general tips that can help you drastically lower your energy bills.
1. Sealing Your Windows
Window efficiency and glass technology have made huge strides over the past few years to become more efficient, but the actual window is only one part of the energy picture. A drafty window could be caused by a number of things – where it’s placed and how it’s installed and sealed can make a huge difference in energy loss. If replacing your windows is outside your budget, the next best thing you can do is reseal the frame of your window and replace the weatherstripping.
Some people take this even further. Beginning in the late fall when temperatures begin to drop, and throughout the winter, people often seal up their windows with sheets of plastic to add an extra layer of insulation protection to their homes. This process is by far the easiest method; it takes little more than a couple of hours, some tape, and a hairdryer!