How to curb out-of-control heating bills
Thursday Aug 31st, 2017
As outdoor temperatures fall, energy bills tend to rise. While you can't stop Mother Nature, it's easy to protect your home and wallet from climbing heating costs.
The simplest way to do this is to improve your home's building envelope––and the best place to start is your attic. Often, the attic is a primary source of energy loss due to insufficient levels of insulation. Topping up your attic insulation is an effective way to prevent heated air from escaping and to reduce stress on your furnace.
For easy installation, I recommend a stone wool batt insulation product called Roxul Comfortbatt. It cuts simply with a serrated blade or bread knife and protects against fire, moisture, and mould. Aim for a depth of 16 inches (41 cm) or an R-value of 50. Insulation begins working the moment it's installed and lasts throughout the life of the building, providing years of energy savings––now that's a great return on investment.
To further improve your home's performance, consider these additional DIY tasks:
1. Replace weather-stripping around doors and windows. Worn weather-stripping can let cold outdoor air in and cause heated air to seep out. Replacing it takes little time and is a low-cost, high-impact solution.
2. Insulate basement headers and walls. Uninsulated basement headers are common, especially in older homes. They can also act as a gateway for heated air to escape. To fix the problem, simply cut Comfortbatt insulation to fit the cavity and compress into place.
3. Caulk around windows, outlets and baseboards. Sealing cracks and crevices around your home will improve efficiency and reduce drafts, improving your overall comfort.
Scott McGillivray is host of the hit TV series Income Property on HGTV Canada, a full-time real estate investor, contractor, author, and educator. Look for Scott in the upcoming series Moving the McGillivrays this fall on HGTV Canada or follow him on Twitter @smcgillivray.
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