Purchasing a home is a major investment and probably the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make. As a new homeowner you’re proud of your accomplishment. There is no landlord out there with a key to your place telling you what colours you can or cannot use to paint your living room wall. It’s all yours and there is a certain excitement that comes with first-time home ownership.
Now that you’ve unpacked and are starting to feel settled there are some things you can do right away that will help you tighten up your homes efficiency and save money.
Photo right from Belvan Homes.
Check for running toilets and dripping faucets
Take a walk around the house and investigate all of your plumbing. Check under sinks, toilets and along the water lines in your basement looking for leaks. If your toilet is running constantly or you find a leaky faucet you should repair or replace them. Not sure what to do? RenovationFind.com has a full directory of the best plumbers in Edmonton or in Calgary and plumbing supply stores in your neighbourhood.
Check the insulation in your attic
If you purchased an older home with minimal upgrades, chances are you have old insulation. You may find a few inches of wood chip or newspaper-like material up there. In the worst case scenario, you’ve inherited Zonolite or Vermiculite insulation which contains asbestos and will need to be removed. If you’re not sure if that is what you have, contact a professional to inspect it for you.
Woodchip and that newsprint-type insulation has an R value of 4 to 8. Your R value should be R50. Contact insulation contractors in Edmonton or Calgary from the RenovationFind directory and they will blow new, environmentally friends, highly efficient insulation in your attic. This will drastically change your energy bill.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A thermostat you can program allows you to change the temperature in your home automatically. Set the temperature lower at night and when you are out of the house for work. Adjust the program to turn up the heat in times when you are actively using your home. Find temperatures you’re comfortable with, set it and forget it.
Turn down your hot water heater
A lot of homeowners have their hot water heater cranked high without even realizing it. Turn it down. Some suggest a temperature of 55 degrees Celsius. You are losing energy heating up and keeping water at higher temperatures. Lower it, you will barely notice it, but you will notice the savings on your energy bill.
Install energy efficient lightbulbs in all your fixtures
Energy efficient LED or CFL lightbulbs are more expensive than average lightbulbs. Make the initial investment and you’ll save money in the long run. They have longer lives, burn on less energy and provide the same amount of light as your incandescent bulbs.
Need new appliances? Install energy efficient models
Most homes come with appliances and that’s a plus. If by chance appliances were not included in your purchase, or the ones that were are in desperate need of an upgrade, splurge on high efficiency appliances. Visit a reliable appliance retailer and ask about their energy efficient appliances. It will cost you more upfront but if it lasts you a couple decades and is easy on the electricity you’ll be better off in the long run.
Make sure your home is air tight
If you have leaky windows and drafty doors then you are losing energy to the great outdoors! Check the seals on all your windows and doors. If they need it, install new weather stripping and caulking. If your window frames are warped, beyond repair or incredibly old, it might be time to install new energy efficient windows and doors. Look for RenovationFind Certified window companies in Edmonton or in Calgary.
Find Trustworthy Renovation Companies in your City
Want to get started on some of the home improvements listed above but don’t know where to start? We have comprehensive directories of fully accredited and trustworthy home renovation companies in most major Canadian cities. Whether you’re looking for a plumber, insulation contractor, HVAC contractors in Edmonton or in Calgary, appliance store or a window installer, you’ll find them at RenovationFind.com.