If you live in the True North, you know two things about your country; winters get cold and cold winters cost money. Canadians can expect to pay anywhere up to $1,800 a year just on heat!
Luckily, there are things you can do to lower that bill, some of which are even free! Let’s talk about some money-saving tips to prepare your home for winter.
Investments To Prepare Your Home For Winter
All in all, we can add poor winter preparation to the list of money-saving mistakes in Canada. Heat is an expensive part of living in the country and you should always be looking for ways to save on it.
When we talk about preparing your home for winter, don’t think of it as a chore but as an investment. An investment is something you pay for with hopes of it generating or saving you more money in the future.
An example of something that is not an investment is a car, as they only depreciate in value. However, spending a little money upfront to limit 5 to 8 months of excessive heating bills for years to come is undoubtedly a solid financial investment. Let’s talk about a few of them.
If you’re living in Canada, you know the value of warm, comfortable clothes. Well, lowering your need for heat is a great investment. If you wear warm clothes at home throughout the long season and invest in a good pair of slippers, you will be surprised by the difference it makes in your heating bill.
We’re not calling this a solution but embracing the cold and being prepared for a few degrees under your ideal temperature will save you money throughout the season and keep you extra comfortable!
Have Your Furnace Serviced
Every couple of years, you should have your furnace serviced to ensure that it is running smoothly. This will save you money by increasing its efficiency, and it won’t cost too much to get it done. Also, ask them what you should do regularly for proper furnace care, including replacing the filters.
For most furnaces, you should be replacing the filters monthly for maximum efficiency. You should also ask them about sealing your furnace ducts to ensure that you aren’t unnecessarily losing heat in them.
Cover Your Windows
Don’t mistake what we’re saying here. Natural light is very important to your home and your mood, especially during the winter months. Natural light can even bring in some free heating into your home during the day and limit your need for artificial lighting, both of which will save you money.
However, covering your windows with clear plastic on the inside or outside (you can even replace the screen) will save you a lot of money on your heat.
The reason for this is that the space between your window and the plastic will create a vacuum that will help insulate your windows. Even if you have insulation surrounding your windows and no cracks for heat to escape from, you still lose a lot of heat through the glass itself.
This will help to minimize your heat loss and prevent your furnace from working overtime and still allow the sun to shine into your home.
Install A New Thermostat
Does your thermostat allow you to program it for different times of the day? Well, getting a new one that does can save you a fair bit of money, and many of the best thermostats only cost around $50.
This way, you can keep the house at a lower temperature while you are away during the day or while you’re sleeping. It will also make sure you are keeping the temperature consistent throughout the day, which will also save you money.
Insulate Your Water Heater
In most homes, the water heater is left in the basement, which is often the coldest part of the house. This means your water heater loses a lot of the heat that it produces.
Some of the newer models are preinsulated, so don’t insulate them if that is the case. Look at the model number on the heater and give it a Google search to see if it’s insulated.
If not, wrap it in a fire-safe insulation blanket to help shield it from the cold. Getting your water from near-freezing to hot requires a lot of energy, so don’t underestimate the value of this step.
Consider A Stove
This is definitely the most expensive investment on the list in terms of upfront cost but it may also be the best one in terms of long-term savings.
Wood stoves and pellet stoves save a lot of money on heat, especially if you have a smaller house, which could heat your entire house if you use a fan the right way. Buying two cords of wood at the beginning of the winter will be enough for a small or medium-sized house and it will only cost between $300 and $400. Pellets may even be cheaper than wood, especially if you buy them in bulk!
Let’s say you spend $2,500 on a new wood stove and then $300 a year on wood. If it saves you $800 a year on heat, you will make your money back in 5 years and continue to save for the rest of your life, making this a worthwhile investment.
If you don’t have the money to pay upfront, this is an investment worth requesting a loan for, especially if you plan to live in your house for another decade or more.
Change Your Energy Source
Do you use electric heat? If so, we don’t have to tell you that it’s the most expensive form of heating around. You may be tempted to make the switch to gas heat but there may be a better alternative.
Investing in solar panels could actually save you money on your heating in the long run. You may get free installation, installment plans, tax incentives, or even government sponsorships depending on your area! This could save you money throughout the entire year.
Small Steps That Add Up
We mentioned some smaller things you can do that will save you some money but they will still cost a little upfront. However, there are little things you can do to stay warm throughout the winter with $20 or less, and some of them you can even do without spending any money at all.
Cook In The Oven
Under no circumstance should you consider using the oven as a makeshift heater or leave it open for an extended period while it is running. This is very unsafe and is not only a fire hazard but can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, using it for its intended purpose more often could help you keep your house a little warmer while giving you delicious and warm food to eat. If you’re used to eating out, this will save you money on food and keep your kitchen nice and warm!
Use A Heated Blanket
If you want to turn the thermostat down as low as possible during the night, you can do that with a heated blanket. Get one that allows you to adjust the heat on the blanket and then put another blanket on top for extra insulation and you’ll stay warm every night. A blanket will only cost you around $20.
There’s only one major problem with heated blankets and it’s the fact that you won’t want to get out of bed in the morning! An added benefit is if you have cats that are too cool to cuddle with you, as that will change quickly with a warm blanket!
Seal Air Leaks
You are probably told to look at your windows and doors for air leaks, and you may not have noticed a difference after checking and/or fixing them. Well, these are important steps to take but there are still more important places to check.
Your attic is probably the most beneficial place to look for air leaks. This is because heat rises and will naturally look for a place on top to escape. Simply pull back the insulation in your attic to look for places where air may be escaping. Grab a $7 tube of caulk and fill them up! This is an easy investment to make that will save you money for several winters to come.
Alternatively, you can add insulation to your attic if that’s the problem. Sometimes, we neglect our attics. It’s the place where we dump all of our junk. However, proper insulation is critical for heat retention, so look for any problems before winter starts.
Save That Money!
Now that you know how to prepare your home for winter, the sooner you get started, the more you will save! Winter is coming sooner than you think, so give yourself time to tackle as many items on this list as you can and you’ll be glad you did! Keep following our blog for new ways to save money and feel free to reach out to us with any questions!