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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Energy Efficiency Is A Money Saver In All Seasons

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 25 April 2000 00:00

Now that spring has arrived in Canada, get out your caulking gun and save yourself some money. Too many Canadians think of energy efficiency only in the cold months and forget how much can be done to make sweltering summers more comfortable. Caulking, insulation and other energy-saving devices, which are employed to reduce heat loss during winter months, are just as effective at keeping air-conditioned cool air in your home during summer.

Tackle caulking around windows and doors, especially on the west side, and you'll have a cooler house this summer and save on energy costs at the same time.

If you gave your house a thorough going over last fall, there may not be much to do now. If the icy winds of November kept you from filling every crack, you'll enjoy working in lovely spring weather. Caulking should be applied between exterior walls and window and door frames as well as between interior walls and frames. Exterior doors that do not have an insulated core should be paired with a storm door.

Contact local gas companies and other utilities to find out what special programs they offer to encourage installation of energy-efficient windows and doors. To make an informed decision, have them help you calculate the payback time based on energy savings and the length of time you expect to live in the house. Ask to speak to homeowners who made these renovations a few years ago. Check with local Realtors to find out how home buyers would evaluate new energy efficient improvements. Making your home more energy efficient will save you money and you may increase the value of your home as well.

If you don't know where to start when it comes to home improvement, Inspecting a House: A Guide for Buyers, Owners, and Renovators (Second edition, 1999, Stoddard) takes you through your home inch by inch to help you decide what works and what doesn't. While a book cannot substitute for a thorough home inspection, the authors, Alan Carson and Robert Dunlop were pioneers in the Canadian home inspection field and run an international home inspection company.

At the other extreme, buying a new house, town home or condominium will provide you with a modern energy-efficient environment that can save you money. Most new homes have high efficiency heating and air-conditioning systems that reduce energy bills. Double and triple glazed windows and insulated doors add to the comfort level in every season The Canadian wood-frame home was designed to be well insulated and some designs such as R2000 homes carry extra energy-efficiency features.

Remember, the less you spend on heating and cooling your home the more you have on hand to pay off your mortgage and save on mortgage interest.

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