Old man winter will be in town soon, and that can be a bit of a headache for homeowners. The single biggest utility expense in South Surrey and White Rock homes is heating and cooling. These homes are particularly problematic because of the proximity to the ocean, rain and winter storms. Usually heating and cooling account for about 60-70% of household utilities. This expense can be reduced by up to 25% if a homeowners draft proofs. As an added benefit draft proofing helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions (your footprint).
Save money and help the envirnonment, that makes the draft proofing decision easy. Let's get started!
First you will need to find and assess the draft leaks. One tried and true way is to burn incense. The lit part will illuminate red when close to a leak and also smoke will trail towards the leak. If you are anxious to get started and don't have incense then a candle will work. Hold the candle near a suspected draft source, if the flame swirls (dances), you have a leak. Another simple way is to run your hand over suspected leak areas and feel for the temperature change.
Good news. Draft proofing materials are relatively cheap. A quick trip to the hardware store (or shopping online) will do the trick. You will need:
- caulking matrial or weather stripping
- window insulation film
- window coverings (blinds or curtains)
- door sweeps
- electrical outlet gaskets
- door snakes (which are also relatively easy to make for DIY'ers)
Roll up your sleeves, and get started:
- Remove any old weather stripping or caulking materials from windows and doors. Install the new weather stripping or caulking according to material instructions
- Baseboards on the inside of exterior walls are often leak culprits as well, use paintable caulking on these. If you are ambitious or worried about caulking showing, take the baseboard off and caulk behind it, then replace the baseboard.
- Do you have an attic hatch? If so, caulk it.
- Install window insulation film (shrink wrapping) on the inside of any single pain windows (have your blow dryer at the ready - this is a project for two and you want to be styling) --- kidding --- you truly do need two people, and you need the blow dryer but it's for the shrink wrapping of the windows.
- In winter the temperature between a heavy curtain and the window is fairly cool or even cold. This is because curtains are a form an insulation. Installing curtains or blinds will significantly reduce the heat loss through winters. Better still, hang curtains with a roller blind behind them.
- Door sweeps can be installed on both interior and interior doors. They are likely only warranted on interior rooms that you close off during winter. So, more important to your heating costs, install on outside doors
- Install electrical outlet gaskets behind all electrical sockets and light switches.
- The easiest of all to implement are door snakes. Just lie them down and snug them up against the bottom of the door. You can even make door snakes yourself. These are predominantly on the inside of doors so are of limited value when no one is home to ensure they are in place.
If you are planning on renovating and making significant permanent changes to your BC home then there are rebates available that you need to become familiar with before you start. That's a more expensive and more permanent fix and I'll write a blog about that in early December.
The good news is that doing some or all of the draftproofing ideas above will save you money. Once you have done as many of the above draftproofing steps as are needed for gaps and cracks, you will stop that sneaky cold air from coming in and your precious warm air from wafting out.
Mike Alleyne604-785-7066Homelife Benchmark Realty, Surrey
Friends to Lead, Friends in "Deed"