The long winter months are back and as Canadians, we are always looking for ways to escape from the cold. Having a home that is well insulated can help you stay warm and comfortable without increasing your energy bill. We uncover a few ways you can insulate your home to keep heat from escaping this winter season
According to National Resources Canada, “windows can account for up to 25 per cent of total house heat loss.”
Here are a few adjustments can you make to your windows and window frames to help you save heat and money:
- Seal cracks along your window frames, which can let in drafts and create heat loss. You can seal small cracks with caulk. Larger cracks require insulating foam, which expands to fill gaps.
- One of the ways you can identify cracks along your window frames is by slowly moving a lit candle around the edges of your window. If the flame flickers, you have found a crack.
- You may want to consider installing energy efficient windows, also known as double-glazed windows.
- Energy Saving Trust notes that double-glazed windows consist of two sheets of glass with a gap in between to trap heat. This gap is sometimes filled with gases such as argon, xenon or krypton to increase the window’s heat-insulating ability.
- Place bubble wrap over your window to retain heat.
- According to Digital Trends, the pockets of air in bubble wrap act as buffer zones to trap heat. You can use a spray bottle to spray a light mist of water on your window. The water should create an effective seal to hold up the bubble wrap. When you have guests over, you can quickly take the bubble wrap off if you wish.
Door frames, vents, fireplaces, electrical outlets and pipes
- Similar to sealing leaks in windows, it is a good idea to identify cracks around your door frames and vents, and seal these with either caulk, insulating foam or special draught sealing tape.
- You can also place bubble wrap or plastic film over your vents to further prevent heat from escaping.
- Install weatherstripping around doors and windows to eliminate air leaks. It is also recommended to install door sweeps under exterior doors to prevent cold air from seeping in.
- While fireplaces can be inviting, most of the heat from their fires is pulled straight up through the chimney. Additionally, they also suck heated air from the room (Digital Trends).
- Spraying heat-resistant metallic silver spray paint or placing aluminium foil along the back wall of your fireplace can help you conserve the heat from your fire. However, the aluminium foil method will only work with deep fireplaces with enough room between the fire and foil to keep the foil from being charred.
- Insulate your electrical outlets to prevent heat from escaping through the openings. When you consider all the outlets in your home combined, the small drafts escaping from each outlet add up. You can prevent this by installing foam insulation pads, which can be installed with a screwdriver. You may also want to caulk the perimeter of the outlet boxes to the surrounding drywall.
- Wrap exposed pipes in your home with foam insulation to minimize the risk of your pipes freezing and bursting.
Other useful insulation tips
- Turn your ceiling fan on reverse mode to suck cold air upwards and push warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down.
- If your bath water is still warm after you are finished bathing, do not drain it right away. Let the warm water sit so it can release warmth into the air. Remember to leave your bathroom door open so the heat can escape to other rooms.
Adding insulation material
Adding insulation material to areas of your home is a great way to make your home more energy efficient. Attics and unfinished basements are ideal areas for this as they do not usually require demolition such as knocking down walls. You should always inform your broker before you begin adding insulation material to your home.
When purchasing insulation material, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) advises you check the R or RSI values, as these metrics are a way of measuring heat insulating ability. The higher the number, the more effective the material will be at helping your home stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
CMHC provides a list of insulation material, their recommended uses and R and RSI values on its website.
Before you get started with adding insulation materials inside your walls, Global News advises you to “keep in mind that older homes may have vermiculite insulation in the attic, which could contain asbestos. Old pipes and ductwork wrapped behind walls could also contain asbestos.”
If you suspect the presence of these materials or are unsure, it is recommended that you call a professional to inspect before you get started.
Home upgrades and insurance
Before starting any upgrades to your home, such as adding energy efficient windows or insulation material, we advise you to contact your BrokerLink broker. There could be insurance implications involved in your upgrades, including discounts on your home insurance policy. Stay warm this winter season.