Let’s face it, winters in Quebec can be harsh with cold wind gusts, freezing temperatures, mixed with a little rain one day, black ice the next, with a snowstorm in between. Fortunately, buildings have evolved over the decades with new technologies in building materials but also stricter building regulations. The modern house is therefore better prepared for the Canadian winter, allowing even a reduction in energy requirements. However, some flaws can create problems and cause unexpected costs.
We can distinguish between general home improvements and home equipment improvements. In terms of overall improvements, we have:
Doors and Windows
One of the most important aspects and the first to take into consideration to ensure good insulation is the type of doors and windows installed and the window/wall ratio of the house. New door and window technology can now be found on the market as Energy star certified products According to Hydro-Quebec City’s certified windows can save the average Quebec family up to 10% in heating costs per year.
Window and door screens can most of the time be forgotten and neglected when in reality they are extremely fragile and also require our attention. They must be handled with care, and will react poorly to weather events involving ice, snow, winds, cold, and even worse if all of the above is incurred in the same day – things that are recurring in Quebec!
Flat-roofed houses have roof drains allowing irrigation of water. It is important to ensure that these drains are not obstructed and that the heating cables are all connected and working. Do not hesitate to contact your manufacturer if you need help.
Caulking is used to seal all openings in the building envelope, including doors and windows, exhaust from the drying machine, exhaust from the oven fan and around the feeders. If caulking is used and has cracks, it becomes easy for cold air to enter. In addition, any opening could become an easy access for rodents. Rats, squirrels, mice and even ladybugs will be easily able to enter the house through these tiny openings.
With the amount of rain we’ve had this fall, it’s important to check your gutters and make sure nothing remains. It is common for branches and leaves to accumulate in gutters, compromising the easy flow of water. In addition, anything stuck in the gutters will freeze over the winter and could potentially break the gutters.
La condensation in the windows. In addition, all curtains or objects blocking a ventilation trap will stop this flow of air. If you have a forced air central heating system, it would be a great idea to make sure that the ducts are not blocked or that the pipes are not leaking. If ducts are obstructed, quick cleaning may facilitate air circulation.
Winters can be tough in Canada and making sure our home is ready for any kind of weather can take a lot of stress off our shoulders, making it easier for you to enjoy the beauty of this magical season. Have a good winter!
Now that you have finished with the general improvements to your home, it’s time to equip or change your equipment.
With energy prices set to rise this year, it’s a good idea to check your home to see what you can do to save energy and money. It’s amazing how much energy you can save by making just a few simple changes.
Get a carbon monoxide alarm
Appliances such as fires, stoves, heaters and boilers that have been improperly installed or maintained could easily cause monoxide leaks. This is a particular problem in the winter when these devices are used more and our windows are closed and the houses are less well ventilated.
Get a smart meter
Smart meters give you useful information about your energy consumption and the cost of heating your home. They will show you how much energy you use, in real time, and how much gas and electricity you use in pounds and pence.
The gadget provided with your smart meter can encourage you to use gas or electricity more sparingly in your home, as you will be able to determine which devices consume the most energy. But it is up to you to use them more effectively to reap the financial benefits.
Alternatively, invest in a Hedgehog gutter brush that will prevent leaves from clogging your gutters.
Purge your radiators
Air can enter the system and prevent radiators from being filled with water – if your radiators are warm down but cold up, this is a sign that they need the trapped air to be released.
Check that there is still hot water in the system, then turn off the central heating. Locate the purge valve on the radiator – it’s a small valve on the side of the radiator, near the top. You will need a lost background key to turn it, which you can buy in any DIY store. Turn it 180º counter-clockwise to expel any trapped air in the system, you will hear a whistling sound.
Check that your boiler is in good condition
Taking care of your boiler is essential, especially during the winter months.
Check the boiler pressure gauge - the instruction manual will explain how to proceed and how to adjust the pressure if necessary. For other problems, ask your plumber or ask a professional to repair the boiler.
Use heavier curtains
Up to 40% of the heat that escapes from your home can be done through the windows.
You can stop this by using heavier and lined curtains in winter to properly insulate the windows and limit the places where hot air can come out. This will also prevent the breeze from entering. Hanging a door curtain in front of glass doors or draught entry doors can also make a big difference.
Winters can be tough in Canada and making sure our home is ready for any kind of weather can eliminate any cause of stress, making it easier for you to enjoy the beauty of this magical season. Have a good winter!