Many people think energy conservation goes out the window during a heat wave. The temperature soars, and all the air conditioners work overtime.
Almost all of Canada was gripped by sweltering, sluggish weather recently, and likely will be again before the summer ends.
So here are some expert tips on beating the heat — without breaking the bank.
Strategic air conditioner use
“In my home, we close the vents in the basement because it is typically cooler there anyway,” says Dave Walton, director of home ideas for Direct Energy.
“In a two-storey home, most people get a warm spot upstairs because cold air falls down. So by limiting the number of vents that are open, in rooms where you don’t really need the air conditioning flowing, that will encourage the flow of the cold air up to the top floor.”
He also recommends using a programmable thermostat, which can let your home warm up when you’re out, then reactivating the A.C. before you return.
Blinds and curtains
“Use your shading and drapes strategically, so the sides of your home that get direct sunlight are protected,” recommends Simi Heer, a Power Smart spokesperson at BC Hydro.
“Drapes can block up to 65 per cent of the heat that would otherwise enter your home. If you want, you can even take it a step farther and install an external shade screen on the outside of your window. This will block up to 95 per cent of the heat.”
Home Energy Assessments
“These inspections give your a home energy-efficiency rating,” Walton says.
“The auditor can show you where all the air leaks are in your home — through windows, the underside of doors, things like that. The real value here is homeowners get a customized energy-efficiency report for their homes. This gives them the opportunity to make changes and improvements.”
The assessment may make you eligible for government energy rebates, as well.
You can find out more at oee.nrcan.gc.ca