We’ve just made it through an absolutely frigid week here in Calgary, with temperatures dipping well below minus 30 degrees Celsius. Although we seem to be over the worst of it, we all know all too well that the likelihood of another stretch of freezing cold weather is very high.
These are the days when we all watch our power bills soar, and it can seem like there’s just nothing we can do about it. But there are a few small changes you can make that will not only result in a lower energy bill, they will also provide you with added peace of mind. The extra care and attention can even reduce your chance of having to file a home insurance claim.
Ice Dams Cause Major Damage
As Calgary and the rest of Alberta has the tendency to get very cold and then warm up rapidly, ice dams are relatively common. Some optimistic weather forecasters are even saying there’s a possibility of us reaching double digits next week. When the temperature swings so severely, keep a lookout for ice dams.
Ice dams occur because of poor ventilation, poor insulation, clogged gutters, or a combination of all three. If your roof is losing a lot of heat, the layer of snow closest to it will melt. The water will drain down slowly, and then freeze again at the edge of your roof. If enough ice forms, the water from melting snow will be blocked. It can then back up and drain down into attics and eaves instead. Since it’s a relatively slow process, many people don’t notice until their ceilings, walls, and support beams have been completely ruined.
To check for an ice dam, look around the exterior of your home for large icicles that are completely obstructing gutters. This is a sign of or a precursor to an ice dam. Since icicles can be hazardous anyway, if you can safely remove them it’s advisable to do so. If the block of ice is too difficult to remove, you may want to try using ice melting salt to help.
Also continuously check your ceilings and walls for signs of moisture. The sooner you spot a problem, the easier it will be to fix. As soon as you can, get an expert in to check your roof’s integrity to avoid any problems in the future. It’s more than likely that your attic is lacking proper insulation, which means you are also wasting money in heating costs. A roof in good repair is a solid investment that will result in a significantly lower energy bill. It also protects your home from Alberta’s wild weather and can lessen damage caused by fire.
Additional Ways to See A Lower Energy Bill
There are a few ways you can make the best of the coldest days of winter without causing too much discomfort. The best part is, these tips are also environmentally friendly.
- Lower the temperature of your home when you are not there and at night when you are sleeping. If your home is heated by water, though, and the pipes are along exterior walls, be careful not to lower the heat so much that they could freeze. To be as efficient as possible, invest in a programmable thermometer.
- Drafts are a huge waste of a home’s energy. Check around doors and windows for any cracks and loose seals that are letting cold air in. Use caulk to repair what you can. You may also want to purchase a draft stopper or door snake to stop cold air from sneaking in from underneath.
- Cover your windows. If you have drapes, keeping them closed to help insulate the glass. If not, you could try hanging an insulation film, which is available at most hardware stores. It’s easy to apply and remove.
- Reverse ceiling fans so they are turning clockwise. This will push warm air down from the ceiling and through the room.
- Change your furnace filters every three months. A clean air filter allows for better air flow throughout your home, meaning your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard. Good air flow is also better for your health.
- Many people have the temperature on their water heater set higher than it needs to be. It takes a lot of energy to heat water, so if you can stand it to be slightly cooler, it’s worth it.
- Today’s washers and dryers operate very well on cold water settings – in fact, in some cases they operate even better. Wash your cloths on cold to save a little money for a lower energy bill, plus your clothes will last a lot longer.
Lane’s Insurance is Here For You and Your Home
Remember that if you make any significant changes to your home, such as repairing or replacing a roof, you should let your insurance company know as soon as possible. Improvements may result in lower home insurance costs.
The dedicated brokers at Lane’s Insurance are here for you and your home. If you have any questions about your coverage, give us a call. We are happy to walk through your policy with you, and help you make any adjustments you may need. Give us a call at our Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, or greater Alberta offices to see what we can do for you.