Each winter, some homeowners get burned by the increased cost of heating bills. Recently, the CBC brought to light that from 2008-2016, hydro costs of Ontario residents skyrocketed 71%. Finding ways to fight that increase might be easier than you think. If you’re renovating, live in an older house, or have been in your home for more than ten years, it’s time to explore an upgrade for your HVAC system.
Upgrading your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system has a multitude of benefits. Start by getting your ducts and insulation checked and move onto breathing cleaner air, reducing your carbon footprint and saving money.
Three Simple Steps to Prep Your Home
Your HVAC system is designed to regulate temperature throughout the home during both warm and cold months. It’s common knowledge older homes are more susceptible to leaks and drafts. If your current HVAC system hasn’t been serviced in a number of years, it could need some extra attention due to excessive dust, mould or dead bugs.
Here are some things you can do to make your system more efficient:
- Check your attic for potential drafts before you finalize insulation.
- Check your basement for holes that need caulking, as well as window edges or cold storage rooms that may require weatherstripping.
- Have a professional duct cleaning service remove excess dirt, dust and bugs.
It’s important to have a licensed expert clean the ducts or install upgrades to your home’s current HVAC system. Many companies offer a free estimate, so why not take them up on it? A free inspection gives you an idea about the HVAC’s current condition, the cost for cleaning and optimizing, and an explanation of next steps. Worried about choosing the right company? Read reviews on the Better Business Bureau website, or HomeStars.
Why Should I Upgrade My HVAC?
1.Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (and Save Money)
An older model HVAC has to work harder to heat and cool your home. A rickety air conditioning unit that noisily keeps a room cool pulls more power from the grid, releasing hot air into the atmosphere.
Add to that a dirty filter and not only are you potentially harming the environment, your system could end up needing frequent (and costly) repairs. A high efficiency HVAC (sometimes known as a “smart HVAC”) will lower your hydro bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Better Ventilation
Ventilation is the process of exchanging or replacing air in an indoor space to provide better air quality. It’s also important for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. Clean ducts are necessary for proper ventilation to take place, and for the HVAC to run smoothly.
When it comes to your home or office, ventilation is integral for oxygen replenishment. The removal of moisture, odours, smoke heat, dust, carbon dioxide and airborne bacteria depends upon it. Ventilation also includes both the exchange of air between outdoors and indoors — as well as circulation inside.
3. Enhanced Control Over Temperature
Let’s get into one of the fun benefits of having a “Smart HVAC” installed in your home, starting with the ability to control the temperature room to room. (Check out this installation video.)
Don’t waste money heating or cooling rooms you don’t use (e.g. the guest room you don’t frequent, or the attic that’s only used as a playroom for when the kids visit). Being able to maintain a reasonable temperature without breaking the bank is also a great perk. If you rent your basement or top floor, this is an affordable way to keep everyone happy.
4. “Smart” Thermostats Increase Efficiency
A smart thermostat allows you to program the temperature of your home to be in sync with your time inside. If you have a set work schedule, you can program the system to turn on and off as you come and go.
A smart thermostat will learn your preferences and adapt to them. It can also alert you to trouble in the home, should your furnace malfunction or low temperatures create the potential for your pipes to freeze.
If the weather changes unexpectedly, or your schedule does, you can use your phone to adjust the temperature before you arrive home. Some models are able to monitor temperature levels in multiple parts of the house creating a more balanced heating or cooling. This new technology allows for a finer control over temperature and is energy-efficient.
Once again, these measures reduce your carbon footprint and keep you cool (or warm.)
5. Better Air Flow
If you’re a pet owner, dander and fur can be swept into your system. Along with dust, dust mites, and other allergens can make it difficult to allergy sufferers to live comfortably.
Upgrading your HVAC system isn’t just about making your house’s temperature comfortable, affects the quality of air you’re breathing, which tangentially affects quality of life. Bad air affects everyone in a building, especially children and seniors.
One in five Canadians are affected by respiratory allergies. If your system is struggling it could be contributing to your loved ones’ allergies or asthma. A high efficiency HVAC has stronger air flow with more skillful motors keeping things running efficiently.
6. Improved Home Resale Value
Upgrades and modifications with new technology may enable you to list your home on the market at a higher price point. Conversions such as changing to a smart thermostat, installing air conditioning, and upgrading to a new HVAC system make a difference in value.
If your home has an old system it could appear less attractive to buyers, keeping it on the market longer. It could also open the door to low-ball offers. Showing potential buyers they’ll be saving money on their hydro bills with these technical advancements will seem like a real plus when you’re selling.
There are many factors to consider when upgrading your home to a high efficiency or smart HVAC system. You can help the environment, reduce your hydro costs, and improve temperature control.
Whether you upgrade or not, maintaining your ducts and keeping your bathroom and kitchen properly ventilated is paramount. Don’t live with dirty ducts. Mouldy, dusty filters and old motors can lead to more work and higher hydro bills. Unsealed ductwork can raise your energy costs by 20%.
Have a professional take a look at your ducts and bathroom/kitchen ventilation in Ottawa: contact Dr. Duct at (613) 845-0707 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get a quote and experience the benefits of a healthy HVAC system, no matter the season.