How to winterize your home

With the recent cold snap, you may have found yourself cranking up the thermostats in your home...but if your energy bills are high, the problem might not be the weather so much as your house.

Some Quebec families could be saving on their Hydro bills by making their homes more energy-efficient

An energy-efficient advisor inspects a home on Montreal's South Shore to see how much heat it's losing 1:41

With the recent cold snap, you may have found yourself cranking up the thermostat.

But, if you are finding that your energy bills are high, the problem might not be the weather so much as your house.

To find out if your home is losing heat, Quebec’s energy efficiency agency has an online calculator, which shows how your energy use compares with that of similar homes.

Through the agency, you can also call on the services of an inspector who will check the outside and inside of a single-family home for $150.

For $300, the inspector will conduct a thermal imaging test.

Inspectors will test if cold air is coming in from cracks between the floor and wall base, and through electrical outlets that aren't insulated.

“When you add everything up, in the long run it can make a huge difference,” said Robert Duchesneau, an inspector with Legault-Dubois.

Quebec’s energy efficiency agency estimates that air leaks found throughout a typical home represent a 25 per cent heat loss. Older homes can lose as much as 40 per cent.

For homeowners: how to winterize your house:

  • insulate areas where there is an infiltration of cold air
  • install weather stripping around the doors
  • add acrylic sealants between the floor and the wall base
  • get an electronic thermostat
  • insert foam insulation on your electrical outlets
  • add insulation in attic access

For tenants: how to winterize your apartment:

  • apply removable sealants around your window joints, which you can peel off in the spring
  • install clear, plastic film over the inside of your window frames
  • install weather stripping around the doors

The government program, called Rénoclimat, has been available since 2007 — it offers grants to people who carry out renovations to make their home more energy-efficient.

In 2010 and 2011, about 18,000 homeowners participated in the program.

On average, each household was given $1,100 in financial assistance, and each participant cut their energy bills by an average of 20 per cent.

Experts warn before you do any retrofits or upgrades, do an inspection so that you spend your money wisely.

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