The snow is finally melting and another gorgeous Muskoka spring season is quickly emerging. Now is the perfect time to get started on property improvements and free up your summer so you can soak up the sun and enjoy your retreat. Making your property more energy efficient is a project that will help you get the most out of your cottage by reducing energy bills and your carbon footprint. During these unique times, there are a number of easy, but effective, ways to make your cottage more energy efficient.
Check for inefficient old appliances
Home appliances account for a large amount of your energy bill – the more efficient your appliances, the lower your hydro bill will be. Old appliances like fridges and chest freezers often find new homes in cottages, but can be a major source of energy use. Upgrading to ENERGY STAR certified home appliances can make a huge difference in your energy consumption, using up to 10% less energy than standard or older appliances.
Take a look at your windows
Windows offer Muskoka cottage owners an unparalleled view of their beautiful surroundings, but can also account for a property losing up to a quarter of its heating and cooling if they are inefficient. This is especially true of older windows in need of maintenance or replacement. You can reduce energy loss through your windows by applying weatherstripping around window frames to prevent energy from escaping through the trim. Using window film during the winter months can be effective too, reducing air loss in older windows.
If your windows are more than 20 years old, have sustained damage, or are noticeably drafty, then it’s time to seriously consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows. Upgrading your windows can have a major effect on reducing your energy consumption, as they work to keep the heat during colder fall and winter months, and keep it out during the summer.
Take advantage of window treatments
Energy efficient window treatments like curtains, blinds and shades can have a major impact on reducing the amount of heat entering your home. This is especially useful during the summer months when your air conditioning or ceiling fans are working overtime. Using window treatments during the day will reduce the amount of energy used by your air conditioning unit, keeping unwanted heat out of your home and making you more comfortable on hot, sunny days.
Unplug to reduce phantom power
Your electronics and appliances draw power even when they’re off or otherwise not in use. According to Hydro One, the average Canadian household has up to 25 electronic devices using phantom power at any given time, accounting for about $150 in electricity costs each year. Phantom power can be easily avoided by unplugging electronics and charging devices when they’re not in use. It’s also recommended that homes use advanced power bars with timers to ensure that electronics and non-essential appliances are turned off while homeowners are at work or sleeping. Taking these simple steps will have a significant impact on your yearly energy costs.
Get smart about landscaping
In addition to adding character and curb appeal to your property, landscaping can be used to enhance energy efficiency and comfort. Planting deciduous trees on your property can provide shade during the summer months to reduce solar gain, and let sunlight in through your windows in the winter after the trees have lost their leaves. Planting trees to the south and southwest will be the most effective way to shade your property from the peak summer sun, and can go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs, as well as property damage caused by ultraviolet rays over time. Shrubs, too, can be used effectively to insulate your home’s exterior and even to shade outdoor air conditioning and heat pump units, improving their efficiency by up to 10%.
Make the best of the COVID-19 quarantine by focusing on how you and your family can work to improve your cottage property. When it comes to energy efficiency, even the smallest upgrades will go a long way. To find out more about the energy efficient window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.