Archive for the 'Hot Water' Category
By Deb Villeneuve
Although not really a concern to our Southern neighbors, homeowners of the North (East, Central and West) may find this article enlightening with a few tips on preparing for the cold, winter months.
With the first snow fall comes the time to evaluate windows and other openings, heating system, humidity and hot water in order to reduce energy loss and to benefit from savings on the electricity bill.
Read on if you want to know more…..
Leaving the curtains open permits the sun’s warming rays to heat the exposed rooms gradually and reduce the cost of heating during the day.
Take advantage of cool autumn breezes to discover the places from which cold air enters your home. This can be the source of up to 25% of the heat lost to the outside.
Caulking is a permanent solution that can be undertaken before temperature reaches the freezing point. If there is air coming in from between the panels of your window, you can use one of the many silicone products that are removable when the weather warms up and you want to open them again.
Although it’s nice to wrap yourself in a cozy quilt on a stormy day, it’s just as nice to save on the cost to heat your home. Electronic thermostats are increasingly popular due to their precision, which allows enough control to save up to 10% of your energy costs, and the ability to program them in advance so that you never forget to turn down the heat at the right time.
To obtain the greatest benefits, temperatures between 64°F and 69°F (18°C and 21°C) during the day and between 35°F and 39°F (2°C and 4°C) at night or when you leave for extended periods, such as to go to work during the day, are recommended. Although this may seem rather cool keep in mind that every two degrees above 68°F (or degree above 21°C) increases heating costs from 2% to 5%.
A general rule to facilitate the heating of the air within a home is to keep the humidity level from 30% (on a cold day) to 50% (on a mild day).
Suggestions to decrease the humidity inside include…
-use of the bathroom fan
-airing out the house for 5 minutes every day
-using the dryer for clothes instead of hanging it to dry
If you have water accumulating on the windows, especially during the coldest periods of winter, don’t hesitate to use one of the new types of plastic sheeting that can be made almost invisible by applying hot air from a blow dryer. Not only will the plastic prevent frost build up that blocks the view outside, it will inhibit the growth of mold due to water accumulation around the bottom of the window frame.
Condensation on the windows is due in large part to the lack of adequate ventilation within the home. The onset of cooler temperatures produces excess humidity that can cause water accumulation due to the increased air tightness of our homes in order to save on energy costs; the simple truth is that a better insulated home does not “breathe” well.
We tend to think of air pollution as a problem generated by industries to the external air when it has been shown that the air within our homes can be up to 10 times more polluted than that outside because of the out-gassing of construction materials, glues, solvents and other components that go into building and furnishing our homes. Up to 374 interior pollutants have been directly linked to respiratory ailments including Asthma.
These studies also revealed that increased ventilation decreases the presence of allergens caused by mold spores in the air. Concentrations of formaldehyde, another irritant, were also reduced by up to 32%.
Approximately 15% of your energy bill can be attributed to heating water for your home. A good place to start is by replacing old hot water tanks with newer, more energy efficient models and adjusting the temperature of the water to between 122°F and 129°F ( 50°C and 54°C). You can avoid unnecessary heat loss by installing a cover over the hot water heater and foam insulation around the hot water pipes as water that circulates through uninsulated copper pipes loses a large amount of its heat.
Stay warm and have a great winter!
By Vivian Martin
Hot water demands the second largest amount of energy in our homes, after space heating, and it represents about 30 per cent of total energy use in our homes.
Solar hot water is smart and cost effective technology that can supplement up to 60 per cent of the water heating energy needs for a typical family of four. This comes from the fact that in Canada there is enough solar energy to generate an average of 2500 kWh of energy per year!
Domestic solar hot water systems are designed to last 20 to 40 years, minimize environmental impacts, and promote community economic development through the building of a sustainable industry economy. So you’ll be contributing to a healthier environment, and making a difference!
On July 12, 2011 the federal government announced the return of the ecoENERGY Retrofit for Homes Program. The program provides homeowners with grants of up to $5,000 for making their homes more energy efficient. Included in the list of grants is $1,250 for installing a year-round solar hot water system. (Residents may also be eligible for regional grants. BC residents also apply for the $500 grant for solar hot water installations available from LiveSmart BC, they can save $1,750 in total.)
Both the ecoENERGY program and the LiveSmart BC program require the homeowner to have a pre- and post-retrofit energy evaluation. To qualify for ecoENERGY funding, purchases of energy saving equipment must be made after June 6, 2011, and retrofits and the post-retrofit evaluations must be completed by March 31, 2012. For LiveSmart BC funding, retrofits must be completed within 18 months of the pre-retrofit evaluation or before March 31, 2013, whichever comes first. LiveSmart BC funding is provided on a first come, first served basis.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for BC residents to install solar hot water systems, save on their energy bills, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”, says SolarBC Manager, Julia Roberts. “I recommend that residents act on this opportunity quickly as the timelines are tight and we saw LiveSmart BC grants snapped up last year”.
Read more about the ecoENERGY Retrofit for Homes Program
The complete list of available ecoEnergy grants can be found here
You can review details of the LiveSmart BC program here.
(Information above courtesy of SolarBC)
For more information on being Solar Ready, we are providing some links which you may find helpful:
- Natural Resources Canada
- CMHC Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
- The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CANSIA)
- Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA)
- Solar Heating Initiative for Today (SHIFT) Saskatchewan
- Manitoba Hydro Solar Water Heating Program (includes video)
- Ontario CANSIA Solar Ready guidelines