The first areas to tackle when shoring up energy loss in the home are the windows and doors, where a full quarter of heat-loss occurs in the average household. Anyone who has rented or purchased a home in the Halifax area has been witness to this, as many homes still standing in our city predate the Halifax Explosion. Installing new windows or adding storm windows during the winter months can improve their energy efficiency by up to 50 percent.
Or you can start with the caulk, as the simplest, cheapest and most direct way to stop heat loss. Available at your local hardware store, caulking or spraying non-toxic insulation foam in the gaps and cracks in windows and doors can help make a marked improvement.
Alternately, there is weatherstripping. These are pieces of rubber designed to line up with the edges of windows and doors. Again, check out your local hardware store. Installed properly, they can reduce your energy loss 15 to 20 percent.
For the renter out there who pays utilities, the costs associated with living through a Nova Scotian winter can be huge, and a short-term solution is also sealing your windows in plastic sheets. Canadian Tire carries them, and all they require is a steady hand, some clear packing tape to help seal it, scissors, potentially, if your window is an unconventional shape, and a hair dryer to tighten it up.
Buying foam insulation tends to be for the homeowners rather than renters, but the benefits of insulation are, of course, huge. Insulation comes with an industry rating, called an R-Rating. The higher the R-rating, the better the quality of the insulation. R12 is used typically in home construction, with R40 in attics. Price varies, but the energy saving over time with reduce costs as well.
Halifax Area Insulation, Window and Door Suppliers:
Alweather Windows and Doors Ltd. 27 Troop Ave, Dartmouth, NS, 468-2605 awwd.ca
Carrier Home ImprovementsDartmouth, NS, 468-3985 carrierwindows.com
Halifax InsulatorsPO Box 48076961 Bedford Highway, Bedford, NS, 860-0186 hfxinsulators.com
Safeway Insulation SpecialistsStation East PO Box 2912 Dartmouth, NS,434-8976
Sameday-Rightway Insulators77 Andover StreetDartmouth, NS 434-2297
Super City Windows and Doors Ltd.10 Ilsley Ave, Unit 2, Dartmouth, NS, 468-8809
World Wide Insulators399 Bisset Road,Cole Harbour, NS, 465-8858
With some sourced material from Sierra Club of Canada: Green Solutions Guide.