Editor’s Note: This article on finding an energy efficient home was contributed by Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas for Enercare Home Services and owner of Davescorner.ca
Spring and summer isn’t just a time for planting flowers, bringing out the patio furniture and enjoying long-awaited sunshine. It’s also the busiest time of the year for house hunting. If you’re one of the many people searching for your dream home, keep an eye out for warning signs that the house you’re thinking of buying isn’t operating as efficiently as it could. The following tips can help ensure your next home is as energy efficient as possible and keep you comfortable year-round.
Take a look at the insulation. Verify that there’s at least 16 inches of insulation in the attic. Anything less and you will want to budget to get it topped up. A properly insulated home is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to cut down on heating and cooling costs.
Check for air leaks. 25 to 40 per cent of heating and cooling costs in a home can be a result of poorly fitted windows and doors. Once you move into your new home, be sure to inspect every opening and, where required, replace or add caulking or weather-stripping to help reduce air leaks.
Inspect the furnace. There’s no guarantee the previous owners had routine maintenance performed on the furnace, so be sure to ask how old the unit is before you buy. Count on replacement if it’s older than 17 years. Safety, frequency of breakdowns, energy efficiency and improper sizing of equipment are reasons you may choose earlier replacement. Regardless of age, have a licensed technician inspect your furnace once you take possession of the house. Because some air conditioning systems work hand-in-hand with the furnace, it’s important to make sure both are operating safely and efficiently.
Look for potential plumbing problems. Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing for leaks. It’s important to make sure that everything is working correctly before you move in to prevent unexpected maintenance costs.
Ask about the roof. Make sure you check how old the roof is. Anything older than 10 years and you should consider reducing your offer to accommodate the cost of replacement.
During your house hunt, focusing on the inner workings of the home, and not just the aesthetics will help avoid unnecessary stress and unexpected costs. Most of my tips can be carried out when you are looking for that dream home, but once you get serious about buying, hire a qualified home inspector to give you a detailed review. For more of my tips, visit Davescorner.ca.