The majority (55 per cent) of Alberta homeowners said they feel either concerned or angry about their upcoming winter heating bills, according to a recent survey conducted for Direct Energy by Angus Reid.
As temperatures begin to plummet across the province, Direct Energy wants to ease the pain by providing energy and cost saving tips for Canadian homeowners.
“We know that higher energy bills in the winter can be stressful for homeowners, and many Canadians are unaware of the simple steps they can take to achieve real savings every month,” said Dave Walton, director of home ideas at Direct Energy.” Energy efficiency home upgrades this winter can be as simple as one, two, three with more than $5,634 in savings and rebates at your fingertips.”
Direct Energy encourages Alberta homeowners to book their annual furnace maintenance now that temperatures are dropping. Homeowners can save as much as 5 per cent on heating bills by simply replacing the filter every two to three months. Further, a home energy assessment will uncover opportunities to save additional funds by upgrading equipment, installing insulation, cleaning air ducts and sealing leaks where necessary.
Survey results also showed that Alberta homeowners could do a lot more to capitalize on energy and cost-saving measures and that an overall lack of awareness may be the culprit. Only 16 per cent of Albertans have heard of or installed a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)(1) and less than one in ten (9 per cent) are taking advantage of up to $2,700 available in federal ecoENERGY and additional $5,000 in provincial rebates.
“The government recently renewed the ecoENERGY Retrofit program for another year offering Canadians significant financial incentive to take steps towards energy efficiency,” said Walton. “In addition to savings per bill, making energy investments in your home may qualify your family for thousands of dollars in federal rebates. With 47 per cent of Albertans telling us that they’d consider making energy updates after being informed of the rebate, we’re really motivated to continue spreading the word.”
Research done by Direct Energy found the average Canadian homeowner(2) could potentially save as much as $980, or 25.9 per cent on their annual heating bill and qualify for up to $4,654 in rebates by taking three steps:
1. Save up to $1,855 for upgrading equipment:
– Replacing a conventional furnace(3) with a high efficiency one can result in savings of up to $565 per year, or 15 per cent on heating bills
– Replacing a furnace for the first time could result in additional savings of $790 through the federal ecoENERGY rebate program(4) and $500 in provincial rebates
2. Save up to $3,056 by boosting insulation:
– Topping up attic and basement insulation can result in savings up to $307 per year(5) or 8.13 per cent on heating bills
– ecoENERGY rebates on attic and basement insulation can total as much as $1,250 with provincial rebates equaling up to $1,499
3. Save up to $723 for sealing leaks and improving air quality:
– Sealing leaks with weather stripping and caulking can save up to $108 per year on heating bills or 2.9 per cent
– Install an HRV to improve the air quality of the home and receive up to $375 through ecoENERGY
– Additional saving of up to $240 through ecoEnergy rebates
Additional findings from the Direct Energy survey reveal that:
– Ninety per cent of Alberta homeowners are unaware that their old furnace is likely the biggest energy waster during the heating season.
– When it comes to priorities for fall, only 22 per cent of Albertan homeowners plan to book furnace maintenance, while 43 per cent said getting snow tires topped the list.
– More than half (59 per cent) of Albertans don’t clean their air ducts, which could lead to indoor air quality issues.
From September 23 to September 26, 2011, an online survey was conducted among a randomly selected, representative sample of 2,000 Canadians adults, including 1,350 Canadian homeowners. All respondents are Angus Reid Forum panel members. Individuals were sampled according to Census data to be representative of the Canadian national adult population. The margin of error is +/-2.2%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Markham began his journalism career writing columns in the mid-1980s for Western People Magazine, then reported for a small Saskatchewan daily. He has spent most of his career in media and communications, likes to dabble in politics, was actively involved in economic development for many years, thinks that what goes on in the community is just as important as what happens provincially and nationally, and has a soft spot for small business (big business, not so much). Markham is a bit of a contrarian and usually has a unique take on the events of the day.