Canada has recently been rocked by sky-high temperatures. Especially here in the Metro Vancouver area, which experienced an unprecedented heatwave that smashed temperature records, leaving many people in danger if not at least uncomfortable in their own homes. All of this has left many homeowners wondering what they can do to make their homes feel cooler and safer when temperatures rise.
Before you go out and grab another portable air conditioning unit (if you can get your hands on one), now is a good time to consider how you can make your home more temperature resilient against the heat and the cold weather. Just imagine if your home was always the perfect temperature, while also being environmentally friendly! It is possible.
Our experts at TQ Construction are here to help Vancouver residents ride this extreme heatwave, as well as face our cooler winters. Here are six ways to work toward a more temperature-resilient home.
1. Make Sure Your House Is Properly Insulated
According to the Natural Resources of Canada website, walls can account for about 20 percent of heat loss (and some absorption) in houses. That’s why one of our first recommendations to clients is to focus on insulating their walls, windows, attics, and basements.
In doing so, you can minimize the heat that’s gained (and lost) through the boundaries of your house. In the summer, you want to know that your house isn’t continually absorbing heat. In the winter, you want to know that your house can properly retain warmth without letting the cold seep in.
This is an especially important factor to consider if you live in an older house. Canadian houses built prior to the 1960s didn’t need to meet high standards for building insulation. Even houses built in the 70s and 80s lack high-quality, efficient insulation. It was only in the past few decades that we really began properly insulating homes.
To stay comfortable during both the warm and cool months, you’ll want to thicken your walls and potentially add commonly used batt insulation. If you’re hesitant to strip down walls to add insulation, you can also use spray foams that are inserted in drilled holes.
Additionally, you may want to consider insulating your basement floors, either underneath or on top of the flooring. Attics also need a little attention. You can add insulation to the roof, or you can consider re-painting the roof lighter colors to reduce the amount of heat they absorb.
If you’re thinking about adding extra insulation in any part of your house, don’t hesitate to talk to our TQ Construction team. We’ll advise you on the best method and help you determine which areas of your house need additional protection.
2. Check the Air Tightness of Your Building
Even if your home is well-insulated, air can still seep in via gaps in the wood and walls. If air can find its way in, then so can rising or plummeting temperatures. That’s why you also need to consider your home’s airtightness.
Many homeowners in the Vancouver area turn to air barriers made of materials such as plywood, polyethylene sheeting, or rigid foam. These barriers are especially effective in areas like crawlspaces, attics, and garages.
Not only do air barriers and increased tightness keep your home temperature resilient, but they also help prevent dust, pollen, smoke, and other pollutants from sneaking inside.
3. Upgrade Your Windows
Our next tip is to take a look at your windows. Are you stuck with old single or double-paned windows? They might be providing terrible insulation, absorbing heat during the summer and letting warmth out during the winter.
If you want a comfortable, temperature-resilient house, you should consider upgrading your windows to more efficient, modern options. They might not be the most budget-friendly solution upfront, but in the long run, these resistant windows can save you loads on your utility bills.
Typically, you’ll pay at least $400 per window, but that price can easily rise to $900 or more depending on its efficiency, design, and features. You can also pay for reflective coatings that will keep sun-facing windows even more protected.
4. Put a “Sweater” on Your House
Are your home’s sidings old? This could be a great opportunity to replace them, as well as pack in some exterior insulation (or “outsulation”). Adding an inch and a half to three inches of insulation before replacing the siding can make a huge difference in your home’s temperature resiliency, both during heat waves and winter freezes.
Adding extra exterior insulation during home renovations reduces the chance of thermal bridging, in which heat/cold comes in via wood studs. Many Vancouver residents use Rockwool Insulation to protect the exterior of their homes, but there are other options. Talk to the experts at TQ Construction to learn more.
5. Update Your Mechanical Systems
Another thing you can do is install a new or better Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system.
When you insulate your house, you prevent exterior air from getting inside, as well as inside air from escaping. However, the problem with air-tight homes is that residents will breathe in stale, stagnant air. To prevent this from happening, HRV systems slowly move air from inside to outside, and vice versa.
The small mechanical unit exhausts old air from inside, then brings new air inside. However, before it allows the air in the home, it ensures it matches the air temperature of the house. This ensures that you don’t lose or gain heat while ventilating your home.
If your HRV system is old and inefficient, you might be expending more energy than necessary and struggling to create a temperature-resilient atmosphere. Consider upgrading your system to something more cost-effective and efficient.
6. Take Advantage of Grants
Lastly, as you begin making changes to your house to improve its temperature resiliency, remember to take advantage of local corporate and government grants.
For instance, BC Hydro has offered different kinds of grants for residents and charities improving their building efficiency. FortisBC has also offered home renovation rebates and grants to make upgrades more affordable.
Start doing your research to see what offers you can apply for, and keep an eye out daily. Things change often, so you never know when you might become eligible for a new grant.
The TQ Construction team works to stay on top of all the latest offers and grants. If you’re working to make your home more temperature-resilient, let us know and we’ll try to help you find the best offers for your situation.
Unfortunately, none of these options are “free,” but you need to consider how minimizing heat absorption and release will affect your electricity bills later on down the road. Temperature-resistant homes aren’t just more comfortable – they’re more sustainable and cost-effective.
At TQ, we do everything we can to make most homes more energy-efficient and resilient. If we’re working with a client and have the chance to make valuable updates, especially to outdoor walls and insulation, we openly discuss opportunities with them.
We’re happy to help you improve your home’s temperature resiliency. To learn more, contact 604-430-9900 or send us a message online. Together, we’ll take your home from 1971 to 2021 with the latest trends and tactics.