Keep Energy Efficiency On Your House Hunting Radar
(NC) If you're getting ready to buy a new home this summer, energy efficiency is an important element to keep in mind. While it may not be as a glamorous as planning the new paint colour or décor, energy costs should be on the list of items you evaluate at any potential new property.
You may think the only utility consideration is providing advance notice to open or update your account, but energy costs can vary significantly depending on the size of the home, your family and usage—and the type of fuel.
In Ontario, natural gas is most commonly used for home and water heating and while it is a cost-effective option over alternatives like electricity and oil, the costs are still an important factor in your monthly budget planning.
If you get a sense of the costs early it can prevent unwanted surprises later – and fortunately there are a few ways to estimate and understand your energy costs before you sign on the dotted line:
Estimate your average monthly bills. Ask the seller for past utility bills or amounts.
Consider the appliances. What stays and what will be replaced? Energy-efficient equipment is an investment in the value of your home, and the cost may be reduced through energy rebates – search online for details and current offers. Also, ask about current rental equipment and the terms of existing agreements.
Find out if an energy audit has been done: This will provide useful information on the home's energy efficiency. It may also provide a list of things to help keep energy costs as low as possible. If an audit has not been done in a while, schedule one in advance to help you make an informed decision. The details on incentives for qualifying home buyers and sellers can be found at www.knowyourenergyscore.ca.
Once you've made your new home selection, visit your local utilities' websites to find not only additional energy efficiency information, but also instructions on how to ensure your service is set up properly.
Most companies require at least three days' notice of the move and you'll likely have a few online forms to fill out. At the same time, you can see if they offer a paperless billing option to help avoid cluttering your new home with paper mail.