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DIY

Can I do my energy efficiency upgrades myself?

There are many home energy upgrades that homeowners can complete themselves. With a few special tools, the right materials, and careful execution, do-it-yourselfers can reap the benefits of cost savings and a more energy efficient home. See the FAQ, “What are the most cost effective DIY home energy improvements?

BC Hydro and FortisBC provide helpful resources and videos for projects you can do yourself to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Please note that some rebate programs require energy efficiency products to be installed by a licensed contractor.

Some types of energy upgrades are best done by a licensed contractor with experience and specialized equipment. It’s also important to keep in mind that some rebate programs require licensed contractors to install energy upgrades in order for homeowners to be eligible.

Consider hiring a contractor for the following upgrades:

  • Insulation
  • New windows and doors
  • Heating system upgrades
  • Hot water heater upgrades

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the most cost effective DIY home energy improvements?

Depending on how handy you are with home improvements there are a variety of DIY home energy improvements you can implement.

Hot Water Savings

  • Fix leaky faucets by replacing worn-out washers and tightening valves.
  • Install high efficiency kitchen and bathroom tap aerators and water-saving showerheads.

Lighting Upgrades

  • Where possible, upgrade your lights to ENERGY STAR® LEDs that provide long-lasting energy savings. A great place to start is replacing the most frequently frequently used lights in your home.
  • Use motion sensors for outdoor lights.
  • Invest in lighting controls that have dimmers or timers.

Draftproofing

Heating and Cooling

  • Follow manufacture recommendations for changing or cleaning furnace filters.
  • Maintain your fireplace by closing the damper tightly when not in use. If you no longer use your fireplace, fill the chimney with insulation and tightly seal the damper with weatherstripping.
  • Check your heating duct system regularly for visible leaks in common leakage sites such as the heating unit, floor joists, duct connections and space around air registers and grilles. Surface leaks can be sealed with duct mastic or foil tape and once sealed, insulation can be installed.
  • Install programmable/smart thermostats that can be programmed to appropriate temperatures.
  • Cover bare floors with rugs for warmer feet, especially with floors that have insufficient insulation.
  • If your home heats up too much in the summer, consider installing  an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan with summer mode (spins counter-clockwise) to create a wind chill effect and move air downwards.
  • Ensure that your attic is well-ventilated so that hot air can escape during the summer months and keep your home cooler.

Appliances and Electronics

  • Use power bars/strips to plug in printers, computers and monitors, DVD players, TVs, game consoles and other electronics. The power strips will switch off power to these devices when they’re not in use or if you’re away from home.
  • Ensure that your fridge or freezer door is tightly sealed and replace the gasket or seal when needed.

To find the most energy-efficient models for your home, visit the Natural Resources Canada searchable product list or BC Hydro’s list of energy-efficient products.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What resources are available for DIY home energy improvements?

Get solutions for common problems & learn about energy efficient upgrades.