Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) promotes energy-efficient products with three tools:
1.Energy Efficient Regulation - which sets minimum energy performance standards.
2.The Energuide Label - which shows how much energy a specific product uses and how to read the label..
3.The Energy Star symbol - which identifies high efficient models
If you want to save energy, lower utility bills, and reduce the impact on the environment then energy efficient
products may be the answer. You can start with the products 1-14 listed below (14 Ways you can make your home more
Energy Efficient - Commercial Products are Blue Links) or you can also search the Product Information Section at NRCan
which has information on over 70 products in a variety of residential and commercial categories. There is even a
Searchable Product List which you can compare products and find the most energy efficient product for your specific
needs. Natural Resources Canada(NRC) has also published an Online Calculator which can calculate the lifetime costs
based on an Energuide Rating. You can even go directly to the Energy Star - 2019 Award Winners or click the image to
Disclaimer: This information is provided for general information purposes only. Any reliance or action taken based on the
information, materials and techniques described are the responsibility of the user. Readers are advised to consult appropriate
professional resources to determine what is safe and suitable in their particular case. DASH Inspection Services assumes no
responsibility for any consequence arising from use of the information, materials and techniques described. Any reference to a
specific company is for general information only. I highly recommend you get a min of three quotes and do your homework.
Electromagnetic fields can be found in many areas such as, office equipment, wiring in our homes and workplace's, and
electric power facilities, such as substations, transmission lines and distribution lines.
National and international health agencies, including Health Canada and the World Health Organization, have concluded
that the scientific research does not demonstrate that EMFs cause or contribute to adverse health effects.
Some questions remain the subject of on-going research...this information was taken from Hydro One's EMF position
statement April 2008.
So your looking to convert from Electricity to Gas? But your just not sure if gas is the way to go? In most cases it
can be safer (although there is an argument for gas and electricity safety, either way smoke and carbon monoxide
detectors are required, it's the law!), Gas can be Eco-Friendly, Less Money to operate and some appliances use
less parts which may prolong the life. I found a short article by Rosemary Avance in Consumer Affairs online
publication from Consumer Affairs Buyers Guides which compares gas vs electric appliances.
Residential Energy Calculator
Still not sure which way to go Gas or Electricity? Then the Residential Energy Calculator may help. I found an
online calculator which may help you decide. At the top make sure you Select your location to "Ontario" the default
is US Average, input some additional information and you will get a break down comparing to Natural Gas, Fuel Oil
Gas and Electricity Providers
So you've decided to switch, now you need the gas. Since 2002, homeowners and businesses in Ontario have had
the ability to choose whether to purchase their energy (gas or electricity) from a competitive retail company, or to
obtain their energy from their local utility and pay the provincial regulated rate. Energyrates.ca can help, type in
your postal code, choose a service (gas or electricity) and you will get a list of providers as well as rates. Do you
want to see how your present rates compare to another provider then use this Bill Calculator from The Ontario
Gas Appliances - Installation
You should be aware that gas appliances do need gas lines to each individual appliance and a gas line to the
house (if you don't already have one). You will require a licensed HVAC contractor to help you with this, very
important you use a licensed HVAC contractor, don't mess with gas!. Union Gas has provided help locating
contractors or a contractor you want to use. To check if they are actually licensed check: Technical Standards and
Safety Authority (TSSA) and Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI).
Faulty Appliances - Repairmen Unplugged
Today appliances are more sophisticated, with more electronics, more features, fancy designs and just more
complicated to repair or improve. What do you really need in an appliance and if it does break down what will it
cost you!. Market Place posted an online article By Megan Griffith-Greene / Marketplace, CBC News Posted: Jan
09, 2015 its an interesting read and they also did a TV and online video Watch Repairmen Unplugged on Friday,
Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Television or online.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Appliances, such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers and water coolers, account for up to 12% of the energy used in
the average Canadian home?. Click this link to Find an Energy Star Certified Appliance. The section directly below
will give you more ways to save on energy by buying energy efficient products.
Do your homework and make sure you use new regulation carbon monoxide and smoke
detectors....IT'S THE LAW!
Inspecting your home on a regular basis and following good maintenance practices is the best way to protect your
home which needs regular care and without it they will deteriorate - Protect Your Investment!
Maybe you don't have the time or expertise and don't really care to do it, fair enough, then hire somebody who
can. The Home Maintenance Manual will provide a guideline on what to check and when or what season.
I highly recommend that you learn more about your house, learn how to improve or replace some things. Things
like filter replacement, smoke/CO detector battery replacement, clearing leaves etc. Shouldn't be difficult to do.
You can even check out your neighbourhood Home Depot they have workshops, online how-to-do guides, project
guides and videos (make sure you look for a Home Depot in your area). You can even YouTube it. Just remember
be safe and don't undertake something beyond your skill level...if in doubt call a licensed specialist. I have to
recommend that you leave all Electrical, Plumbing and major improvements to licensed specialist. You may need a
permit so check.
Air Duct Cleaning
Should you clean your furnace air ducts? That is a question that is often asked. Some suggest cleaning air
ducts should be done on a regular basis while others suggest only cleaning air ducts only if needed. Should
you use chemicals or biocides in the process of cleaning or even a sealant? Who do I use that is reputable
and Certified and how can I tell if the job was done right?
Here is a detailed .pdf on "Should you have the air ducts cleaned in your home?" In this file you will find
answers to those questions above and much more information. Here is a link to the National Air Duct Cleaners
Association where you will find more information as well as an area where you can actually search
for a Certified Duct Cleaner in Canada or the US. I also found an article "Is Duct Cleaning Worth It?" from the
Toronto Star published Sunday March 31, 2013 by Jessica Mcdiarmid which you may find interesting to read.
It's that time of year again, the weather is nice, the snow is gone and you want to spend more time outside,
entertaining family, friends or just relaxing. Outdoor Decks are very popular feature of a home, I can't really give
you any specific numbers on how many decks are built in Ontario each year but out of the 4000 plus property
inspections I have performed over the last 13 years I would estimate a good 70-80% had a deck in one form or
another. And probably 50% of those buyers planned on improving on or rebuilding the deck.
Improperly built or old and damaged decks can be a serious safety issue. Loose or damaged guard rails, rotted
stairs, beams and or ledger/rim joist connections not properly attached or even rusted connections can all have
an impact on your safety.
Ontario and in some cases individual municipalities have Building codes and By-Laws which govern the building
and placement of out door decks. You must check with your specific municipalities requirements.
Generally in most cases a Building Permit is required if:
1. The deck is higher than 600mm or (1' 11") off the ground.
2. The deck is 10' x 10'.
A by-law may also be in place which governs the location the deck can be built, be sure to check your local
Refurbish/Maintenance of Decks
The National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America Home Equity did a Study of Life Expectancy of
Home Components (page 8) which estimated the life expectancy of a deck is approx 20 years maybe longer with
proper maintenance and in dry regions. Do you maintain your deck or do you build a new deck. At a minimum you
should be checking your deck for maintenance and safety issues each year. Improper and/or loose connections,
section on maintenance (cleaning, repairing and a video on staining) of your deck.
Today there are different styles and materials you can choose from when building a deck. If your a DIY type
person there is so much information on the web on how to build a deck, calculators and guides. Be sure to check
your local building codes and by-laws. Home Depot has some information and how to videos. I also found a
couple of US based websites which appear to offer some interesting information on designs, calculators etc -
Decksgo and Decks.com. If you are a DIY type person you may also find Simpson Strong-Tie to be of interest,
they are one of the largest manufacturers of connectors and have a Canadian Website with connector
catalogues, software and where to buy information.
Pricing - Improvements and Replacements Components
Pricing can only be a rough estimate, in many cases a licensed or certified contractor/specialist may need to visually observe the
situation to better understand what is required and even then in some situations there may be hidden costs, i.e. Flooring - once the
flooring is removed do you have issues with the sub floor and or floor joists or electrical such as knob and tube wiring - some times
getting to the knob and tube behind a wall may cause damage to the wall such as plaster and lath which may need to be repaired or
replaced, or Mold Damage, not until you actually investigate further, some times invasive inspection, can you identify all areas which
may have been affected by mold...so additional costs may be required for clean up and or improvements.
There is a website OntarioContractors.com which you can find "Renovation and Building Costs" which will provide rough pricing on
such items like; Roofing, Gutters/Downspouts, Exterior Finishes, Interior Renovations, Furnaces/A/C's, Plumbing and Electrical
Products. You can also post your specific renovation/replacement project online to receive quotes by using "Quick Quote".
Life Expectancy of Home Components
Have you ever wondered how long a certain product will last, when will you need to replace it?. The National Association of Home
Builders and Bank of America Home Equity have published a report for the "Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components 2007".
This report will provide information on the average life expectancy of home components such as Appliances, Cabinets, Decks,
Windows, HVAC, Roofing etc etc. Although the report is US based the information is still useful for us here in Canada as well.
NOTE: This report should be used as a general guideline only. None of the information in this report should be interpreted as a
representation, warranty or guarantee regarding the life expectancy or performance of any individual product or product line. Readers
should not make buying decisions and/or product selections based solely on the information contained in this report.
Contractors - Licensed or Not!
So now you've had your inspection and the inspector has uncovered several items or issues or maybe you already own your home and
need some professional work for improvements or replacement of an item. Home inspectors are not suppose to do improvements on a
home they just inspected nor do they typically recommend specific contractors or specialist and they don't always quote pricing for the
improvements they have just reported on, they can, but typically it is a range in dollars which may be outdated. You can find more
information in our "Code of Ethics".
Most trades have associations which they belong to or in the case of "compulsory trades" in Ontario, will need to register with Ontario
College of Trades.
The Ontario College of Trades (the College) is an industry-driven, professional regulatory body that protects the public by regulating
and promoting the skilled trades. One of the main responsibilities of the College is to ensure that individuals performing the skills of
compulsory trades have the training and certification required to legally practise this trade in Ontario.
There are 23 designated compulsory trades in Ontario. If you click Trades in Ontario you will see a link " to view Trades Names and
Codes click here" located at the top of the page, click on the link and you will get a .pdf with all of the trades that are compulsory and
voluntary. If you scroll down the Trades in Ontario page you will also see each trade and a corresponding marketing broucher (.pdf)
with more information. For the purpose of this website we will focus on HVAC, Electricians, Roofers and Plumbers.
Plumber - If you want to search for a specific compulsory trades person or company (Plumber, HVAC, Electrician etc.) you can search
the Ontario College of Trades Registry.
Roofing - Roofers are not a licensed trade in Ontario. They are listed in the Ontario College of Trades Registry as "non compulsory"
trade. So how do you find a roofer?. There are two associations you can start with. The Canadian Roofing Contractors Association
(CRCA) and Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association (OIRCA) where the latter is more for commercial/industrial roofs. You
can also try the Ontario Contractors Site - Directory Search, try entering roof in the keyword search box. Ideally word of mouth is
probably the best way to find a roofer, or any trade. Once you found three roofers, you may want to look them up on the Ontario
College of Trades Registry, the BBB and see if they are on the Consumer Beware List. You should probably go to the Ministry of
Labour Site or Government of Ontario site to research Hiring a Roofer both sites will give you more info on roofers and how to deal with
HVAC - In Ontario qualified HVAC (heating and A/C) contractors must also be registered with Technical Standards and Safety Authority
(TSSA),To find a Qualified HVAC Contractor. You can also check with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of
Canada (HRAI) they maintain a list of HVAC Contractors who are required to provide and maintain insurance coverage, valid trade
certificates and licenses, and sign and agree to conform to the HRAI Member Code of Ethics.
Electrician - The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is Ontario’s electrical safety regulator. Their job is to help enhance electrical safety
for the people of Ontario, find a licensed electrician at Contractor Locater.
Engineer - The Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) is the licensing and regulating body for professional engineering in the
province. Here you can find many types of engineers, we are interested in Structural Engineers (issues with you home structure).
When you go to the search site there is a link to License Holder/Engineering Inter Directory click on that and there is a drop down box
labeled "Discipline" pick the structural engineer.
Consumer Beware List
Consumer Protection Ontario is an awareness program from Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and other
public organizations, known as administrative authorities, that promote consumer rights and public safety. I recommend you look over
the site BEFORE you hire a contractor, and there is a Consumer Beware List - a list of businesses that have been charged or
convicted in relation to the Consumer Protection Act or other acts of the ministry. You can search for a specific business.
Prior to the mid 1970's gas, electricity and water was much cheaper than it is now. Homes were not designed or
even required to be energy efficient. Energy efficiency just didn't matter as much.
Over the last 30-40 years the cost of energy and water and the way society is looking at the environment has
changed. Today it's all about energy efficiency. Building codes are changing and manufacturers are improving;
windows, Insulation levels (attic, walls), heating products, hot water tanks, toilets. light bulbs, appliances,
Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada 1990-2009 by NRCan has some interesting information on residential and
commercial use of energy...Were 80% (63% heating and 17% water heating) of all residential energy needs was
spent on space and water heating in 2009 (Chapter 3 Residential Sector). Appliances accounted for 14%, Lighting
4% and Space Cooling 2%. Chapter 4 Commercial/Institutional Sector also has some very interesting facts about
energy use in buildings.
The home is becoming redesigned to become as energy efficient as possible. It may be in your best interest to
take advantage of products which can save you ENERGY, MONEY and The ENVIRONMENT.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that the house is like a system of components all working together. If you upgrade
your windows or add insulation to your attic or walls then you may be reducing the ability for air to move into and
out of your home, which in turn may cause moisture related damages. In this case properly utilizing your house
fans (bathroom/kitchen range-hood) or even adding an Heat Recovery Ventilator may be required to help reduce
excessive moisture levels in the house.
If your serious about energy efficiency then you might be interested in reading Keeping The Heat In by NRCan this
publication will provide valuable information on upgrading the energy performance of your home and how to do it
the right way.
14 Ways to Save Energy - Residential and Commercial:
1. Windows - life expectancy of approx 20-30 years. The energy efficiency of windows takes into account several
performance metrics (U-Factor,Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Air Leakage) which translates into an Energy
Rating or ER. Click this link to Find an Energy Star Certified Window. Click this link for More info on Windows.
2. Insulation - Properly Insulating the Attic (25% heat loss), Floors (15% heat loss) and Walls (35% heat loss) with
the right type and R-Value of insulation you can have an impact on energy consumption and in turn save
money...$$. (all heat loss values are approx.). Click here for More info on Insulation..
3a. Hot Water Tanks, Residential - Canadians use an average of 75 Litres of hot water each at home every
day—for washing dishes and clothing, cleaning and showering or bathing. Water heaters account for 17% of the
energy used in the average Canadian home. The majority of water heaters are rented in Ontario. Reliance and
Enercare are companies who rent water heaters - Ask if they have Energy Star Certified water heaters or if your
buying a hot water heater you can Click this link to Find an Energy Star Certified Hot Water Tank.
3b. Hot Water Tank, Commercial - Commercial Energy Star Rated Hot Water Tanks.
4. Light Bulbs - Accounts for 4% of the energy use in residential homes. Click this link to Find an Energy Star
Certified Lighting Product.
5a. Heating and Cooling, Residential - Canada's cold climate means that space heating accounts for a
remarkable 63% of the energy used in the average Canadian home. In commercial and institutional settings, space
heating accounts for 56% of energy use. Click this link to Find an Energy Star Certified Heating. Click this link to
Find an Energy Star Certified Cooling Product. Click this link for More info on Furnace and A/C's.
5b. Heating, Commercial - Energy Star Certified Commercial Boilers - Energy Star Certified Commercial Gas Unit
5c. Cooling Products, Commercial - Chillers - Large A/C Units - Terminal Packaged A/C and Heat Pumps -
Vertical A/C and Heat Pumps.
6. Programmable Thermostats - Space heating and cooling represents almost two thirds of your home energy
use. Choosing an Energy Star Certified connected thermostat is a “smart” way to save at least 8% of that energy
use and keep your home comfortable. Controlling the day and times your furnace or A/C is on can save you
money. Click this link to Find an Energy Star Certified Programmable Thermostat. Click for more info on
7. Air Leaks - Seal air leaks around doors and windows with weatherstripping and caulking. Home Depot
8. Insulate Pipes - Water pipes cold and hot can be insulated to help reduce energy loss. Home Depot pipe
9. Exhaust Fans - As stated above improving the insulation levels can have an effect on the house as a whole
system. An Energy Star Certified ventilating fan or exhaust fan (also known as a ventilation or vent fan) uses 50%
less energy, on average, than a standard model. This includes bathroom/utility room fans and range hoods. Click
this link to Find an Energy Star Certified Exhaust Fan. Click this link for More Info on Fans and Ventilation
10. Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) - An HRV is a ventilation device that helps make your home healthier,
cleaner, and more comfortable by continuously replacing stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. Click this link to
Find an Energy Star Certified HRV. Click here for More info on HRV's.
11. Water Savings - Install water-saving toilets, faucet aerators and shower-heads (rated at less than 7.6 litres
per minute). Check and repair leaky faucets and outside hose bibs. I couldn't find an Energy Star Certification for
toilets but there is a US EPA WaterSense Standard which many manufacturers meet.
12. Baseboard Heaters/Space Heaters - If your house has baseboard heaters and they are old then you might
benefit with upgrading to newer more efficient models. Currently there isn't an Energy Star Certification but there is
newer technologies and more efficient models - Click this link for More info on baseboard heaters (scroll down to
the end of the review for more info)
13. Appliances - Appliances, such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers and water coolers, account for up to 12% of
the energy used in the average Canadian home?. Click this link to Find an Energy Star Certified Appliance.
13b. Appliances, Commercial - Appliances for Commercial Use
14. Electronics - A 2011 Natural Resources Canada study found that entertainment and home office equipment
alone accounted for more than 20% of electricity used in non-electrically heated homes. Click this link to Find an
Energy Star Certified Electronic Product.
Click the image above for the 2019 winners
What is Energy Star Certification?
You just purchased a house and the appliances are part of the deal, or you are looking to purchase a new, refurbished or
used product and being the cautious consumer you are, you want to look the product up to make sure there are no
Recalls or Safety Alerts.
Not all products are created the same!...Some may fail, due to a manufacturers defect and others may not be safe to use.
So where do you turn or how would you even know if there is a recall on a household or consumer product? The news
(TV, Newspaper) may tell you but will you see it or will they report on all the defective products in the market place?
Below, I provide you with several sites you can look a product up...Consumer Products, Vehicles, Food, Electrical Products
and everything from Electric Drills to Mobile Homes to Water Heaters...two sites are Canadian and the others are US...you
can search by manufacture part number, you can search by group such as "furnaces" and you can see what the latest
recalls are...you can also sign up for email notifications with some of the sites...just click on the links below and look
around the sites.
Energy Efficiency - Multi-Unit
Residential Buildings (MURB)
residential buildings are an area of concern for owners and property managers. Many MURB's can actually be less
efficient then typical single family homes, read more in Achieving High Performance BURB'S by CMHC. In many
situations energy efficient products for a MURB can be similar to a residential or commercial product, see 14 ways to
save energy below. Air leakage can also be a major area of concern. CMHC has published an Air-Leakage Control
Manual for Multi-Unit Buildings. Interesting information for building owners, operators and property managers.