Canadians are spending more time at home than ever before, and many are quickly realizing that what was once a cozy space for relaxing just isn’t suitable for the work-life balance during the COVID-19 pandemic. So much so that about a quarter of Canadians who work from home say their space isn’t ideal for this purpose.
With so much extra time on our hands many of us have taken on everything from a few DIY projects around the house to full on home transformations. From renovations to make way for office furniture and home gyms, to installing planting beds for fruits and vegetables, new appliance upgrades—or more significant renovations or repairs—many homeowners are jumping into the reno revolution with both feet.
If you’re thinking about ways to make your living space more comfortable, consider these six ideas that can improve the overall liveability and enjoyment of your home:
1. Save Energy and Money
Did you know that home heating and cooling, together with water heating systems, account for an average 80% of the energy usage in your home?
To do: Install equipment that is ENERGY STAR®–certified. Doing this will make sure your home systems are more energy-efficient. From appliances to LED lighting, to high-efficiency HVAC equipment, just about every category of home improvement offers options that can save you energy and money. Doing this could add value to your home while also helping to take care of the environment.
Read up: Check out the financial incentives offered in your area; you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much money you can get back in mail-in rebates by choosing ENERGY STAR®.
2. Breathe Easier
According to the Government of Canada, air contaminants and pollutants like dust, pet dander, cigarette smoke, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), mould, mildew and pollen particles can lead to common health concerns.
To do: Now is the perfect time to install a whole-home air purification system. Ultraviolet light systems, whole home humidifiers, air exchangers and air purifiers connected to your HVAC system will ensure a fresh supply of clean air to every room in your house. Pro-Tip: Be sure to change your HVAC system’s air filters at least every three months (and more often if you live with smokers, pets, or anyone with chronic health conditions). And, for added protection, consider installing a whole-home HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter on your HVAC system.
Read up: Visit our Ultimate Indoor Air Quality Guide and get our Top Tips on Home Ventilation here.
3. Build a Connected, Helpful Home
Smart home products are a must for homeowners embarking on home improvements – whether you are renovating your home office, kitchen, patio, or building a home from scratch. Did you know that the Google Nest products all work together right from setup to create a whole-home system?
To do: Start with essential smart home security products to keep you and your belongings safe including: Nest Doorbell, Nest x Yale Lock, Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor battery), and the Nest Protect smoke and CO detector. All of these devices can be controlled on your phone using the Nest app. For greater automation and a little help around the house, consider the Nest Hub Max and Nest smart speakers.
Read up: Smart home products work even better together. To find the best products and smart home bundle for you and your home, read our Ultimate Smart Home Guide.
4. Space Savers
During the pandemic, our homes became our offices, schools and gyms as well as the place to unwind at the end of the day. If we can’t move into a bigger home, then we need to find that square footage and put it to better use during a renovation.
To do: Save space wherever you can. Awkward corners can be made into bench-seating or banquette dining. Sliding barn or pocket doors take up less room that traditional doors that swing in or out. Think about smaller, more-efficient appliances. A tankless water heater for example is only about the size of a suitcase and it mounts on the wall as opposed to taking up valuable floor space. Switching to a tankless water heater could also help you save on energy costs as it heats only the water you use on demand as opposed to a traditional tank that cycles on and off all the time to keep the water in its tank warm.
Read up: Learn more about the benefits of tankless water heaters here.
5. Build a Garden of Eatin’
Over the course of a weekend, you can build and plant your own supplemental food supply in your own yard—and you’ll reap the rewards in food savings while also greening up your space for years to come.
To do: Create a mini-oasis in your front- or backyard; all it takes is some basic DIY building skills (i.e., building a wooden box) and a handful of supplies (e.g., soil for containers, seeds or pre-sprouted plants, a bucket or watering can). Or, if you’re not the handy type, enlist a landscaping company to get you set up.
Read up: Why go through all the trouble of growing your own food if you don’t have amazing water to wash and cook it in? Check out the Ultimate Water Purification Guide to learn more about getting the best water you can at home.
6. Go green
Home improvement time is a fantastic opportunity to greenify your home and decrease your carbon footprint.
To do: Start with your heating and cooling. It’s called a “Heat Pump” but it’s actually an air conditioner that is able to run in reverse. In the summer, it works like a traditional air conditioner. In the spring and fall is where the magic happens though. It can automatically switch airflow direction and instead of pulling warm air from inside and pushing it out, it can pull warm air from outside and bring it in. This allows you to extend the time you can keep your home at a comfortable temperature without having to turn on your furnace and using more energy. Depending on where you live, heat pumps can work almost all year round.
Looking for more ways to improve the liveability of your home? From high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment to smart home technology, tools to improve your water and indoor air quality and more, Reliance™️ has you covered. Contact us to revolutionize your work-life space today.
Google, Google Home, Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery), Nest Doorbell, Nest x Yale Lock, Nest Protect, Nest Hub Max and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.
The ENERGY STAR®️ name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Government of Canada, Jan.7, 2021. “Health effects of air pollution.”