Save on Energy - Upgrading Unusable Spaces | Toronto Teacher Mom

Save on Energy - Upgrading Unusable Spaces

Saturday, August 20, 2016

When I first got married, my husband and I spent a couple of weeks looking for an apartment in Toronto and settled on a small place in Rosedale. And by small, I mean 700 square feet. It was manageable for the two of us but it wasn't long before we had our first child and needed a larger space. It was mere weeks before our daughter was born when we finalized our first home purchase. Today, nearly eleven years later, we are still living comfortably in our four-level side split with our two growing children but find that space has become a precious commodity. This is why we intend to make the most out of every corner in our home and are planning to invest in some upgrades over the next several months. To help us maximize our living space, we are turning to for storage tips and tricks, and looking into the benefits of energy-saving upgrades.

One such upgrade that I have had my eye on for the long-term is a new smart thermostat. I would even go so far as to call them genius. While I can program my current thermostat to certain temperatures throughout the day, a Smart Thermostat automates the temperature control of your home by keeping track of the current temperature in real-time. It can also connect with other high-tech gadgets to sense when you are home, making it more convenient and comfortable, and adjusts the temperature accordingly when you are away, so it only uses the energy it needs.

Also on our long-term upgrade plans is investing in a new water heater. The main reason for this, beyond the obvious energy savings, is that our side-split has a very small basement which is currently our laundry room combined with my personal craft space, if you can call it space. It's more like a little corner of the room where I have piles and piles of craft supplies that I have to make sure are hidden every time we have guests. If we could swap our current water tank for a smaller, more efficient on-demand water heater, that would clear up just enough space for me to call my own. That is, after we upgrade the awfully outdated light fixtures and replace the incandescent lights with energy efficient LEDs. Nothing is worse than crafting in a space with terrible lighting.

Since investing in new equipment can make a tremendous difference in how much you’re able to enjoy spaces you have previously written off, it is important to take inventory of old and outdated equipment that could be using up needless energy and emptying your pockets of precious savings. Then you can begin to think about taking steps to make unusable spaces more usable by considering the following:

  • Ceiling fans can make previously unusable space comfortable and available all year round. They are also a great alternative to portable air conditioners.
  • Newer HVAC units provide more consistent air-flow, keeping your home more comfortable. Plus, they are quieter than old inefficient ones and take up less space.
  • Smart thermostats help automate the temperature control of your home, making it more comfortable.
Need some inspiration to get started? Watch the story of how one family transformed their basement into a model train paradise here!

For more efficiency tips and tools, visit

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Save on Energy. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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  1. Oh, wow, our whole house is 752 sq ft and we raised 2 kids, and for 2 years my sons friend also lived with us!!! I once said I wished I had a bigger house. My daughter, who had to be about 8 at the time said to me, and I quote "Mom, be happy with what you have"!!! and she's right!!! our tiny house is now perfect for our retirement (although the huge yard can be annoying to mow)

  2. When I was young 23 I purchased my first house being single it was 1060 sq ft Bungalow so both levels so a total of 2120 sq ft living space which I thought boy am I set, but then I hit 30 and my husband now had been living in the house with me, I decided I needed bigger so moved again by myself into 1900 sq ft, I loved it! Then came marriage and I thought forget it I am not not cleaning all this, so now we have a perfect 1510 and no wasted space! But time to move back into a small bungalow soon as we are getting close to retirement!! So we will be back to just over the size of the first house...could have saved myself a ton of moves and stayed in the first one!

  3. It seems the more room you have you end of filling it up with your wants and not just living with your needs

  4. We have a 1000 sq ft condo so we are in a small space but we do well in it. Just have to do a lot of cleaning out to stay ahead of the clutter. (Judy Cowan)

  5. I've saved so much money through this website/program!

  6. The disadvantage of having a bigger home is the grown kids bring all their stuff to store here

  7. ceiling fans have made a huge difference here! and over the years I've learned that we do not need to hang on to everything! I purge regularly, and keeps things to a minimum.....I want to be able to use every room on a regular basis!


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