- Bumps & Babies
- Kid Stuff
- Home & Garden
Did you know that heating and cooling our homes and heating our water use the most energy for Canadian households? With utility prices going up, now is the perfect time to take a look at how you’re using energy in your home so you can spend less on utilities and more on fun. In an article last month, I talked about ways to prepare your home for winter storms – mainly, keeping water and cold air out as long as possible in the event of a storm and power outage.
Here are easy ways that you can use less energy every day this winter. Better for your wallet, and better for the planet!
As the air cools, take a walk around your house feeling for drafts around windows and doorways. Caulk any gaps and add thresholds to doorways to help keep the warm air in and cold air out. If you've got icicles forming around eaves or window sills, that's another good indication that you have some leaks that can be sealed.
If you have water lines that run along exterior walls and are accessible, insulate them with foam pipe insulation. You can find it easily at hardware stores. It simply snaps onto piping and can be cut to size. This can help keep the water in the pipes warmer so you don’t have to wait as long to get warm water from a faucet, and it can also prevent freezing.
Many areas (like Ontario) have time of use hydro pricing. This means that during different times of year, different times of day see higher pricing than others. Save your energy intensive activities (like laundry, running the dishwasher, warming up your house etc.) to off-peak times to help reduce your utility bills while supporting a more efficient use of the utility grid.
This should be done approximately every 3 months (or more frequently if you have pets). If your filter is clogged, your furnace won’t run as efficiently therefore using more energy than it needs to.
If you don’t have one already, take a weekend and install one. You can go basic, or get a smart thermostat that you can program using your phone and track your energy use among other stats, online. If you already have one, make sure you’re using it! Set your temperature so you still need to wear a sweater and slippers, while being comfortable. It shouldn’t be so warm that you can walk around in a t-shirt. For Enbridge customers, there’s a promotion on for 2016 that offers $100 credit on your bill for installing a smart thermostat.
These are 5 quick steps that can have a huge difference on your utility bills this winter. The best part is that once you finish each one, you don’t have to think much about it for the rest of the winter! So a few hours upfront means you can spend the rest of your winter doing what you like best – and with a little extra spending money too!