Five Energy Saving Tips that Don't Cost the Earth
Did you know that heating and cooling our homes and heating our water use the most energy for Canadian households? With utility prices always 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 the spirit of preparing for winter emergencies, you can start by getting winter storm ready in the event of a storm and power outage. Here are some energy saving tips that will get you through the cold-weather in comfort. Better for your wallet, and better for the planet!
1. Check for drafts
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.
2. Insulate indoor water lines
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.
3. Know your time of use pricing
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.
4. Change your furnace filter
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.
5. Use a programmable thermostat
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. And set it lower for overnight and times when everyone will be out at work and school, and then warm up just before you get home!
These are 5 quick energy saving tips that can make a huge difference on your utility bills this winter. And once you accompish 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: hunkering down and snuggling in your cozy nest – and with a little extra spending money too!
*Originally published October 25, 2016