With Winter approaching so does higher electric bills. With the high cost of living in some of Canada’s urban centers it can be an expense that you may not be able to add to your monthly budget. Here are 10 tips to save money and energy this winter.
1. Reduce Drafts
Heat will escape through cracks around doors and windows, this is inevitable. You can help minimize this by sealing large windows with cellophane by taping it to beyond the window frame. You can get do it your self kits at places like Home Depot. For doors use weatherstripping on the top and bottom of the door, this will create a tighter seal around the door.
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to drop once you’re out of the house, and rise again before you return. Dropping the temperature by a few degrees for 8 hours a day can lead to considerable savings. Just make sure to set the temperature up 30-45 minutes before you return, so you don’t come home to a cold house.
3. Clean your Fridge and Freezer
Your fridge and freezer tend to consume more energy than all other household appliances combined since they are on 24 hours a day. Clogged air vents can cause them to work harder to keep your food chilled, and eat up more energy than needed and thus incur more costs. Defrost and a clean on a regular basis, and keep the area around the vents clear at all times.
4. Don’t forget about your chimney
Hot air rises and chimneys go straight up so this escape route for warm air is often overlooked. Just closing the shutter is not adequate. Use a special chimney balloon to block the damper is a great way to minimize heat loss. Investigate what type you will need with an expert before doing it yourself. Just make sure to clear it when you light up a fire!
5. Perform Regular Furnace/Hot Water Tank/Boiler Maintenance
You can perform a basic cleaning on these units yourself by consulting the owner’s manual. It is not difficult and if you have your model number you are sure to find tips on Youtube. If something seems off, don’t hesitate to call a professional for an annual inspection.+
6. Clean filters
Clean or replace filters in furnace. It is recommended to clean or replace every three months. As with your fridge vents, blocked filters will make your furnace work harder and add to the cost of running it.
7. Run full loads
Most of us will start the washing machine or dishwasher when it is not full. I personally do this at least 3 times a week and that would mean I could be doing an extra 150 uses of that appliance per year. It just makes economical sense to wait until you have a full load.
8. Air Dry
Rather than having your dishwasher dry with the heater, just let them air dry. It may take longer but the savings over the year could be substantial.
9. Find the Vampire
For a small price you can go to any hardware store and get a device that will tell you how much power one of your gadgets uses when not in active use. It is estimated that 5% to 10% of all power you are billed for is due to these devices.
10. Air Dry
Lighting makes up about 10 percent of home energy costs. Compared to traditional incandescent, energy-efficient lightbulbs such as halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light emitting diodes (LEDs) have the following advantages:
- Typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent, saving you money
- Can last 3-25 times longer.
We hope that these tips will help you save both energy and money this coming winter.
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