As the temperatures get colder and the nights get longer, it’s the time of year when we also tend to see increases in our energy bills, thanks to the extra lighting and heating we use over the dark and cold winter months.
The bills can add up quickly. but there are also many simple things that homeowners can do to lower those bills.
You can find a houseful of energy-saving tips on the website of saveONenergy.ca, the program funded through the Ontario Power Authority and your local electric utility. SaveONenergy offers conservation programs and incentives for home and businesses to help manage electricity use. You can read about those programs on the website, and you can also get some helpful energy-saving tips.
The site takes you through a tour of a home, room by room, and offers some tips and suggestions for energy use in each room. You can click on the tip if you are already using that technique, and the site can give you an idea of how much energy you are saving.
Here are a few of the site’s tips:
Put a Lid on it: The site says that putting a lid on a pot when you cook can decrease your energy consumption by up to 14 per cent.
Cut costs with your dishwasher: When you use your dishwasher, let your dishes dry in the air naturally rather than using the heat-dry option. That alone can save you up to 50 per cent of your dishwasher’s energy use, the site says.
The Cheapest Kettle: Do you have a kettle that you put on top of your heated stove element to heat the water to boiling? The site says that the most energy-efficient way to boil water is to use an electric kettle instead _ one that has an automatic shut-off when the water boils.
Make use of your Microwave: Do you use your microwave only occasionally? The site says that microwaves use up to 50 per cent less energy than electric stoves and are a better option than the oven when you want to heat some leftovers.
Look for an Energy Star-Qualified Refrigerator: When you are in the market for a new refrigerator, consider getting an Energy-Star-qualified fridge. The Energy-Star qualified models, the site says, are 20 per cent more energy efficient than models that are not qualified.
The Living Room:
Get a Programmable Thermostat: If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, it’s a great idea to get one. The site says these thermostats can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 10 per cent over a thermostat that you adjust manually each day. The site suggest that in winter, homeowners should set the thermostat to 20 degrees C when they are home and 18 degrees C overnight or when they are not home. In summer, the site says, set your air conditioner to 25 degrees C when you are home and 28 degrees C when away.
Switch to CFL light bulbs: If you’re still using traditional incandescent light bulbs, you could cut costs by switching to Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) instead. The site says these bulbs use up to 75 per cent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Your Television and DVD Player: Look for Energy Star-qualified televisions and DVD players. The site says that an Energy Star-qualified television is more than 25 per cent energy-efficient than conventional models. The site says these qualified models save energy whether they are in sleep mode, idle or on. Better yet, the site says, an Energy Star-qualified DVD player is up to 60 per cent more energy-efficient than conventional models.
Get a Dimmer Switch for your Lighting: When you use a dimmer switch and use your light at a reduced level, the site says, you can save energy, and you can also extend the life of the light bulbs you are using.
Consider a Ceiling Fan: A ceiling fan in your bedroom at night can keep the air circulating on warm nights. Many people finds it reduces their need for air conditioning. If you are considering a fan, an Energy Star-qualified fan is 50 per cent more efficient than a fan that is not qualified, the site says.
Hang your Clothes to Dry: Using a traditional dryer to dry your clothes can use a lot of energy. In the warm months, consider hanging your clothes to dry on a line outside, just as your parents or grandparents did. In the winter months, you can use indoor drying racks.
Get your Furnace system Inspected: The site says that if you have your furnace inspected and serviced by a licensed HVAC professional once a year, you can improve the unit‘s energy efficiency by up to 20 per cent.
Watch the temperature on your Deep Freezer: If you have a deep freeze appliance for extra meats and products that won‘t fit into your refrigerator freezer, the site suggests keeping the temperature at -18 degrees C. A freezer that‘s kept even five or six degrees colder than that will use up to 25 per cent more energy, the site says.
Washer and Dryer: When you are operating your washing machine, save energy by using cold water for your washes. There are special detergents on the market specifically for cold-water washes. With your dryer, the site says that keeping the lint trap free and vacuuming the exhaust hose once a year can improve the efficiency of your dryer.
Outdoor Lighting: If, like many people, you have outdoor lighting that you keep on at night, the site says that the energy you use will depend on the wattage of the lights and the number of hours you keep them on. The site says you can save money by switching to energy-efficient lights, such as compact fluorescent floodlights, to reduce your energy consumption.
These are just some of the tips that the site suggests. For the complete list of suggestions, and to see how much you‘re saving if you‘re already using some of these suggestions, go the saveONenergy site at https://www.saveonenergy.ca/Consumer/Efficiency-Tips---Tools.aspx
To get in touch with me or one of the members of my team about selling or buying a property, you can contact me through my website, www.nancybenson.com, or give me a call at 613-788-2556.