Heating our homes, powering our electronics and providing clean water for our taps and showers takes a toll on our energy consumption, especially in wintertime. That extra heating needed during cold Canadian winters can wreak havoc on our hydro bills.
While the year is still young, why not add another resolution to your list: energy efficiency. Here are nine energy efficiency tips to help lower your carbon footprint and help your bottom line.
1. Choose Energy Efficient Appliances
One of the most effective ways to reduce your energy consumption year-round is by swapping out your old, energy-zapping stove, washer, dryer and other appliances for their energy efficient alternatives. Plus, switching to more environmentally-friendly technology can affect insurance rates. Contact your home insurance provider to see if energy efficient appliances can lower your monthly premium.
2. Use a programmable thermostat
From smartphones to voice assistants to connected appliances, smart devices have become all the rage. Why not invest in a smart device that can help you save money while helping to minimize your carbon footprint – a programmable thermostat.
That way, you can program your thermostat to energy-saving levels when you are away from home or sleeping, helping you lower your heating and cooling costs by up to 15% per year.
3. Be Smart in the Kitchen and Laundry Room
There are many little ways that you may be using extra energy in the kitchen and laundry room, without even knowing it. But all these little things add up, and could end up costing you on your electricity bill each month.
For example, instead of warming up leftovers on the stove, opt for the microwave or toaster oven instead since it uses less electricity. Make sure each load of laundry or dishes is full, so you’re not wasting energy on a half-filled load. Avoid using the “rinse hold” option on your dishwasher, as it uses more water, and opt for air drying your clothes rather than using the “dry” cycle.
4. Identify and Seal Air Leaks Around Your Home
One way that your home might be leaking energy without you ever realizing is through air leaks. That’s why it’s a good idea to inspect and seal any air leaks you may find around your doors, windows and electrical outlets. Sealing gaps, cracks, and air leaks in your home can help you reduce air leakage and save anywhere from 10% to 30% on your home heating and cooling costs.
5. Avoid standby power
Standby power also known as phantom power is when you leave a device or appliance plugged in, even when you are not using this. Avoid wasting energy on appliances that aren’t in use – make sure to unplug all of your electronics and appliances when you aren’t using them, and you could save up to 10 per cent on your energy bill.
6. Opt for LED Bulbs
Incandescent lighting uses up to 80 per cent more electricity than newer, energy efficient LED lightbulbs. For an easy way to save money and help keep your home as energy efficient as possible, swap out all of your old lightbulbs with LED bulbs and fixtures.
7. Maintain Your Heating and Cooling Systems
Most homeowners know the importance of regular home maintenance – which includes regularly maintaining your heating and cooling systems to make sure they’re running at optimal levels.
Get your heating and cooling systems tuned up regularly – your burner uses the least amount of fuel when it is running at peak efficiency, so make sure you schedule annual tune-ups.
8. Use Natural Light
There’s nothing like natural sunlight to brighten up a room! Use the sun’s rays to help lower your lighting costs by taking advantage of sunlight in your home by opening the blinds or drawing back the curtains when the sun is shining to let as much light in as possible – your hydro bill will thank you!
9. Opt for Low-Flow Showerheads
Besides taking shorter showers, you can also install low-flow showerheads on all of the showers in your home to reduce the amount of water used for each shower. Opt for a showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) for maximum water efficiency.
If you’re interested in making some energy efficient upgrades in your home, but aren’t sure if they will fit within your budget, be sure to check the Government of Ontario’s new AffordAbility Fund to see if you qualify for free energy efficient upgrades for your home.