With cold Canadian winters, it’s no surprise that 63% of Canadian residential energy use goes towards heating our homes.1 But you don’t have to break the bank when the temperature drops. Follow these energy-saving tips to help keep your energy bill under control while staying cozy all winter.
Keep the heat inside
Insulating your home is one of the best ways to minimize your energy use. Doors are a good place to start. To keep cold air from creeping in through your door, you can install weather-stripping on the top and bottom of your door and a silicone sweep on the bottom of your door.
Windows are another potential source of heat loss. An inexpensive and easy way to insulate your windows is using a clear layer of insulation film; you can buy a window insulation kit at your local hardware store that includes everything you need to apply the plastic shrink film to the indoor window frame with double stick tape. Insulating drapes or shades can also help but keep them open during the day to let the sun heat your home for you.
Don’t forget about your attic—a drafty attic will pull all the warm air out of your living space. To find out if your attic is due for an insulation upgrade, calculate the R-value of your insulation.
Only heat it when you need it
You can make a significant impact in your energy use by getting a programmable thermostat and turning down the heat when you’re not home. Turning your thermostat back 5-10° C for eight hours a day can save you up to 10% on your heating bills.2 Even a small change makes a difference; you can save up to 5% on your energy bill simply by lowering your thermostat by 1° C.3
Don’t heat rooms you’re not using. If you have an attic, garage, or spare room, close the door and turn off the heat to keep the warmth where you need it most.
Let your fan bring the heat to you
Did you know your ceiling fan can help keep you warm? Because warm air rises, turning your ceiling fan on clockwise so that it blows warm air back towards the floor ensures that the heat isn’t just staying near your ceiling. Fans do use electricity though, so only keep them on when you’re in the room.
A clean appliance is an efficient appliance
When appliances are full of dust and dirt, they work extra hard and consume more energy to do their job. Regularly maintain your furnace, hot water tank, refrigerator, and dryer to make sure that air and heat are flowing freely.
Check your furnace filters once a month and replace them as needed. Periodically inspect your dryer hose and vent to make sure there’s no dust or lint build-up. Defrost and clean your fridges and freezers regularly, as ice buildup can clog the vents.
Unplug your power-guzzling electronics
Did you know that most electronics draw power even when on standby mode? According to EnergyRates.ca, if left on standby for a year, an Old CRT TV will cost you $8.28, a Mini Audio System will cost you $5.74, and a Motorola DCX3400 DVR will cost you $19.32.4 Each of these alone may not be much, but if you add up the energy use of all of your appliances in your home, the price can add up quickly.
Instead of just turning off your TV or computer or putting them on standby, unplug them to save the most on energy. Power bars with an on/off switch make this even easier, turning off several devices at once.
By making these small changes, you can save big on your energy bill this winter. You can also save by bundling your insurance policies through OTIP—if you insure both your car and home with OTIP, you can save up to 50% off your home insurance. Call an OTIP insurance broker today at 1-800-267-6847 to see how you can save.
1. Natural Resources Canada, Office of Energy Efficiency
2. U.S. Department of Energy
3. Woman’s World