Heating & Cooling
Approximately 60 % of your total energy costs come from cooling and heating your home. These informative tips will help impact costs on your energy bill.
Ceiling fans use little electricity and using them as an alternative to air conditioning will make a huge dent in costs. The air should blow downwards in the summer.
• Take the time to reduce temperature at night and when going away.
• Closing drapes and pulling blinds and shades closed during the sunny days of summer and open them at the south facing windows during winter will keep your rooms cool in summer and warmer in winter.
• Using area rugs and carpets on cold floors will warm your feet.
• Keep warm by using sweaters and throws rather than raising thermostat.
• Monthly replacement of air filters and having furnace cleaned will maximize its efficiency.
• Keep your cool temperature at 24 instead of the low 20s to save air conditioning costs.
• Turn lights off when leaving a room to prevent extra heat and unused energy.
• Using plants and trees and leafy deciduous trees on sunny sides of your home will provide the necessary shade in winter and will shed leaves in fall allowing sunshine to enter in winter.
• Having Pine and Fir trees in the north will provide energy saving windbreak in winter.
Thermostats with programmable built in timers should be installed. These can be set to lower temperature at night and when no one is home. Turning off air conditioners when you leave uses less electricity that letting it run constantly. These savings can surely pay for the thermostat costs in the very first year. Changing temperatures by few degrees multiply to several savings multiplied 5 to 10 years.
Decrease the flow of wasted water and avoid heating water unnecessarily.
• Taking 5 minute showers with the new efficient shower heads will consume about half that of a hot bath that uses approximately 75 litres of heated water.
• Implement the vacation setting on the water heater when going away.
• Repair all leaky faucets as soon as it drips as this can add 95 liters of water monthly and 7kwh to your bill.
• Faucets will save water and energy by installing low flow aerators.
• By draining a pail of water every three months from your natural gas hot water tank recommended by the manufacturer will support proper heat distribution by removing the sediments that prevent heat transfer that lowers its efficiency.
• Using special Tank Blankets to wrap your electric heaters will reduce the electricity usage.
• After heating, water heaters use up the most energy in the home and the 175 litre tanks will use up to 5000 kwh annually costing approximately $500.00.
There are several no cost ways to put refrigerator energy costs on ice.
• Avoid frost build up to below 6mm by defrosting freezer regularly.
• Check manufacturer recommendations and set temperature for only as cold as you need.
• Remove the old and inefficient refrigerator running in the basement for occasional necessities as that could cost you $150. Or more annually in electricity.
• A Full freezer will perform better than an empty one. But, do not overfill a refrigerator as this blocks air circulations and will not perform as desired.
• Your refrigerator door should have a tight seal when the door is closed. If not it should be adjusted or replaced immediately. Check your seal by closing the refrigerator door on a $5 bill. It should hold tight.
• Regular cleaning every three months should be done on the back refrigerator coils and air intake grill below the door.
• To allow heat to escape from the refrigerator compressor and condensing coil, they should be placed with at least 5 centimetres around or as recommended by manufacturer and should be kept out of direct sunlight.
• Food should be cooled prior to placing them in the refrigerator.
When Purchasing a New Refrigerator
Check the EnerGuide labels on every fridge and consider energy savings in your buying decision. Buy Energy Star – qualified model Refrigerators. These ENERGY STAR – qualified models exceed minimum federal energy efficiency standards for energy consumption by at least 10% , which in the long run, saving considerable amounts of money.
• Refrigerators are one of the largest guzzlers of electricity in most homes. Though efficiency has improved in recent years, even the elite models can use more electricity than the ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators.
Oven, Range and Stove
The Oven and stove are also big guzzlers of energy. These are some tips to help save.
• Using the stove top, putting lids on your pots will keep the heat enclosed which allows you to lower the heat setting.
• Switching to electric kettle to boil water is much more efficient that using a pot on the stove.
• Thawing frozen foods in the refrigerator before cooking.
• Line your oven bottom with aluminum foil to catch drippings. Make sure not to block any circulation holes and do no put foil on oven racks.
• Just before food is cooked through, turn the oven off. Food will finish cooking while oven is cooling.
• Use the right size pot to match the element size.
• When possible, use smaller appliances such as toaster oven or microwave and kettle for small jobs.
• When possible, use microwave ovens instead of stove and save 75% of your energy.
Did You Know?
• The 100 watt bulb lit for ten hours requires 1 kilowatt hour.
• 1000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month is used in the average Ontario Home.
Wash your hands of the high cost of washing dishes. Use the dishwasher. Washing by hand several times daily uses more water and energy.
• Load your dishwasher properly and with a full load and use the energy saving cycles.
• Scrape off food and empty liquids to put dishes in dishwasher. Rinsing wastes hot water.
• Save 10% in cost of operation by letting dishes air dry.
• Follow manufacturer instructions and load dishes properly allowing water circulation.
• Clean drains and check filters regularly for efficient machine operation.
• It is more efficient to use the dishwasher when using it for every 3 or 4 times you would have washed dishes by hand and it is filled up.
Ontario’s greatest winter electricity demands occurs from 4 to 9 PM. Switch the non essential chores to off peak times between 9 PM and 7 AM. Summer’s demand for electricity is from 10 AM to 4 PM but with high residential use extending to midnight due to air conditioning usage. Shifting use times to off peak will help reduce use of fossil fuel generation and will help keep environment clean.
Buying a New Dish Washer?
Consider investing in the Energy Star qualified models with at least 25% more efficiency.
Clothing Washer & Dryer
Clean clothes and prevent cleaning our bank account.
• Select Cold water for all your RINSE cycles.
• Use a Front Load Washer.
• Run your washer with full loads but not overloaded.
• Use Cold or Warm water rinse settings. Save 85 – 90 % of energy used to heat the water.
• Use Cold or Warm water Washing settings. Hot water shrinks and fades your clothes causing them to wear out quickly. Cold water strengthens fabric fibers.
• Use Front loading dryer. Make sure clothes are wrung effectively before putting them in the dryer.
• Lighter loads take less drying time. Separate the loads according to heavy, medium and lightweight.
• Dry your loads consecutively so dryer does not cool completely for next load.
• Empty the lint filter after every load. Clogged filter increases energy use and is a fire hazard.
• Try to line dry some or all of your laundry.
Buying a New Clothing Washer & Dryer
Lower electricity costs by opting for Front loading washers. They cost a little more but offer savings in water by half per load and more effective water squeezing. These washers make clothes last longer as they gently tumble and not twist around an agitator.
Select Energy Star qualified clothes washers that use 35 % to 50% less water and 50% less energy per load.
• All New electrical major home appliances sold in Canada requires the ENERGUIDE label. It compares the energy efficiency of appliances. Check for this label when you shop. The lower the kilowatt/hour number shown, the more efficient in energy.
Increase Savings Around The Office
It doesn’t take a lot of work to save on your energy bill around your home office.
• Computers and related components use electricity even when they are not in use. Plug each computer component into a power bar that can be shut off, to avoid wasting electricity with the ‘standby’ power feature.
• Today, the use of computers and the related components use electricity energy even when not being used. You should plug each computer component into a power bar that can be shut off and avoid wasting electricity with the standby power feature.
• When purchasing computer systems and monitors, consider the energy efficient models and make sure you enable the computer’s energy saving features.
• Shut off at least the computer screen as this uses 60% of the computer power. The remaining 40% is used to keep the hard drive spinning and to power the electronics.
• Put your home entertainment systems on a power bar and turn off the bar when you are not using them. (Components without clocks and timers, of course.)
• Putting all your home entertainment systems on a power bar enables them to be turned off excluding the components with clocks and timers .
• TVs in infrequently used rooms continue to draw power when turned off so should be unplugged.
• Swimming pool pumps should be put on a timer or run only few hours per day. Clean the filter frequently for greater efficiency.
• Solar blankets keep swimming pool water warm overnight which allows you to use the heater only when necessary.
• New Solar powered pool heaters (roughly $3,000 to $5,000) is a cost effective purchase after considering equipment, installation and fuel costs of traditional heaters.
At times of peak demand, we rely more heavily on fossil fuel powered generation. About 65% of Ontario’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydroelectric sources with almost no smog or acid gas emissions. The remainder comes from fossil fuel powered generating stations. Using less energy means less power plant emissions and that helps keep the environment cleaner today and in the future.
• More energy is consumed when computers and monitors are left on over time than turning then on and off as required. This in fact is with all electronic devices.
New bright ideas for lighting your home more efficiently.
• Don’t leave lights on whenever you leave a room. Shut them even if it is just a few minutes.
• Lower overall energy demand by concentrating bright lights where needed instead of lighting an entire room. These are called task lighting.
• Open the drapes and blinds in a room to brighten up a room without turning on lights.
• For necessary lights that are needed through the night (stairways), replace bulbs with the lower wattage bulbs or consider the compact fluorescent or a nightlight.
• Using lighter colors of paint when decorating will illuminate the room and make areas brighter.
• Clean light fixtures. The cleaner bulb will give a brighter light.
• Compact fluorescent bulbs can save you three times its cost in electricity. They cost more than regular bulbs but save you 75% electricity costs and last years longer.
• Install a motion sensor for outside lighting that will turn the lights on automatically when someone walks by. They automatically turn off after few minutes.
• Another inexpensive say to save energy in the home is to use Dimmer switches. They set the mood and are inexpensive. They are not to be used with compact fluorescent bulbs.
• Less energy is consumed when lights are turned on and off, contrary to popular belief, than leaving them on all the time.