When you use less electricity, you’ll save money on your bill.
You can start today. Many conservation ideas are free, and just mean changing some habits. Others involve home improvements, but will pay off over the long term.
Start by following three general rules:
- Go off-peak. Use energy at times when electricity prices are lower.
- Evict your phantoms. Many devices – TVs, computers, cell phone chargers – draw “phantom power,” meaning they use electricity unless they’re unplugged. If you plug these into a power bar with a switch, you can turn them off fully when not in use.
- Invest in efficiency. Switch to LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs, and look for ENERGY STAR® appliances for your home.
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Energy conservation in your home
Heating and cooling
- Install a programmable thermostat, and set it to lower the heat at night and when you are away.
- Use caulking and weather-stripping to keep cold air out and warm air in.
- Improve furnace efficiency by checking the air filter every four weeks (or according to your manufacturer’s instructions). Clean or replace as required.
- Go “fan first” – try cooling off with a fan before turning on an air conditioner.
- Avoid running your air conditioner between 11 am and 5 pm.
- Cool your home to 25°C instead of 20.
- Use a solar blanket to keep your swimming pool warm overnight. Depending on pool size, a solar pool heater may be a cost-effective investment.
- Use timers to run swimming pool pumps, filters and heaters during off-peak periods when prices are lowest. Keep the filter clean for greater efficiency.
- If the outside of your electric hot water tank feels warm, it’s losing heat. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and wrap the tank in an insulation blanket to prevent heat loss.NOTE: Do not wrap a gas-fired water heater.
- Use the vacation setting to lower the temperature on your water heater when you go away on holiday.
- Fix leaky faucets right away. One faucet dripping once per minute will waste close to 130 litres a year 1.
- Install low-flow aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets to save water and energy.
1NOTE: this assumes 4,000 drips/litre; exact total is 128.7 litres per year.
When buying new appliances look for the EnerGuide label. Also, look for ENERGY STAR® models, for added efficiency and savings.
- Set the temperature no lower than the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Check your refrigerator door’s seal by closing it on a $5 bill. If the bill is held tightly in place, the seal is OK. If not, the door should be adjusted or the seal replaced.
- Clean your refrigerator’s coils and air intake grill as directed in your manufaturer’s user guide.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers out of direct sunlight, and allow space on all sides to allow heat to escape (see manufacturer’s recommendations).
- Defrost manual freezers before they build up more than six millimetres of frost.
- Don’t keep that old, inefficient refrigerator (or freezer) running in the basement for occasional refreshments. It could cost you $150 or more per year in electricity.
- Use an electric kettle to boil water instead of your stove.
- Match the size of the pot to the amount of food and the size of the element.
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator (unless the label says otherwise).
- If you put aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven to catch drippings, make sure the foil does not block any of the oven’s circulation holes.
- Always operate with full loads, and use the air-dry setting.
- Clean drains and filters regularly to ensure efficient operation.
- Match the water to the size of the load. Run full loads when possible.
- Wash your clothes in cold or warm water. Approximately 85-90 per cent of the energy used by washing machines is for heating the water.
- Save money and energy by using a clothesline or drying rack.
- Ensure clothes are well wrung out before putting them into the dryer.
- Dry loads consecutively to use otherwise wasted heat from the dryer.
- Clean the lint trap after every load for greater efficiency and safety.
- Think about lighting when you decorate. Lighter colours help make a room brighter.
- Replace bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, and use a low wattage bulb for any light that must be left on all night.
- Use task lighting and dimmer switches to apply the right amount of lighting where you need it.
- Turn lights off when you leave a room.
- Install a motion sensor that turns outside lights on and off automatically.