Energy usage climbs substantially during periods of hot weather, especially for those customers who use air conditioning, dehumidifiers or have a pool. Also, appliances such as refrigerators and freezers work harder to maintain temperature under these conditions.
Use these tips to help lessen the impact and better manage your electricity cost
As an alternative to air conditioning, use ceiling and portable fans to circulate the air when you are in the room - they cost pennies to operate and can provide comfort in spaces that are not air conditioned.
On cool nights, open the windows and use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to help remove warm air from inside your home. Be sure to clean exhaust fans regularly to keep them running efficiently and prevent overheating.
Whenever possible, use the microwave, toaster oven or barbecue.
Use a clothesline or clothes rack to dry your clothes instead of a dryer.
Use curtains or blinds to shade windows during hot sunny days.
Use solar outdoor lighting for landscaping and change incandescent light bulbs to LED light bulbs.
Put your swimming pool pump on a timer and consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR® certified unit.
Reducing water consumption can help lower your household costs. Here are a few tips to consider:
Use rain barrels to collect and store rainwater from your rooftop, which can be used for watering plants and gardens.
Keep a jug of drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap until the water is cold.
Don't cut grass too short; leave clippings on your lawn to work as mulch and retain moisture.
Install low-flow shower heads and reduce time spent in the shower.
Minimize lawn watering. If you have to water your lawn, do it in the evening or early morning for less evaporation. During the summer your lawn only needs 2.5 cm of water per week.
Approximately 60 per cent of the energy consumed by an average home is used for heating and cooling. Several consecutive days of extreme cold weather of -25°C or more can put added stress on your home heating and energy costs.
Here are some simple measures you can take to reduce the effects of the cold winter on your electricity bills.
Eliminate cold drafts
- Install weather stripping around doors and windows, and foam gaskets in wall outlets.
- Open curtains and shades on sunny days to allow the sun to naturally warm your home; close window coverings at night to help keep warm air inside.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to push warm air downward.
- Check your attic – if you have less than 150 mm (15 cm) of insulation, install more.
Turn off electronics and lighting
- Plug your electronics into a power bar and turn it off when not in use.
- Visiting family for the holidays or going on a sunny vacation? Unplug non-essential electronics such as televisions, microwaves, computers, etc.
- Save energy and make your bulbs last longer by using indoor and outdoor timers, motion detectors and dimmer switches for lights.
- Use LED holiday lights and replace indoor and outdoor incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LED light bulbs, which use up to 75 per cent less energy.
Control temperature and time-of-use
- Turn down your thermostat – lowering the temperature a degree or two can help you save on energy costs.
- Use programmable thermostats to maintain comfortable temperatures – 20°C to 21°C when you are at home; 18°C when you are asleep or away.
- Programmable thermostats are also available for electric baseboard heaters.
- Shift use of electric appliances such as dishwashers, dryers and ovens to off-peak price periods – 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends and holidays.
Maintain heating equipment
- Change your furnace filter regularly and keep vents clear of furniture and appliances for optimum operating efficiency.
- An annual furnace inspection by an HVAC professional can save on costly repairs.
- Wrap your electric hot water tank with a water heater blanket to reduce energy loss by up to 40 per cent, especially if your tank is more than 10 years old.
- If finances permit, replace your old inefficient furnace, water heater, appliances, windows and doors with new ENERGY STAR® certified models for year-round savings and comfort.
Follow these industry links to learn more
- Ontario Ministry of Energy - https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-use-less-electricity-home
- Save on Energy - https://www.saveonenergy.ca/
- Energy Star - https://www.energystar.gov
- Kilowatt Way - http://www.kilowattway.ca/alectra/