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It’s no secret that energy costs are high in the Ontario region, and they are only going to get higher. A recent study calculated that Ontarians had paid $37-billion more than market price for electricity from 2006 to 2014 and would pay another $133-billion extra by 2032. With news like that, it has never been more important to save money on your energy bill.
1. Dial in your thermostat
Every degree you adjust your thermostat up or down can save you between 10-15% of your energy bill at the end of the month. This seems hard to believe, but a lot of power goes into keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Try setting the thermostat a few degrees cooler in the winter and a few degrees warmer in the summer. In the winter, wear a light sweater and socks in the house to make up the difference. In the summer, turn on ceiling fans or add a few well-placed box fans to increase the air flow.
2. Add insulation
You spend all that money to heat or cool your home, and yet so much of it escapes naturally through your walls, ceilings, and doors and windows. The amount of insulation your home has helps to keep a lot of that warm and cool air in, and yet most homes are under-insulated these days.
The easiest place to add insulation is your attic. There are two quick ways to do this: you can add more insulation, or increase the insulation performance. Insulation effectiveness is measured in R value numbers, and you want to shoot for a minimum of R50 in your attic.
3. Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Take inventory of all of the appliances at your home, and make sure you don’t have any energy guzzlers. Many old appliances weren’t designed with the same energy requirements, and might be churning through electricity. Common culprits are extra freezers and fridges in the garage and old dryers and dishwashers.
While you’re at it, try switching to energy efficient appliances wherever you can, and use less of them whenever possible. Use a stick vacuum instead of your bulky upright, and use the quick wash cycle on your dishwasher instead of full wash. Avoid the Dry setting and let your dishes air dry.
4. Utilize Curtains and Drapes
Your curtains and drapes aren’t just for styling – they also serve an important function in keeping the heat and cool air in your home. Your windows are one of the quickest places that air escapes. Glass is a much better conductor of energy than your insulated walls are. As a result, when the temperature outside is dramatically different than inside, air (and the temperature) transfers.
In the winter, close all of your curtains and drapes. This will help to keep the warm in during the coldest part of the night. And, during the day, open all of the curtains on your south facing windows to allow the sun the warm your home up.
In the summer, you’ll want to do the opposite. Close your curtains and drapes during the day, especially on south facing windows, to keep the cool air in your home. At night, open your blinds (and even a few windows if you can) to let the cooler evening air make its way into your home.
There are no signs that energy costs are going to go down in the near future, and so it is up to you to conserve as much energy each month as possible. These four tips are relatively simple to act on right now and will save you a lot of money every month.
Allen Michael is the founder and editor of The Stick Vacuums (https://thestickvacuums.com/), a website focused on helping others keep a clean home as efficiently as possible. Allen stumbled onto stick vacuums while trying to help his family keep their home clean with less work, and has since become an expert on saving money and time in your home.