If you live on a fixed income, or are already living paycheque to paycheque because of debt and other expenses, you’re right to be concerned about the skyrocketing costs of energy across the country. While you can’t control the costs, there are steps that you can take to reduce your energy bills.
“In order to reduce your energy bills, you’ve got to be committed to conservation. That means going further than adopting an energy saving habit here and there. You’ve got to overhaul the way in which you use energy every day in order to get the savings. Each act is a drop in the bucket, but you need many drops to fill that bucket,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“With winter coming, you’ve got to think ahead about what you can do to keep your bills manageable. You don’t want to be forced to turn to debt to pay the bills,” says Schwartz.
Here are some ways to reduce your energy bills.
Skip the Bath
While there’s nothing quite like a hot bath when it’s cold outside, it can be one expensive treat. Taking a shower is faster, so it uses less energy and less water. That means more energy savings for you.
Energy efficient upgrades
If you are a homeowner, overhaul your home so that it is energy efficient. When buying appliances, make sure that they are EnergyStar certified, this means that they’ll cost less to run.
Convert showerheads to “low-flow”, which will be more energy efficient.
Consider converting to a high-efficiency gas furnace and a tankless hot water heater. Tankless heaters heat water “on-demand” which is much less expensive than traditional heaters.
Don’t forget, there may be government programs supporting these upgrades. Visit your local utility’s website for more information.
. Pull your fridge out from the wall on a regular basis and dust the coils. Maintaining all your appliances properly will make them run more efficiently and use less energy.
Visit the attic
Heat rises, so the insulation in your attic is the last line of defense before the hot air escapes outside. Before winter arrives, make sure that the insulation is intact and in place. Sometimes, if you’ve had a number of windy storms over the summer, it can move around. Put it back in place with a broom.
Turn it off
When we say turn it off, we mean turn everything off. Turn lights off in rooms that you’re not using. Turn appliances and electronics off when you’re not using them.
Its sweater weather
Turn the thermostat down a few degrees and wear a sweater instead. Even a few degrees can have a big impact on your energy bills.
If you have a slow cooker, consider using it a few times a week instead of your oven. It’s far cheaper to run.
Inspect windows and doors
Before the snow flies, make sure that there is no loose or cracked caulking around your windows and doors. Keep the hot air inside where it belongs, rather that heating the outdoors.
Depending on where you live, energy is more expensive at different times of the day. Commit as much as possible to doing laundry and washing dishes in off-peak times.
For extra savings, wash dishes by hand and only use cold water cycles to do the laundry.
Are you struggling to make ends meet and worry about being able to pay your bills with the high cost of heat and electricity? Reducing your debt load will free up some cash to take care of other household expenses. Get started today by calling one of our trained credit counsellors at or visit our online debt analysis.