As winter settles in and the thermometer drops, your heating bills are likely going through the roof. Behind your mortgage/rent payments and your groceries, your energy bills likely take one of the biggest chunks out of your salary. But, like with your groceries, these costs are variable, which means that there are steps that you can take to reduce these costs significantly.
“In addition to obvious energy-saving measures, like turning down the thermostat and remembering to turn lights off when you leave a room, there are a lot of things that you can do to reduce costly energy bills. If you commit to conservation in every way you use energy, the cumulative effect will bring your bills down,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“Take advantage of all the money-saving tools available, which include educational resources around how to make your home an energy efficient home, financial assistance or rebates for low-income households and incentives for home renovations and product purchases,” says Schwartz.
Here are some tips on how to make your home an energy efficient home to cash in on the savings.
Hot water hero
When it is cold outside, don’t you put a coat on to stay warm? Use the same strategy with your hot water tank. Invest in a water heater jacket, which is an effective way to keep heat from escaping from your tank. Similarly, wrap some insulation around the pipes leaving the tank. This is a cheap but effective way to actually raise your water temperature by a couple of degrees, meaning that you can set the temperature lower and save.
Look to the Stars
You have a lot of choice when you buy electronics and appliances, so why not choose energy efficient ones? When you see the EnergyStar logo on an appliance or electronic item, it means that the product is in the top 15 to 30 percent of its class for energy efficiency. And of course, the more energy efficient a product is, the more energy savings that you can realize. For everything from TVs to dishwashers to furnaces to ceiling fans, here is a list of EnergyStar’s most efficient products for 2016.
Look for Rebates
There are incentives offered municipally, provincially and federally for all kinds of energy efficiency programs addressing your whole home. To take advantage, you just need to know where to look. Click here for a full list of programs and rebates across Canada.
To give you a sample of what is offered across the country, several provinces offer programs with specific retailers to offer consumers discounts on energy efficient lighting products (lamps, fixtures, LED lighting, etc.).
The City of Toronto offers water efficiency programs, which provides rebates and tips on how to reduce water use.
BC Hydro offers rebates for energy efficient home renovations and offers low-income households free home energy evaluations and more.
Check out your community to see how you can save.
Seal your windows
Glass is porous when it comes to heat, so no matter how durable your windows are, there is the risk of that costly heat wafting outside. In addition to caulking around the seals to make sure that the window is airtight, consider applying a film over the window. It’s very inexpensive and easy to do. Just attach the film to the window frame with tape and then seal with heat (a hair dryer). Light is still allowed to enter, but the cold will stay out and the heat will stay in.
Have high energy bills forced you to turn to debt just to make ends meet? By taking charge of your debt payments and finding ways to cut down those bills, you can find financial relief. Call us today at or check out our free online debt analysis .