Evaluate and reduce energy consumption to save money
Energy is expensive. The average family in Canada spends $1, 147 (Statistics Canada) on electricity each year and $610 on natural gas. While the majority of your costs for living are for mortgage or rent, big utility bills drive your expenses upwards. But there are a number of ways that households can reduce their energy consumption to save both energy and money.
Tip No. 1 – Unplug appliances and gadgets when they are not in use.
TVs, computers, cellphone chargers, and even appliances like coffeemakers and toasters can account for up to 10 per cent of your electricity bill, adding up to costs of $100 a month per household according to CBC Canada.
Unplug devices that aren’t in use. Remember, these phantom power appliances can eat up power if they are just plugged in. You may additionally hurt the battery life of devices by leaving them plugged in after they are fully charged. Additionally, small appliances may cause more of a fire risk when left plugged in for a long time.
Tip No. 2 – Keep your money in the bank by finding cheaper ways to heat and cool your home
Heating accounts for almost two-thirds of annual energy bills in Canada. By following the tips below , you can keep your home at a comfortable temperature without sweating about the bills.
- Insulating your home may cut your heating and cooling needs by 30 per cent. Make sure to insulate your attic, as it’s usually the largest source of heat escape. Use foam insulation to make sure any areas leading to the outdoors are airtight and prevent energy from escaping.
- Adjust your thermostat if you aren’t home to reduce the temperature difference between the interior and exterior of your house as much as possible. There are new smartphone controllable thermostats to control the temperature in your home while you are away. If your current system does not allow you to modify temperatures in different areas of the house, ask a contractor about “zone” heating and cooling.
- Install a ceiling fan to make a warm room cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Position blades at 12 degree angles for the best efficiency. Set ceiling fans to spin counter clockwise in the summer to suck air upwards and clockwise in the winter to blow hot air down.
- Use coloured paint to bounce back the heat. Light colours reflect heat, while dark colours absorb it. To reflect heat, install highly reflective materials on your roof, such as an asphalt-based coating with reflective glass fibers and alumni particles to lower surface temperatures.
- Buy energy-saving home appliances. Look for symbols such as Energy Star that indicates a product meets high efficiency standards. You may also use the Ener Guide label to compare a product’s energy performance to others in its class.
- Use compact fluorescent bulbs to save you money in the long run, even though they may cost more upfront. If you replace 25 per cent of the lights you use often with fluorescents, you can save up to 50 per cent on your lighting bill, and they will also last much longer than your other bulbs.
- Clean the air conditioning coils and your air filter for your heating and cooling units regularly. Most manufacturers recommend changing your furnace filter at least quarterly for maximum efficiency.
Tip No. 3 – Use appliances at maximum efficiency to make lighten your budget.
Washing and Drying:
Cold water uses less energy than hot water, and if you use a shorter cycle, you will save even more!
When using the dryer, use it for full loads, since more frequent smaller loads take longer to dry. Also, make sure the hose that connects to the wall is lint free. This will save money and prevent a fire. Consider installing a clothing line, as air drying clothes is a great way to cut back on energy and give your laundry an ultra-fresh scent.
Run the dishwasher for full loads only, and load during energy-efficient times, like right before bed.
Fill a fridge up to full capacity to be more energy efficient. Also, be careful before purchasing an older fridge as it will not be as energy efficient as a newer model. Check for spaces by closing the door on a piece of cloth. If it pulls out easily, the seal is probably worn. Replace it to keep energy and energy costs from increasing.
Cut down costs by turning down the heat of your water heater. If you are using a hot water heater during the day, use a timer that will allow you to turn off the hot water heater during times you aren’t using it.
Or, if you use a tank-less water heater, the water will be heated as needed as it passes through the appliance.
Tip No. 4 – Conserve Water, one drop at a time to start saving this valuable resource.
When brushing your teeth or shampooing your hair, turn off the water when you are not using it. Also water your lawn during off-peak hours such as the early morning or late evening. Always look for energy-saving low-flow faucets your sinks and showerheads..
Trouble keeping up with home energy savings?
If the cost of running your utilities are causing you trouble in your budget, we can help you out. Call a trained Credit Counsellor free of charge at to give you advice on how to bring your pocket book back to life. Or, request a Free Budget Analysis online.