Tips for saving money on your energy bill this winter
Spare your wallet with a few simple changes
The government of Canada has compiled a list of ways for Canadians to cut costs and consumption during colder months.
Electricity prices rose last month in Ontario, driving up the average household hydro bill by 3.4 per cent. These rates are slated to go up again on Jan. 1, 2016, when the Clean Energy Benefit will end, quashing the 10 per cent benefit currently in place across the province.
Below are eight simple methods Natural Resources Canada recommends adopting in order to reduce your energy bill and environmental impact as the mercury dips in the coming months.
Adjust your thermostat
- You can save 2 per cent on your heating bill for every 1 C lower you set your thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to set temperatures to ensure the heat is there when you need it and not when you don't.
Decorate with LED lights
- Light-emitting diode (LED) lights provide significant savings, despite being more expensive. Powering one 7-watt incandescent bulb could light 140 LED bulbs. These lights typically pay for themselves within two holiday seasons.
Be mindful when cooking
- Only preheat your oven when baking and turn it off early to make use of remaining heat. Ensure that the door stays sealed shut, as 20 per cent of heat can escape when opened. When boiling water, keep power levels as low as possible once simmering to save electricity. Also, use smooth and flat-bottomed cookware, as they heat quicker.
Washing with cold water
- At the least, wash your clothes in warm water and rinse in cold water. Also, if you're looking for a washing machine, opt for a high-efficiency one, which use less water, energy and detergent. If clothes are still dirty after a wash, try using the pre-soak option to help get stains out, and keep in mind that high-speed or extended-spin options use less water, which saves time and energy.
Take care of your dryer
- Clean the lint trap before every load to maximize efficiency. Sort clothes by thickness, as heavier items take longer to dry than other items. Take advantage of dryers that are already warm and be sure to end your cycle with cool air.
Unplug those electronics
- These items use power even when they aren't turned on, so make sure they're fully turned off when not in use. Unplugging items — especially that phone charger — directly from the electrical outlet saves energy because they constantly use electricity when plugged in.
Avoid idling your car
- The typical vehicle only requires a few minutes to warm up, so don't wait until your car is toasty to hop in. The average car consumes more than a cup of fuel for every 10 minutes of idling.
Look for the labels
- Look for the EnerGuide, Energy Star and Energy Star Most Efficient symbols on products. Typically, Energy Star products use 20 to 30 per cent less energy than their counterparts, while Energy Star Most Efficient identifies the best in class. Choosing efficient products will help save money on your energy bills now and down the road.