Winter Is Coming: How To Save On Your Utility Bills
According to BC Hydro, winter energy habits (heating, lighting etc.) can result in average winter electricity bills that are 66% higher than the rest of the year. With this in mind, here are some energy saving tips to help you control your energy costs through the winter, and throughout the year.
- Given that heating costs rise about 5% for every degree above 20°C consider setting it to:
- 16°C when you’re away from home and sleeping.
- 21°C when you’re relaxing or watching TV.
- 18°C when you’re cooking or doing housework.
- Choose a smart thermostat that automatically adjusts during certain times of the day and ideally, choose one that can be controlled via your smart phone. Some, like the Nest, will automatically adjust according to your daily routine.
- Keep drapes and blinds open on sunny days to allow natural heat to penetrate your home.
Photo: W1 Furnished Rental Units
- Don’t heat unused rooms.
- Avoid cranking the heat to warm house quickly – it doesn’t work. The house will warm up at the same rate regardless of the temperature setting.
- Remind your landlord to have the furnace serviced to ensure filters are clean and it is working optimally.
- If you must use an inefficient space heater, use it in a small space or corner of a room and keep doors shut to contain the heat. Use BC Hydro’s online cost calculator to see how much that space heater is costing you!
- BC Hydro also offers customers energy tracking tools through MyHydro. You will have access to these tools once you have created an account and then you can track, down to the hour, how much and where your energy use is.
- Hang one load of laundry to dry per week and save up to $50/year.
- Throw a dry towel in the dryer to reduce drying time. This can save you an additional $50/year!
- Unplug coffee makers, chargers, game consoles etc. when not in use. This can also save you $50/year.
- Since Canadians rely on electric lighting through our long, dark winters, consider installing automatic timers and motion sensors, dimmers and solar cells to minimize wasted energy.
- Check doors for drafts. If you feel air, ask your landlord to install new weather stripping.
- If windows are drafty and your landlord has no plans to replace them, consider investing in energy efficient curtains. They are insulated and help keep outside temps outside! To be effective they need to be kept closed.
- As elegant as hardwood floors are, they can be cold. To insulate the floors throw down some rugs.
- And, of course, insulate yourself! Rather than turning up the heat, layer up in your woollens and fleeces instead.
None of these are costly modifications and are easy to follow so we encourage you to try and implement some, if not all, of these tips to conserve energy and costs year ‘round.
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