Many Canadian residents are struggling with the cost of their electricity bills. While there are opportunities to lower your rates–such as by taking advantage of the energy rates comparison form on our homepage–there are other ways to cut your electricity costs. Take the time to look at your usage habits and look for opportunities to cut your energy consumption. Below are just a few suggestions on how you can fight back against your pricey energy electricity rates, and save in the long run.
Don’t let your high electricity rates get you down. Here’s how you can save.
Do those lights really need to be on right now? Sometimes we get just a bit too comfy on the couch, and don’t want to bother getting up and turning off a light or an electronic device. But do you really need the TV on for background noise? Is anyone in that bedroom at the moment? If not, turn them off. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when as you leave a room, turn off the TV and media center when you’re done, and flip the switch on electronic devices and appliances when you aren’t using them.
This goes for business owners as well. If you have rooms that are often left unattended for long periods of time, such as restrooms, break areas, or storage rooms, replace your old light switches with motion-sensitive systems. While this require a bit of upfront investment, these power-saving devices will pay for themselves (and then some) sooner than you think.
Dump those old incandescent light bulbs and replace them with LEDs or CFLs. Incandescent lights are incredibly wasteful, as they convert the majority of the electricity they use into heat, rather than light, while CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and LEDs are much more efficient. To give you an idea of the stark contrast, the same amount of light is produced by:
- A 60-watt incandescent bulb
- A 13-15 watt CFL
- A 6-8 watt LED light.
That means that a CFL uses a quarter of the electricity as an incandescent, and an LED uses between 1/10th and 1/8th. Think of the cost savings! Switching to efficient light sources could take a huge chunk out of your power bill, no matter how high (or low) your electricity rate.
Clean the filters in your HVAC system. Filters that are filled with dust and dirt no longer allow air to pass through easily. This resistance makes your system work harder and consume more electricity. While you’re checking your filter, also check to make sure your ducts and vents are also clean and free of obstructions.
Maybe you don’t have to be quite that warm, or that cool. In the summertime, does it really have to be cool enough that the ice in your drink doesn’t melt? And in the winter, could you perhaps wear a sweatshirt, rather than cranking the heat up? A difference of a few degrees can make a huge difference in your energy bill. Also, remember to set the thermostat to a more reasonable temperature (or turn it completely off) when nobody will be home for a while.
How old is your furnace or air conditioner? Older units are much less energy efficient than newer ones. This means that they far more electricity to achieve the same level of comfort. Maybe it’s time to install a new HVAC system.
In addition, the thermostats that come with new HVAC systems have advanced programming functions that allow you to program the settings according to a daily—or even weekly—schedule. This means that you can set your system to run only when your family will be home, rather than accidentally leaving it on unnecessarily.
Consider installing double-pane windows. Dual pane window greatly reduce the amount of heat lost when it’s cool outside, and also minimize heat absorption during summer months. If it’s time to replace your windows, consider investing in energy efficient windows. Also, a good set of drapes can also make a big difference in how much heat is lost or absorbed through the windows. More insulation is always better.
Pull the plug or flip the switch! Many electronic devices and appliances, such as TVs, computers, coffee makers, and other such items have low consumption standby modes that makes it tempting to just leave them on, rather than turning them completely off. However, they still use electricity, and this energy consumption can really add up over time (as your bill can attest!).
For maximum savings, plug your devices into power strips with power switches, so that you can be sure these energy vampires aren’t chewing through your wallet when you aren’t using them.
Ensure that the weather stripping around windows and doors is in good condition. Your HVAC system has to work harder and more often when outside air is leaking into your home. Worn weather stripping is a major culprit.
There’s an easy way to check whether your stripping is due to be replaced: Get your hands wet, and hold them close to any suspect weather stripping. If you can feel cool air on your sensitized skin, that means you have a draft that’s costing you money.
Use the same trick to check the seals on your refrigerator and freezer. Older fridges and freezers often have worn seals that allow chilled air to escape, making these appliances have to cycle more often in order to keep food properly chilled. If the seals are worn, have them repaired, or replace your fridge.
Also, keep any sources of heat as far away from freezers and refrigerators as possible. The warmer the air is in the vicinity of these appliances, the harder they have to run, due to the temperature differential. Dishwashers, ovens, and furnace vents should be kept as far away as possible. In addition, if there are windows in the kitchen which admit a great deal of direct sunlight, putting up blinds or curtains is a good idea.