During the cold winter season, many Canadians find themselves longing to spend time snuggled up in their warm homes. Unfortunately, the higher energy bills in these months can pack a bigger punch than the holiday shopping bill.
You don’t have to suffer in an uncomfortably cold home just to reduce your energy costs. Our tips can help you save on your energy bill!
Get Smart About It
Smart tech gives you more control over the devices in your home, and this can lead to energy savings. For instance, with a programmable thermostat, you can set a schedule to heat the home only when you’re there.
More advanced models allow you to control the temperature from your smartphone for those times when you had a change in schedule and forgot to turn things off before you left, and some can even sense when people are in the home, automatically shutting off when they don’t sense movement.
With a video security system, you might notice that someone left a light on, then be able to shut off that light remotely if you have a smart lighting system.
Take the time to explore all your options.
Look for the Leaks
Air leaks are one of the biggest causes of energy loss in a home. Cold air often comes in through faulty seals around the windows or doors.
This isn’t always a problem in brand-new homes because they’re built using the latest techniques for maintaining energy efficiency, but these seals can wear down over time, so if you’ve been in your new home for a few years, you’ll want to check for leaks. Home improvement stores typically carry quite a few products to “weatherproof” your home.
Invest in Insulation
Proper insulation makes a big difference. If you’re currently planning your new home build, upgrading the insulation in the exterior walls and in the attic is a smart move that will save you money long-term. Otherwise, check the insulation in the attic to see if you might need to add a bit more. It’s usually an easy DIY project.
Dress for the Weather
This should go without saying, but we see plenty of short sleeve-wearing people complaining about how cold it is in the winter. This is Canada. It’s winter. It’s cold. If you're sitting next to a window it may be a bit chilly even if the heat is on.
We’re not saying that everyone needs to bundle up in their puffy jackets with hats and scarves inside their homes, but put on some thick socks, slippers, cozy pyjama pants, and maybe even a sweater or sweatshirt. Doing this will allow you to set the thermostat to a lower temperature, which will save you money on the energy bills.
Change the Lights
With the longer nights, we tend to keep the lights on more in the winter than we do in the summer, and this contributes to the higher energy costs. If you haven’t already, swap out older light bulbs for the more energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Additionally, look more carefully at how you’re lighting your home. Could you get by with soft lighting from a nearby lamp rather than brighter overhead lighting? This might cost you less money.
Buy Energy Efficient Appliances When You Can
The use of energy from appliances makes up a big portion of your energy bill. When you’re building your home, it’s smart to buy the most energy-efficient appliances on the market.
In particular, on-demand water heaters tend to be significantly more energy-efficient than tank heaters. However, you shouldn’t replace an appliance with a more energy-efficient model if it’s only a few years old.
The money you save on energy costs probably won’t make up for the money you’re spending. We’re just saying that when it’s time to buy something new, look for energy efficiency.
Increase the Humidity
Turning on the heat tends to dry the house out, as you’ve probably seen in your dry hands. Surprisingly, the dryness can cost you money.
Humid air does a better job of holding the heat in the home, so use a humidifier to keep the home at around 30 to 40 percent humidity. Choose one that’s measuring the humidity, though, because too much humidity can lead to mould problems.
Use Power Strips
Even when you’re not watching TV, playing games with your PS4, or making toast, those devices can be leaching energy if they’re still plugged in.
You can reduce the effects of these “voltage vampires” by using power strips that you can turn on or off. The best type allows you to control the flow of power to each outlet so that you can only turn on what you need.
Energy costs in the winter are higher, but there’s plenty you can do to reduce your costs. Simply pay attention to the way you use energy in your home and make the necessary adjustments.