Energy bills are an unavoidable part of owning a home. However, the price of your bill can be significantly lowered by adopting good energy habits. If you are looking to cut back on your energy usage and save money on your bills, you should start by reviewing the current and historical energy consumption in your home. Most hydro companies will provide customers unique insights into their usage and include information such as time of day breakdowns and total consumption per day. This will help you both identify the biggest opportunities for cutting hydro costs in your home and track your savings after practicing good energy habits. Take a look at the tips below to get started!
Heating & Cooling
Heating and cooling are by far the largest portion of electricity expenses in Ontario homes, accounting for up to 60% of annual costs. Luckily, there are numerous things that can be done in and around the house to decrease your energy costs and increase the efficiencies of your heating and cooling units. By adopting the tips below you should see savings on your hydro bill:
- Get a programmable or smart thermostat that will give you the power to schedule energy savings in your home. In the winter set temperatures lower when you are in bed and out of the house. Meanwhile, in the summer consider turning off your AC when you are not home and minimizing use during peak hours.
- Remember to maintain your heating and cooling units with annual tune-ups. Additionally, you should regularly change filters in your furnace to avoid clogging and minimized airflow.
- Avoid blocking heat sources with furniture and other bulky items as it will minimize their ability to circulate airflow throughout the room. You can also help promote the airflow by operating ceiling fans, use counterclockwise settings in the summer in order to circulate the cold air from the AC unit. Meanwhile, use clockwise settings in the winter to help you redistribute warm air and save on heating costs.
- Ensure your home is insulated well. Caulk, weather-strip, and seal any leakages in windows, doorways, and other areas. This will help to reduce drafts and keep the warm/cool air inside your home.
- In the winter, open blinds and window coverings on sunny days to allow the sun to heat your home and close them at night to keep the warm air in. In the summer consider closing blinds to prevent the sun from warming the room and making your AC unit work harder.
Heating water is often the second-largest source of energy consumption in our homes. You can impact the cost of water heating on your electricity bill in numerous ways. The tips below are some of the low-cost ways you can reduce your hydro bill:
- Lower the temperature of your water heater. The recommended temperature for your hot water heater is around 120℉ as it is not hot enough to scald but is still hot enough to hold sanitization properties. If your home is currently at 140℉ and you adjust it to 120℉, you could save anywhere from 6 – 10% on your water heating costs.
- Installing low-flow, energy-efficient showerheads and faucets can decrease your home’s water consumption by over 40%. Overall reducing the amount of hot water needed to run your home.
- Take shorter showers and minimize taking baths. Baths typically take significantly more water than a shower would. Cut your costs even further by restricting the amount of time you spend in the shower, consider using a shower timer to help keep you and your family members on track.
- Fix any leaky faucets, even though it may seem like an insignificant amount of water, a small leak of one drip per second can save you over 3000 gallons of water in a year.
- Shut the taps off during routine tasks such as washing your hands, brushing your teeth, and shaving.
Appliances include dishwashers, washers, dryers, fridges, freezers, water coolers, and more. A good way to save money on energy costs is having ENERGY STAR® certified appliances as they are manufactured to strict efficiency standards. In addition to buying energy-efficient appliances, there are other ways to increase your energy savings. Check out these tips:
- Do your laundry during off-peak hours (late evenings and weekends) and do full loads of laundry to reduce the number of total loads. Also, be sure to use cold water in your washing machine to save on the costs of heating water.
- Try to dry clothes on a drying rack or a clothesline to eliminate the energy consumption from your dryer. When this is not possible, it has been said that adding a dry towel to your load of wet clothes can decrease the overall drying time.
- Operate your dishwasher during off-peak hours and skip the heat drying cycle. Simply switch to the air-dry cycle or just open the dishwasher and allow your dishes to dry naturally.
- In the hot summer months, avoid using electric stoves when possible as they heat the air inside your home and make your AC unit work harder. Opt-out for cold dishes, BBQ or simply use smaller appliances such as microwaves and toaster ovens. In fact, use these smaller appliances whenever possible as they use substantially less energy than electric stoves, over 50% less!
An average home in Ontario has approximately 30 light fixtures. By ensuring all of these fixtures are equipped with LED light bulbs you can save up to 75% of your electricity use when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs use a significantly less amount of wattage, they emit more light, stay cooler and they last 15-50x longer than an incandescent. Take a look at these other helpful tips to save money on lighting costs:
- Try using table lamps, desk lamps, and more focused lighting sources when possible. This creates a stronger light source directly where you need it.
- Turn off lights every time you leave the room and whenever they are not needed. In certain areas, an automatic motion sensor or timed switch may make this an easier task.
- Try to use natural light as much as possible.
Devices such as televisions, computers, phones, game consoles, and other appliances still use up small amounts of energy when they are plugged in and not in use. You can save up to 10% on your annual hydro costs by simply unplugging these devices. One great way to make this an easy task is to plug these devices into a power bar and simply switch off the power bar when they are not in use.
Are You Looking to Buy an Energy-Efficient Home?
Today’s newer homes are being built with energy-efficient appliances and other cost-saving perks. As experienced real estate professionals, we know what to look for. Whether you are looking to buy your first home, or it is just time for a move, the dedicated team at Davids & de Laat is here to help. We are local experts in the Niagara Region real estate market, and we pride ourselves on putting the needs of our clients first. Browse the available listings in The Niagara Region or contact us today to get started!