Those pesky energy bills. Who needs heat and water anyway? Okay, maybe it is a necessity of life and maybe our utility bill is something we simply can’t run from, but maybe, just maybe we can take extra measures in our home to try and minimize the money we have to spend on it. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy a night out for dinner and drinks or maybe buying yourself a brand new pair of jeans than paying your hard earned money towards another ridiculously high energy bill? Wouldn’t we all. If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve probably already made the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs in the home. But if that’s the only change you’ve made towards creating a household that doesn’t have to spend it’s life savings on hydro, it’s unlikely you’ll notice a significant change until you try these 5 ways to save money on your energy bills:
Are your energy-efficient light bulbs really energy-efficient?
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”? Same goes for the content printed on the box of the so-called energy-efficient light bulb you’re about to purchase. Understanding what makes a product truly energy efficient will help you make more informed purchasing decisions. First and foremost, the ENERGY STAR sticker is a good indication of a energy-efficient product. Products bearing the ENERGY STAR labels are more energy efficient than standard products, thereby saving energy and money. In general, ENERGY STAR certified products including: appliances, HVAC equipment, office equipment, residential lighting, and even homes, reduce energy costs by at least 30 percent.
Energy-efficient light bulbs are Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL). They work by generating an invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside, which then emits visible light. Technically, CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, CFLs use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs. They are certainly worth the cost, even without the aspect of saving on energy, they are cheaper to purchase. They cost about $14.99 and also have a much longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs.
Understand your thermostat
How hard could it be to set the weather in your home? If you don’t really understand how your thermostat works to maintain a comfortable setting in your home, it will cost you. To put it into perspective, every degree you set your thermostat to above 20 degrees celcius can add 10% to your heating bill. Don’t run off to hit the down button on your thermostat just yet. Here’s a good guideline for setting your thermostat:
Summer: 26 degrees and above
Winter: Between 18-20 degrees
Bear in mind, heating your home during the winter will account for about 30% of your heating bill and the being accounted for with natural gas appliances and running the hot water tank.
Wash your clothes in cold water
Your washer and dryer is considered one of the larger appliances that account for much of the energy use on a monthly basis. Every household is different as well, families with kids often tend to do a lot more laundry. When it comes to energy consumption and laundry, the best way to save money is to: a) run the laundry on full loads only and b) wash your clothes in cold water. By reducing the energy it takes to fill a hot water wash, you can save approximately $115 a year by choosing a cold water wash on the shortest cycle your washing machine has.
Air dry your clothes
Again, cutting down on using larger appliances like your dryer can show a significant savings on your energy bill. Let mother nature dry your laundry, it’s free! If you can’t hanging an ol’ clothesline outside your home just doesn’t work for you, than use a clothing rack inside or hang wet clothes over a shower rod. If you love the idea of a natural way of dry your clothes but are worried about you’re clothes drying stiff, here’s a natural method to avoid crunchy tops and pants. White vinegar is a natural fabric softener. Adding half a cup to a full load of laundry during the final rinse, after washing with the usual dose of laundry detergent, will help dissolve the detergent and soften the fabric. Don’t worry the smell will dissipate while your clothes are air drying! Don’t forget to shake, shake, shake your clothes really well before hanging.
Upgrade your windows and doors
Replacing your old windows and doors with ENERGY STAR qualified windows are one of the leading ways to lower energy use and save you money. For a typical home with quality ENERGY STAR replacement windows, you can save approximately $126–$465 a year when replacing single-pane windows and about $27–$111 a year over double-pane, clear glass replacement windows.
Right now is a great time to consider making the important decision to install brand new windows and doors in your home. With the GreenON rebates, you can receive up to $500 per eligible window, for up to ten windows if you purchase your windows from an eligible contractor for the program. Consumer Terms and Conditions can be found here.
Alternatively, if you’re not ready to replace your windows, you can make your existing windows more efficient by following these easy steps to create the perfect seal around your windows:
- First, use a putty knife to remove the old caulking on the exterior of the windows.
- Fill the gap with quality exterior caulking to seal up any air leaks.
- Clean out all of the dirt and debris on the window sill.
- Apply foam weather stripping to create a tight seal.
That should seal up any air leaks and keep those windows intact for a while longer.
Every home is different in the way we live, who we live with, and our overall lifestyles. Understanding your home’s consumption patterns is the best place to start when looking for ways to reduce consumption. Perhaps ensuring all the lights and electronics are turned off while you’re away for the day is enough for your family while others will have to consider changing the way they do their laundry or the days they set aside for laundry. Think of the savings you will see over the year and that could be the motivating factor that could make these efforts go over a bit smoother for everyone in the household.