Four simple ways to reduce your energy bill this winter
The days may be getting longer, but the season of layers, hot showers, and high energy bills isn’t over yet. In a country known for considerably cold, harsh winters, keeping warm is key, but it also comes at a cost.
It’s probably no surprise that during a winter in Canada, heating our homes is the most significant household expense.
Heating accounts for 63 percent of the average homeowner’s bill during our colder months,
according to the 2009 Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada study. And while it may seem like the price we pay for living in a cold climate, there are lots of handy tips out there to reduce your consumption (and the hit to your wallet!) like:
• Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
• Use programmable thermostats
• Wash laundry in cold water
• Unplug appliances and turn off screens when not in use
• Air dry dishes
Here are some additional ways you can lighten your energy expenses:
Block Off Your Chimney
If your home has a chimney, we suggest sealing it off when it’s not in use as it is one of the big sources of heat loss in the winter. Once you’re done gathering around a warm, cozy fire, use a top sealing damper, a chimney cap, or a chimney balloon to stop hot air from escaping up your fireplace. All of these solutions are available at affordable price-points so you don’t have to break the bank.
Clean Your Furnace Filter
Furnaces are the most common heating systems in North America, with 57 percent of Canadian households preferring that method over boilers and heat pumps. When was the last time you cleaned or replaced your furnace’s filter? Experts suggest checking it monthly because dirty filters, clogged coils, and fouled blowers all impact airflow which leads to a higher energy bill.
This method is time consuming but very effective. Before you can properly seal a draft, you need to locate it first! Take a barefoot walk around your entire home so you can feel where the cold air is seeping in from. If you’re all about efficiency, use an electronic thermal leak detector instead. Pay close attention to windows and doors and make sure they’re locked so the seal is at it’s tightest. Don’t forget the places that are directly connected to the outdoors such as basements, attics, exterior walls, and sunrooms. And shut the doors of unused rooms, it will keep the cold at bay.
Rugs and carpets serve more than a decorative purpose in a home. They’re a practical way of insulating bare floors, which account for 10% of heat loss. But if you prefer the look gleaming hardwood, we recommend filling in gaps and cracks with a silicone-based filler, and investing in a warm pair of slippers!