It is usually during the winter months, when our heating bill is high enough to shock us, that we really begin to think seriously about ways to reduce our energy consumption. It is also in the winter that we finally notice that our windows and doors are letting the cold air in. There are several things that we can do to reduce our energy consumption and lowering our heating bill in the winter.
According to Hydro-Québec, simply lowering our thermostat by 1⁰C in the winter can save us $40/year. By shortening our shower time by one minute, we can purportedly save $50/year. Purchasing water-saving products, such as reduced flow showerheads, can save up to $100/year, and switching to electronic thermostats saves up to $150/year. These four simple steps add up to a total yearly saving of $340, a substantial amount when you consider that the price of everything is constantly going up.
Since our energy costs are on a pay-per-use system, it makes sense that by using less electricity, we will pay less. Therefore, a good policy is to switch off everything that is not being used. Computers, televisions, lights and other electronics can always be turned off instead of being left on indefinitely. Apparently, screen savers on your desktop are a huge waste of energy, so disable these and set your computer to sleep mode instead. Unplug any unused or seldom used electronics or appliances, since they continue to use power even if they are turned off. And turn off the water taps while you are brushing your teeth!
Other useful tips to remember:
- Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs
- Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when purchasing new light fixtures or appliances
- Place a burning candle near windows and doors to check for cold air coming in. Redo the caulking where necessary.
- Keep baseboard heaters free of dust.
- Reduce heating in the garage.
- Keep your refrigerator set to 3⁰ - 5⁰C (38⁰ - 42⁰F) and your freezer to -17⁰ - -20⁰C (0⁰ - -5⁰F).
By reducing your energy consumption, you are not only saving money, but you are helping the environment as well. It’s a win-win for everybody!