Winter Energy Saving Tips
It's official with the wonderful gift of another hour of sleep we received this past weekend, winter started to sneak in. With the colder weather arriving, our energy expenses go up.
Although we can't control the weather, we can take steps to help reduce our energy cost.
Here are a few inexpensive tips that will help, with your winter energy expenses:
Electronic devices left plugged in, even when turned off, still use a significant amount of power. It's called phantom power, and it's costing you money.
According to a new survey, three of every four Ontario residents are unaware of this invisible user that can account for up to 15 percent of your annual home electricity consumption.
For the average Ontario household, which uses about 1,000 kilowatt-hours of power a month, phantom power can cost up to $100 a year.
The most effective way to eliminate standby power loss is to unplug your electronics when they are not in use. For electronics/appliances that you do not unplug, use a surge protector or power bar with multiple outlets and switch off the entire strip when you are not using it.
Lighting is the third-biggest energy user in most homes. But it's probably the easiest area to save in. You can start saving a whopping 70-90% right away by simply screwing in new LED (light emitting diodes) or CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights).
A “normal” incandescent bulb costs about 0.75cents per hour, and LEDs or CFLs cost only one-sixth of that – so leaving the lights on (either overnight or while you’re at work for the day, say both are about 8 hours) costs you roughly 6 cents for a normal light and a bit over 1 cent for modern bulbs. Obviously this isn’t going to break the bank……but if that light switch you forgot to flick off actually runs 5 lights in the kitchen, we’re talking 30 cents a day, and that bad habit adds up to $110 per year!
Poor wiring in pot lights mean that they are using 300 watts 24 hours a day. Switching "regular" pot lights to LED bulbs can save over 85% in electricity usage.
Turn off all the water in your home, now check your water meter, is it running, then somewhere there is water running in your home. A tap is dripping, the toilet is running, money is draining out of your home somewhere.
Sixty-seven percent of households leak 38 litres of water per day. Worse yet, five percent of households leak an average of more than 380 litres per day! Reducing your water cost by repairing leaks and drips and by replacing old, less water-efficient fixtures with new water-saving devices helps to reduce your operating costs.
Removing of old design toilets and replacing them with a new six-litre toilet will reduce water consumption by 50 percent or more.
In Canada, the average person consumes about 326 litres of water per person per day. The shower is the second heaviest water user in the home. With a standard showerhead flow of 20 litres per minute, an average family of four could use about 2,800 litres of water per week. Replace that showerhead with one that uses only six to 10 litres per minute, and the usage could drop up to more than 50%.
The installation of faucet aerators on bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators can save up to 50 percent of the water usage and energy consumption
Choose a front-loading washing machine. Front loading washing machine save water and energy. It uses about 40% less water and about 50% less energy.
Air leaks cost us dearly. According to the Energy Star program, most people could save about 20 percent on their heating and cooling costs by sealing up air leaks.
Seal drafty windows to keep heat in and energy bills low with one (or both) of these two simple tasks. First, caulk the cracks; caulking is inexpensive and easy to apply. Second, cover your windows in a thin plastic film (available at any hardware store) and tape it down with waterproof double-sided tape, heating the edges with a hair dryer and pressing the protective layer into place.
Natural Gas BBQ's
Imagine coming home after spending 6 months of Canada's winter in Florida. You unpack, get settled back into your home, and decide to BBQ. That's when you realize while you were enjoying the heat of Florida, your BBQ was providing heat for your back yard for 6 MONTHS. No you didn't turn the gas off the last time you had a BBQ, you turned it to low. The proof is your $3,500 gas bill you receive that month.
To ensure this shouldn't happen again purchase a Barbecue Safety Timers that offers safety (and in some cases savings of $3,500) by automatically shutting off the gas flow to your BBQ at pre-set times.
Rather than leaving the light on all night, use motion sensor lights for exterior security lights. They automatically shut off after 1-15 minutes, so you're not paying to run them all night. Fixtures start at $20 at home improvement stores like Home Depot. Do note that you can't use CFL's in security lights though, because the fixtures cycle a very small amount of voltage through the lights constantly which makes the CFL's die a lot faster.
Clogged gutters block the drainage of rain and melting snow, resulting in household leaks and damage to landscaping and foundations. As fall sheds its last leaves, grab a ladder, garbage bag, some rubber gloves and dig in. Remove everything, check that the downpipes are clear of obstruction and then ensure the entire system is un-clogged and leak-free by running water through it
Prepare your hearth for fire. Get your fireplace prepared for the first fire. Grab a flashlight and look inside for build-up, bird's nests or obvious cracks. From the outside, check for broken bricks and crumbling mortar. Ensure that your damper opens and closes and seals tightly. Clean out the ashes and remember that in addition to these steps, you should have your chimney professionally cleaned every other year (more often if you burn a lot of fires).
Don't forget about heating maintenance. Is your heating system ready to weather the winter? Check the filters. Have a professional check your heating system and ensure it's in good working order before you turn it on. Schedule checks for your furnace, venting system and chimney. Don't forget to replace the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in case any of your heating systems are overworking.
With these money savings tips, maybe you will be able to spend next winter in Florida. Just remember to turn the BBQ off, before you head to the Sunshine State.