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ENERGY SAVING TIPS

Thermostat

Using electricity wisely means using it efficiently but also using it at times of the day when demand is typically lower. On weekdays, peak demand occurs in the late afternoon or early evening as people return home from work. Delaying energy use until later in the evening or the weekend will help reduce these peaks. As well, consumers can also benefit from keeping energy use to a minimum during extreme hot and cold spells.

You can see how much electricity is being used throughout Ontario on the Demand and Price Information page. Here you can watch as demand increases through the day and starts to decrease by early evening. In the end, saving electricity will deliver benefits to both your pocketbook and the environment.

Year-round tips:

  • Turn off lights, TVs and other appliances when they are not needed.
  • Wash laundry in cold water. This does just as good a job, keeps your colours bright, and saves lots of energy.
  • Take short showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower uses about half as much water as a bath.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescents, which are four times more efficient and last about eight times as long.
  • You can also control the intensity of your incandescent bulbs with dimmer switches to save money. A bulb dimmed by 25 per cent uses 10 per cent less energy.
  • Install motion sensors on light switches.
  • Using a low-flow shower head can save up to 15 per cent of hot water costs; aerators on your sink faucets can reduce water use by about 10 per cent.
  • Use small appliances such as a microwave, slow cooker, electric kettle or toaster oven instead of the stove.
  • Take clothes out of the dryer and fold them while they are still warm to prevent wrinkling; your iron uses a lot of energy.
  • Shower and run your dishwasher, washer and dryer early in the morning or late at night.
  • Try setting your dishwasher to start after 7:00 p.m. when off-peak prices begin. If your dishwasher has a timer – use it.
  • Consider a home energy audit to find out how energy efficient your home is and the best way to spend your home-improvement dollars.

Summer tips:

  • Proper maintenance of your air conditioner can increase its efficiency by about five per cent.
    • Replace the air filters that keep dust out of the duct system – usually every three months for most models.
    • Remember to check the SEER number (an energy efficiency rating) of an air conditioner before you make this important purchase. An energy efficient air conditioner may be more expensive but it could pay for itself during its lifetime.
    • Get your air conditioner tuned up on a regular basis. You can clean the outside compressor yourself with a hose, removing debris that impedes air flow.
    • Following instructions and safety precautions from your air conditioner’s manufacturer, you can also clean the grilles and fan blades, clean and lubricate the fan motor, and clean the coil fins.
  • Reduce the time your air conditioner is on.
    • Raise the thermostat by 1 C and lower your electricity bill up to five per cent.
    • Open windows at night and use fans to blow in cool air. During the day, close your windows and draw the curtains closed to keep out solar energy.
    • Use fans to cool your room. You can cool the main floor of a house by using a fan to blow cool air up from the basement.
  • Go 'green' and lower your electricity bill
    • Planting the right vegetation can lower your energy consumption. A tree or shrub that shades your central air conditioner can improve its efficiency by up to 10 per cent.
    • Consider planting a deciduous tree on the south side of your lawn to block the sun during the summer, and let in solar energy during the winter when it sheds its leaves.

Winter tips:

  • Since up to 25 per cent of heat loss is through windows, plastic window covers can help reduce drafts. They can be purchased at most hardware stores.
  • Keep window curtains open during the day to allow solar energy into your home.
  • Put removable, temporary caulking on the inside of your windows that you can peel off in the spring.
  • Reduce the temperature on your thermostat when you’re not at home and overnight. Many new thermostats can be programmed to change the temperature automatically.
  • If you have forced air heating in your home, give your furnace a break by having ducts cleaned regularly and checked for leaks. Leaky air ducts can cause distribution losses of up to 30 per cent.

RELATED INFORMATION

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation offers tips on how find energy savings in houses of specific styles and ages.

The Ontario Ministry of Energy offers energy saving tips on their website.

Some French language energy saving tips are available from Hydro Ottawa.