Where to Start
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First, try these everyday tips to keep your energy from going down the drain.
Today, many homeowners in Ontario use natural gas or oil for heating, and electricity for hot water. The good news is that many improvements for using hot water more efficiently are relatively inexpensive. In fact, most don’t cost anything. The simplest way to save is to reduce the amount of hot water you use.
Consider the cycle
When you’re doing the dishes, use the light or short cycle for easy-to-clean loads in your dishwasher. Use the no-heat or energy-saving drying cycle for further savings. If your dishwasher has a timer, set it to start after 7:00 p.m.
Try cold water washing
About 25% of household hot water is used for clothes washing. Always set your machine to rinse with cold water. When you do use hot water, be sure to set the water level to match the load. When shopping for a washer, consider front-loading units that are more energy efficient.
Install faucet aerators on your taps
They mix air into the water flow and can reduce water consumption by 25 to 50% per tap.
Install an energy-efficient showerhead
You can reduce your hot water use by up to 30%!
Fix leaky taps
Did you know that a leaky tap at one drop per second wastes 800 litres per month? Often a new washer is all that’s needed to fix a leaky tap. And washers cost just pennies each.
Use your hot water tank efficiently
Have a certified hot water service technician check the tank’s temperature setting. The manufacturer’s recommended setting is 60°C.
Everything counts so make a checklist to look for savings
Ontario households use an average of 1,000 kWh of electricity per month. Hot water and appliances are a key area to look for savings. And of course, if you use air conditioning, you can find potential savings in how you’re using it.
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Appliances last years – a few seconds reading labels could mean long-term savings
Most appliances last 13 to 21 years. So it makes sense to take the “second price tag” – the cost of operating the appliance – into consideration.
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Using electric heat? Improve your home’s building envelope for savings
If you’re using electric heat, about 60% of your energy dollars go to heating and cooling. That means your greatest savings may be in your home’s building envelope – the walls, windows, doors and roof.
- If you’re considering renovations, be sure to make them energy-efficient ones.
- Get more information on the right amounts of insulation for your walls, attic and ceilings. Find out the big difference that $50 of caulking and weatherstripping can make throughout your home.
- Consider replacing old doors and windows with energy-efficient models.
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Put your thermostat in control
Heating costs rise about 5% for every degree above 20°C that you set your thermostat. While the temperature of your home is a personal choice, monitoring your thermostat and turning down the temperature while you are away during the day, or are sleeping, can make a big difference in your energy consumption. Consider a programmable thermostat that can save you money throughout the year.
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Lights, computers and televisions count too
Today, you have energy-efficient options for nearly everything that consumes electricity. Like many other energy-saving ideas, it doesn’t cost any money – just a small change in habits.
- Buying light bulbs? Look for compact fluorescent bulbs, LED or other energy-efficient bulbs.
- Most computers have energy-saving stand-by modes. Using them can make a real difference. Laptops generally use substantially less energy than desktops.
- When it comes to televisions, stereos and other entertainment components, the easiest way to save energy is to turn them off and unplug them when you’re not using them (or use a power bar).
- The average Canadian home has 25 electronic devices that use power, adding up to 10% of your electricity consumption, even when not running. Plug these devices into power bars that allow you to turn off the electricity supply with one switch when not in use.
With Time-of-Use rates, weekdays are broken into three rates: on-peak, mid-peak and off-peak. All weekends and statutory holidays are at off-peak rates. You can best manage your electricity bill by time-shifting as many activities as possible to off-peak hours.
- Pay special attention to appliances that use the most electricity. Use your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer after 7:00 p.m. during weekdays or any time during the weekend.
- Use built-in timers on appliances where possible.
- If no one is home, use programmable thermostats to control your heating and cooling. Set your heating a few degrees lower, and your air conditioning a few degrees higher than you normally would to save energy.
SEE ALSO: Hot Water Tips
Now that you know where to begin, see more tips to save on water heating
Read the EnerGuide and ENERGY STAR® labels
Choose your appliances wisely:
- Looking at the EnerGuide labels. The higher the number, the more energy it uses.
- Or, consider the energy-efficient ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances first. This indicates that it meets the highest energy-efficiency levels.