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Save energy and stay safe

7 tips to make your holidays cozy and warm

Icon of holiday lights
Save energy outside with LED bulbs and an automatic timer. Choose grounded exterior lights for safety.
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Indoors, plug your LEDs into a power bar with auto-timer. Test them first and replace any damaged ones.
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A dry tree is a fire hazard. Choose a fresh tree, water it daily, and keep it away from heat sources.
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Reduce heat loss with caulking, draft-proofing and insulation and give your furnace a tune-up.
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Set the temperature to 20 C or consider a smart thermostat. Lower the thermostat when cooking, baking or entertaining.
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Be aware of time-of-use pricing. After 7 p.m. is a great time for holiday baking or watching the classics.
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In case of a power outage, have food, water, flashlight and phone charger on hand. For updates, call 1-800-434-1235 or sign up for Outage Alerts.
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It's that time of the year again — the season for spending quality time with family, reconnecting with friends, and cozying up to home-cooked meals and holiday treats.
Get more holiday energy-saving and safety tips below:

Light up the night

  • Always use outdoor lights for the great outdoors – the added insulation is designed to protect against snow and ice.

  • Choose grounded lighting and extension cords, and don’t remove the third prong – the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) prevents electric shock and reduces risk of fire.

  • Water and electricity don’t mix, so keep cords and electrical connections away from water and off the ground.

  • To save energy, invest in LED lights – they use 80% less energy than incandescent lights.

  • Use an automatic timer made for exterior lights and don’t exceed the recommended wattage.

  • Program the lights to turn on and off at night so you can "set it and forget it" – and avoid trudging through snow in your pajamas.

Deck the halls

  • Connecting all your lights into one continuous strand is a safety hazard. It can trip a circuit breaker or start a fire. Count your light strands, and never string together more than three.

  • Enhance your safety and efficiency by plugging them into a power bar with auto-timer.

  • Opt for LED bulbs, which don’t heat up like incandescents.

  • Read the label to avoid overloading circuits or extension cords, and don’t hide them under carpets or rugs.

  • Always inspect and test your lights first. Replace any strands with loose connections, damaged sockets, cracked cords or exposed wires. And don’t be a Clark Griswold – unplug your lights before you install them.

Trim the tree

Seal in the warmth

  • Over 60% of your energy dollars go to home heating, so keep your Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) system humming in top shape.

  • Identify any air leaks around doors, windows and exterior outlets, and seal in the warmth with caulking, draft-proofing and insulation.

  • Insulate your hot water pipes and seek other ways to save on hot-water heating.

  • Conduct regular tune-ups on your furnace. A dirty filter clogs the system and reduces air flow. Check the filter regularly, replace it every 1 to 3 months, and remove obstacles around heat registers and air ducts.

  • Take advantage of Hydro One's $250 furnace rebate when you upgrade to a high-efficiency model. It's a nice way to cozy up to winter.

Turn it down

  • Set your thermostat to an eco-friendly 20⁰C, and reduce it to 16-18⁰C when no one’s home.

  • Consider investing in a smart thermostat, which can pay for itself in as little as a year. It adjusts automatically based on your preferences and allows you to make adjustments from your mobile device.

  • Lower the temperature when you’re cooking a roast, baking cookies or entertaining a house full of guests, as these activities naturally keep your home toasty and warm.

  • If you enjoy sitting by a crackling fire, turn down the thermostat in advance.

Pay attention to peak times

  • Demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day. The Ontario Energy Board sets the time-of-use (TOU) electricity prices per kilowatt hour for each demand period and consumers can plan their energy use around these periods to manage costs.

  • TOU pricing has three periods: on-peak, when the demand and cost of energy are high; mid-peak, when demand and cost are moderate; and off-peak, when demand and cost are low. Evenings are best, especially after 7 p.m. – that’s off-peak across Ontario, until 7 a.m. the next morning.

  • Plan your energy-intensive activities during low- or mid-peak times, if possible.

  • Official TOU holidays like Christmas Day and Boxing Day are full off-peak days – which means you can bake cookies, play video games or stream holiday classics all day long at off-peak rates.

Be ready for anything

  • Blizzards and ice storms can impact the electrical grid. In case of a power outage, have an emergency kit ready to go. Basics include: bottled water, non-perishable foods, candles and flashlights, a radio or landline, and any important medications. See our power outage checklist for more.

  • Have a duplicate kit in your car, especially for winter driving.

  • To report an outage, call the 24/7 power outage line at 1-800-434-1235. For outage updates, visit Hydro One’s Storm Centre outage map on your mobile device.

  • For a personalized touch, sign up for Hydro One’s proactive outage alerts to receive email or text messages.

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