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Celebrate Thanksgiving

Enjoy hearth and home, while saving energy.

Three children playing on the playground

Preparing for a family feast this Thanksgiving? Before you stuff that turkey, mash those potatoes and chill that cranberry sauce, consider these seven tips to make the holiday a little more energy efficient.

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1. Prevent heat loss

Consider the heat envelope of your home. If Aunt Joan always complains about that draft in the dining room, take steps to reduce it. Identify areas where warm air escapes – like doors, windows and vents – and seal in the heat with insulation, caulking and draft-proofing. After all, heat loss can account for up to 25 per cent of your heating costs.

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2. Lower the temperature

Before everyone arrives, turn down the thermostat one or two degrees. All the activity in the kitchen, combined with the body heat of all your guests, will keep your home toasty warm. Dialling it down to 20°C (68°F) can make a big difference. Plus, it will prevent you from throwing open the windows later to cool it down.

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3. Keep the chill box chilled

Refrigerators use lots of energy – even a modern ENERGY STAR certified fridge uses about 350 kWh annually. Take steps to prevent yours from working overtime: set the temperature to 3°C (37°F) and make sure the seal is airtight. Try closing the door on a piece of paper; if it slips out, replace the seal. And tell Uncle Frank where the mustard is, so he doesn’t stand with the fridge door open, letting cold air escape.

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4. Double up the oven

Chances are you’ll be giving at least one appliance – an oven, barbecue or oil-free turkey fryer – a Thanksgiving weekend workout. Look for ways to make it do double duty and cook side dishes alongside the turkey. And remember, each time you check on that bird, you’re letting heat escape which, in turn, requires more energy to replace.

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5. Cook for efficiency

Use ceramic or glass cookware, and lower the cooking temperature by 25°C (77°F) – these materials retain heat better. Adopt a “lids-on” approach: tight-fitting lids preserve the heat, allowing you to shorten cooking time. If you want to run the self-cleaning oven after dinner, do it while it’s still hot.

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6. Train the clean-up crew

Ask your guests to scrape – not rinse – leftover food into the organics bin, and load all dishes into the dishwasher. Running a fully loaded, energy-efficient model uses far less hot water and electricity than hand-washing. Use the “eco” cycle, or air-dry the load, and consider other hot-water savings.

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7. Be ready for anything

In case of an outage during your Thanksgiving festivities, make sure you’re equipped with flashlights, food and water. To ensure you have the right emergency supplies, see our Power Outage Checklist. Consult the Storm Centre for tips on what to do before, during and after a storm. Call 1-800-434-1235 to report a power outage, or sign up for Outage Alerts to get an email or text message when an outage occurs.

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