10 Ways to Cut Your Energy Bill this Winter
For many of us, winter rhymes with ski, hot chocolate and quality time with friends and family. But for others, the winter season rather means having to pay high energy bills due to house heating.
There are numerous ways to save money by conserving energy. Discover our 10 best tips below:
- Replace worn weatherstripping
Worn and torn weatherstripping around your doors and windows lets cold air in. According to Hydro-Québec, air leakage can represent 25% of heat loss in your home. Together, they can correspond to a hole the size of a basketball! Definitely consider replacing worn weatherstripping before the cold season begins.
- Adjust door thresholds
If you are able to see the sunlight below your entrance, you’re losing hot air from the inside, which you paid to get heated. Certain door thresholds have screws, making it possible to adjust their height, thus eliminating the gap between the door threshold and the door. Turn the screws in a counterclockwise motion to lift the door threshold until it is perfectly adjusted to the bottom of the door.
- Improve the insulation of your indoor electrical plugs and switches
Air leakages can take place in multiple locations inside your house, even in tiny corners, like around power switches and outlets. Follow these few tips from Hydro-Québec for optimal caulking and a cautious installation: https://www.hydroquebec.com/residential/energy-wise/heating-air-conditioning/how-to-caulk.html
- Cover windows and patio doors with plastic film
Windows represent 25% of heat loss in houses. Covering your windows and sliding patio doors with clear plastic film can reduce this loss. This method will help you save about 14% on your heating bill. The film is easy to install and will not impair the functioning of your curtains and blinds. If you install it correctly, you will hardly notice it. When spring comes, it is easy to remove.
- Insulate the door to the attic
Even in well insulated attics, the access door may not be properly insulated, letting hot air out through the attic hatch. The same problem occurs if the door is deformed or if something is keeping it from being adequately closed. To ensure that the door is reducing heat loss as much as possible, use an adhesive to attach the fibreglass batting to the attic side of the door. And if the door is not lying flat on its framing, consider installing a locking system to obtain better sealing.
- Optimize the performance of your appliances
If you own an old oil furnace, possibly 70% efficient, it’s as though 30% of the energy utilized by your furnace is lost. It may be time to substitute it for a younger model! By opting for a more effective heating unit, preferably natural gas, which is a much cheaper energy source than furnace oil, you will undoubtedly save money this winter and for many winters to come. I’d like to invite you to do this simple exercise. Submit your annual furnace oil consumption to this savings calculator suggested by Gazifère on their website. With just a few clicks, you will get a better idea of any substantial annual savings you could be achieving. The results could really surprise you!
- Use the sun to your advantage
In spite of the freezing temperature outside, the sunlight can bring a lot of heat into your home. And it’s free, so enjoy it: the heat entering your house will reduce the needed heat that your heating unit would otherwise have to provide. Keep your curtains open during the day, especially at the south side of the house, which is where you’ll be receiving more direct sunlight. Cut any tree branches or bushes around your windows to maximize the efficiency. Close the curtains at night, as they will act as a barrier that reduces draughts.
- Keep hot air ducts clear
Hot air vents should not be obstructed in order to provide uniform heating in the rooms of your house. If you place your favorite couch on an air duct, you are limiting the heat flux. To reduce your heating costs, organize your room’s layout in a way that heat sources are as cleared out as possible.
- Program your thermostat
To preserve comfort while maximizing savings, control the ambient temperature with a programmable thermostat. According to Hydro-Québec, reducing the temperature by one degree Celsius will cut down 5 to 7% on heating costs. Some thermostats suggest programming various temperatures for specific periods of the day; for example, programing your thermostat at 17°C at night and while you’re outside, and at 20°C when you are inside the house.
- Establish good habits
Follow Hydro-Québec’s tips:
- Reduce your shower time.
- Use your dishwasher judiciously: only start it when it is filled to full capacity.
- Use your washer and dryer wisely: do large loads, wash with cold water and select the the adequate cycle.
- Unplug your electronic devices, especially when you’re going off on holidays, to get rid of appliances’ phantom load.
- Turn off your electronic appliances: television set, computer and high fidelity amplifier, as soon as you stop using them. These devices use electricity even when in standby-mode.
- Turn off the lights as soon as you leave a room.