Be an Energy Saver

CEEA’s Efficiency Matters Blog

It’s National Cut Your Energy Costs Day today—here are 7 things you can do to save money and energy!

Although you may not be aware of it, today is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day! Today’s commemoration is great timing for those budget-sensitive Canadians who are looking to save money to pay off their higher than expected holiday and winter energy bills.

So when you’re looking to cut your energy costs, where will you get the biggest bang for your buck?

  1. The biggest source of wasted energy in your home is your heat generation in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. So if you don’t already have one, make sure that you purchase a programmable thermostat. There are lots of provincial rebates and coupons that help you save money when you purchase a new energy efficient programmable thermostat.
  2. Major household appliances such as your fridge, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washer and dryers consume another big chunk of your electricity bill so make sure you replace old appliances with energy efficient models. And for dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers run them with full loads on off-peak times. And don’t forget to keep your appliances clean (vacuum dryer vents and fridge vents) so that they can run efficiently. And if you have a hot tub, make sure that you put it on a timer so it’s not drawing power continuously. Dehumidifiers and portable heaters also draw a lot of power so look for energy efficient models when purchasing these units and try to run them at off-peak hours.
  3. Insulating your home is another big one. Whether it’s a big project such as adding more attic and wall insulation, to smaller projects such as weather-stripping doors, caulking around your windows to seal cracks, adding piping insulation around hot and cold water pipes, insulating your water heater, to adding insulation in your wall sockets, every bit helps to save you money. And don’t forget to have your HVAC system cleaned (or replaced if it’s an old inefficient unit) so that it can run more efficiently.
  4. Change your cooking habits. Use your microwave to heat up your food instead of the stove, keep lids on pots when cooking, use electric kettles with auto shutoff to boil water, don’t open your oven door to check on the status of your food until it’s done cooking and don’t wash or pre-rinse your dishes under running water.
  5. Electronics, with so many of us having a multitude of electronic gadgets running in our homes today, it’s becoming a bigger energy expense for homeowners. So to help reduce the energy load of your electronics, make sure that you have your TV, laptops/computers, home theater systems, cable terminal boxes, radios, docking stations and anything else that’s electronic, plugged into a power bar so that any phantom power that’s being drawn out of the device to keep lights and timers on will be shut off when they’re not in use. New auto shut off power bars are great for those (like me) who forget to turn off power bars. They also help protect your items from power surge damage, so it’s really an essential item to have in your home. And of course, when you’re purchasing another electronic product, make sure they have an ENERGYstar label to verify their energy efficiency.
  6. Lighting, although it may seem obvious, replacing any incandescent lights with CFL bulbs or LED’s is an easy and very affordable way to save money on your energy bill.
  7. Water. A lot of us don’t realize that wasting water is another big source of energy consumption. Not only will you get a higher water bill, but the energy used to pump the water from your local water utility into your home is a big source of energy use. So leaky faucets and toilets should be fixed to help you conserve water which will in turn save energy and help you cut your energy bills. And don’t forget to use efficient shower heads, don’t run water when brushing your teeth or washing/rinsing dishes and avoid taking baths (who has time to take baths anymore anyways?) to conserve water use.

Although all of these energy saving tips may seem like a lot to tackle, if you try to implement a new energy saving tip every day, or even every week, and educate your children to ensure our future generations will continue to save energy, we can all save money, energy and decrease our carbon footprint in the very near future.