Below you will find a variety of small measures that can add up to big energy savings.
General Energy Conserving Tips
- Use lids when cooking in a pot. This saves both time and heat energy.
- Turn off all unnecessary lights in your home.
- Because heat rises, insulating your ceiling should be a first priority. It's easy and can save up to 30% of heating fuel. Make sure all exterior walls, ceilings, or roof areas are insulated to meet government standards.
- Close all windows and drapes after the sun goes down in the evening. Keep your windows closed during the winter.
- The electric fans in oil and gas furnaces consume about 13% of the home's electricity. Keep the furnace clean and in good repair. Replace the filter with a clean filter once a month during the winter.
- Shut the door.
- Have the thermostat on the water heater turned down to 150 Fahrenheit.
- If no one is home during holidays, turn the thermostat down to 12 Celsius in the winter, and turn the air conditioning off in the summer.
- Plant shade trees on the south side of your home, and place conifers on the north side.
- Use a fan instead of an air conditioner.
- Use an electric kettle which uses half the energy required to heat water on a burner.
- After a bath or doing dishes, let the hot water sit for a while to heat the room.
- A single pane of glass loses about 12 times as much heat as an insulated wall of the same area. Doubling all the panes in a typical Ontario home will reduce heating costs significantly.
- Transportation is a big energy user. Before hopping into the car, consider walking or cycling. Walking is good for your health, uses no fuel, and produces no emissions.
- Many outdoor swimming pools use a combination of a solar heater and a solar blanket to keep the pool water warm. The solar blanket acts as an insulator (and prevents water evaporation).
- Energy is wasted in an ordinary light bulb, which coverts only about 2% of the electrical energy into light. The other 98% is wasted as heat.
The six major appliances - refrigerators, freezers, electric ovens, dish washers, clothes dryers and washers - consume over 30% of the electricity used in an average home. This can amount to hundreds of dollars a year.
The EnerGuide label, regulated under Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations, compares the energy consumption of major household appliances sold in Canada. The lower the number on the EnerGuide label, the more efficient the appliance. For More information about EnerGuide visit their web site at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/appliances/
Among all of your appliances, refrigerators generally consume the most energy.
- For efficient performance, the temperature in your refrigerator should be between 2°C and 5°C.
- Refrigerators should be full but not overloaded because they need air circulation to operate efficiently.
- Don't open the refrigerator more often than necessary. The cool air spills out quickly.
- Test the door seal occasionally to check that it is air tight.
- Defrost your frozen food inside the refrigerator. This will keep the refrigerator cool, and saves energy compared to thawing the food in the microwave or oven.
- If you have a freezer or second refrigerator that is nearly empty, turn it off. Use second appliances only when necessary, or have them removed.
- In fact, an old refrigerator could cost $125.00 or more a year to operate.
- The temperature of your freezer should be at -18°C.
- Freezers are most efficient when they are full, but not overloaded.
- Keep freezers well defrosted. No more than 7 mm (1/4") of ice should be on your freezer walls.
Cooking, Kitchen & Laundry Tips
Your Cooking and Kitchen Practices Can Save You Money!
- Microwave ovens, toaster ovens, and slow cookers will cook small portions more efficiently.
- Microwave ovens consume up to 50% less energy than conventional ovens.
- Defrosting food in the refrigerator or on your counter is more energy efficient than using the defrost cycle of a microwave.
- Don’t peek while the oven is cooking. Opening the oven door while you are cooking can waste 1/4 to 1/2 a kilowatt-hour of energy.
Be Energy Efficient When it Comes to Drying Your Clothes!
- Avoid overloading, but remember that drying one full load takes less energy than drying two small loads.
- Use the correct heat setting on your dryer to match the type of clothing being dried. This will prevent clothes from being over dried. For example, not all types of material require the same amount of heat to be dried, therefore, by always using the same setting, you may be using more energy than is required.
- When possible, hang clothes outside to dry. After all, the most energy efficient clothes dryer is a clothesline.
Home Heating and Cooling Tips
High heating/cooling costs and wasted home heating/cooling energy can usually be traced to one main problem:
- Homeowners are heating/cooling more than just the house. If you find drafts around your home, the information below will help your household to save energy and money.
- Drafts around windows, doors, air vents, and sockets and outlets can account for 25% of your heating/cooling costs.
Weather stripping and caulking around windows, doors, dryer vents, and insulated plates for outlets can recover 75% of these costs, and, of course, reduce the waste of energy. Weather stripping and caulking materials are very inexpensive and easy to apply.
Consider the savings that could be found by lowering your thermostat:
- Although temperature levels are a matter of individual choice, these recommended temperatures will keep your family comfortable and use energy wisely: 20C (68F) – when working or relaxing, 18C (64F) – when sleeping, 16C (61F) – when no one is at home.
- As a guide, depending on how well your house is insulated, you can save 4 to 6% of fuel used for each 1C the thermostat is set below 20C.
If your thermostat is set above 20C, report the following information to your family:
- For every degree the thermostat is set above 20C, the heating costs rise about 5%. This can mean $56 to $90 a year depending on your fuel source.
- Shut the door to unused rooms and reduce the heat to them. This decreases energy waste.
- Wear a sweater instead of turning up the thermostat
Additional quick tips:
- Install energy-saving lighting – replacing frequently used regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can save 200 kilowatt-hours per year.
- Raise air conditioner temperature settings by a few degrees – you won’t notice a difference in comfort, but you’ll notice a big difference on energy bills. Remember to turn off your air conditioner when you’re away.
- Check the seal on your fridge door to make sure it’s keeping the cold in so it uses less electricity – a faulty seal can consume hundreds of kilowatt-hours a year. To do this, close the door over an ordinary piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, you need to fix or replace the door seal.
- Turn off your computer system when you’re not using it and use the energy-saving mode if it has one – a continuously running computer and monitor can use 2,500 kilowatt hours per year at a cost of $250.
- Use hot water wisely. People with electric water heaters can save between 200 and 1,400 kilowatt-hours per year simply by fixing leaky taps, insulating their water heater and switching to more efficient showerheads.
- Change or clean your furnace filter regularly – if you have central air conditioning do this in summer as well. Even if you have a gas or oil furnace, the electric motor that runs the fans has to work harder and longer if the filter is not clean.
- In summer, keep blinds, shades and drapes closed during the hottest part of the day to help keep rooms cool. In winter, open south-facing blinds on sunny days to let in the heat.
- Take showers instead of baths. A typical five-minute shower uses half as much water as taking a bath.
- Weather-strip your windows and doorways
- Use smaller kitchen appliances for small cooking jobs. Instead of your range or cook top, use the electric kettle, toaster oven or microwave.
- Wash your clothes in cold or lukewarm water. When washing clothes, up to 90 per cent of the energy consumed is used to heat the water.
- Put swimming pool pumps on a timer so they run less often and keep the filter clean for greater efficiency.
- Consider modernizing your major appliances. This can be costly, but a modern refrigerator uses less than half the electricity of one that’s 12 years old. If shopping for new appliances, look for the Energy Star rating – appliances with this rating provide higher energy efficiency.
See more tips on the Ontario Ministry of Energy site, www.energy.gov.on.ca