Replace your existing bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting and put the lights you use most often on dimmers. Put your outdoor lighting on motion sensors.
Your TVs, stereos, computers – even your treadmill – all draw power from your electrical service as long as they’re plugged in. Plugging them into power bars allows you to easily cut off the power supply when not in use.
That 1960s fridge and freezer in the basement with the hockey decals may be convenient for keeping cold beer close to the wide screen, but it can cost a couple of rink side seats to keep it running.
Have your programmable thermostat installed by a professional. Then turn it down! The rule of thumb is for every degree you lower your thermostat, you save one per cent in total energy costs. If you program your thermostat to reduce heating during the night, add another one per cent to your total energy saving. Try setting your thermostat at 70F (21C) during the day and 64F (18C) at night.
Turn down the thermostat on your hot water tank to 130F (55C) for gas water heaters or 140F (60C) for electric water heaters. Install low-flow showerheads available at any hardware store and insulate your hot water pipes with foam pipe wrap. Plus, commit to washing your clothes in cold water, take showers instead of baths and only use your dishwasher when it’s full.
Heat rises and escapes out the top of your home unless you stop it. Buy some latex caulking and a caulking gun. Caulk the baseboard (top and bottom), window trim, attic access, behind plugs and switches and around the ceiling lights. Then crawl up into your attic and fill in any holes in your insulation.
This could reduce your dryer use by 75 per cent or more, resulting in a major reduction in your energy costs.
Want more ideas for saving energy?
Go to the Government of Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency website. It offers energy expense calculations along with energy-saving tips for homeowners. You can also check out Green$aver.org, a non-profit organization based in Toronto. If you live in the Toronto area, they’ll do an energy audit of your home and provide you with a customized list of the most effective ways to make your home energy efficient. Outside of Toronto? Visit the Green Communities Association to find a similar organization near you.