Oh, Canadian winters. You either love them or hate them. On cold winter days, I find myself singing the song “Let it Snow”, not because I want more snow, but because the other lyrics resonate with me, especially, “Oh the weather outside is frightful….” And when I receive my heating bill, it often is frightful, indeed!
But with a little preparation, you can keep more money in your pocket, where it belongs.
Take a look at these hot tips to help lower your energy bill this winter.
1. Ready, set, lower! If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust the settings according to when you’re home and when you’re away. Natural Resources Canada recommends keeping your thermostat two to three degrees lower than 21°C (the average household temperature in Canada) for optimal energy savings. According to Statistics Canada, reducing the temperature to 18°C results in a 6.5% savings in natural gas and a 0.8% decrease in electricity consumption. The more you reduce the temperature, the more you may save. But don’t set the temperature too low, as this can affect humidity and air circulation in your home leading to condensation and moisture issues. In addition, setting your thermostat lower than 12°C when it is below zero outside may cause pipes to freeze and burst. Your home insurer may not cover any resulting damage to your home if you did not follow insurance guidelines.
2. Seal those pesky air leaks. According to HydroOne, air leakage represents 25 to 40% of the average heat loss in a home in the winter. An easy way to deal with drafts is to add weatherstripping and caulking in areas that are prone to heat loss. Most air leakage in an average house occurs in basements (25%), exterior electric outlets (20%), windows (13%), and vents (10%). But those aren’t the only sources of heat loss. Check for leaks around doors, dryer vents, and pipes. Check out this video from Canadian Tire on how to install weatherstripping to a door.
3. Service your furnace. An efficient furnace will run better and keep your house warmer, so have it serviced every winter. If your furnace is old, consider replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model. Check with Natural Resources Canada to see if your province offers rebates for installing energy-efficient appliances. If you can’t afford to replace your furnace, at least replace the filter every three months. A dirty filter may require your furnace to work harder.
4. Layer up. Instead of cranking up the thermostat, dress in base layers closest to your skin and then add cozy sweaters. Base layers made of wicking fabrics keep you dry by pulling moisture away from your skin while still insulating you against the cold. And don’t forget your feet. Pull out your warm socks and cozy slippers!
5. Let the sunshine in. On sunny days, open the blinds in all the rooms in your home to let warm rays shine through to naturally heat your home. Don’t forget to close your curtains or blinds at night when the temperature drops. Just like that sweater you pull on when the temperature drops, they help prevent heat loss and create an air pocket between your cozy room and icy windows.
6. Get cozy at night. Now’s the perfect time to swap your cotton sheets for flannel. Use layers of blankets or a down comforter to help stay warm during those frosty winter nights. A great time to buy blankets and extra throws is at the end of the winter season when they’re on sale.
7. Check your attic’s insulation. Your attic may be nicely filled with insulation, but it’s still a good idea to check for air leaks. And take advantage of additional opportunities to improve your attic’s energy efficiency with helpful tips from Natural Resources Canada.
8. Reverse air flow. Usually you associate a ceiling fan with cooling the house, but if your fan has a reverse setting, take advantage of it. Flip the switch and feel the cold air move upwards and push warmer air (that’s risen to the ceiling) back down where it’s needed.
9. Put down a rug. Carpets and rugs can help keep rooms warmer and take the chill off from under your feet. Add a rug or roll of carpet to your floor, and you’ll immediately feel the difference.
10. Home stage for the winter. Not only will changing the placement of your furniture freshen up the layout of your room, it may help keep you warmer, depending on where you position your furniture. For example, if your couch is placed against an external wall, you’re likely to feel cooler.
Try a few of these toasty tips to help save you money and keep Old Man Winter out of your house. Your family and your wallet will thank you. And you’ll stay cozy and comfy all winter long!
Have you had any success lowering your heating bill with any of these tips? Can you share any other tips to help save energy and money? Let us know in the comments.