LIFESTYLE

Five ways to make your home more energy efficient



Between needing extra layers of clothing to stay warm, heating your home and the added expense of December holidays, it can be hard to save money during the winter months. Equipping your household to be more energy efficient will help you stay warm without breaking the bank.

Knowing the right ways to save energy can be hard. Combining multiple tips and tricks can go a long way to lowering your electricity bill.

Here are five of the most efficient ways to make your home more energy-efficient:

1) Only turn it on when you need it While it might be convenient to put your electronics in sleep mode instead of shutting them down completely, leaving them on standby can cost you money. Instead, try unplugging anything that isn’t being used when you’re not home (like your desktop computer or game console) and only turning them on when you are actively using them. Plugging in electronics only when they are needed will help you cut down on cost and allow you to spend those savings elsewhere.

2) Insulation is key to sealing in heat Sometimes, the best offence is an effective defence. Why warm up your home only to have hot air escape? Make insulation a priority and you’ll discover one of the most efficient ways to heat your house. Contained heat is most powerful when it has nowhere to escape. However, cracks around windows and improper insulation can make your home drafty and force your system to work harder to compensate. MoneySavingExpert.com suggests using plastic wrap to cover your windows for an added layer of protection. The objective is putting an extra layer between you and the elements to seal in warmth.

Remember to check for drafts and cracks around your windows and doors each time you thoroughly clean your home.

3) Use your ceiling fan during the winter Ceiling fans are helpful during the summer because they circulate air and keep you cool. They are also useful when the weather turns cold. Save on Energy notes that you can save up to 15 per cent on your heating bills by switching the direction of your fan to spin clockwise and setting it on low. Since hot air rises, this technique will help move any warmth trapped at ceiling level around the room.

4) Keep interior and exterior doors closed It goes without saying that you should keep your doors and windows to the outside world closed during the winter. It’s important to seal off as many areas as possible inside your home as well. Each room in your home has the potential to get warm and stay warm as long as you can contain the heat. A wide-open space like a large foyer or open concept living area can be harder to fill with heat, especially if proper insulation is a problem. Fight back by closing off as many areas as possible when you are trying to heat your home. For example, keeping bedroom doors closed during the day will help trap heat inside and keep it there.

5) Choose when you use your appliances carefully Being aware of Ontario’s time-of-use rates will help you save money and make your chores more energy efficient. The Ontario Energy Board outlines that there are three time periods for energy use: Off-peak represents the lowest demand for electricity, mid-peak refers to moderate demand and on-peak is attributed to the highest demand. Energy is cheapest when demand is lowest and recognizing these times can help you take advantage of amazing savings.

During the winter season, which lasts from November 1 to April 30 according to the Ontario Energy Board, use your appliances between 7:00 PM and 7:00 AM to save energy. This timeframe is off-peak and features the lowest demand for electricity.