Whether you live in your own home or pay the cost of electricity in a rental, you’ve likely noticed your bills going up. While the thestar.com Ontario government has recently committed to looking for ways to lower the prices, each resident has some opportunities to help reduce usage and lower their own bills as well:
Reduce “phantom power” – some appliances and electronics draw power even when they’re not in use, which can really add up. You can just unplug them when you’re done using them, or use power bars with shut off switches or even better, www.canadiantire.ca to save power.
Refrigerators use the most energy in a home. Check the seals on your fridge and freezer doors to ensure they’re closing properly. Leave some empty space – a crammed fridge or freezer reduces air flow, which causes the fans to work harder.
Use LED bulbs to cut your lighting energy use by up to 75 percent. LED bulbs are better for the environment, last longer, and use significantly less energy to create the same amount of light.
If you are able to, install a programmable thermostat. In winter, reduce the temperature for periods when you will not be home and overnight; in summer, do the opposite. You can save up to 10% on heating costs just by lowering the temperature 3 degrees overnight.
Perform high-use tasks when off-peak (lower) prices are in effect. In Sault Ste. Marie, follow the www.ssmpuc.com Time of Use Pricing guide to determine when to run the dishwasher, the dryer, or the vacuum. The more you can shift electricity use to off-peak periods, the more you can save. (TIP: Does your dishwasher have a delayed start setting? You can set it to run on off-peak even if you aren’t home!)
Use a cold water wash – this reduces electricity cost by as much as 85% on each load. Wait to do a full load; half loads use almost as much energy.
www.windowchoice.ca Check for leaks and drafts in window and door seals. If you notice damage or leaks in your owned home, you can fix them yourself with caulking or call a professional. In a rental, contact your landlord to have the problem repaired.
Heavy curtains can keep cold air out in winter and warm sun out in summer, reducing the need for heating and cooling.
Turn off lights and fans when you leave.
DID YOU KNOW? If you qualify as a low-income household in Ontario, you can apply for relief on your hydro bill. Contact the ontarioelectricitysupport.ca Ontario Energy Board for more information and eligibility requirements.