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Tips and tricks to save energy and money this fall and winter

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Tips and tricks to save energy and money this fall and winter

With colder months approaching, your utility bills are likely to be on the rise. Fortunately, there are several ways to lower your energy expense this winter. For starters, let the sun in through the windows by keeping shades open during the day. Covering bare floors with rugs and carpets to prevent heat loss is another simple addition you can make to your home to save energy and money during the colder months.

Below are some tips on winter-proofing your home from Empower Me, a social enterprise program helping Canadians make smart, safe, and affordable energy choices. While the following items may have a minimal initial investment, they are recommended as being easy to install and worthwhile in the long run.

Use window film: Window film helps stop cold drafts coming through your windows, prevents potential frost build-up, and reduces overall condensation on your windows.

Weather stripping: By using this product around doors, windows, attic hatches, and around air conditioners, you can prevent heat loss in your homes and improve overall energy efficiency.

Low flow showerhead: Studies show that Canadians currently use an average of 329 litres of water per person, per day — second only to the United States in the developed world, and more than twice as much as Europeans. That’s equal to 164 jugs of milk! Using a low flow showerhead uses lesser water while increasing overall water pressure.

Pipe insulation: Have you ever considered how far the hot water has to travel from your hot water tank before reaching you? All along that route your water loses heat, which is a waste of energy and money. Proper insulation around pipes limits heat transfer and provides a vapour barrier against moisture. This helps to reduce heat loss and save you money. Poorly insulated pipes allow water to condense, which can result in standing water that can freeze during cold weather.

LED light bulbs: Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are extremely energy efficient and consume up to 90 per cent less power than regular incandescent bulbs. Since LEDs use only a fraction of energy, you can realize a dramatic decrease in power costs. LEDs also operate well in a wide range of cold and hot temperatures without significant degradation.

Sink and kitchen swivel aerators: These aerators will help you reduce the amount of water you use in your home while not affecting your water pressure. Aerators help to reduce the splash distance of water as it falls from your faucet and hits the sink basin; they can reduce any disruptive sounds that your faucet may make (like gurgling or whistling noises); and, they can increase overall filtration because they consist of small screens which increase particle filtration for an individual faucet.

Switch and outlet gaskets: These foam gaskets help provide a tight seal around your outlets and light switches to reduce drafts and insulate walls. They are also really easy to install; you simply unscrew your switch or outlet plate and place the gasket behind them. You don’t even know they are there, because they remain completely invisible.

LED night light: This handy nightlight, which has an LED bulb, not only gives you enough light to guide you around your home in the dark it’s also great for avoiding tripping over stairs, obstacles, or pets and can help to mark an emergency exit in your home.

Temperature card: A hot water temperature gauge and fridge/freezer thermometer is a convenient card-like device that helps you to check the temperature of your fridge, freezer, and tap water so you can adjust the temperature of your appliances and hot water tank. You should set your fridge at or below four degrees Celsius and your freezer at or below -18 degrees Celsius. The hot water temperature gauge can also be used to reduce the risk of scalding from hot running water from kitchen faucets baths and showers, etc. Ensuring that your fridge and freezer are at the correct temperature setting can help reduce the risk of contracting any food-borne illnesses and prevent food from spoiling.

Don’t forget to look into local rebates

  • Several provinces offer rebates for installing new insulation to help improve your homes energy efficiency, comfort, and safety. Look for information in your province. Also remember that you, and not your contractor, should be submitting rebate applications.

Be sure to do your research!

  • Gather quotes from at least three contractors before deciding on who to go with. Consider certified or registered contractors for insulation installations. For example, in British Columbia, Fortis BC, BC Hydro and Clean BC can refer Program Registered Contractors who have completed additional training so that they can provide the best service possible to their customers. Working with a certified or registered contractor mean you are working with someone that is trained in industry best practices and is knowledgeable about the rebates available for your upgrades. Arm yourself with knowledge on what a good quality installation looks like!

To learn more about Empower Me Program’s free educational programs on saving energy and money, visit https://www.empowermeprogram.com/

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