Tips on cutting your energy bill this winter
Our bank accounts have suffered enough over the holidays, and we still have a few cold months ahead. We’ve put together a list of 4 easy ways to save money on your energy bill this winter that won’t sacrifice your comfort or routine.
Turn it down
One thing we know for sure – Canadian winters can be rough. To avoid the inevitable fate of being cold from November to March (and sometimes longer), most of us are guilty of cranking our thermostats up much higher than they need to be. But what if we turned it down for a change?
Green Living’s number one tip for lowering your energy bill during the winter is to turn your thermostat down, even just slightly. Not only will you save energy, but just a two degree difference can save roughly $180 per year on your bill! So let’s get out our comfy sweatpants, fuzzy socks and oversized sweaters and turn it down a notch or two.
Close it up
Closing windows and curtains is one easy way to keep the heat in, but what about those spots you don’t think about? For example, if your window-mounted air conditioner is still in place, now is the time to take it out. This article from the U.S. Department of Energy provides a list of all the areas in your home that could have cracks or gaps that cause air leaks, including electrical outlets, door and window frames and baseboards.
Using caulking or weather-stripping can be extremely effective for sealing leaks, but those can be daunting tasks. Fear not – we found this helpful list from Lowe’s of 10 easy steps to weather-strip your windows. And if you don’t want to use caulking or can’t because you live in a rental apartment, make a door snake! It’s #7 on Simplemost’s list of how to draft-proof your home. Simply roll up a towel or get crafty and make a weighted fabric tube that blocks the draft from under doors or windows – a pretty simple way to save money in our opinion!
Believe it or not, appliances left plugged in still use energy, especially if they have screens. According to this article from The New York Times, “roughly 50 devices and appliances in the typical American household are always drawing power, even when they appear to be off.” The author used a Kill-a-Watt power meter to test different appliances in their home and the results show that a cable box turned on and recording a show draws 28 watts, where a cable box turned off draws 26 watts. And that’s just one of the many appliances that uses energy even when turned off.
Our sustainability team suggests plugging appliances into power bars or “green plug” outlets so that when you leave the house, you can simply switch them all off with one click. It’s a pretty simple way to save – unplug your TV, cable box, microwave and chargers when you’re not using them, and watch your energy bill shrink.
Keep it low-flow
Having shorter, cooler showers to save energy is a big ask when you’re trying to stay warm during the winter. But installing a water-efficient showerhead can help to conserve water without making other sacrifices to your routine. Our sustainability team suggests installing water-efficient showerheads to prevent excess water consumption, while still providing enough to be effective.
A standard showerhead uses 9.5 litres (2.5 gallons) of water per minute, where a water-efficient one on average uses just 7.6 litres (2.0 gallons). Fun fact – the Ontario Building Code allows builders to install a maximum of 7.6 litres per minute showerheads, but our sustainability team typically installs showerheads in our buildings between 5.7 and 6.6 litres per minute (1.5 to 1.75 gallons).
We love this Water Savings Calculator on Waterpik’s website that calculates how much money and water you can save with a low-flow showerhead. If you shower for 15-minutes once a day with a water-efficient showerhead rather than a standard one, you can save 10,362.6 litres (2,737.5 gallons) of water and $37.53 per year. What’s better is that you can get one for as little as $15 on Amazon. Try it out – you’ll save some money and tons (literally) of water!