More than 50 per cent of the total amount of energy used in a home goes toward space heating. With a few low-cost upgrades and simple habits—like putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat—you could notice real savings on your heating costs.
Install a programmable thermostat
Never worry about forgetting to turn the heat down after you leave the house. Programmable and smart thermostats do it for you. Plus, you can save up to 15 per cent* on your home’s heating costs by programming it to 17 °C for when you’re out and asleep, and no higher than 20 °C when you’re home and awake.
Note: if your primary heating system is a central ventilation system with an electric heat pump, keep the temperature set point consistent as thermostat setback can actually increase energy consumption. This is because if the temperature difference between the room and thermostat set point is more than 1 °C to 2 °C, the supplemental heat will be activated.
Change your heating system’s filter pronto!
You change your towels and sheets on a regular basis. Why not your furnace or heat pump filter? Like a dryer lint screen, a heating system filter clogs over time. Meaning it has to work longer which can equal extra energy costs. Check your filter on a monthly basis and replace it regularly, between one and six months, depending on if there are smokers and/or pets in the home. Use a tight-fitting pleated style filter for best results.
Don't crowd your heating system
Leave space around your furnace or boiler and ensure there are no combustible materials stored nearby. Items like bleach, cleaning products and aerosols should be kept well away. Don’t place beds, drapery and furniture too close to baseboard heaters. Keep outdoor heat pump units free of vegetation and clutter to allow air to pass freely.
Have your heating system serviced
You have your car tuned up and its oil changed regularly, so why not your heating system? Have it serviced annually by a licensed contractor
to ensure it’s working safely and efficiently.
Heat only the rooms you’re using
Close warm air supply registers, or lower the thermostat if you have baseboard heaters, in rooms you’re not using. Avoid heating non-insulated spaces such as a garage, crawl space, attic or storage shed.
Vacuum your baseboards
Vacuum them with a soft bristle brush once a year just before the heating season to help them work as efficiently as possible.
In summer, electricity use can spike if using an air conditioner. Try these tips to help save on your electricity costs.
Use a fan
It will help circulate cooled air. You can also set your ceiling fan to summer mode (counter-clockwise as you look up at it) to move the air downward to create a wind chill effect.
Plant a shade tree
The best place is on the southwest or southeast side of your home. A deciduous tree that loses its leaves in the fall to allow in sunlight during the winter months is a good choice.
Cool only the rooms you’re using
If using an air conditioner, cool only the rooms you’re using. If your heating system is electric and it’s time to upgrade, consider an air source heat pump, which offers heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.
Keep windows, curtains and blinds closed
In the heat of the day, cover your windows to prevent the hot sun from heating up your house. Once the sun goes down, open them to let in the cooler air.
*When programmed to 20 °C when home (for a maximum of 10 hours per day) and 17 °C when out or asleep (for a minimum of 14 hours per day). Maximum savings achieved on colder days. Source: CMHC, Effects of Thermostat Setting on Energy Consumption.
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