Top Tips to Bring Down Home Heating Bills This Winter
With temperatures taking the inevitable dip this winter, households in Ontario will be doing what they can to prevent their energy bills from heating up.
According to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, Winter 2013/2014 represents a period of forecasted peak demand, with an average daily need of 3,000 megawatts more than in late September, 2013.
So how do you keep those nasty winter bills in-check?
“Beyond the well-known benefits of making the switch to a natural gas-powered furnace, there are plenty of other ways to help keep the savings in your pocket,” says Matthew Gibson, a spokesperson for the Ontario Natural Gas Alliance. “Even during the coldest months, managing home heating in a thoughtful way can result in reasonable bills.”
According to experts, there’s a basic list of to-do’s to ensure Old Man Winter doesn’t raid your pocketbook:
Give Your Home An Energy Once-Over
Conducting an annual energy audit will help reveal spots around your home that are either guilty of leaking warm air to the outside or using more energy than necessary. For example, leaving bathroom exhaust fans on for too long will only serve to draw warm air outside the home. Programmable thermostats will also realize savings for energy conscious households.
What may surprise many is that water heating is the second largest use of energy after space heating (20 per cent vs. 60 per cent, with appliances tracking in third at approximately 15 per cent). Ensuring pipes are insulated to prevent unnecessary heat loss, installing low-flow toilets and showerheads and using cold water for laundry can all help reduce your monthly energy bill. For those seeking further savings and efficiency, natural gas water heaters are an ideal choice (Ontario residents who use natural gas to heat their homes are already saving up to $400 per year).
Rack It Up
An indoor clothing rack for drying offers the same benefit as a summer clothesline: that of having no cost at all. Zippers won’t snag, colours won’t fade and bills won’t sting as much, considering that dryers are often among the top energy users in any home. If space is tight, a natural gas-powered clothes dryer is also a great option, offering savings of over 75 per cent, just by switching.