It’s that time of year again. There comes a point in the Canadian winter when the snow and cold have you beat down, and longing to swap out your fuzzy blanket for a beach towel. Thanks to our dramatically variable climate, Canadians use a lot more energy in the peak of winter, and at the mid-summer point. That energy usage can really add up in your monthly utility bills.
The truth is, you might be spending more than you need to on utilities year-round. Between power-sucking devices on standby, inefficient appliances, and losing heated and cooled air from indoors, your energy bills could have more extra zeroes tacked on than necessary.
Saving money on a monthly basis means increasing your home’s efficiency through a few key investments. The most substantial monthly cost savings items come with a higher upfront price tag, but don’t forget all the extra zeroes they’ll save you years down the road.
We’ve done some research and compiled nine of the most cost-effective investments you can make to kick-start your monthly savings:
While LEDs cost more at the time of purchase than incandescent bulbs, LEDs will save you about 90% of the power you were using on lighting, and as a bonus, you won’t have to replace them nearly as often! CFL bulbs are a cheaper purchase option for low-energy lighting, but LEDs are the most energy-efficient, convenient, and environmentally-friendly option for monthly savings.
It’s likely that you have a few power-draining appliances costing you money every month. Energy-efficient models generate savings you’ll be able to feel on your next power bill. Kitchen and laundry devices should be replaced first, since they account for up to one third of your monthly power consumption. Check and compare the Energy Star ratings on appliances to find ones that won’t drain your power (or your bank account).
Doors and windows are often the main culprits for energy waste in your home. Standing beside a window should not give you a chill, but the windows in older homes do have a limited lifespan. Replacing your windows is a large investment to make, but it’s also a crucial one. If replacement isn’t an option right now, you can also keep drafts out from leaky seals by…
Weather stripping creates tighter seals around windows and doors, which keeps your interior air in, and exterior air out. Ease of installation and overall effectiveness depend on which material you choose. Some are roll and stick applications, while others use silicone or screws for staying power. Do your research and pick some up at your local hardware store for a simple, but effective alternative to window and door replacements.
Unfortunately, you may also be losing energy straight through the walls of your home. Over time, insulation breaks down and allows more air to flow in and out. If your house is aging and you haven’t replaced the insulation, consider it for your next home project. (Quick tip: we replaced the insulation in our exterior walls at the same time we replaced our windows: the drywall was already ripped out, so it was perfect timing!)
Window treatments can block sunlight to keep your home cooler in the summer, and also trap warmth inside in the winter. Pay special attention to south facing windows, which receive the most sunlight. Have your home properly fitted for coverings, shop for high-quality insulating material, and be sure to keep coverings closed whenever possible.
Set a daily schedule for your heating and cooling so that your furnace or air conditioner does less work while you’re away. For added energy-saving abilities, choose a thermostat that can be remotely controlled from your phone or tablet.
Phantom power is power used by devices when in standby mode (i.e. when not in use, but still plugged in). Research suggests it can account for up to 15% of your electricity bill. A power bar for your clustered appliances and devices, such as home entertainment centers and kitchen counters, allows you to turn everything off at once.
Our local readers will be pleased to hear that Edmonton is the sunniest city in Canada! Take advantage of the free power of the sun. Of course, solar panels will cost you upfront. However, many homeowners are turning to solar power to generate at least part of their electricity. Other renewable energy source options may be possible in your area as well, including wind or water power. Do a bit of research to see whether you can save money on bills while also being environmentally-friendly.
Blue Collar Electric is always happy to help our friends and clients save money, whether it’s on home improvements, commercial builds, or on your monthly electricity bill. Call Eric and Tyler today at 780-239-2728 to find out how they can help you invest in long-term savings for your home or business.
On a budget? We can still help you save money! Tune in to the Blue Collar Blog next week for tips on how to save on your utilities without spending a dime.
By Danielle Mohr: Fine Point Writing & Editing (finepointwriting.ca)