If your utility bills are high this winter, you are not alone. New statistics suggest that Albertans are using more energy than ever before, particularly in our hottest and coldest months. In December of 2016, Alberta set a record for the highest ever electricity use.
Last week, we looked at how to make long-term investments to lower your utility bills. This week, Blue Collar Electric brings you a bevy of energy-saving tips that cost little to no money to implement. Read on to learn 12 surprisingly easy ways to lower your energy consumption, and get started saving today!
Washing clothes in cold water saves on heating costs. With a detergent designed specifically for cold-water washing, you won’t notice even a difference in your laundry. For lower soil levels, opt for a half-cycle to save on water and power consumption.
Dishwashers are a definite drain on utilities, especially if you use yours often. Keep energy and water use down by switching off the heat dry setting and letting your dishes air dry instead, pre-rinsing dishes and running the economy cycle, and only washing when there’s a full load. Hand wash larger pots and pans to keep them from taking up excessive room in your dishwasher.
Keep your freezer as fully stocked as possible. Full freezers operate more efficiently than empty ones.
Whenever possible, cook or heat food up with your microwave instead of your stove. Also, keep in mind that gas stoves cost less to operate than electric stoves.
Use your windows instead of air conditioning and fans. When designing your home or office, plan windows for optimal airflow channels. In the summer, open your windows at night to catch the cool air, and close them up first thing in the morning.
Unplug appliances when they aren’t in use to keep from using “vampire power” when in standby mode. Hook clustered devices up to a power bar for an easy on/off switch for everything. You can also configure your devices for sleep, hibernate, or energy-saving modes so you don’t have to unplug each time. This is particularly important for power-draining devices such as TVs and computers. When shopping for new appliances, try to choose ones with automatic shut-off settings.
Shop around for the best rates from providers. Call to ask for a free energy audit, which will tell you where your energy is being used the most, and how to reduce that usage. Some providers also offer savings programs and rebates on their websites.
Showers are more efficient on water usage than baths; the average 10-minute shower uses about 25 gallons of heated water, while a bath requires over 70 gallons. While showering, turn off the water while you soap up.
Most hot water heating tanks are automatically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can comfortably lower the temperature to 120 degrees. Consult your manual to see what setting your tank can be safely lowered to.
Avoid using electricity at peak times (typically between 5pm and 7pm). In particular, washing your clothes and dishes before or after peak times will result in big savings.
Keep up with your furnace maintenance and cleaning, including changing the filters regularly. This will prevent your furnace from working harder than it needs to (and it will keep your air cleaner, too!)
A bit of effort goes a long way in helping your temperature regulators keep up. Use your blinds and curtains as insulators, whether to block sunshine in the summer, or minimize cold air transfer in the winter. Set your thermostat lower at night and when you aren’t at home.
Try a few of these tips and tricks out for yourself, and watch the savings roll in! Blue Collar Electric is committed to helping Albertans save money through these cold winter months, and year round. Call today to see how we can help you save money on electrical repairs, renovations, new builds, and more!
By Danielle Mohr: Fine Point Writing & Editing (finepointwriting.ca)