Spring is in the air and so is the prospect of summer. Having experienced a long Canadian winter paired with COVID-19 quarantining, it has made for a rough start to 2020 and we’re all itching to spend more time outdoors. As we gently navigate a new “normal” in the warmer weather, here are some tips that can help you shrink your energy footprint and your electricity costs – all while staying comfortable this coming summer.
1) Get cookin’ [outside] on the BBQ
Perhaps you’ve been using your barbeque all year round, but if not, there’s no better time than to roll it out and uncover it now. Did you know that when cooking indoors with your oven and stovetop, you can raise your indoor temperature by a few degrees. To avoid feeling uncomfortable or having to turn on the air conditioner, consider cooking outdoors more often – plus it’s a great excuse to get out of the house.
2) Air your [clean] laundry
Yet another excuse to get outdoors, hanging your laundry to dry on a clothesline is a fantastic way to reduce your electricity use. A clothes dryer can make up a significant portion of your hydro bill, so leveraging air drying will add up to considerable savings over time. To discover just how much, try this energy calculator by inputting numbers based on your household laundry habits. Beyond the savings, additional benefits of line drying include being gentler on your clothes, and enhancing the fresh, clean smell.
3) Go with the [air] flow
As temperatures drop in the evening, take advantage of the cooler air by opening up your windows. In the morning, trap that cool air in the house by shutting the windows before temperatures rise. For any ceiling fans in your house, be sure to change the direction of your fan to counter-clockwise in order to push cool air down. Ceiling fans are a great way to make people within a living space more comfortable without actually altering the temperature since they create a wind-chill effect. Because they cool people, not rooms, remember to turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room.
When the time comes to turn on your air conditioner, don’t forget to check your filter. Air conditioning units with clogged filters can use up to 15 per cent more energy.
4) Let there be [natural] light
Spring and summer means longer days, so that means you can wait to switch on your lights by keeping your windows uncovered. On hot days, just be mindful not to allow too much direct sunlight into the house as that could backfire by heating up your house. When you do need artificial light, use LED bulbs instead of incandescent (they not only use less energy, they also produce less heat) and, whenever possible, use task lighting to direct the light to exactly where you need it.
5) [Not] hot and bothered
According to Natural Resources Canada, hot water heaters can account for up to 19 per cent of the energy used in a home. For added savings, set your hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find yourself shopping for a new one, be sure to look for an Energy Star model to optimize for energy efficiency. When it comes to your dishwasher, an easy way to save more energy is to skip the dry-heat setting. Lastly, to avoid additional heat build-up in your home, limit activities that generate heat – such as running appliances and electronics like televisions, gaming systems, hair dryers, and computers.
We hope these tips serve you well, both in comfort and in savings, as we enter the warmer months. For more energy saving tips, be sure to follow us on Twitter!