As the days are getting cooler, we’re all starting to fire up our furnaces again after a short reprieve. And as the days are also getting shorter, we’re all turning on our lights and lamps sooner than we have been. This will undoubtedly have an affect on our energy use. Thankfully, however, there are several ways we can be careful to conserve to result in a lower energy bill.
The benefits of using less energy really can’t be denied. Not only is it easier on our wallets, but it’s also easier on the planet. ENMAX is quite helpful for providing tips for a lower energy bill with their monthly energy assessment reports, which allow you to see how you are measuring up for usage against other residences of about the same size as yours. You can also look further to see how and when you are using the most energy, create an energy savings plan, and request further advice on how to conserve.
Although being responsible about energy use doesn’t have a whole lot to do with your insurance, it does cause us to be more cognizant of how our homes are working. This, in turn, leads to better overall care of our residences, which lessen the chances of having to file a claim. Here are a few ways to get started on a consistently lower energy bill.
Avoid Phantom Loads
Even when electronics and appliances are turned off, if they are plugged they are still drawing energy. That invisible drain is known as “phantom loads” or “vampire power.” Some estimate that this unnecessary use of power can make up as much as 10% of your energy bill.
The most common phantoms users of power include your TV, entertainment centres, chargers, computers, coffeemakers, toasters, and microwaves. Obviously, leaving these unplugged when they are not in use will help achieve a lower energy bill. One way to do this is to plug all of the components for your television and computer into a power bar, and when you are finished using them, simply turn the power bar off. For items in your kitchen where this might not be possible, just try to remember to unplug them when not in use.
Once so expensive that hardly anyone could afford them, LED lights are becoming more and more the norm. Although they remain more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, that cost is easily recouped by the fact that they last much, much longer. An incandescent bulb lasts for about 1,000 hours, while an LED bulb is said to be able to keep working from anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 hours. They also do not require as much energy to run as other bulbs. Incandescent bulbs lose a lot of heat when working, while LED bulbs do not.
LED lights are also better able to handle extremely cold temperatures, which makes them ideal for outdoor fixtures.
Wash Clothes With Cold Water
It used to be that if you washed your clothes in cold water you were pretty much guaranteed to still see stains when finished. But thanks to better technology in washing machines, plus better detergent options, this is no longer the case. Washing machines use a surprising amount of energy just to heat the water being used – about 90% of what it takes to complete a load. Combat this by washing in cold, which can also help preserve fabrics and colours much longer.
Choose EnergyStar Appliances
If you are looking to purchase a new large appliance in Canada, check the EnerGuide label before you buy. The lower the kilowatt-hour (kWh) rating, the less energy the appliance will use. Appliances denoted with an EnergyStar label are the very best of the bunch.
It’s not intrinsic to think that an efficient showerhead can lead to a lower energy bill, but in fact they can make a big difference. Low-flow (or aerating) showerheads add air to the water, which results in a more misty type spray. This essentially means you will need less water to do the same thing.
And while you’re at it, check your faucets for drips. One drip per second wastes 1,661 gallons of water a year.
About 45% of your energy bill goes to your home’s heating (and cooling, if you are lucky enough to have air conditioning). But a lot of the time we’re not even home while our furnaces chug away. Programmable thermostats can help lower energy bills by setting a timer to automatically lower internal temperatures during the day when a home is unoccupied. They can also be set to raise temperatures before you come home so you don’t walk into a cold house.
Trust Lane’s for All of Your Home Insurance Needs
Our homes are our sanctuaries, and are filled with the things we love. Be confident that your home insurance is comprehensive enough to cover both its structure and your belongings by contacting the experienced brokers at Lane’s. We work for you, not the insurance companies, and are able to access policies from a number of Alberta’s leading providers. This means we can shop around for you for the best possible coverage at the lowest possible rates.