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Invest appropriately

Canadian winters mean that an adequate heating system is absolutely necessary. The better part of the year is spent using heat and it is important to ensure that your home’s heating system is smart, efficient, and reliable. Baseboard heating and radiators are inefficient methods of heating. Not only do they not provide the optimum level of comfort, but they also generate large sums on the utility bills. Apart from these, old furnaces also negatively impact your pocket. The age of your furnace is also integral to the comfort it creates and the energy it consumes. Investing in a new, high-efficiency gas furnace system is integral in making your home more comfortable. Natural gas is less expensive than oil or electricity which makes this an ideal fuel to heat your home. CNG storage technology helps drive down the costs of the gas, making it easy to transport and use for various purposes. A two-stage furnace or a modulating furnace will consume less energy than an old single stage one. Unlike a single-stage furnace, these work more effectively by not waiting for a drastic drop in temperature before resuming to heat. The constant heat provided by a modulating furnace will ensure you don’t resort to secondary methods of heat such as electric fan heaters, which will mean that there is just one bill instead of two to monitor. You can browse, evaluate, and decide on the best furnace based on its size by visiting Smile HVAC which is as effective as 1Movies.

Milo Dragovic, technician at Affordable Furnace & AC Repair in Barrie tells us that all investments require periodic review to ensure they are providing an ideal return. Furnaces are no different, and to gain appropriate returns from them it is also important to ensure that they performing up to energy standards. Duct cleaning is essential to the optimum performance of your furnace and should be performed annually. Additionally, air filters need to be changed periodically. The furnace manufacturer’s guidelines include information on this task.

Time-of-use guidelines

The simplest way of saving your money away from the utility bills is provided by hydro companies themselves. Hydro companies issue time-of-use guidelines for consumers. These are available on their websites along with their apps. They fluctuate according to season so it is important to be vigilant. Time-of-use guidelines distribute the day into peak and off-peak hours in reference to the demand for electricity. Higher demand times mean higher rates for the consumer. Lower traffic times mean lower rates. Adjust your electricity consumption to fit within these guidelines.

This means that all those major tasks such as laundry, running the dishwasher, large scale cooking and baking in electric ovens, should be done during off-peak hours. This will allow you to do your chores at a fraction of the cost, particularly if you do these tasks between 7:00 PM and 7:00 AM when rates are half the cost of day time rates. You can monitor your performance on your hydro company’s app or website.

Currently, time-of-use rates have been suspended for a flat rate in Ontario owing to COVID-19. But, this saving tip is important to remember as we graduate out of this pandemic.

Be smart about your thermostat

Linked with your phone smart thermostats allow you to program your heating according to the settings that keep you the most comfortable. It also allows you to take advantage of the time-of-use rates by actually programming your air conditioning or heating temperatures according to them. For example, you can set the air conditioning to be cooler at night when the rates for electricity are lower. This will cool the whole house so that slightly lower day time temperatures won’t affect your comfort.

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This is perhaps the most overlooked factor when it comes to saving. There is no doubt that new appliance purchases are an investment, but as with all things technology they too require an upgrade to serve you well. The good thing is that appliance stores frequently have government grants or customer rebates available which make the purchase more affordable. If purchasing a new stove consider investing in a gas stove. This will reduce your cooking time and is an overall economic choice when it comes to powering the appliance.

Modern-day dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers are built to hold larger capacities. This means more gets done in less time which of course translates into less energy consumed. Look out for ENERGY STAR qualified products when you shop around for new appliances. These appliances are certified according to tests performed against technical efficiency standards.

Other smaller changes to your appliance usage can also yield big results on your bills. For example, using cold water for washing along with cold water appropriate detergent significantly reduces your hot water bill. Running all appliances with a full load prevents unnecessary electrical use. Additionally, use a toaster oven or a microwave if you don’t have a large amount of food to heat or bake since smaller appliances use less energy.

Mind the gaps

Annually review your home for leaks and drafts. All your investments, vigilance, and efforts will be undermined if there are gaps in your windows, doors, and power outlets. This creates air escapes which means that your home will not be as cool or as warm as it can be. The solutions for this range from new window installation to some general repair work. Small changes such as caulking around drafty windows and weather stripping around doors will prevent air leaks.

In the winter heat loss can also be prevented by installing thermal curtains which is an economical solution particularly where patio doors and large scale windows are concerned. Similarly, installing a shade outside patio doors can prevent the hot summer heat from affecting the cooling of your home. Keep your windows covered on the hotter days with a light curtain or blind. This will prevent overheating and your air conditioner from going into overdrive.

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