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Seasonal Tips

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Fall

Fall is an important time to do all of your preparations, inside and out, for the winter months ahead. When it comes to conserving energy and reducing your energy bill, the work you do in the fall to get ready for the winter may be the most important of the year. In addition to the checklist provided below, read this article: Ten ways to prepare your home for an energy-saving winter, courtesy of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

View our Conservation Booklet: save energy. save money!

FALL CHECKLIST

  • Caulk or seal drafts around windows, doors, air vents and electrical outlets – they can account for 25% of total annual heating costs.
  • If you have mechanical ventilation, you might want to consider using heat-shrink plastic to improve the performance of windows that you are unlikely to open.
  • Check your insulation. The attic and basement are the first places to consider for more insulation because these areas can represent as much as 15% to 30% of your home’s overall heating and cooling losses.
  • Arrange the yearly maintenance check on your furnace by an expert to ensure it’s working at peak efficiency for the winter ahead.
  • Save on your water-heating bill by insulating at least the first two metres (six feet) of the hot water pipe and the first metre (three feet) of the cold water pipe that extends from your hot water tank. You can also wrap an insulating blanket around your water heater.
  • If possible, drain water through the spigot at the bottom of the water heater to remove sediment that reduces its energy efficiency.
  • It’s always a good idea to have an expert technician do a maintenance check on your hot water heater to ensure it is working at peak efficiency.
  • If you don’t already have one, install a programmable thermostat.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters.

Winter

As the temperature outside drops, your energy consumption will climb. Once winter weather sets in, the preparations you made during the fall will really start to pay off. There are still lots of things you can do inside to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

WINTER CHECKLIST

  • Check for drafts around windows, doors and electrical outlets. Installing an outlet and switch sealer kit will prevent cold air from entering through electric outlets and switches.
  • Open your curtains and blinds to let the sun warm the room, and then close them at night to reduce heat loss through windows.
  • Temperature levels in your home are a matter of individual choice, but the most commonly recommended settings are 20°C (68°F) during the day, 18°C (64°F) for sleeping and 16°C (61°F) when you are away from home.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature settings.
  • Properly humidified air feels warmer and allows you to turn your thermostat down. During the heating season, the relative humidity in your home should be no higher than 30% and no condensation on your windows. In bitter cold weather, the humidity will need to fall below 30% to prevent condensation on windows.
  • An uninsulated basement has a high heat loss so adding interior insulation will help improve your home’s overall energy efficiency.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED lights.
  • Close the heat registers in unused rooms and close the door.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters.

Spring

Spring is a good time to prepare your year-round plan to reduce your energy consumption. The key to a realistic energy savings program is to keep it simple to start: make a list of the easy improvements you can do by yourself at little expense. While you’re at it, note the major energy saving jobs that are long-term and may require expert help, such as replacing windows.

SPRING CHECKLIST

  • Walk around the house and look for any winter damage to window caulking and sealing.
  • Hot weather is on the way so make sure your air conditioner is serviced and ready to go.
  • If you have central air conditioning, seal the seams of accessible furnace ducting with duct tape to ensure more cooled air reaches its destination.
  • Consider installing ceiling fans to reduce the need to use your air conditioner.
  • Check outdoor lighting fixtures for winter damage. Clean fixture covers and confirm you are using energy efficient bulbs.
  • Install motion sensor lights or programmable timers for outdoor lights.
  • Vacuum the condenser coils on your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Turn off the power at the panel and vacuum lint from the clothes dryer motor, drum and exhaust hose.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters.

Summer

During periods of hot weather your energy usage climbs substantially, especially if you use air conditioning, a dehumidifier or have a backyard pool. Appliances, like refrigerators, must work harder to maintain a set temperature during hot weather.

SUMMER CHECKLIST

  • Use low voltage or solar outdoor lighting for landscaping.
  • The same insulation in your attic that keeps you warm in winter also keeps you cool in summer. Make sure you add attic vents so hot air can escape.
  • Use curtains or blinds to shade windows. You could consider installing awnings.
  • Whenever possible, use the microwave, toaster oven or barbecue instead of the stove.
  • Use a ceiling or portable fan to help circulate cooled air.
  • Put a timer on room air conditioners if there’s no one at home during the day.
  • If you have central air conditioning, maintain the temperature between 24°C (74°F) and 26°C (78°F). Install a programmable thermostat. You can set it to turn off the AC when you leave for the day and then turn it back on before you return.
  • Put your swimming pool filter on a timer or turn it off on cooler summer nights.
  • Use a solar blanket to keep swimming pool water warm overnight.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters.