Frugal ways to stay warm this winter

Man checking home thermostat

With energy costs on the rise, it’s always nice to find some simple ways to lower your bills. This list of 10 tips can help you keep your energy costs as low as possible this winter.

  1. Call your power company to find out if they offer discounts during off-peak hours. If you do have access to an off-peak rate, run your dishwasher and do your laundry during those times whenever possible.
  2. Speaking of laundry, heating the water in the wash drum accounts for about 90% of the energy a washing machine uses.1 Switching to cold water will drop your energy consumption considerably. As for drying your clothes, if you don’t need an item of clothing right away, consider hanging it to air dry. Even towels and sheets can be dried inside on clothing racks if you don’t have access to an outdoor clothesline. As a bonus, your clothes may last a little longer without the regular wear and tear of machine drying.
  3. Beware of vampire power. According to Payless Power, up to 20% of all the electricity used in your home is wasted on vampire power – power that’s drawn when appliances and electronic devices are turned off but still plugged in. Unplug televisions, video game consoles, laptops and mobile phone chargers when they are not actually in use. If you plug them all into surge-protecting power strips, you can simply flip the switch and cut power to a number of your devices all at once.
  4. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and bring out all those cozy knitted sweaters and hoodies you’ve been keeping in storage. Likewise, in the summer turn the thermostat up a few degrees.
  5. Change your furnace and dryer filters regularly. Clean filters help your furnace and dryer work at peak efficiency, and cleaning the lint filter in your dryer after every single load helps reduce the risk of dryer fires.
  6. When cooking, check on your food by peering in the oven window rather than opening the oven door whenever possible. The temperature in your oven will drop every time you open the door, making cooking times – and oven usage – longer. If it’s hard to see through your oven window because of baked-on grease and grime, Merry Maids has some tips for making it sparkle again.
  7. Use your blinds and drapes. They’re more than just a pretty accessory – they can help you save money. Close the drapes to keep the sun’s heat out during the summer and open them to gather all that lovely free warmth during the winter.
  8. Install water-saving showerheads. When hunting for a replacement, find showerheads  rated to use no more than 1.5 gallons of water per minute.
  9. When you’re making your morning coffee or afternoon cup of tea, only fill the kettle with the amount of water you actually need rather than filling it up all the way to the top. Also, consider switching to an electric kettle which boils water almost twice as fast as a kettle on a gas burner.2
  10. Draught-proof your home by sealing up any holes and leaks you find. As your dad probably told you a million times growing up, you can’t afford to heat (or cool) the entire neighbourhood.

This Old House has more great energy-saving tips and quick fixes to help get those energy bills under control.




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