By the time late August or early September rolls around, kids are back to school and parents are back to a normal routine – which means that the house is likely to be more empty than it has been all summer. An empty house and the change in routine present some great opportunities to save energy and money as we head into the fall.
Adjust your thermostat. If it’s still hot enough to need air conditioning in your neck of the woods, make sure the last thing you do on your way out the door is to turn it up a few degrees so you’re not refrigerating a house with on one in it. You can save 4 – 8% on your cooling costs with each degree your raise it.1 Reverse the process when the weather turns colder.
Wash and dry wisely. Check with your local provider to see if you have off-peak energy hours during which it’s cheaper to use electricity. If you do, make sure you try to run large appliances like your dishwasher, washer and dryer during off- or mid-peak times. And speaking of the dishwasher, always wait until it’s completely full to run it.
Don’t idle. If you’re waiting in the school pick-up line or in the music teacher’s driveway, turn your car off. It takes less energy to turn your car off and back on again than it does to have it idling, and idling your car on a hot day puts a real strain on the motor – plus it’s not great for the environment either.2 Open the windows or get out and sit in a shady spot while you wait instead.
Watch out for vampire energy. When electronic devices that are not in use are left plugged in, they continue to suck away small amounts of energy just like little electronic vampires – and energy costs money. Make sure you and your kids unplug video games, laptops and other electronic devices before leaving for the day. Also, make sure to reinforce the old, “turn off the lights, TV and computer when you leave the room” rule.
Close your blinds. It doesn’t matter if your house is dark if you’re not in it, so shut the curtains and blinds in the warmer months to keep the heat out of your house and make sure they’re open in the winter so the sun can help keep your space cozy.
Keep your refrigerator door shut. When the door is constantly opened and closed, it means the fridge has to work that much harder to maintain the optimum temperature inside. When you (or your kids) are making school lunches, get into the habit of taking everything out of the fridge that you need all at once rather than going back three or four times for additional supplies.
Remember, if you ever have any questions about the everyday management of your money, call Everyday Money, our toll-free, personalized and confidential financial helpline. This complimentary member benefit can provide you with access to accredited counsellors who can answer questions about budgeting, planning and more.
416655D CAN/US (09/18)