Small changes around the home can add up to big savings

Whether major upgrades are made or not, simple, do-it-yourself changes around the house can help homeowners realize savings on their energy bills this year.

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Here are some tips for homeowners to conserve energy this summer.

Use electricity at off-peak times. Do laundry and run the dishwasher on weekdays from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and all day on weekends and holidays when electricity prices are lower to save up to 8.1 cents per kilowatt hour.

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Replace furnace filters every three months to save as much as $50 a year on energy. Clogged filters mean that furnace motors must work harder and use more energy.

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Increase the temperature setting on the thermostat by a couple of degrees. Save two to three per cent for every degree higher than 22 degrees Celsius.

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Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs. Energy-efficient light bulbs, like CFLs and LEDs, use up to 75 per cent less energy than traditional light bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer.

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Plant deciduous trees on the southwest or southeast exposures of the home. Well-designed landscaping can reduce cooling and heating costs by up to 25 per cent.

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Install ceiling fans to maximize air circulation and move fresh air throughout the home. Fan blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction in the summer to move the air downwards and maximize cool air circulation so the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.

Unplug vampire electronics while away on vacation or when they’re not in use. Vampire electronics are the household appliances and devices, such as computers, televisions and chargers, which suck away at energy even when turned off. Even the average older home desktop computer uses about 311.0 kilowatt hours annually when in standby mode, costing approximately $24.00 a year.

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Keep the curtains closed. Close south and west facing curtains, drapes or blinds during the day to block out the high summer sun and keep the home cooler.

I hope Ontario homeowners understand they really can save money on their energy bills, even just by making simple changes around the house.  Start by using major electrical appliances during off-peak hours and increasing the temperature setting on the thermostat to see how these small changes add up to big savings and help keep equipment running properly in the summer.

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