Today we launched our annual Light Up campaign. It’s the time of the year that temperatures drop and the majority of us turn on our furnaces for the first time. I’ll be on a few TV and radio stations this week talking about some simple tips that homeowners can do around the house to reduce their energy bills. Take a look at the news release we sent out for more information.
Direct Energy offers seven steps to help homeowners concerned about rising energy prices
Small changes really can make a big difference according to data released by Direct Energy today. The company calculated that if homeowners performed seven tasks around the house, ranging from sealing leaks to replacing an old furnace this fall, it could save them as much as $770 on their energy bills annually. With consumer energy prices steadily on the rise, Direct Energy encourages Ontarians to cut down their energy waste and use the savings in other ways to stay warm and enjoy winter.
“Now is the time for homeowners to take action on home energy efficiency and make those small changes around the house. Costs are increasing and winter is just around the corner,” said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas for Direct Energy. “We visit thousands of homes each year in Ontario and we see so many simple fixes homeowners could do to reduce their energy bills.”
Using data from several sources including a 2011 joint study conducted by Direct Energy and the University of Toronto and HOT2000 software (Natural Resource Canada’s recognized standard tool for use by trained and certified energy auditors), Direct Energy calculated the savings associated with seven energy efficiency tips. Savings are based on a typical Ontario home defined by the Canadian Real Estate Association, Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada as 1,860 square feet, 40 years old and two stories.
Ontarians are urged to take these seven simple steps to savings this winter and put their money to better use.
|Direct Energy’s efficiency tips||What you could save*||Use the savings for these activities instead:|
|Replace your furnace filter every 3 months to keep your furnace running efficiently||$53.00||Enjoy the winter and hit the slopes! With up to $53 in savings, you can buy a lift pass.|
|Seal leaks around doors, windows and exterior wall electrical outlets to keep the warm air in||$56.20||Canadians love their coffee! With the extra savings from sealing leaks, Canadians can enjoy 33 more cups this year.|
|Insulate your basement to improve the overall comfort of the basement and prevent warm air escaping along the joist cavities||$99.30||Leave the cold temperatures to the athletes in Russia. Insulating your basement could save you enough to buy two Canadian Olympic sweatshirts.|
|Insulate your attic to cut down on heating costs. You should have a minimum of 12 inches of insulation||$61.40||Whether you’re inside or outside, keep your family warm this winter. By insulating your attic you could save enough to buy six pairs of mittens.|
|Lower the temperature setting on your thermostat by two degrees||$150.00||By lowering your thermostat just two degrees, you could save enough to buy yourself the cashmere scarf you’ve always wanted.|
|If your furnace is older or experiencing frequent breakdowns, upgrade to a high efficiency furnace||$299.70||Join the snowbirds in Florida and escape the winter cold altogether! $299.70 in yearly savings from upgrading your furnace can be used towards a plane ticket to the sunny south.|
|Clean your ducts to remove dust and debris and help your furnace work more efficiently||$53.00||After you clean your ducts, you could save enough to buy a handful of new books to cozy up on the couch with.|
*based on typical Ontario home as described above and current energy prices ($8.07 per MCF for natural gas and $6.90 per million BTUs for electricity)
While not every homeowner can undertake all seven steps this fall, even just implementing three easy changes – sealing leaks, changing the furnace filter regularly and lowering the thermostat by two degrees – could add up to $259.20. In Ontario, with more than 2.7 million single-detached homes**, these changes could amount to nearly $700 million in energy savings across the province.
“We hope to show Ontarians that they really can make a difference this year to their own pocket and to the environment,” says Walton. “Start small with air filters and adjusting the temperature to see these savings and to keep your equipment running properly.”
Additional tips from Direct Energy:
- Add a humidifier: Adding a humidifier to your heating system lets you turn the thermostat down and be comfortable at lower temperatures.
- Let the sun in: Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from colder temperatures. Consider installing insulating window treatments to further reduce heat loss.
- Change the direction of air flow on your ceiling fan. For cold winter months the blades should operate in a clockwise direction helping to push the warm air from the ceiling down into the room.
- Have your furnace maintained in the fall to ensure it works efficiently and safely throughout the winter, especially if it’s 6 years or older.