5 ways to save money in the winter
As Christmas nears in Canada, most people know that cold weather is associated with a spike in energy costs. This means that you have to pay more to heat your home. Typically, the average energy bill increases 70% in January and February to keep your house warm.
To lower your utility bills and keep the high energy costs down, I have highlighted 5 economically ways to do just that.
1. Replace your furnace filter
This is my personal favourite to lower utility bills in the winter.
As most Canadians have a forced air heating system, this means that your house is 100% heated by a fan pushing warm air throughout your home. The air must first move through a filter, so that dust and debris is removed from damaging your furnace. Over time, your filter can slowly plug, causing less air to be circulated in the home. The furnace unfortunately does the same amount of heating, but as more air is restricted, energy is lost without the movement of heat around your home.
The typical cost of a furnace filter ranges from $20 to $40 dollars. With the low cost, they should be changed every 6 months (especially before winter). Changing your filter in my opinion is the most cost effective way to save on increased energy costs.
2. Close off unused rooms
If your home has any unused rooms, close off the vents. If it is rarely used, you can also close off the doors behind you.
Basically, if 30% of your house is empty, why use your hard earned money to heat and cool 30% of your home that no one will notice. Doing this can greatly lower your utility bills by a significant fraction of the rooms you close off.
3. Add a sweep to your garage door
If your property has a door that separates your garage from heated house (especially older homes), air can trickle under the man door and infiltrate your heated space. This issue will increase the energy used.
This is most commonly seen in older homes, and can easily be combated by adding a sweep to the underside of the man door.
If your garage however is heated, it is important to add a sweep to the garage door as well.
4. Install LED bulbs and Christmas lights
The most common way to decrease your energy costs (and most talked about) is to install LED lights throughout your home.
With Christmas approaching, I thought I would reiterate that LED Christmas lights should be used as well. If they are left on throughout the new year, this can greatly decrease electrical as well.
Replacing your homes lights with LED’s should save about 30% on your electrical bill.
5. Keep south facing blinds open and others closed
A tactic not used by me, but works for others (they swear by it), is to keep your south facing blinds open during the day, while keeping all others closed not exposed to sunlight.
This concept is simple. When there is direct sunlight on a window, open the blind. If not, keep it closed. This idea will allow the sunlight to heat your living space, reducing energy costs and lowering your utility bills.
Turn down your HRV and exhaust fans
If you have a new home, make sure you turn down your HRV and exhaust fans so they expel air only 10% of the time. Many people run their system on a 30% recirculation setting. You can save large amounts of money by decreasing this to 10%.
If it is an older home, make note to run your exhaust fans for a shorter period of time.