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Ward off high winter heating bills

High, low and no-tech ways to help you save

While winter is a great time of year, it can increase energy costs around our homes. Snow, low temperatures, cold winds and less sunlight all present challenges in keeping our homes warm. Plus, colder weather often means we're spending more time at home using more energy in the form of heat, lights, electronics and appliances.

Here are easy ways to help lower the cost of heating and lighting your home:

High tech

  • Smart thermostats. Most smart thermostats not only let you program your heating with more intricate schedules, they also let you control your home’s heating remotely. Some thermostats can detect when you leave the house or can learn your behaviours and turn the heating up or down depending on if you’re inside the house and what activities you’re doing (i.e. sleeping, sitting idle, puttering around) so that you’re not wasting heat and energy.
  • Smart lighting. You can access everything remotely and change up the times when your lights turn on and off. You can even go room by room so that you're using lights only when you’re in certain areas of your home.

Low tech

  • Energy-efficient windows. Consider installing low-emissivity (low-E) glass, gas-filled glazing or windows that have insulated spacers. Otherwise, seal up leaky windows. Shrink-wrap or clear plastic films installed on windows are a quick and inexpensive way to keep heat in.
  • Upgraded insulation. Choose insulation with a high R-value for your basement and particularly the attic. Heat rises, and a well-insulated attic will help keep heat from escaping through the highest section of your home.
  • Weather-stripping and seals. Install weather-stripping around exterior door and use sealers to plug up air leaks around heating and cooling ducts. Check the foundation walls and look for cracks and leaks that may be letting cold air in.
  • Energy-saving light bulbs. Switch to LED bulbs, which use up less energy, yet still emit a good amount of light.
  • Energy-saving appliances and electronics. Invest in electrical appliances and electronics which meet the newest Energy Star® certification criteria. Consider replacing refrigerators and freezers first as they are two of the most energy-consuming appliances.

No tech

  • Use light only when you need it. Remember to turn off lights in rooms you’re not using. Install dimmers, motion sensors or smart lighting systems.
  • Be green when you clean. Using cold water is the single most effective way to reduce the energy consumption of your washing machine. Consider switching to an energy-efficient washing machine and dryer. Better yet, hang your clothes to dry whenever possible.
  • Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use. Electronics and appliances use energy even when they’re not being used. These small costs can add up each month.