With the colder temperatures rolling in later this winter, many people may not have given much thought to cost-saving measures they could be taking to reduce utility bills during these months.
Today we’re sharing 3 quick and easy ways you can reduce your winter utility bills that don’t require any professional expertise. We challenged our own employees to do these 3 tasks—can you complete all 3 in under 30 minutes? How about 15 minutes if you divide and conquer with a family member?
Learn Ontario’s Wintertime Peak Hours & Reduce Usage
Most homeowners know that hydro companies charge different rates at different times of the day. These are called time-of-use periods, and what many people don’t know is that they are different in summer and winter.
In Ontario, Hydro is the least expensive during “off-peak” hours of 7pm to 7am all year round, as well as all hours of the day on weekends and statutory holidays. To save on your hydro bill, try to save things like doing laundry, running the dishwasher, and showering for those times.
In the winter time, your “mid-peak” hours are from 11am – 5pm, and “on-peak” from 7am – 11am and 5pm – 7pm. These are the times you want to avoid if possible, especially “on-peak”. For a chart outlining time-of-use price periods for all seasons, click here.
Program Your Thermostat
Is your thermostat programmable? If not, it’s a worthwhile purchase to make and you don’t necessarily need to spring for the more expensive “smart” thermostats in order to see a difference on your bill. For most families with fairly regular schedules, a simple weekly programmable thermostat with a vacation option is sufficient to see cost savings.
Did you know that for each degree you lower it in the 60-70 degree range, you can save up to 5 percent on your bill? To start, try setting your thermostat to 68 degrees when you are going to be home and 55 degrees when your household is asleep or nobody is home and adjust from there to your family’s unique preferences. That dramatic difference at nighttime and when you are away can help you save 5-20%.
Leaving for an extended period of time? Many programmable thermostats have the option to schedule a vacation, so you don’t need to reprogram the whole thing when you return.
Clean Your Furnace Filter
This quick chore only needs to be done once every two months and can increase the efficiency of your furnace by 50%. All you need is a screwdriver and a sink or hose. Watch HowCast’s 1-minute video to learn how to do it yourself easily without any professional help.
Tip: When you remove your filter, if you find it has a cardboard frame then do not wash it. Simply replace it with a new one!