As the days gets shorter and the weather gets colder, energy demand across the province almost doubles as people turn up the heat and keep lights and electronics on for longer. In fact, space heating costs alone can account for from 40 to 50 per cent of the average electricity bill depending on how customers heat their homes.
However, BC Hydro has some easy ways to keep your bills low this winter. And in the future with smart meters, you’ll be able to see how much energy you’re using and make adjustments to save money.
Here are BC Hydro’s top seven energy-efficient home-heating and lighting tips to help keep your bills low:
- Draft-proof your home – Sealing the gaps and cracks with caulking and weather stripping is one of the most cost-effective steps you can take to keep the heat inside your home, reducing heat loss by up to 10 per cent.
- Manage your thermostat – Install a programmable thermostat. Most people are comfortable sitting reading or watching TV at 21 degrees C, working around the house at 20 degrees C, and sleeping at 16 degrees C. Heating costs rise about 5 per cent for every degree above 20 degrees C that you set your thermostat.
- Shade your windows – Using blinds or drapes on your windows provide insulation in the winter and summer. Heat loss from windows can account for 10 – 25 per cent of your heating bill in winter.
- Maintain your heating system – Tune up your heating equipment and continue to give it regular maintenance in order to increase its energy efficiency.
- Add or upgrade insulation – Upgrading your heating system might make your home warmer, but if it can’t hold the heat in, you’ll be wasting energy. Start in areas that lose the most heat, such as attics, basements and crawlspaces.
- Ensure your fireplace is efficient – With wood-burning fireplaces, close the damper tightly when the fireplace is not in use. This can dramatically reduce heat loss. If you use the fireplace only occasionally, install glass doors. They act as a barrier against warm air loss up the chimney and stop the pull of cold outside air into the home.
- Use energy-efficient lighting – LEDs use at least 75 per cent less energy than incandescent lighting and can last about 20 years based on average household use. ENERGY STAR LEDs come on quickly, are durable and good for dimming.