It doesn’t matter if you are trying to save on energy bills or if you simply want to be more energy efficient for the sake of the environment, both are worthy activities and this blog aims to show you how to achieve the most efficient way to heat a house.
Here are some best-practices tips to help you save energy, save money and even save the planet.
Proper insulation is key.
This is probably the single most effective method you can employ to ensure dramatic improvements in heating your home as efficiently as possible. Leaky windows and doors allow cold air in and hot air out. If they are not shutting tight, they are not trapping the heat nor preventing the cold from entering the house and your heating system is working overtime to compensate from the double whammy - hot air exiting and cold air entering.
Check window frames and door jambs for draughts, the best clue that your home is not as insulated as it could be. For a more thorough draught check, try the candle test. Ensure flammable items like curtains and blinds are well away from the window or door and turn off any fans to ensure the air inside your home is still. Light a candle and hold it near the seam of the window across its perimeter. Watch the flame as you do this. If the flame curves or moves, it’s because of a draught coming through the window or door jamb. You can use an incense stick too, it’s safer as you only have to watch the smoke as there is no flame.
Standby or Sleep Mode is still ‘On’.
In order to live a more convenient lifestyle, electronic device manufacturers created Sleep Mode, so that we can turn our televisions or game consoles ‘on’ or ‘off’ with a remote from the couch. The reality though is that the appliance is not really turned off, it just seems that way. Actually, it is still on, waiting for a command from the remote. While less energy is being used, electricity is still drawn and you are paying for it.
To properly turn off the TV or a game console, they usually have to be physically unplugged. Plug them in only when you are about to use them.
Your ceiling fan is your friend
And there you were thinking that your ceiling fan is only to keep you cool in summer. Nope. Truth is, just as easily as they circulate cool air, they can circulate warm air too. In fact, Save on Energy has calculated that you can save up to 15 percent on your heating bills by using your ceiling fan to distribute warm air all around the room. All you have to do is switch the direction for the blades to spin clockwise. Since hot air rises, this technique will push all the hot air that has gathered up near the ceiling back down into the room. Note that you should set the fan speed to low when you do so.
To wash or not to wash?
Unlike Hamlet’s dilemma, the answer here is clear. If it’s before 7:00 PM, the answer is a resounding ‘no!’ to turning on appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. And the reason is simple. The Ontario Energy Board outlines that there are three time periods for energy use and they each have different rates depending on the level of demand. The greater the demand, the more the electricity will cost, a basic principle of economics. And very easy to get around. The trick is to use those appliances when demand is low.
On-peak represents the greatest demand, mid-peak refers to moderat demand and off-peak is attributed to the lowest demand. Taking advantage of these usage cycles can help you achieve real savings.
During the winter season, from November 1 to April 30 according to the Ontario Energy Board, use your appliances between 7:00 PM and 7:00 AM to pay the least for the energy used. This timeframe is off-peak and features the lowest demand for electricity.
Shut the front door!
In fact, shut all the doors, the interior ones too. Creating compartments within the home allows for each room to warm quickly and keeps the heat contained. Open spaces, such as a foyer or open concept living area can be harder to fill with heat and keep at a constant temperature especially if proper insulation is a problem. Keeping interior doors closed prevents warmed air from moving around and encountering cooler air which will lower its temperature accordingly.
The bottom line is that there are things you can do immediately to lower your energy wastage and increase your savings. That should warm the cockles of your hearth.