14 Energy Saving Tips to Boost Efficiency at Home

Couple sitting on couch with blanket and coffee cups

Why Save Energy?

Homeowners are often looking for ways to save money and the environment, and one way to do this is by cutting down unnecessary energy use. By updating or changing the way you use your home appliances, you can increase your home’s efficiency, protect the environment, and save on your annual utility bills without compromising comfort.

Home Energy Conservation Tips:

Here are several ways you can conserve energy so you can keep your cool when your next utility bill arrives.

Don’t Over Adjust Your Thermostat

You can save on your annual energy bill by changing your thermostat habits. During hot summer days, avoid cranking your thermostat down thinking the house will cool faster. Air conditioners make your home feel cooler by removing humidity, which takes time. Lowering the thermostat drastically won’t make your home cool faster because the humidity hasn’t been removed. Doing this only makes the AC run longer to reach the lowered thermostat set point.

If you want more control over your temperature settings, you should consider investing in a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat learns your heating and cooling preferences based on your behaviours. It communicates with temperature sensors in each room, adjusting your home’s heating and cooling to reach your ideal settings automatically. Plus, smart home technology can decrease your energy consumption by about 10 to 20 percent per month.

Find the Right Temperature Set Point

Generally speaking, the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower the heating and cooling costs will be. To find the best temperature for comfort and energy savings, conduct an experiment with your thermostat. While you’re at home set your thermostat to 25.5oC, the recommended set point for summer months, and adjust the set point by one or two degrees at a time. You want to find as high of a temperature in the summer, or as low of a temperature in the winter, as comfortably possible while managing humidity levels.

Set Back Your Thermostat When You’re Away

During winter months, lowering the thermostat by up to two degrees while you’re away from home can help save on heating costs. While this is an effective strategy in the heating season, it’s not recommended for the summer. It’s much harder to cool rather than heat a space because you need to factor in humidity control. The energy required to remove accumulated humidity from setting back your thermostat and cool your home back to the desired set point is often more than the energy required to maintain a specific temperature.

Utilize Your Ceiling Fan

Another way to save on energy is to use your ceiling fan to help keep your home cool. As the summer approaches, run your fan counterclockwise to create cool air without air conditioning. When the weather gets hotter, use your ceiling fan as an extra boost to disperse the cool air from your HVAC system throughout your home without setting the air conditioner on full blast.

Besides cooling, ceiling fans can also help you save on heating. During the cooler months, running your fan clockwise can help push the warm air that rises to the ceiling down into the rest of the home without creating a breeze.

Whether it be to cool or heat your home, running a ceiling fan can help you save on your monthly energy bills while keeping your home comfortable. Just be sure your fan is rotating in the right direction for your desired effect.

Monitor Shower Length and Update Your Showerhead

The best way to reduce the amount of water you use while showering is by being mindful of how long you run the shower. If your household struggles with this, try setting a timer for each shower. We also recommend installing low-flow showerheads. Standard showerheads release 2.5 gallons of water each minute, whereas low flow showerheads use 2 gallons of water or less. These small changes can add up to save you on water usage.

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

Your washing machine uses more hot water than your shower and dishwasher combined. One of the best ways to conserve energy is to use a wash cycle that washes and rinses your clothes in cold water. If your washer is not a high-efficiency model, then consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model. You can consult an appliance’s EnerGuide label to learn more about its energy-efficient qualities.

While you’re at it, hang your clothes up to dry to boost energy savings in the laundry room.

Manage Your Electronics

Smartphones, laptops, game consoles, and chargers each use small amounts of electricity that can add up in electricity costs. Did you know that the average Canadian household has 25 or more electronic devices?  Many devices drain energy even when they’re not on – this is called phantom power and can account for up to 10 percent of a home’s energy use. Monitoring and unplugging your electronics after fully charging can save you up to $150 a year.

Get Double Paned Windows

Your windows make up about 15 to 20 percent of your home’s surface, so it is important to make sure air is not leaking through window cracks and gaps. Even the best sealed single-pane windows have low R-value insulating property. Double pane windows have gas in between the panes that work to increase insulation. Double pane windows can also raise your R-Value by blocking off air gaps in cold and warm weather. 

Seal Your Chimney

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it is important to close your chimney damper until it is completely sealed off, especially in the summer. Over time, heating and cooling can warp a chimney damper and affect how well it seals. If your damper is leaking, hire a professional to replace it or try an inflatable chimney balloon. When inflated, chimney balloons form a tight seal within your flue.

Ensure Attic Ventilation

You can save on heating and cooling costs by ensuring adequate ventilation throughout your home. During the summer months, proper ventilation moves hot air out of your attic, cooling your home. In the winter, proper ventilation keeps warm, moist air from forming condensation and lowering your insulation’s effectiveness. Check with a professional to see if you have enough attic ventilation.

Another way to stop cold and hot air from escaping your roof is by adding more layers of batting type insulation to your attic. There are many types of insulation. Be sure to get expert advice on choosing the best type of insulation for your application.

Plant Hedges and Shrubs to Insulate Your Home

Just like how trees shade your house during the summer, shrubs near your home help insulate your exterior walls from heat and cold. Hedges and shrubs work as windbreaks by forming an air envelope that helps insulate exterior walls and spigots. For best results, plant hedges that grow well for your region around 30 cm from your exterior walls.

Close and Cover Your Windows in the Summer

If your home is too humid, your rooms feel sticky and uncomfortable. Since your central air conditioning unit cools your home by removing moisture, it’s important to keep your windows closed during summer months when it’s more humid outside. By opening windows, you let in humidity, which will make your air conditioner run longer to reach a cool indoor temperature. The ideal humidity level for a home is between 35 and 50 percent. Also, avoid additional heat gain in the home by closing window coverings where there’s direct sunlight during the sunny summer months.

Add Motion Sensors to Exterior Lights

Your porch light gets left on for long periods of time. Install motion sensor lighting with high-efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LEDs instead of incandescent ones to help cut back on energy that is often unused.

Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling System

Newer HVAC systems are more efficient and cost less to operate, saving you money and energy. If your heating system is mid-efficiency or more than 15 to 20 years old, consider renting a newer, high efficiency boiler, furnace, or air conditioning unit. If you have a 15 to 20-year-old AC unit that’s less than 13 SEER, consider a high-efficiency replacement. Ask one of our professionals about cold-climate air-source heat pumps (CCPs) for the areas in your home that are hard to heat and cool.

To learn more about how you can save energy in your home, get in touch with us today.