Alberta winters. Whether you love them or hate them or fall somewhere in between, we can probably agree on one thing: they can be long, cold and difficult – including on your pocketbook. So what can you do to keep your home warm and cozy while reducing energy use and saving money? Here are a few simple, no- or low-cost suggestions to consider.
- Lower your thermostat, especially when you’re out of the house. Lowering your thermostat by just 3°C reduces energy use by 6%.
- Don’t lower your temperature by more than 4°C overnight, though. Your furnace will use more energy to heat the house in the morning than you saved overnight.
- Install a programmable thermostat, or better yet, a ‘smart’ thermostat. Experts say you can save up to $100 a year by lowering the temperature of your residence at night or when you are not at home.
- Same with your water heater. Try lowering the temperature from the factory settings. Even a few degrees lower can save up to 10% on water-heating costs, which accounts for up to 20% of your home’s energy use.
- In unoccupied (or seldom used) areas of the house like the basement or garage, lower thermostat settings if you can and keep doors closed to avoid unnecessarily heating them.
- Open south-facing blinds or curtains on sunny days, especially in the winter, to take advantage of the natural warmth of the sun.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to distribute heat more evenly through the room.
- Keep your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted. Clean or replace air filters once a month to keep it running efficiently.
- Apply weather stripping around windows and exterior doors and seal any openings on exterior walls, ceilings or floors.
- Plant some trees. Pine or fir trees on the north side of your home make an excellent wind break.
Have some tips of your own? Please share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you’re doing around the house to reduce energy use and save money.Also keep an eye on Energy Efficiency Alberta for upcoming programs like the Residential No-Cost Energy Savings Program, which will provide free installation of residential efficiency products such as lighting elements, water fixtures and smart thermostats in homes across Alberta.