According to Toronto Hydro, air conditioning can account for up to 50 percent of your summer electricity bill. While staying cool is a necessary expense for most homeowners, there are plenty of ways to increase savings during the hottest months of the year, whether you’re using a central air conditioning system or another type.
Use these tips to maximize your saving potential on home electricity this summer:
Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Most ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light bulb, and could save you up to $18.70 per month (about a 30 percent reduction in cooling costs), according to ENERGY STAR®. Make sure your ceiling fans are turning in a counter-clockwise direction in the summer.
If you’re installing a new air conditioner, try and place it in a shaded area. It’s estimated that a unit exposed to direct sunlight can potentially consume up to five percent more energy than one that is shaded.
Shift to off-peak hours when using your major appliances at home. Appliances that fall into this category include the washer and dryer, dishwasher and stove/oven. In Toronto, off-peak hours are from 7:00pm to 7:00am on weekdays, and all day on weekends and stat holidays.
Other tips for major appliances include using lids on pots while cooking, letting your dishes air dry, using the energy-saving features on your dishwasher for easy-to-clean loads, and shopping for ENERGY STAR® certified products.
For window air conditioners, always make sure that the capacity of the unit matches the size of the area that needs to be cooled. Units that are too big can potentially waste electricity and lack the ability to dehumidify the area properly.
Use water efficiently by washing your clothes in cold water when possible, wrapping your electric water heater with an insulating blanket, installing energy-efficient shower heads, fixing leaky faucets, and taking quick showers rather than baths.
Bonus Tip: Saving money on your cottage electricity bill
For those who spend their summer weekends at the cottage, it’s important to employ cost-cutting measures to reduce your electricity bills. Unplugging your appliances and electronics between visits, cooking meals outdoors, and installing energy-efficient window treatments are all effective ways of ensuring that your home away from home isn’t costing you more than it should.
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