One simple way to save money is to reduce the amount of your hydro bill. To do that, of course, you need to use less electricity. We went to Canada’s biggest energy suppliers to see what they recommend for reducing your power bill. We’ve taken their suggestions and created the ultimate list of ways to cut your electricity use and save some cold hard cash this winter.
Published January 4, 2017, Updated August 12, 2021
1. Find Out How Much Electricity You’re Using
2. Get a Programmable Thermostat
About 60 per cent of your annual hydro bill goes toward heating your home, and according to Hydro One, your costs rise about 5 per cent for every degree above 20 that you set the thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the temperature according to your schedule.
3. Lower the Temperature in Empty Rooms
There’s no reason why a room should be fully heated when you’re not using it. Hydro Québec suggests that you lower the temperature to about 15 degrees in unoccupied rooms and if you’re just going out or a few hours, turn it down by 3 degrees or so.
4. Wait for the Room to Heat Up
Hydro Québec says that cranking up the thermostat as high as you can doesn’t heat up the room any faster. So, keep your warm clothes on a little longer, make a cup of tea and be patient.
5. Caulk and Weather Strip Everywhere
Caulking and weather stripping can reduce drafts and help heat stay inside. Hydro Québec suggests that you seal any gaps around the windows, fireplaces, doors and the hatch to the roof space and replace the weather stripping around the garage door, the mail slot in your front door and the cat flap. It’s even better if you can block up some of these openings.
6. Put Plastic Film Over the Windows
Hydro Québec suggests placing plastic film over your windows. This will help reduce the amount of heat escaping from your home.
7. Open the Blinds
Another tip from Hydro Québec is to open the blinds or curtains during the day to let sunlight in. This will heat up the room naturally. At night, close these window treatments again to keep the heat inside.
8. Arrange Your Furniture Wisely
Hydro Québec says that you shouldn’t put furniture in front of heat sources such as radiators. The heat can circulate through the room more easily if the source isn’t obstructed. Besides, placing furniture too close to a heat source can be a fire hazard.
9. Turn Down Your Hot Water Heater
According to BC Hydro, you can save as much as 5 per cent for every 6 degrees that you turn down your hot water heater. Keep it at between 55 and 60 degrees.
10. Insulate Hot Water Pipes
Hydro One suggests that you insulate at least the first metre of your water pipes but also sections of pipe that run through unheated parts of your home. However, don’t insulate plastic pipes since these can soften when they become too hot.
11. Get an Energy-Efficient Showerhead
An energy-efficient showerhead can reduce your hot water use by 30 per cent, Hydro One says. You’ll not only save water but also the energy needed to heat it.
12. Turn Off the Tap
BC Hydro says that turning off the tap while you’re shaving, washing your hands or brushing your teeth can reduce your use of hot water by 5 per cent. Other ways to use less hot water are to shower instead of taking baths and to take shorter showers.
13. Fix the Faucets
Hydro Québec says that the water from a leaky hot water faucet could be enough to fill four bathtubs per month. Don’t only repair leaky faucets but consider installing an aerator, which will significantly reduce your water usage.
14. Wash Laundry in Cold Water
BC Hydro suggests that you switch to using cold water for doing the laundry. In addition, do laundry less often but do full loads.
15. Put a Towel in the Dryer
While the best way to save energy when drying your laundry is to let it dry on the line, this can be tricky in winter weather. However, BC Hydro says that you can reduce your drying time by putting a dry towel in the dryer, along with the wet laundry.
16. Turn off the Lights
If you don’t need to have the light on, turn it off. Also use natural light where possible. BC Hydro says that just one south-facing window can illuminate between 20 and 100 times its area.
17. Use Desk or Table Lamps
For specific tasks such as reading, a desk or table lamp is more efficient. As Hydro Québec says, it provides a stronger, more focused light while a ceiling lamp will just diffuse the light.
18. Redecorate Wisely
Hydro Québec suggests that using lighter colours in your home decor will reflect light and you won’t need as much artificial lighting. In addition, when you place a lamp in the corner, the light will reflect off two walls instead of just one.
19. Use LED lights
On average, LED lights use a whopping 85 per cent less electricity than regular bulbs, according to Hydro Québec. Strings of LED lights for the holidays can use 90 per cent less electricity than regular bulbs.
When you keep appliances, computers, and other electronics plugged in even when they’re switched off, they still use power. BC Hydro says that you can cut your household’s annual electricity use by 10 per cent simply by unplugging electronics when you’re not using them.