Winter is coming. Not a Game of Thrones winter where you’ve got to get north of the wall before the Others get you. But it will be a cold, wet, rainy and sometimes snowy Canadian winter. So how can you stay warm and cozy inside your house while staving off those seasonally high gas and electricity bills? Here are 10 easy ways to winterize your home, save energy, and help fight global warming and air pollution all at the same time:
1. Turn it off – the easiest way to save energy is to turn off lights and electronics when you are not using them. And hey, if you are going to be away for a few days, be sure to unplug what you can around the house to save a little bit more.
2. Update your lighting – Replace your old light fixtures and incandescent bulbs with energy efficient CFLs or LEDs, fixtures and lighting controls including dimmers and timers.
3. Home energy monitoring – Are you wondering how much energy your electronics or appliances use from day to day? BC Hydro is currently offering a discount on the purchase of a home energy monitor which shows you real time information about your household’s energy use in kilowatts and dollars. Use this data to make informed choices on saving energy around the house day to day.
4. Take Advantage of Appliance Rebates – BC Hydro offers rebates on eligible Energy Star appliances including clothes washers, clothes dryers and refrigerators purchased during the month of October.
5. Install a programmable thermostat to automatically turn down your heat at night or when you are out and back on in the morning or when you are home. Even turning down your heat by one or two degrees can make a difference.
6. If it’s time to replace that old water heater, be sure to take advantage of FortisBC’s Water Heater Rebate program by purchasing a qualifying Energy Star model.
7. Use weather stripping and caulking to prevent heat from escaping through drafty doors and single pane windows.
8. Let in the sun – Open the drapes on the beautifully sunny days to let the heat in; close the drapes at night to keep out the cold.
9. Regular Furnace Maintenance – Schedule a professional furnace inspection each fall and replace the furnace filters every three to six months to keep it operating efficiently.
10. Winterize your water lines – Take the time to wind up garden hoses and put them away for the winter. It’s also a good idea to turn off the water to any outdoor taps to make sure they don’t freeze over the winter which may cause damage to your pipes. While you are at it, be sure to fix your leaky faucets!