Now that fall is here and the temperatures are changing, there are some easy things you can be doing to save a little money. Energy costs are on the rise here in Ontario, which means now is the perfect time to cut back and conserve so that your bill won’t increase too much.
Time of use rates – with the change in season, time of use rates change as well. In my region, they run on a May 1 – Oct 31 schedule. That means, on November 1st (which is very soon!) I switch to doing all my laundry between 11am and 5pm, or after 7pm when it’s the cheapest. Please contact your hydro provider to find out if your area has time of use rates, and when the off-peak times are.
Open your windows – fall means cool mornings and warm afternoons. Instead of running your A/C to cool your house in the afternoon, just open your windows. Even on the warmer fall days, there is often a cooler breeze that can help cool your house, and won’t cost you anything.
Check your windows and doors – now is also a great time to check your windows and doors. If they have wood frames, check that nothing is rotten, and that there are no leaks. Are there any gaps around the window or door frames that can be filled with some caulking? Replacing window coverings can be a very affordable way to save on energy costs if you can’t afford to replace old windows. Adding black out or lined curtains can help keep the room the temperature you want it: open them on sunny days to warm the room, keep them closed on cold cloudy days to keep the heat in. But make sure the curtains aren’t blocking the heat vent, you don’t want the heat getting trapped between the curtain and the window.
Furnace maintenance – and with those cooler fall nights, you might even be turning your furnace on already (we’ve had ours on maybe twice so far). Did you give it a quick check before running it?Simple things you can do your self are changing the filter and make sure nothing stored near it has fallen over and blocking any vents. You can also make sure there is no rust or other damaged areas. If you have an older furnace, I suggest you have someone come in and service it. Checking for any leaks, making sure motors and fans are running properly will all help it run more efficiently.
Chimney maintenance – even more important to check than your furnace before use, as a blocked chimney can be a major fire hazard! If you have a chimney it should be cleaned regularly, to have any built up soot and ash cleared out. It should be checked for any cracks or loose bricks, and make sure no birds or bees have made a home at the top. Again, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, hire a professional.
Get cozy – fall has the best clothes, and the coziest blankets. Your house will still warm up once the sun is out and warms things up a bit, but first thing in the morning and at night it might cool down. So if you find yourself feeling a little cool in your house, put on a cute sweater and get out that cozy blanket instead of turning the furnace on. I know I am always colder than the rest of my family, so instead of having them wear t-shirts all winter, we keep the heat at a comfortable temp for them, and I put on my slippers and an extra cosy sweater.
Of course I am a big fan of using a little less energy to help the environment, but even more than that, I love saving a few bucks each month. Is there anything you do to save a bit of energy around your house in the fall?