Simple tips to save energy

Heat as needed
Heating represents on average 50% of the energy bill. However, it is possible to lighten the bill, while improving our comfort. To do this, we set the thermostats to 18 oC at night, or when we are away for more than two hours and to 21 when we are at home. The temperature of the vestibule and unoccupied rooms is maintained at 15°C; the doors are then closed so as not to cool the other rooms. When no door separates the rooms, all the rooms are heated to the same temperature. If our heating system runs on gas or oil, we have it inspected once a year. Contact details for specialist companies can be found under the “heating” section of the Yellow Pages. A question of common sense: we regularly clean the radiators or the outlets of

If our old mechanical thermostats lack precision, we replace them with electronic thermostats. We will thus obtain a constant, more comfortable temperature while saving up to 10% on our heating costs. Some electronic thermostats are programmable: the temperature will drop or rise when it is planned. Some models even offer the option of programming a lower temperature schedule from Monday to Friday and another for weekends, configuring Saturday and Sunday separately, or even programming each day of the week differently. Hydro-Québec offers financial assistance under certain conditions.

Chase away drafts
Doors and windows are responsible for 29% of heat loss. We walk a candle along with the windows and doors, sockets, or others; if the flame flickers, there is a leak. Seal the openings with weatherstripping, and put clear plastic wrap over the windows. If there is a mail slot in our door, we make sure to board it up and install a mailbox outside. Power outlets can also let in quite a bit of air. We unscrew them and add an insulating foam specially designed for this purpose: we take care, beforehand, to cut the current. You can also install socket covers (intended to protect children). Finally, the quarter-rounds are sealed with a protective coating. As for the windows, curtains are preferred to blinds; we open them during the day to bring in the sun and we close them again at night. And, of course, when you open the doors or windows to ventilate the accommodation, you don’t forget to turn off the heating. Reduce hot water consumption
The water heater represents 12 to 20% of the energy bill. However, it is possible to reduce your hot water consumption. Instead of a bath, take a shower and reduce its duration (from 7 to 10 minutes at most). Low-flow showerheads are installed, which use 40% less water than regular showerheads, saving approximately $30 per year. The shower jet switch is also used during soaping. Moreover, laundry is done only when the need justifies it and, preferably, in cold water. We also rinse the dishes with cold water. Also, if you have a dishwasher, you only run it when it’s full and you open the door of the

Use the right device
According to the Quebec Energy Efficiency Agency, major household appliances consume on average 20% of a residence’s total energy. We, therefore, use the microwave oven, the toaster oven, the slow cooker, and the kettle, whenever possible, rather than the oven or the fire on the stove. Food is cooked on an element of the stove whose diameter is smaller than that of the pan being used, and a lid is placed on the pan to reduce cooking time.

When shopping for a major appliance, look for the international ENERGY STAR symbol. Labeled products can reduce energy and operating costs by 30-50%. In addition, the refrigerator is not placed near a heat source such as the stove, and a minimum space of 7.6 cm is left behind the appliance for the heat to escape. Maintain the temperature of the fridge between 2 and 4 oC and that of the freezer around –18 oC. If it is more often empty than full, we put bowls of water in it which will become ice. The freezer will maintain its temperature more easily. We also clean the coil of the fridge at least once a year.

Wise choices
Do we really need a freezer? This device is very greedy. If we don’t stock up on groceries, the freezer compartment of the fridge probably meets our needs. If you absolutely have to get a freezer, opt for a horizontal model that consumes less than a vertical model.

Do we have to get a washing machine? We opt for a front-loading device that uses 40% less water and 50% less electricity than a top-loading model. It also spins more efficiently, reducing drying time. As for the dryer, we only run it when necessary. We prefer the clothesline when the weather is nice. When you can’t hang your laundry outside, put the loads one after the other in the dryer, without exceeding the necessary time. The filter is also cleaned after each use.

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