We can put our Hydro account on a diet by adopting simple and inexpensive actions.
1. We tackle air infiltration
Heating monopolizes more than 50% of our electricity bill. Where we can intervene is by eliminating air infiltration, a source of heat loss. How? By installing weather stripping around doors, caulking window frames where necessary with insulation, putting insulation on the plates of electrical boxes facing exterior walls and sealing joints ventilation of dryer ducts, bathroom fan, and range hood.
2. We drop the wood-burning fireplace
The days when it was more profitable to use the wood-burning fireplace to heat the house are over. “With the cord of wood at more than $100, electric heating becomes more economical,” says Dave Gosselin, of Négawatts Production, an organization specializing in energy efficiency. Moreover, heating with wood is more polluting.
3. We prefer the shower to the bath
Ah, how pleasant it is to take a good bath in winter! But hot water is not free. The water heater monopolizes up to 20% of our energy consumption. To reduce this percentage, we prefer a shower (5 to 8 minutes) rather than a bath, which requires at least 150 L of water, ie double the shower. We further reduce our hot water consumption by installing a flow switch on the showerhead that we activate during soaping.
4. We program our thermostats
By replacing bimetallic thermostats with much more precise electronic thermostats, we save up to 10% on our heating bill. The other advantage of these new generation thermostats is that they are programmable, which makes it possible to adjust the temperature according to our lifestyle. It is recommended to lower the thermostat a few degrees at night and when you are at work. This reduces energy consumption without affecting our comfort.
5. We fight excess humidity
The more the air is saturated with humidity, the more energy is consumed for heating. The relative humidity in the house should fluctuate between 30 and 50%. But, by cooking or taking long showers, you can exceed 50%. “The house must then be ventilated by turning on the stove hood or opening a window for about ten minutes. Even in cold weather, it’s an energy-saving gesture, because freezing air is always drier than indoor air,” says André Dumont, building inspector at Inspecteur D. We measure the humidity level using a hygrometer, available at hardware stores.
6. We are modernizing our lighting system
Lighting represents 5 to 10% of our electricity bill. This consumption item is reduced by replacing our incandescent or halogen bulbs, which unnecessarily transform a lot of energy into heat. Instead, we focus on energy-efficient, LED, or compact fluorescent bulbs. Outdoors, motion sensor lights are a logical choice, as they reduce energy expenditure by only turning on when needed.
7. We choose our cooking method carefully
The way we cook our meals influences our energy consumption. Very practical for heating food, the microwave oven requires 10 times less energy than the traditional oven. The slow cooker, pressure cooker, and toaster oven also beat the stovetop oven in energy efficiency.
8. We use our appliances wisely
We could no longer do without our appliances, but they still have an energy cost: 10% of our electricity bill. The good news is that machine washing uses less electricity than washing dishes by hand. Unless you have ultra-soiled dishes, the dishwasher’s short cycle, which uses less energy, will do the job amply. In addition, we wonder about the relevance of keeping a second refrigerator in operation in the basement. This device, often underused, inflates our Hydro bill by $100 to $150 per year. Do we really need it?
9. Eliminate phantom loads
Even when not in use, most electronic devices consume electricity, which is called “phantom power”. This superfluous expense is avoided by plugging, as much as possible, electronic devices into multi-outlet power strips that can be easily turned off with a switch. “That’s what I do for my home theater, which I don’t use often,” explains Dave Gosselin. We also turn off our computer rather than leave it on standby.
10. We take advantage of solar energy to the fullest
Nothing in life is free except the energy provided by the sun! We replenish this natural light and warmth by opening the curtains during the day and closing them at night, in order to trap the heat inside, windows being responsible for 15 to 20% of heat loss. . We also maximize solar energy gains by removing mosquito nets during the cold season and locking our windows to increase their sealing, which improves their insulating capacity.