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13 Things You Should Know About Energy Conservation

Our energy use (and bills) tend to go up during the cooler temperature of the winter months. These 13 tips can help you save money and lead a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

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heating-home-energy-saving-tipsPhoto: Shutterstock

Energy Saving Tips: Heat Your House Judiciously

Nancy Clark of Hydro One in Ontario suggests starting with benchmark temperatures of 21 C when you’re home, 16 C when you’re out and 18 C when you’re sleeping. From there you can fine-tune based on what’s comfortable for your family. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you’ll save about 5 per cent on heating costs.

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Energy Saving Tips: Be Patient

On a cold winter day, don’t set your thermostat higher than you want the temperature to be in order to warm your home faster. It won’t hasten the process, and it’ll keep the heater running longer.

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Energy Saving Tips: Humidity is Key

To make your house feel warmer during cooler months, Clark suggests maintaining a humidity level of 30 to 40 per cent – moist air retains heat better than dry air. If your home is arid, use an energy-efficient humidifier.

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Energy Saving Tips: Become a Fan of Ceiling Fans

To save on heating bills, “have fans spin clockwise at a low speed to circulate warm air downward in the winter,” Clark says. In the summer, turn up the thermostat by a degree or two and switch to counter-clockwise to whisk hot air up.

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Energy Saving Tips: Invest in Power Bars

The average household contains about 25 electronic devices drawing phantom power, says Clark. To save time and energy, plug multiple gadgets (like computers, printers and cellphone chargers) into one power bar that you can switch off when you’re not using it.

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electronic-devices-energy-saving-tipsPhoto: Leszek Kobusinski/Shutterstock

Energy Saving Tips: Beware Electronic Devices

In the summertime, move lighting, electronics and other heat-emitting objects away from your thermostat – they’ll artificially raise the temperature and make your cooling system work double time to catch up.

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BeerPhoto: Shutterstock

Energy Saving Tips: Get Rid of That Old Beer Fridge

Maurice Nelischer, director of sustainability at the University of Guelph, suggests saying one last cheers before recycling that old beer fridge chugging along in your basement. Old refrigerators can use three times as much energy as newer ones; ditching yours could save you about $300 a year.

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Energy Saving Tips: Clean Out Your Fridge and Freezer Regularly

If your fridge and freezer are overstuffed, they won’t circulate air properly, leading to uneven temperatures and an overworked compressor. You can also extend the life of your fridge – and make it more energy efficient – by replacing the gaskets when they get old and weak.

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Pumpkin soup with baconPhoto: Shutterstock

Energy Saving Tips: Let Hot Foods Cool

Hot food will raise the temperature inside the fridge and cause it to increase its efforts to cool things down again, so let your gastronomic creations cool down to room temperature first!

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Energy Saving Tips: Research Goes a Long Way

Check out your local power company’s conservation incentive program – you may qualify for a furnace replacement grant, coupons for LED bulbs and more.

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Energy Saving Tips: Zap Your Snacks

Make small meals and heat leftovers in the toaster or microwave instead of your oven – you’ll use up to 75 per cent less energy.

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Energy Saving Tips: Dust Off Those Clothes Pegs

Electrical dryers account for about six per cent of an average home’s energy bills. By contrast, line-drying your clothes can save you up to $100 per year.

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Man working from homePhoto: Shutterstock

Energy Saving Tips: Work From Home

Drive to a full-time job? See if your company will let you tele-commute once a week. If you spend an hour or more commuting each day, working from home could save you over $150 a year in fuel costs.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada