Keep your house cool, and your cooling costs down, with these tips
My summer wardrobe, and collection of fans, have been put to the test this week as the temperatures have crept up over 30 degrees (check out our Weather360 blog for all the latest on the heat wave).
While protesting that I just wasn't built for this sweltering heat, I've also been very thankful for any air conditioning I can get! But, of course, all those constantly running cooling units also strain our electrical system, and Monday's blackout, while not actually caused by the heat, was a good reminder that we need to cut back on our consumption to keep the city running smoothly.
To help limit the stress on the grid - and our bank accounts - Direct Energy suggests:
- Raise the thermostat. By using a programmable thermostat, you can raise the temperature a few degrees during the day when you're not at home and at night when the temperatures are cooler - basically, when you won't notice the change. Raising the thermostat by five degrees Celsius could save 10 per cent on your energy bill.
- Cool efficiently. Keep blinds, carpets and furniture free of the vents, so your cooling system can distribute air evenly and efficiently. And be sure to close vents in less used rooms, so you're not wasting money cooling those spaces.
- Block the sun. Close blinds and curtains on the eastern facing side of the house in the morning and western in the afternoon to help keep the sun from making your space even hotter.
- Use fans. Ceiling fans are more energy efficient than turning on the air conditioner to maximize air circulation and move the cooled or fresh air throughout the home. Ceiling fan blades should move the air downwards in the summer and upwards in the winter.
- Use energy efficient appliances. Check the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating on your A/C unit. A 13 SEER rating can deliver as much as 28 per cent more efficiency than that of an older 10 SEER model.
- Check your windows and weather stripping. You can lose up to 30 per cent of the cooling in your home through poorly fitted windows and doors - and these days, you most certainly want to keep that cold air in! Seal up leaks with caulking and weather stripping. Sealing up just one older window can save five to 10 per cent in cooling costs.
- Stop the vampire power drain. Electronics - such as TVs, computers and appliances - suck power when they're in standby mode or not in use. Turn them off and pull the plug, or hook them up to a power bar to make it even easier to turn them all off.