Quick Tips on Getting Ready for Winter

GET YOUR FURNACE READY. The furnace is typically the biggest user of energy in your home so make sure it’s running at peak efficiency. There are a few things to do to help it run properly:

  1. Change the air filters. Make sure you change your filters at least every 90 days. When filters get clogged, the furnace has to work harder to move the air.
  2. Get an annual inspection. A qualified HVAC technician can ensure your furnace is running efficiently.
  3. If it’s older than 15 years, then you could be spending a lot more on natural gas and electricity. If you’re looking at a new furnace, make sure it has an ECM motor to keep your bills more manageable.  Find a local contractor that offers rebates for efficient furnaces -CLICK HERE. The rebates end on January 1, 2017 in NOTL so consider it now.
  4. The temperature that you set your thermostat to can have a dramatic effect on your bills. In the cooler months try setting your temperature to 20C (68F) when you’re at home and 17C (62F) when you’re away or sleeping.  If you’re comfortable at lower temperatures then set it lower. It will allow the furnace to run less often, reducing your energy consumption.

CHECK FOR AIR LEAKS. Ensuring that the heat you generate stays in your home seems like an easy way to reduce your heating needs.

  1. Use caulking to seal cracks and leaks around your windows, doors and other areas. Watch this video to see how to caulk a window - CLICK HERE.
  2. Leaks in your duct work can cause you to lose up to 20% of the heated air. Seal joints and holes with mastic or aluminum foil tape. While this can eliminate some air loss, you may need to call a professional HVAC contractor to help you seal the rest of your ducts.

LED LIGHTING. If you haven’t already done it, it might be time to retrofit your home with LED lighting. The costs for LEDs have lowered dramatically while quality has improved at the same time. LEDs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent lights. There are also coupons you can download to reduce the cost of purchasing LEDs. CLICK HERE. There are many things to consider with LED products:

  1. Time Equals Money. Upgrade the fixtures that you use the most first and also focus on the lighting that you may use during the day when the price of electricity can be twice the price of off-peak hours. There is little financial sense in replacing closet lights as well because they’re only on for a few minutes a week. If you have any one in your home that tends to forget to turn off lights, then consider a timer or occupancy sensor switch that will turn off after set periods of time so you don’t waste electricity. Timers are great for those who turn on their exterior lighting at night time.
  2. Pick the Right Style. LED bulbs come in a variety of shapes. This link goes over the different bulb types - CLICK HERE. If you aren’t sure what type of bulb to get, give us a call at 905-468-4235 x347. We can help you pick the right style. We won’t recommend brands but we recommend that you look for Energy Star or DLC certified products, which are tested for efficiency.
  3. Pick the Right Colour. Light colour, also referred to as temperature, makes a light look yellow white or blue. Light is more yellow at 2700K and then gets whiter and then bluer at 5000K (and there are many ranges in between). Picking the right colour can have dramatic effects on your comfort at home as well. 
    1. Bedrooms –  pick a warm light at 2700K for a relaxing atmosphere.
    2. Bathrooms – pick a whiter light near 3000K. It’s a little relaxing and helps you see your face in a light that’s closer to outside light.
    3. Living/Dining Rooms - you can go with either a 2700K or 3000K depending on your personal preference. If you decide to use a mixture of both your room will not have a uniform look. Many people use a 3000K for living rooms and 2700K for dining rooms.
    4. Garage – Many people can get by with 3000K but may be better off with a 4000K light. This is closer to daylight and is also known to help keep you alert which can be helpful when using a table saw.


Saving energy in the summer may not be the easiest but there are things you can do to reduce your consumption...and maintain your comfort at home and in the wallet.

USE YOUR AIR CONDITIONER LESS. It's possible. When your Air Conditioner runs, it can use over 4kW an hour and when we're in peak TOU times, that can cost you $0.73 an hour. If you can reduce your need for Air Conditioning you can avoid an expensive bill. Here are tips to maintain your comfort while reducing your need for AC:

  1. USE FREE COOLING. When the nights are cooler, open up your windows at night to let in the free cooler air. When the morning comes, close your windows to capture the cool air.
  2. SET YOUR TEMPERATURE. Have a look at your temperature settings on your thermostat and raise the temperature by a degree or so. You may not feel a difference, but your cooling system will run less when you increase the set-point. Once you complete this, try another degree or so until you have a comfortable temperature range.
  3. USE FANS - When you're in the same room with a ceiling fan, it can be 4F warmer without you noticing any difference. Fans help your body cool down by speeding up the evaporation process of your sweat. They only work when you're in the room though, so turn them off when you're not in the room.
  4. USE BLINDS AND CURTAINS - South facing windows will help the sun's heat enter the home but when you use your blinds and curtains, you can help block out the heat.  Trees are the ultimate energy saver for homes as they also help prevent winds chill your home in the winter. They take years to grow but are worth looking into for any green-thumb.
    • Older incandescent only use 15% of their energy creating light, the rest creates heat. LED light bulbs now come in virtually any colour and shape and also use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. The costs for LED bulbs are now comparable to older CFL bulbs but have no mercury and last 15x longer than CFLs.  DOWNLOAD COUPONS for LED bulbs and you can get up to $5 per bulb off at local retailers.
    • If you can, reduce your stove/oven cooking, it can use up to 5kWh per hour. You can create many recipes with minimal electricity with your BBQ and microwave (high energy but short time). For more energy efficient cooking ideas, download our Cookless Book here

WATCH OUT FOR ENERGY HOGS - There are many items in your home that use more energy than you think and some things you may not be needed:

  1. UPGRADE YOUR POOL PUMP TO A PREMIUM VARIABLE SPEED. The average savings estimated in the Toronto climate zone is approximately 2,650kWh per year. At 15 cents per kWh average (including all rates), that amounts to $397.50 in savings per year (as of Jan 1, 2017). The payback can be less than 3 years from energy savings.
  2. TOSS THE OLD DEHUMIDIFIER. If it looks like it belongs in a 1980s sitcom, chances are that humidifier should be replaced. A dryer home feels cooler and helps prevent mould growth but consider the product you're using. If you have an older non-Energy Star unit, it can use well over 450W per hour. Energy Star models can use 15% less energy than new non-Energy Star models. 
  3. IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO RUN YOUR FURNACE FAN CONSTANTLY, DON'T. A portable fan or ceiling fan will help keep you cool and use much less electricity. Remeber, fans only work when you're in the same room. 
  4. Some older stereo systems can use a lot of energy when they're turned off. Many other electronics can also suck up kWh without being turned on. NOTL Hydro has Energy Monitors available for lending to help you identify phantom power culprits. Visit our office for more details. 

REVIEW YOUR CONSUMPTION ONLINE - You won't get your bill for June usage until the middle of August. By then, it may be too late to make real changes to affect your bill. Stay ahead of the game and visit your online account. You will be able to see what you used by the hour so you can see how small changes can make big differences in your bill. Visit - https://notl-connect.theitmgroup.com/CC/Login.xml 

Whether you live in an apartment or a house – four quick questions will reveal how you use electricity and show you ways to become more energy efficient.

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