Ten energy saving tips

By McGill Reporter staff

Even the groggiest morning people among us immediately wake up when they set foot outside each morning these days. There’s no escaping it…winter is just around the corner! Get your house ready for the cold by following these tips:

1. Seal all gaps or cracks around doors, windows, and electrical outlets. By sealing these leaks you will reduce heat loss and can save on your heating bill. Seal your windows with plastic sheets available at all home hardware stores.

2. Turning your thermostat down just a few degrees at night or during the day when you are at work can save as much as 15 per cent on the heating part of your energy bill.

3. Buy a programmable thermostat to make setting temperatures easy. It will automatically save energy at night and when you’re away from home.

4. Check and change or clean your furnace filters. Dirty clogged filters can reduce airflow and make your furnace work harder and less efficiently. Keep a couple of clean spare filters on hand. Schedule a checkup and maintenance for your furnace as soon as possible, so it’s working well when the real cold sets in.

5. A common pathway for cold air to get in from the outside is through electrical wall outlets. Electrical outlet sealers found in your hardware store provide a quick fix.

6. Now that you will be using your dryer more often, run consecutive loads to take advantage of accumulated heat. Clean the dryer lint screen after every load. Wash the lint screen once a year with a toothbrush and dishwashing detergent to rid it of film from fabric softeners. Finally, check that the dryer vent hasn’t become clogged with lint. Often, screws holding the ducts together will trap lint that builds up over time.

7. Make sure your heating vents aren’t obstructed by furniture or curtains and the dampers are open. Vacuum out dust and pet hair from warm air registers and cold air returns so your furnace runs more efficiently.

8. If the surface of your water heater is hot or even warm, some of the energy used to heat the water is being wasted. Wrap the heater in an insulating blanket. Be sure to check your user manual and labels on the tank first.

9. Check your ducts for air leaks. Look for joints that should be connected but have separated. Leaky duct work can increase your utility bill significantly.

10. Set the thermostat of your water heater between 43 degrees Celsius and 49 degrees Celsius. Any higher and you are wasting valuable energy.