Forget about your North Face jacket and your Merrel boots, the most fashionable winter accessory will always be your heater. Whether you have an oil furnace or an electric baseboard, these appliances keep your home warm, cosy, and — more importantly — safe all season long. Unfortunately, their energy usage racks up a price tag far higher than any brand-name outerwear.
It’s the perfect winter storm of factors that result in costly utility bills in the 6ix. The Ontario Energy Board’s frequent rate increases are partly to blame. Last year alone the province saw two hikes that put the average bill over $100. This makes Ontario’s electricity rates the highest in North America, with most households paying more than $1,000 each year on their hydro bills.
It doesn’t help that our usage typically skyrockets during the frosty months. Thanks to our cool climate, Canadians use a lot of energy in order to heat their homes — a whopping 63% of our energy usage is spent on space heating. Its closest competitor, water heating, accounts for only 19%.
The exorbitant cost of heating our homes compels a lot of individuals to look for ways to save during the season. Some of these tricks work better than others, while some don’t work at all. One such faulty tip is a DIY space heater using tea candles and garden supplies. It claims to be an efficient energy saver that heats your home for only 15 cents a day or the equivalent of the cost of your candles. Sounds too good to be true? You would be correct. Not only does it fail to heat your living spaces but if assembled correctly it can be a fire hazard.
There are tested ways to heat your home safely and economically. Remember, warm and cosy is our specialty. We know our way around the average heating system, and we know the best ways to cut costs without putting your home at risk. We’ve compiled a list of simple tasks you can take on this winter to shave off a few dollars from your monthly bill.
- Schedule a Check-up — An efficient appliance is a cost-effective appliance. Make sure you book an appointment with one of our heating repair specialists to confirm your heating system isn’t working any harder than it has to. By completing a thorough inspection of its heat exchanger and venting system, our technicians can improve your unit’s efficiency and keep costs low.
- Stop up Draughts — Poor insulation, thin windows, and openings leading to the outside can leak all of the warm air from your home. They cause your heater to turn on more frequently and for longer periods of time in order to maintain comfortable temperatures. Spend an afternoon to examine your windows, doors, and other openings to ensure their weather stripping is in good repair. Replace or repair any damaged parts with caulking and eliminate draughts from your home.
- Dress Your Windows — Thin windows are a major culprit when it comes to heat loss, even if the weather stripping is intact. The best yet most expensive solution is replacing your old windows with energy efficient ones. But if this isn’t in your budget, consider new heat trapping curtains and insulating plastic as cost-effective alternatives.
- Layer up — The next time you feel chilly, bypass your thermostat and put on an extra sweater. By resisting the urge to jack your thermostat, you can save between 1 – 3% on your bill. So pull on your wooly socks, fill up your hot water bottle, and snuggle under some blankets as you binge-watch Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events with the family.
Though relatively simple, these tips can help you stay warm without breaking your budget. For more advice on how best to use your heating system, get in touch. We’re available 24/7 to take your call, whether it’s for a simple check-up or an emergency repair.