Energy Saving Tips
*Information provided by NRCAN
The cost of improving the airtightness of your home through caulking is low compared with the subsequent fuel savings and increased comfort.
- Silicone caulking is ideal for metal, glass, glazed tile and plastic surfaces because it sticks, flexes and does not shrink over time.
- Acrylic latex caulking is a general-purpose sealant that sticks best to porous materials like wood and concrete.
- All-purpose caulking is good for both interior and exterior use, including bathrooms and kitchens.
- Polyurethane caulking performs well on both porous and non-porous surfaces, is flexible, paintable, long-lasting and hard as nails.
- A heat-resistant caulking should be used around sources of heat, such as chimneys, light fixtures and fan motors.
- It is wise not to caulk in an area where the temperature is below 5°C (40°F), as the compound will become stiff and difficult to work.
- Caulking should be used for its intended purpose only. For example, an exterior sealant can be a health hazard if used indoors.
- To make sure caulking sticks well, clean the surface area thoroughly first and allow it to dry before you caulk.
- When improving your home’s airtightness, take into account the effect on ventilation.
ENERGY STAR® labelled compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs.
- The wattage rating tells how much electricity a bulb uses, not how bright it is. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a bright idea. They use less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
- One 100-watt incandescent bulb produces the same amount of light as two 60-watt bulbs and uses less energy.
- Cleaning light fixtures regularly removes dust buildup and allows for maximum light output.
- Standard incandescent bulbs use only 5 to 8 percent of their energy to produce light. The rest is dissipated as heat.
- Lamps placed where their light can reflect off at least two walls, such as in a corner, provide the most light for your money.
- Many devices can help save energy on lighting. Look for automatic timers, motion sensors and dimmers.
- Linear fluorescent tubes are suitable for your kitchen, bathroom and utility area, and come in all sorts of styles and lengths.
- Fluorescent lighting fixtures should be metallic, grounded and shielded to prevent electromagnetic interference with other household equipment.
- A halogen lamp is like an incandescent lamp with a special reflector to improve light focus.
- Outdoor halogen lighting is great for gardens and pathways, and it uses much less energy than standard incandescent lights.
- Halogen lighting has light output that is similar to a regular incandescent bulb but uses up to 40 percent less energy.
- Installing a water-saver flush kit in your toilet can save you thousands of litres of water per year.
- Replacing large-volume toilets with 6-litre-per-flush models saves at least 70 percent of the water used.
- An energy-efficient shower head or flow controller conserves energy without affecting water pressure.
- A low-flow shower head saves as much as 60 percent of the water used by a conventional fixture.
- Dripping taps can waste 9000 litres of hot water each year. Replace leaky washers and save the hot water for when you really need it!
A ceiling fan equipped with a large range of speeds provides the greatest number of options for comfort and noise control.
Low-growing evergreen shrubs planted beside basement walls help keep warmth in and winter winds out.
- Trees and shrubs in your yard sheild your home from road noise and prevailing winds.
- Deciduous trees lower your energy bill all year, providing shade in summer and sunshine in winter.
- A trellis draped with vines or climbing perennials cools ground-floor windows facing west.
- Flower gardens with tall plants help retain moisture in the ground. With larger gardens you spend less energy on watering and mowing your lawn.
- Awnings installed on upper-floor windows help control heat gain in the summer.
- Consider a low-maintenance landscape – one that requires little more water than nature provides. Often called xeriscaping, the principles of a low-maintenance landscape are as follows:
- a reduced amount of lawn
- proper plan selection that makes use of native grasses, shrubs and trees
- the use of rain barrels/roof drainage
- mulching to reduce evaporative losses around shrubs and trees
- a proper irrigation system
- planned maintenance
Weatherstripping prevents air from leaking through gaps around doors and the moving parts of an operable window.
- Weatherstripping should be easy to replace. To be effective, it must close gaps completely.
- Weatherstripping should be flexible and spring back to its original shape. It should allow you to open and close windows and doors easily.
- Weatherstripping can be applied to the tops and sides of any door frame.
- V-shaped weatherstripping creates an excellent seal by making contact with the edge of the door. It maintains a good seal even if the door warps.
- At the bottom of the door, apply weatherstripping to either the sill or the door itself.
- When weatherstripping your door, use a durable material that can withstand traffic but is flexible enough to adapt to changes caused by humidity and temperature.
- Organizing the food on your refrigerator shelves will allow for ample airflow and efficient operation.
- Your refrigerator accounts for 11 percent of your household’s total energy consumption, so buying an energy-efficient model makes good sense.
- Cool hot food before placing it in the refrigerator so that you don’t let valuable energy go to waste.
- Today’s energy-efficient refrigerators use 50 percent less energy than models made 10 years ago.
- ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators have a more energy-efficient compressor and better insulation than conventional models.
- A water-level control or a small-load basket helps you save water when washing smaller loads.
- Front-loading clothes washers use about 40 percent less water per load and 50 percent less energy than top-loading models.
- A dryer with a sensor that turns the machine off automatically when clothes are dry helps save energy.
- You will get the most out of your clothes dryer if you clean the filter before every load.
- A freezer that is too big for your needs wastes energy and money. A rule of thumb is to allow 130 litres of freezer capacity per person.
- Chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright models. Cold air stays in better when the door is opened.
- Your freezer or refrigerator must work harder when placed next to a heat source such as a radiator, heating vent, washer, dryer or furnace.
- You can test your refrigerator or freezer door seal by closing it on a sheet of paper. Replace the seal if the paper slides out easily.
- Using a dishwasher saves energy. Five minutes of pre-rinsing dishes under the tap can use up to 115 litres of water.
- Today’s dishwashers are about 95 percent more energy efficient than those bought in 1972: your old one may be costing you more money than buying a new one.
- Self-cleaning ovens generally have more insulation than regular ovens. This means energy savings every time you cook.
- Turning on the interior light to check your dinner instead of opening the door makes the best use of your oven’s energy.
Appliances – General
Heat Recovery Ventilators
- Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) improve indoor air quality by expelling stale indoor air continuously and using its heat to pre-heat the incoming fresh air.
- Dirty HRV filters weaken the performance of the system. To clean most filters, simply remove, dust or wash with soap and water, and reinsert.
- A ceiling fan near a gas fireplace will push valuable hot air down into the whole living area.
- Air leaks are common at the joint between the chimney and the wall. To seal them, remove the trim (if necessary) and apply heat-resistant caulking.
- A gas fireplace can usually be inserted into an existing wood fireplace. It also can be installed as a completely new hearth.
- Traditional wood fireplaces draw valuable heat out of the house, while new gas fireplaces with sealed units maximize heat use.
- An efficient gas fireplace may lower energy consumption if installed where its heat can reach many parts of the house.
- Accessories such as tightly fitted glass doors and outdoor air intakes help improve fireplace efficiency.
- A carbon monoxide detector should be installed near all fuel-combustion appliances. If your gas fireplace has a continuously burning pilot light, it should be turned off during the summer or when you are away for a long time.
- Lowering the thermostat setting at bedtime and before leaving the house reduces your energy bills without affecting your comfort.
- By installing a programmable thermostat, you can save 2 percent on your heating bill for every 1°C (2°F) you lower the thermostat.
- Look for a thermostat with the ENERGY STAR® symbol on it.
Room Air Conditioners
- A room air conditioner works just like a refrigerator; it takes heat from the space that is being cooled and transfers it to another place.
- Setting the thermostat of your room air conditioner at 25°C (77°F) provides the most comfort for the least cost.
- ENERGY STAR® qualified room air conditioners use at least 10 percent less energy than conventional models.
- A room air conditioner filter should be cleaned once a season. A dirty air filter reduces airflow and may even damage the unit.
- A poorly performing air conditioner should be serviced without delay. Leaking refrigerant not only reduces the unit’s efficiency – it is also emitting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
- Switching to a high-efficiency water heater could save you up to $100 on your energy bill every year.
Bathroom Exhaust Fans
- Using your bathroom fan gets rid of damp, stale air quickly and improves indoor air quality.
- You can compare the sound level of bathroom fans (measured in sones). Some models, rated at under 1.0 sone, are as quiet as a whisper.
- A bathroom fan with an automatic humidity sensor runs the fan just long enough to remove excess moisture and then turns itself off to save electricity.
* Energy Star
- You can buy years of energy savings by choosing appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR® symbol.
- The EnerGuide rating on a major appliance helps you choose the most efficient model for your needs.
- The EnerGuide label lets you estimate the annual cost of electricity to operate the appliance.
- You can save up to 50 percent of your cooking energy costs by using a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven.
- Microwave ovens cook food faster than conventional ovens because the energy goes directly into heating the food, not the oven or utensils.
- Food cooks faster when placed at the edge of the rotary tray, as more microwaves can interact with the food there than at the centre.
- Cooking in a microwave oven does not add unwanted heat to your kitchen.
- Kettles heat water more efficiently than a range-top element or a microwave oven. Choose one with an automatic shut-off button and a heat-resistant handle.
- Cleaning your electric kettle regularly with boiling water and vinegar removes mineral deposits inside it that reduce its energy efficiency.
- A toaster oven uses much less energy than a conventional oven. It is also faster and more convenient for cooking small quantities of food.
- To operate a toaster oven energy efficiently, make sure that air can circulate freely around the appliance.
Electric Frying Pans
- An electric frying pan requires less electricity than a range top to cook the same quantity of food.
- Gas barbecues save energy during hot weather, when indoor cooking can heat up your home and increase air-conditioning needs.
- Paint that is low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contains fewer solvents than regular paint, so fewer environmental pollutants are emitted into the air.
- White walls and ceilings reflect significantly more light into a room than do dark surfaces.
- Sump pumps prevent moisture problems by channeling excess water away from your home to a sanitary main or storm water pipe.
- Running a dehumidifier in the basement on muggy summer days reduces condensation on foundation walls and floors.
- Determining the humidity level in your home with a hygrometer can help you decide whether you need to act to prevent moisture damage.
- Foam gaskets made to fit behind the cover plates of electrical receptacles, switches and lighting fixtures reduce air leakage.
- Photocell timers react to sunlight. They turn outdoor lights off during the day and on at night and help extend bulb life.
- Programmable timers with an automatic on-off switch help extend product life and minimize energy use.
- Aluminum tape wrapped around joints in heating and cooling ducts can help reduce costly air leakage.
Outdoor Lighting w/ Motion Sensors
- Outdoor lights with motion sensors operate only when they detect movement, providing home security as well as energy savings.
- When working properly, eavestroughs help guide rain water away from the foundation of your house and prevent moisture problems.
- For good cross-ventilation, install attic vents at the eaves and peak of your roof.
Central Vacuum Systems
- A central vacuum cleaner expels air and fine particles outside the home, contributing to better, healthier air quality inside.
- Allergy sufferers in particular benefit from a central vacuum system. Cleaning is also much quieter with a central vacuum system, as the main power unit is mounted away from the living area.
- Choosing the right pot size for a stove element means using energy most efficiently.
- Extending cooking times with a slow cooker not only lets flavours mingle better, but also reduces energy use and chances of scorching.