Simple Tips for Homes

Heating & Cooling Tips: No Cost / Low Cost

  • During the winter months, keep your thermostat between 65° and 70°. Dial your thermostat down when you're away or asleep. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature according to a schedule you set. Savings can be dramatic.
  • Have your heating and air conditioning serviced prior to heating and cooling seasons. Your system may last years longer and your chances of a break-down will be reduced with regular maintenance.
  • Open blinds or drapes to let the sun in on winter days. At night, close them to help hold heat in. In the summer, use curtains or drapes to prevent the summer heat from getting inside.
  • Don't heat space you don't use. Close the vents and shut the doors to infrequently-used rooms and open them when you need them. By minimizing the space you heat, you can save significantly on heating bills.

  • Use fans to help with air movement. Fans can make your space feel more comfortable and delay the need to turn up your furnace or air conditioning - saving energy. If you have ceiling fans, set them so you feel a breeze coming down (usually counterclockwise) in the summer. In the winter, reverse the fan's direction and operate it at a low speed to bring your warm, heated air down where you need it.
  • Use weather-stripping and caulking wherever it is needed. This will keep the heat and cool air from leaving your home or business.
  • Change or clean your furnace filter at least once per month. Clogged filters inhibit airflow and make your furnace work harder

Heating & Cooling: Extra but Worth the Cost

  • Insulate, insulate, insulate. The right insulation keeps any building cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Heating and hot water pipe insulation is often overlooked.
  • If possible, plant trees to provide shade in the summer and provide a windbreak from northeastern winds in the winter.

Lighting Tips: No Cost / Low Cost

  • Reduce the wattage. An overly lit room not only wastes power, it can also make you recall places that are overlit for functional purposes, such as factories and offices. Choose bulbs whose wattage matches both the purpose of the room and the atmosphere you would like to create.
  • Use multiple switches. When installing lighting in a large open-plan space, install multiple switches to cover the different areas. That way you can restrict your use of lighting to the area you want to use.
  • Install dimmers. Dimming reduces the amount of electricity a light uses and increases the life of low-voltage lighting such as halogen downlights. When you buy bulbs, check that they will work with a dimmer.
  • Use lamps. An electrical lamp will give you ample light at a lower cost than an overhead light. It can also enhance the ambiance of a room or, if necessary, provide focused light for tasks such as sewing.
  • Keep lights clean. A dusty light bulb or a dirty lampshade can obstruct as much as half the light. Dust the bulb and wipe or wash the shade regularly.
  • Install motion detectors. When installing security lighting outdoors, make sure the lights have built-in motion sensors or timers so they only operate when needed.

Lighting: Extra but Worth the Cost

  • Go solar. Illuminate paths with lamps fitted with batteries that store energy from the sun.
  • Be natural. Install skylights in darker rooms or as natural downlights in work rooms such as kitchens. If you're buying or building a new house or apartment, or are undertaking a renovation, position the rooms and spaces where you spend most time during the day to the north or northeast so they capture the lion's share of daylight.