20 ways to save on energy bills

The Clean Air Foundation has launched the nationwide EnergyWise program to show us how to reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some suggestions for energy efficiency.

1) A programmable thermostat can save you 10 per cent by allowing you to lower heat settings and raise cooling settings.

2) Dimmer switches can reduce energy use by 10 per cent.

3) Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs gives the same brightness but uses a third of the energy.

4) Investing in caulking, weather stripping and insulation to stop leaks around windows, doors and electrical switches can save you up to 30 per cent on your heating bill.

5) When you replace your appliances, look for energy-efficient models; you could save up to 50 per cent on energy costs.

Other tips from hydro providers across the country:

6) Insulating and draftproofing make your home more comfortable and quiet, while saving energy and reducing heating costs.

7) Using a water-saving showerhead can save up to 15 per cent of your home’s hot water use.

8) Use the vacation setting or turn off the water heater when you are out of town.p>

9) Air dry your dishes in the dishwasher – you can save 10 per cent of the cost of operation.

10) Clean the lint filter after every load in the dryer – or use a clothesline.

11) Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.

12) Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient to do so. They can save energy by significantly reducing cooking time.

13) When washing clothes, use cold water for the rinse cycle, rather than warm or hot and adjust the water-fill level to the size of your load.

14) Turn off your computer when it isn’t being used. Each computer consumes about 150 watts.

15) Keep your closet doors closed, since there is no need to heat or cool them.

16) During the heating season, keep the coverings on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows. During the summer season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block direct heat from the sun.

17) Gas barbecues save energy during hot weather, when indoor cooking can heat up your home and increase air conditioning needs.

18) Shading your east and west windows with overhangs or trellises or by planting shade trees are effective ways to reduce unwanted heat gain on hot, sunny days.

19) Change that old water-guzzling toilet to an ultra low-flow model.

20) Instead of leaving lights on, put timers on a few of the lights in your home, or install motion detectors on exterior flood lights to improve your home security.

With files from Fifty-Plus.net Inc.