How to Save Money » Frugal Living

6 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill

It’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, temperatures are soaring and so can energy bills if we’re not careful. Rather than passively paying too much on hydro, let’s look at ways to trim this bill.

6 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill

save energy image

Game On

Get the kids working like a team and make it a game to see who can be the most energy-conscious. Give points when children come up with ideas for living green and when they remember to turn off lights etc. Celebrate small victories as a family, like lowering your hydro bill.

Choose Your Weapon

Rethinking the way we use appliances can make a big difference in energy bills. Cook in a toaster oven rather than a conventional oven. Or if you do use an oven, do the baking for the week at the same time. Use a slow cooker overnight when electricity is cheaper. Make use of a barbecue whenever possible. And forgo the dryer whenever possible, air drying clothes instead.

Timing Is Everything

If you are fortunate enough to have a Smart Meter, use that to your full advantage. Print a chart off from the website to remind you of the times that are off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak. Using electricity during the on-peak time is almost double the price of the off-peak. Changing the family’s routine to take advantage of this will pay off quickly. In our home we turn on the dishwasher and the washing machine at 7:00 each evening, when the electricity is cheaper. My husband turns the dryer on before 7:00 in the morning.

Here is the link to Ontario Hydro’s time-of-usage graphs. The green represents off-peak (8 cents/kwh), mid-peak is yellow (12.2 cents/kwh) and on-peak is orange (16.1 cents/kwh)

time of use rates

But please be reasonable – don’t become a candidate for TLC’s Extreme Cheapskate show; you don’t want to be the woman who trimmed her hedges at midnight to save money.

Make Your House Work

A few simple steps can help maximize air flow in your home, making the most out of the heating or air conditioning system. Change filters regularly. Clean all vents and make sure they are open – there is a flap quite far inside most venting systems that can easily be missed.

Loading the dishwasher efficiently will also ensure that dishes are cleaned well the first time. And turning off the heated dry feature allows dishes to air dry, saving electricity costs.

If you have a sun-drenched room, consider investing in energy saver curtains. They can be reasonably priced and will pay off in the long run.

Unplugged

Get into the habit of unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use. This ensures there is no energy being drawn which can happen even when they are turned off.

Choose Carefully

As appliances need to be replaced, be sure to check the energy star rating of appliances you are considering. Large freezers that are efficient can run on less energy than small freezers that are inefficient. Forgo a few “fancy features” in order to prioritize efficiency.

Be armed with ideas to lower your energy bill this summer. A few simple tricks and getting the family to work together will go a long way towards this goal.

What is your best hint for lowering your energy bill?