power wise

Save Energy This Winter

Draftproof your house

Graphic: Heat lossOne of the easiest ways to avoid the need for a space heater is to ensure you block the drafts. Holes or cracks around doors and windows can let heat out and cold air in. Seal those holes with caulking or weather stripping, and the house will stay warmer longer. Cover your windows with curtains at night to keep the heat in. In the daytime, uncover your windows on the south side to let the sun warm your rooms.

And don't forget to switch off ventilation fans. Your kitchen and bathroom fans can extract all of your home's heat in just two to three hours.

Space heaters

Most portable space heaters use a lot of energy, so if the room you are trying to heat is large, or you are using multiple heaters, you could see big changes in your electric bill. To make the most of a portable heater, use it in a small space and try placing it in the corner of a room.

Vehicle block heaters

Vehicle block heaters are not necessary until the outside temperature reaches -15oC. Even on the coldest days, a block heater only needs to be used for two hours before driving your vehicle, so consider using a timer to cut electricity costs. A 600-watt block heater plugged in for 12 hours a day will use 216 kWh per month. A 400-watt block heater plugged in for two hours a day will use just 24 kWh per month.

Check your lighting

Graphic: Check your lightingLighting accounts for about 21 percent of your home electricity costs. Energy saving options can make a big difference in your power bill. Try lighting only the area you need, rather than evenly lighting the whole room. Use a table lamp instead of the overhead light. Then start by changing to energy efficient bulbs for the lights you use most often, especially those that are hard to reach.

Choose the right bulb. There's an energy efficient option for all light fixtures. Look for the ENERGY STARĀ® logo. LED (light emitting diode) bulbs use 75 per cent less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

LED bulbs are more expensive than CFL (compact fluorescent light) options, but they are more durable and don't contain mercury. CFL bulbs use almost 75 per cent less electricity than incandescent light bulbs and they are designed to last up to 10 times longer.

Choose LED lights for the holidays. You can power 140 LED bulbs with the electricity used by just one 7W incandescent bulb. LEDs are also more durable and shock-resistant. Be sure to check if they are indoor or outdoor rated.

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