Stay warm and save money

When winter arrives, energy use almost doubles; space heaters can contribute to half bill

  • Dec. 22, 2011 1:00 p.m.

As the days gets shorter and the weather gets colder, energy demand across the province almost doubles as people turn up the heat and keep lights and electronics on for longer.

Space heating costs alone can account for from 40 to 50 per cent of the average electricity bill depending on how customers heat their homes.

B.C. Hydro’s top seven energy-efficient home-heating and lighting tips to help keep your bills low:

• Draft-proof your home – Seal gaps and cracks with caulking and weather stripping to keep the heat inside your home, reducing heat loss by up to 10 per cent.

• Manage your thermostat – Install a programmable thermostat. Heating costs rise about five per cent for every degree above 20 degrees C that you set your thermostat.

• Shade your windows – Using blinds or drapes on your windows provide insulation in the winter and summer. Heat loss from windows can account for 10-25 per cent of your heating bill in winter.

• Maintain your heating system – Tune up your heating equipment and continue to give it regular maintenance.

• Add or upgrade insulation – Start in areas that lose the most heat, such as attics, basements and crawl spaces.

• Ensure your fireplace is efficient – With wood-burning fireplaces, close the damper tightly when the fireplace is not in use. If you use the fireplace only occasionally, install glass doors.

• Use energy-efficient lighting – LEDs use at least 75 per cent less energy than incandescent lighting and can last about 20 years based on average household use.

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