Photo cred - Kamelia987

One of the harshest realities of the winter season, apart from the obvious, is the inevitable hike in heating costs, leaving you and your wallet out in the cold, so to speak.

Whether you live in fancy house in the burbs, or share a 4 1/2 with your bros in the McGill Ghetto, everyone feels the hurt of high heating bills just the same, and while turning off the heat all together seems like the only solution, which is obviously a terrible idea, there are some simple hacks to help ease your pain. And buying a space heater from Canadian Tire doesn't count, because those will actually run up your electricity bills significantly, which kinda defeats  the point.

Before you you turn on the heat, make sure your heating system is properly maintained, clean under your baseboards, and flush the hot water heater. Since it's a little late for that, the key is to concentrate on keeping the existing heat in, instead of just turning up your thermostat.

While it's unfortunately impossible to get away from heating costs when Polar Vortexes and frost quakes are a thing, being a bit more mindful about how you conserve your heat will go along way.

Check for drafts

A handy way of doing so is to walk around your home with a feather or candle. If it shakes or flickers, it's a good sign you have a draft. Check around walls, floors, windows, doors, light fixtures and plugs.


Insulate any air-infiltration

Create an extra air-tight seal around windows by covering them in heat-shrinkable plastic and caulking the outside window frames if necessary. Reducing drafts can save you up to 30% year on heating costs.


Harness the power of the sun

Leaving your curtains and blinds open during the day will help warm your home. As soon as the sun sets, close them as well as doors to empty rooms to trap heat inside.


Properly manage your thermostat

During the day, room temperature should be between 18°C and 21°C. Pick up a cheapy room thermometer to keep track, as old thermostats are often off by a few degrees. At night or when not at home, lower the temperature a good two to four degrees, including in any unused rooms.

If you're going away for a few days, lower the temperature even more, make sure it's still high enough so pipes won't freeze, to about 12°C - 15°C.


Limit appliance use

When possible, postpone running your major appliances such as washer/dryer, dishwasher, oven etc., and limit the use of hot water as much as possible.


Miscellaneous

If it's an option, use a clockwise-turning ceiling fan to help circulate warm air to the lower parts of the room, and replacing old thermostats with digital ones will make sure your energy consumption is as efficient as possible.

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