Winter Wise Savings 

Whether switching to an energy-efficient light bulb or paperless billing, Toronto Hydro has plenty of tips to help you save time and electricity all winter long.

Save time: 3 ways to simplify at home or at work

  1. Sign up for My TorontoHydroTM  You can access your account online – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. View current balances, due dates, payment history, all with just one click.
  2. Switch to eBills to save time and trees Enjoy simple, secure, 24/7 access to your bills. See your current bill plus two years of past bills, all in once place. You’ll receive an email when your eBill is ready.
  3. Set-it-and-forget-it payments Pay your bill automatically with our convenient Pre-Authorized Payment Plan. There’s no risk of late payments or added bank charges – that’s one less thing to worry about!

Save electricity: Incentive programs for home and business


Take advantage of our many conservation programs and incentives to save electricity and money. From downloadable coupons for energy-efficient products to free pick up of old fridges or freezers to $1,500 in lighting for small businesses, we have a program that can help you.


 


How many of these tips can you use? Click to jump to tips.  

     
     

Heating can account for up to 60 per cent of your electricity bill, so it pays to heat as efficiently as possible. Use the following tips around your home to make it more comfortable and to save energy.

  • Install and use a smart thermostat to automatically manage your heating. Energy savings will easily pay for the cost of the thermostat in the first year.

 

  • When you’re at home try setting the thermostat to 20°C, and to 18°C when you’re sleeping. When properly set, a thermostat can reduce heating costs by up to 10 per cent.
  • Time for a new furnace? Pay attention to the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model. Replace your furnace with a high-efficiency model and get up to $250 back with the saveONenergy HEATING & COOLING INCENTIVEOM.
     
  • Try to install your thermostat away from direct sunlight and on an interior wall where there are no vents or drafts.
  • Turn down your thermostat. For every degree lower, you’ll save up to 3 per cent on heating costs. If you’re going out for an extended time, set the thermostat back to 15° to reduce heating costs up to 20 per cent. (Heat pumps should only be set back two degrees to prevent backup strip heating from wasting energy).
  • Proper maintenance of your furnace can keep it running at full efficiency, use less energy and cost less to run. Clean or replace the filter once a month and have a licenced HVAC professional service it once a year.  
  • Plug the leaks to save. Air leakage can account for as much as 25 per cent of your total heating costs. There are significant savings available if you caulk and weatherstrip windows, doors, dryer and other vents and install insulated plates on electrical outlets.
  • Up to 25 per cent of heat loss is through windows. Plastic window covers can help reduce drafts. They can be purchased at most hardware stores.
  • Don’t waste heat. Close off heat to any unused areas or rooms by closing off air registers and shutting doors. Keep closet doors shut, too.

 

  • When you turn on your furnace, do not switch your thermostat to a hotter setting than you need. It will not heat the room any faster.
  • Increase the amount of insulation in your home to keep it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The attic and basement represent as much as 15 – 30 per cent of your home’s overall heating and cooling losses. Make sure you add attic vents so hot air can escape.
  • Let the sun shine in. During the day, keep your curtains open to heat your home naturally.

 

As much as you can, shift the use of major appliances to Off-Peak hours, which are 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays, and all day weekends and statutory holidays. The cost difference between On-Peak and Off-Peak is 46 per cent – that's a big saving for a little shift.

  • Shift your laundry to Off-Peak hours to save. Washing in cold water can help further reduce electricity bills.
  • If you have an electric stove and oven, try shifting their use to Off-Peak. When possible, use a microwave or toaster oven. A microwave uses up to 50 per cent less electricity than an electric stove.
  • If your dishwasher has a timer – use it. Try setting your dishwasher to start after 7 p.m. when Off-Peak prices begin. Let your dishes air dry rather than electric dry for further savings on your monthly electricity costs.
     
  • Make sure you’re using all of your dishwasher’s energy-saving features. For easy-to-clean loads, use the light or short cycle. Always wait until the dishwasher is full before you run it.
  • If you’re looking for a new major appliance, read the EnerGuide label and comparison-shop for the most energy-efficient model. The lower the kWh rating, the better the efficiency. Look for ENERGY STAR® qualified models. Did you know an ENERGY STAR® qualified fridge is 20 per cent more efficient than a non-qualified model?
  • Use lids on your pots while cooking and reduce energy consumption by up to 14 per cent.

In a typical Canadian home, water heating accounts for up to 20 per cent of total utility costs. And, if you have an electric hot water tank, your water heating costs can be a substantial portion of your total. Use these tips to reduce your costs.

  • Have a qualified person check the temperature of your hot water tank. The recommended setting is 49°C – 60°C (140°F). Any higher is probably wasteful and may produce water that is too hot at the tap.   
  • About 25 per cent of all household hot water is used for clothes washing. Use cold-water washing and rinsing wherever possible. Cold water rinsing can save you enough energy for about 100 hot baths or 220 showers per year. When you do use hot water washing, be sure to set the water level to match the load.
  • An energy-efficient showerhead can reduce your hot water use by up to 30 per cent. In one year, you can save over 28,000 litres of water. You'll still get brisk showers, and save a significant amount on your electricity bill.
  • Fix leaky taps. A tap dripping at one drop per second wastes 800 litres of water per month. Usually the cause is just a worn-out washer, which is cheap and easy to replace.
  • Install faucet aerators on your sink faucets to lower water flow. Aerators mix air into the water flow and reduce water consumption by 25 – 50 per cent per tap.
  • Insulate at least the first three feet of pipe leading to and from the hot water tank with tape wrap or foam pipe tubing. Don’t wrap plastic pipes – the extra warmth might soften them. Download coupons for pipe wraps here.
  • Before you drain your bath, let water stand in the tub until it has released its heat into the house.

  • Quick showers use less hot water than baths. A typical bath uses about 75 litres of hot water, while a 5-minute shower with an energy-efficient showerhead uses less than half of that.
 
 

During the holidays, your guest list can add up – and so can your electricity costs. Here are a few tips to ‘green’ your holidays this year.

  • Take advantage of Off-Peak hours December 25, 26 and January 1st. Time meal preparation and holiday lighting around Off-Peak hours to save.
  • When cooking or baking, use the oven light as much as possible. The oven loses about 20 per cent of its heat every time you open the door. 
  • Make the switch to savings. LEDs can save three times their cost in electricity.  
  • Roasting a turkey? Pass on preheating. Preheating is really only necessary for baking. Consider cooking multiple dishes at once, so your oven isn’t working overtime.  
  • Deck the halls with LED holiday lights. Switch your old strands with new LED bulbs. They  use less energy, last longer and present no fire hazard as they stay cool to the touch.
  • When entertaining friends and family, lower your thermostat a degree or two. With the additional body heat, you’ll save energy while keeping your home comfortable.
  • Use timers on holiday lights to avoid leaving them on around the clock to make your home look occupied when you are away. Download coupons for outdoor timers here.

 


Many businesses can apply the same money-saving tips that apply to homes. However, energy-efficient lighting likely plays a bigger role, as does the wise use of heating.

  • Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control temperatures. Set your thermostat to 20°C when your workplace is occupied and 17°C after business hours.

 

  • Many electronic items such as TVs, computers, photocopiers and other equipment continue to consume small amounts of electricity, even when turned off. Try plugging these items into a power bar with a switch, so you can easily turn them off when they are not in use.
  • Perform regular maintenance to keep HVAC systems running efficiently. This can save up to 30 per cent of fan energy.
    • Add reflectors on fluorescent tube fixtures to increase the effectiveness of lighting, which often allows for lower wattage and/or fewer bulbs.

     

    • Consider using ink-jet printers – they require less energy than laser printers.

     

    • If you have a large walk-in refrigerator, consider installing a humidity control system to increase its temperature by two to four degrees. Since walk-ins usually store fresh food or meat, humidity and temperature must be kept at the proper levels to preserve food quality. Check with your appliance supplier to ensure the optimum levels.
    • Keep computers on standby. On average, computers are only used 10 per cent of the time they are turned on.

     

    • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. You’ll get the same lighting level at a fraction of the cost.
    • Replace traditional EXIT signs with newer LED signs. By law, EXIT signs must be lit whenever a building is occupied, so they are often on 24 hours a day. While more expensive to purchase, LED bulbs can last up to 10 years, which can mean lower costs over the long term.
    • Replace old computer systems and monitors with ENERGY STAR® qualified models to reduce energy use by up to 75 per cent. For example, a flat-panel LCD monitor consumes less than half the energy of a CRT monitor.
    • Remove light bulbs in areas with excess lighting levels, such as near windows, in hallways and in areas with no furniture.
    • Replace T12 fluorescent tubes with more energy-efficient T8 tubes to save up to 25 per cent.
    • Install occupancy sensors and dimmers in break rooms, restrooms and conference rooms to reduce lighting costs by up to 30 – 70 per cent.
    • If you have a compressed air system, check it for leaks. A small leak of only 0.8 millimetres can waste up to $108.66 of energy per year.
    • Dripping taps can waste 9,000 litres of hot water each year. Replace leaky washers to save hot water – and money.

     

    With holiday entertaining and chilly winter nights, winter often means saying goodbye to the barbeque and hello to heartier cooking. Try these energy-saving recipes – they’re more efficient and can help you manage your electricity costs. 

    Recipes

      


    Sources

    Sources (PDF)