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Smart Summer Savings 

 

Electricity costs are rising. Use these tips to help manage your bill. 


  

Many of us use more electricity during the summer than at any other time, mainly because of air conditioning. So it makes sense to find ways to reduce electricity use while maintaining personal comfort.

Use these tips in your home and business to offset rising costs and avoid surprises on your fall electrical bill. 
 

Incentive programs for home and business

Take advantage of conservation programs and incentives to save electricity and money. See torontohydro.com/conservation for both residential and business programs. 




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

     
     

 

Air conditioning can account for up to 50 per cent of your summer electricity bill. Try to use it only when necessary to remain comfortable. As much as possible, use it during Off-Peak hours. Use the following tips for further savings. 

  • Install and use a programmable thermostat. Then you can automatically manage your air conditioning. Your energy savings will easily pay for the cost of the thermostat in the first year.
  • When you’re not at home, turn your air conditioner off, but keep your ventilation fans running to circulate the cool air. You can program the thermostat to turn on just before you get home. 
  • Run your air conditioner just a little warmer and save up to $18.20 a month. Set your thermostat at 25°C for eight hours a day. Then shift to 22°C during Off-Peak hours to save. 
  • Try to install your air conditioner in a shaded area. An air conditioner that is exposed to direct sunlight will consume five per cent more energy than one that is shaded.
  • When you turn on air conditioning, do not switch your thermostat to a colder setting than you need. It will not cool the room any faster.
  • Reduce heat gain in your home. Drawing blinds or shades during the day on windows facing south or west can reduce your air conditioning costs by up to $14.40 a month.
  • Think fans before air conditioning. A ceiling fan can save you about $20.50 a month on cooling costs. Set your air conditioner 5°C higher, use an ENERGY STAR® qualified ceiling fan and you could reduce cooling costs by up to 30 per cent. Studies have shown that during spring and fall, the cost to operate a fan is approximately $1.70 per month vs. $21.90 per month for air conditioners.
  • Proper maintenance of your air conditioner can increase its efficiency by about five per cent. You can clean the outside compressor yourself with a hose, removing debris that impedes airflow. On average, the savings will be $4.40 a month during the summer.

 

 

  • Shopping for an air conditioner? Pay attention to the Energy Efficient Ratio (EER). The higher the EER of the unit, the lower the cooling costs. Replacing your old air conditioner (EER of 10) with a new unit (EER of 14) will typically save $27.40 a month during the summer.
 

 For window air conditioners

  • Be sure to match the capacity of the unit to the size of the area to be cooled. Oversize units waste electricity and can't dehumidify properly.
  • Remember to close the vents in rooms not being used to ensure your air conditioner is only cooling the rooms you're using.
  • Periodically check that the filter is clean. Disposable filters should be replaced every one or two months.

 

     

    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 50 per cent – that’s a big saving for a little shift.

    • Save $6.90 a month by shifting your laundry to Off-Peak times. This includes washer (cold water) and dryer, for four loads.
    • Use lids on your pots while cooking and reduce energy consumption by up to 14 per cent.
    • Save $2.50 a month when you shift your dishwashing from On-Peak to Off-Peak hours. Savings do not include water and assume four loads per week.
    • 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.
    • Let your dishes air dry rather than electric dry and save another $2.40 a month. Based on four loads per week, not including water.
        
    • 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® fridge is 20 per cent more efficient than a non-qualified model?

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.
       
  • Wrap your electric water heater with an insulating blanket to save about $2.40 per month. Be sure it's CSA certified.
  • 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. 

 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

 

Little things add up to bigger savings. In many cases you only need to do something once and the savings keep coming. For example, as your incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescents. It’s an easy way to make the transition.

  • Save $4.70 a month by switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent lights (based on eight lights, five hours per day). CFLs last up to 10 times longer and can use up to 75 per cent less electricity. You can replace an incandescent 100W light bulb with an 18W – 23W compact fluorescent and get the same amount of light.
  • Some electronic devices continue to consume power, even when they are turned off. Using a power bar with integrated timers and auto-shutoff can save up to $4.70 a month by eliminating these ‘phantom’ loads.

 

  • Use timers on selected lights to avoid leaving them on around the clock to make your home look occupied when you are away.
  • Use LED seasonal lighting both inside and outside your home, during the holiday season to save money. LED lights use up to 95 per cent less energy and last at least seven times longer than regular lights.

 

    • Eliminate drafts in your home – air leakage around windows, doors, vents and electrical outlets can account for as much as 25 per cent of your total heating costs. That also applies to letting cool air out. Caulk and weather-strip windows, doors, dryer and other vents, and install insulated plates on electrical outlets.

     

    • If you have a swimming pool, limit your pool pump to running six hours a day in the summer and save $8 a month. Use a solar blanket to keep swimming pool water warm overnight. 

     

    • 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.

     





       

       

       

      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 air conditioning. 

         
      • In the summer, set your thermostat to 25°C instead of the low 20s. Add a portable or ceiling fan to help cooling. Typically a small business can achieve monthly savings of $22 to $83.90 with these measures. Relax your dress code to help keep employees comfortable.

       

      • 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.
      • Don’t leave the front door open when air conditioning. This costs the average small business $89.20 to $277.90 a month.
      • 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 energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps. You’ll get the same lighting level at a fraction of the cost.
      • 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.
      • Replace T12 fluorescent tubes with more energy-efficient T8 tubes to save up to 25 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 $104.80 of energy per year.
      •  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.

       

      • 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.
      • Remove light bulbs in areas with excess lighting levels, such as near windows, in hallways and in areas with no furniture.
         
      • Install occupancy sensors and dimmers in break rooms, restrooms and conference rooms to reduce lighting costs by up to 30 – 70 per cent.


    Upgrade now for energy efficiency

    Toronto Hydro offers businesses of all sizes financial incentives and technical help for energy-efficiency projects. In many cases, it pays to upgrade equipment, even if it is still working, to benefit from the savings in energy efficiency. Get an overview of business incentive programs at torontohydro.com/business.

    Sources
    Smart Summer Savings Sources (PDF)