Combat high utility bills and excessive energy consumption during the summer with various eco and budget friendly strategies

Energy bills tend to be high in summertime, when people crank up their air conditioners to combat heat and humidity. For some households, high energy bills might be stretching their budgets, yet others might be looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprints. Conserving energy can help save you money while helping the planet at the same time. And, reducing energy consumption in the summer does not require that you sacrifice comfort in the name of conservation. There are various strategies for homeowners or apartment dwellers to reduce their summertime energy consumption.

The Government of Ontario encourages people to time their electricity use to see cost savings. During the summer, electricity use peaks in the province in the afternoon. From May to October, you will pay the highest price between 11am and 5pm; a lower price between 7am to 11am and 5pm to 7pm; and the lowest price between 7pm and 7am. Limit use of appliances that generate heat, like the oven and stove and try to grill outside as much as possible.

Stop cooling an empty home. A cool home might be the ultimate necessity during summer heat waves, but there’s no reason to cool a residence when no one is home. One way to be more energy efficient is to keep your residence warmer than normal when no one is home and, if you can, avoid running your air conditioner between 11am and 5pm. Programmable thermostats can be set so air

conditioning units turn on shortly before you arrive home, ensuring the house is comfortable and no energy is wasted.

Narrow the gap between indoor and outdoor temperatures. The smaller the difference between the temperature indoors and outside will also reduce cooling costs. Setting your thermostat to 26C (78F) when you are home will allow you to stay cool and avoid an unusually high electricity bill.

Hang window treatments that block sunlight and prevent heat from entering through your windows. Also install fresh or replace old weatherstripping and caulk around doors and windows to keep your home sealed.

Open the windows at night if possible. Daytime temperatures, particularly during the ‘dog days’ of summer, may necessitate the use of air conditioners. But, when temperatures drop considerably at night, sleeping with windows open can reduce energy consumption and save you money. It can be a great way to introduce fresh air into a home during a time of year when air can become stagnant.

Install ceiling fans. Hydro One states that using a ceiling fan allows you to raise your thermostat by 4°C without affecting your comfort. Set blades to run in a counter-clockwise direction to circulate cool air downwards. You can also supplement with personal fans, which blow air across your body to aid evaporation. While fans don’t actually lower the temperature of a room, they make it feel cooler by taking a bite out of the humidity.