At Powerline Plus, we always emphasize the importance of energy efficiency to both our employees and consumers. This message becomes especially relevant during the colder fall and winter months as heating usages soar across the Greater Toronto Area. Heating your home or business can account for over 60 per cent of your electricity bill. Below are 8 tips that can help you save energy during the coldest months of the year, and ultimately help you save money too.

1. Use the latest technology and install a programmable thermostat that will allow you to effortlessly manage your heating, even when you’re not home. Smartphones and a smart home have revolutionized the way many of us live. Almost all new programmable thermostats allow you to connect to your home’s heating through your phone. You can change the heating temperatures of your home or business at the touch of a button. Many people see the high costs of a programmable thermostat in the short-term. Most research shows that you will more than make-up the cost difference in the first year by the energy you save.

2. A general rule of thumb, turn down your thermostat to levels you are comfortable with. For every degree you lower, your heating costs can be reduced by 3 per cent. When your thermostat is properly set, you can reduce heating by up to 10 per cent.

3. During sunny fall and winter days, allow sunlight to naturally heat up your home. During the cold night, you should close your curtains to reduce the chills.

4. Air leakage drains the heat in your home and it is important to cover it. According to some research, this can account up to one fourth of all your total heating costs. By properly caulking, weather-stripping windows, vents, doors and any other area where cold air can seep-in, you can drastically reduce air leakage. Make sure that you are using a sturdy, clear plastic sheet to weather-seal the inside of your frames. This will prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from leaving.

5. There are certain window treatments that can help you considerably lower your heat lost during the winter. Window treatment solutions like awnings, blinds (both exterior and interior), draperies, high reflectivity films, insulated panels, mesh window screens, overhangs, shades, shutters and storm panels. All of these are proven ways for you to reduce your energy costs over the long-term.

6. Water heating accounts for one fifth of your total heating costs. By lowering your water heater to a comfortable warm setting, you’ll be able to save in big ways. Most consumers have the water heater set at extremely-high temperatures, water temperatures they will never use. If you are away from the home for more than a couple of days, you can lower the water heater or turn your water heater to a “vacation” setting

7. Winter is synonymous with beautiful and vibrant colored-lights and we don’t want you to lose the holiday spirit in the name of energy efficiency! Just remember to use light-emitting diobe (more popularly known as LED) to reduce the cost of decorating your home or business during the holidays. Also, when it is not being used, unplug your lights and electronics. Despite being “off,” they are still using energy.

8. Your heating system needs regular maintenance to be running at optimal levels. Maintenance plans vary and are dependent on what heating system you are using. One of the things you can do is replace your furnace filter once a month or as is needed.

9. Some of these tips are can be implemented easily and others require a small investment, but all tips are beneficial in the long term and will help you save both energy and money.