ENMAX gives tips on how to save energy in winter

Given the colder temperatures and long nights over the coming weeks and months when winter really begins, Rocky View County’s residents may need to check their thermostats and keep a closer look at their energy usage over the coming weeks and months.

Given the colder temperatures and long nights over the coming weeks and months when winter really begins, Rocky View County’s residents may need to check their thermostats and keep a closer look at their energy usage over the coming weeks and months.

According to a representative from ENMAX, the average house uses 40 percent more natural gas and eight percent more electricity for every 10 degrees below zero degrees Celsius.

That’s why ENMAX publishes some of its best energy saving tips on the utility’s website at this time of year. When people are looking for recommendations that are specifically tailored to their home, there are companies that offer a Housing Energy Performance Report to highlight ways to reduce their energy consumption during the coldest months of the year.

In order to save on the natural gas bill, ENMAX recommends not to over-turn the thermostat on cold days. “Heating accounts for 63 percent of energy consumption at home – and even a difference of two degrees can add up,” says the website.

Harnessing the natural heat of the sun is a great way to take some of the strain off the stove, especially since Alberta’s cities are some of the sunniest in Canada. ENMAX recommends opening the blinds and curtains during the day to let the heat in and closing them at night to prevent the heat from escaping.

While Rocky View County can feel extremely dry during the winter months, people should be careful about increasing the humidity inside, as the humidity draws heat away from the body, making it feel colder.

“If you use a humidifier, keep the humidity between 30 and 40 percent – that should ensure your well-being without having to reach for a thermostat to deal with a cold,” says the ENMAX website.

Instead of turning up the humidifier, use the dry air as an advantage to save electricity costs when drying dishes. ENMAX recommends switching the dishwasher’s drying function off and opening the door after a wash cycle to allow the dishes to air dry instead. According to ENMAX, this can reduce the dishwasher’s energy consumption by 15 to 50 percent, depending on the machine.

Older houses develop gaps and let in cold air, but sealing areas around windows or adding weather strips to exterior doors can help save up to 30 percent on heating consumption, according to ENMAX. Attaching seals to electrical outlets, stopping chimneys, or sealing dryer and fan openings can help even more.

With a view to saving electricity, people are encouraged to use cold water for laundry, unplug unused electronics, and choose different lightbulbs for different areas. According to ENMAX, lighting can account for up to 10 percent of electricity costs.

EnergyStar®-certified LED lamps use 90 percent less energy than conventional light bulbs, according to the ENMAX tip sheet. Replace old light bulbs with LEDs, which use less power and last 15 times longer than light bulbs.

When washing laundry, it is not only more energy efficient to switch to cold water, but also to hang up laundry to dry or to throw a dry towel in the dryer together with wet clothing so that it dries faster, according to the tip sheet.

The tip sheet also states that the standby power for connected electronics can make up five to 10 percent of the power consumption of an average household.

Due to the changes in energy use during the winter, ENMAX warns that homeowners and renters are likely to see some changes on their bills starting this month.

According to ENMAX, floating rate prices are influenced by demand. If more electricity or natural gas is consumed, as in winter, the variable interest rate can rise.

As more people work and study from home, it only takes a few small changes to see energy use increase. Plan for these changes by taking additional steps and reading the ENMAX winter energy saving tips at enmax.com/home/energy-saving-tips

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