Save money and energy this winter

(NC)

Most of the energy used by individual Ontarians goes to heating and cooling homes – and by now, our furnaces have been up and running in full force for the past few months. During the long and cold winter heating season, there are a number of ways to cut back and save on bills, so here are a few top tips to put dollars back in your wallet this year from Enbridge Gas Distribution:
In the kitchen
• Turn the oven off a few minutes before the cooking time is over. The heat remaining in the oven will finish the job.
• Only preheat the oven for baking – and then, only for about seven minutes. Most foods, such as roasts and casseroles, don't need a preheated oven to cook properly.
In the wash room
• Sing shorter songs in the shower. The average shower is about eight minutes. Try reducing to five or six.
• Install energy-efficient showerheads.
• The best temperature for your water heater is 54 degrees Celsius. That's hot enough for washing, showers and baths, and reduces the risk of scalding.
In the basement
• When you replace your old electric water heater, consider a tankless natural gas water heater – as it heats water only as needed.
• Replace the furnace filter every three months (or clean a permanent one). When the filter is dirty, airflow is restricted and the furnace must work harder, requiring more energy.
• Keep vents and air returns free of obstructions. Furniture, dust, or pet hair can block vents, reducing airflow and the efficiency of the furnace.
In the family room
• If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use. This helps prevent cold outside air from coming down the flue and warm inside air rising out of it.
• If you purchase a natural gas fireplace, consider a direct vent model. It uses outside air for combustion instead of drawing air from the home.


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