7 Tips to Combat the Biggest Energy Wasters at Home

With Alberta electricity prices forecasted to rise nearly 40 per cent in May, homeowners should be more careful with their energy usage so they can reduce their utility bills. Unfortunately, too many of us waste hundreds of dollars high electricity bills simply because we don’t adopt the simplest of energy-saving tips.

Here at Direct Energy Home Services, we understand the importance of efficient home energy usage. Therefore, we hope to assist our fellow Alberta residents by sharing a few of the biggest energy wasters in the home so you can decrease the size of your bills. While rising energy costs may be out of your hands, Dave Walton, Direct Energy’s Director of Home Ideas, has provided 7 ways you can better monitor and reduce your energy usage:SaveEnergyChalkboard

  1. Beware of vampire electronics. Even if they’re not doing anything specific, certain devices constantly draw power simply because they’re plugged in. The biggest culprits are computers, printers, phone chargers, gaming consoles, and DVD players. To alleviate this, unplug electronics when they aren’t in use.
  2. Use energy-saving light bulbs. Light bulb technology like CFL’s and LED’s can last up to ten times longer than a regular incandescent bulb and use up to 75 per cent less energy. A single 20 to 25 watt energy-saving bulb provides as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb while also emitting less heat.
  3. Consider upgrading the windows in your home. Install high energy efficiency windows with low-e coatings, argon gas fill, and insulated spacers.
  4. Out with the old, in with the new.  Consider upgrading your old furnace to a new energy-efficient unit. An older conventional burning furnace operates at 60 per cent efficiency – which means that 40 cents of every dollar you spend on heating your home is going right up the chimney. A new high-efficiency furnace operates at over 90 per cent efficiency, so that you’re wasting less than 10 cents on every dollar you spend heating your home.
  5. Install a programmable thermostat.  If you already have such a device, maximize the benefits by setting the times and temperatures to match your schedule. Also, consider having the thermostat turn off your air conditioner at night. And if you don’t have one, we recommend that you sign up for The Comfort & Control Plan from Direct Energy so you can have The Nest Learning Thermostat installed in your home!
  6. Use appliances efficiently. Microwaves use substantially less energy than ovens, so opt to use one when cooking and reheating items. We also recommend that you defrost your freezer regularly, as your freezer uses more electricity when ice builds up over time. You should also keep your freezer at least three-quarters full for maximum efficiency. You can even consider getting rid of that old fridge in your garage or basement if it’s only keeping a stray six-pack cold.
  7. Stay in shape:  It’s important that your furnace and air conditioner are maintained and inspected every year. Consult the experts and schedule an early summer maintenance appointment with a licensed technician. We recommend that you have your HVAC system checked so it’s ready for summer when higher temperatures put it to the test.  A system that isn’t running properly can waste a lot of electricity and natural gas.

Prepare your home for rising energy costs by getting rid of the big energy wasters that plague your home. For more tips on improving the energy efficiency of your home, please visit the “Energy Efficiency” and “Energy Efficient” sections of the Direct Energy blog .


Vernon Trollinger is a writer with a background in home improvement, electronics, fiction writing, and archaeology. He now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.