15 easy ways to save on your utility bills

That drip, drip, drip sound coming from your bathroom could be doing a lot more than keeping you up at night – it could be blowing a hole in your budget. Next time you walk through your home, pay attention – for a sky high utility bill could be in the making – from drafts to leaks to appliance that run 24/7. Then make some of these easy fixes to save big.

1. Put on a sweater – Is your thermostat higher than it needs to be? Set it just one degree lower and cut your energy bill by 3% – set it three degrees lower and save 10%. Keep yourself warm with a sweater during the day and a nice thick duvet at night – and save!

2. Put food colouring in your toilet – The most common place for water leaks is in the loo. Put food colouring in your toilet tank and wait without flushing for 10-15 minutes. If you see colour in the toilet bowl you have a leak – consider that a small hole can cost you as much $50.66 per day (yes, per day!)! Check this out for more.

3. Go off-peak – If you find ways to use power at off-peak times you could cut your energy bill in half. In Ontario, for example the rates per kilowatt hour are 14 cents at peak times and just 7.7 cents off-peak. Find out more here.

4. Run the water less – Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth or chill water in the fridge instead of running it to cool it off.

5. Ditch the chlorine pucks – If you use those blue pucks in your toilet you could be on the fast track for a leaky ($$$) toilet. All that chlorine corrodes the rubber and plastic parts in your tank.

6. Conquer the phantom – From DVD players to computers, most of us keep our appliances plugged in all night. This so-called “phantom” power use sucks energy from your home when you’re sleeping – costing the average Ontario household up to $100 a year. Consider plugging these appliances into a power bar you can easily turn on and off when you’re not using them.

7. Put five bucks in the fridgeThe Ontario Government recommends you check for energy leaks in your fridge by closing the door on a five dollar bill. If it sticks you’re good – if not, you’ve got an energy-sucking problem with the seal.

8. Put in weather stripping – Doing this will keep the heat in and the cold out. It’s a cheap fix you can do on your own even if you’re not handy – this video explains how.

9. Become a label queen – Next time you’re shopping for a new appliance make sure you look for the EnerGuide label and for Energy Star models for more efficient models that will save you money.

10. Buy a clothesline – Skipping the dryer will definitely help you cut your energy bill.

11. Pick a light paint colour – Thinking of redecorating? Then keep your wallet in mind – lighter colours on the wall mean you’ll need to use less electricity to see.

12. Program it – Invest in a programmable thermostat to keep your home at the right temperature — at the right time. Why have that heat or A/C blasting when you’re not there or when you’re sleeping?

13. Filter it – Make sure you replace the filter in your furnace regularly — and check it every four weeks to make sure it’s clean and helping your furnace work efficiently.

14. Fill it up – When you’re running your dishwasher, make sure it’s full. Running half a load uses the same power (so why not wait until you can do twice as much for the money).

15. Don’t fall for this scam – Never sign a contract for a new water heater at your door – no matter how unsafe or inefficient they tell you yours is. These door to door sales people are all over Ontario – don’t take the bait. Find out more.

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