How to save on utilities in the summer

The summer heat has arrived in Ottawa! With a big change in the weather comes an even bigger change in our utility bills. To combat the heat, we use our air conditioning units more, on top of the regular hydro consumption we use in a day.

If you find your hydro bill is rising faster than you’d like, here are a few tips to save on utilities in your home this summer.

1. Air dry your laundry: Use the warm air and daytime breeze to help dry your clothes rather than using your dryer after every wash. Hanging your laundry to dry on a clothesline or on a drying rack inside is a great way to cut back on an appliance that doesn’t have to be used regularly in the summer. Also, air-drying your clothes outside will help bring in an outdoor freshness that your clothes don’t get from a dryer.

2. Turn off the lights: With the sun rising earlier and setting later in the evening, we can take advantage of the extra hours of natural light to brighten our homes. Open your curtains to let the light in and keep light fixtures turned off during the day. On days when you need to keep the curtains shut because of the heat, be sure to use LED light bulbs. They use less energy and keep the heat down in your home.

3. Enjoy the evening breeze: Instead of running your air conditioner all night, open your windows to let in the summer evening breeze and let the hot air escape. The cooler night air will help cool your home down naturally, offers an exchange of fresh air and helps save on energy.

4. Unplug your devices: Although this may seem like an insignificant task, it has a surprising effect on “phantom power” usage. Unplugging devices that aren’t in use or are plugged in and on standby can help you eliminate those small costs on your bills that add up over time. When you leave your house for the day, unplug chargers, appliances and electronics that are not in use.

5. Ceiling fans and window fans: Ceiling and window fans use less energy than your air conditioning does and keep air circulating throughout your home, which has a cooling effect. If you don’t have a ceiling fan installed, look into investing in one this summer.

6. Spend more time outdoors: Even though this tip may not apply directly to your home, it does loop back to your utility costs. Heading outside for the day means your home has a chance to stay cool naturally, without anybody's heat or appliances running to overheat it. Enjoy your time outdoors and come home to a naturally cooler, and energy-friendly, home.

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Serge Guénette
Bilingual Realtor

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