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6 Tips to ensure your summer is not ruined by a nasty hydro bill

It is summer and it is July and it can only mean one thing: hot and soaring temperatures that can only be weathered by a cool and

lower hydro bill during the summer

Taking some simple steps can ensure a lower hydro bill during the hot summer months, while still enjoying a cool home.

blasting AC! But we all know what that means for your pocket: a nasty bill at the end of the month or cycle. So how can you ensure you enjoy your summer without having to worry about a high hydro bill? here are some of the best tips to save on electricity this summer while still enjoying it:


Plan ahead

Scan the weather forecast for the next 5 days. Those days with temperatures of 30° (90 °F) or more and with high humidity, it is best to spend them somewhere in a cool place, be it a mall, the beach etc. Unless you are at work, spending these hours outside of your home can add up to significant savings, as you won’t have to turn on your AC.  And if you have a programmable thermostat (Nest Learning Thermostat is a good one) , your job will be easier: you can simply program your unit to either turn off or put it on a more energy-saving mode when you are not home.


Avoid cooking

Cooking, especially those dishes that make use of the stove for more than an hour, can heat up your home even more than it already is. On these hot days, avoid using the stove (if you have an electric one, that will add even more to your hydro bill) and just eat a sandwich or something cool (fruits, vegetables etc.)


Use a Fan

Using a fan, together with the AC, will ensure the cool air is transported to other areas of the house without having to crank up the AC to the full. Fans don’t cost much to operate so be sure to use one or more in your home. In fact, when the temperature is not too hot, using a fan without an AC will suffice.


Keep your AC at or above 25 C (78 degrees F)

This is by far one of the most effective methods for a lower hydro bill during the summer. At this temperature, your AC doesn’t have to work as hard and as a result won’t have to use too much electricity. It may still feel hot at this temperature, but after a few minutes, you will get used to it and feel comfortable.


Keep curtains closed

This is an easy one and doesn’t take much effort.  keeping the sunlight from your home will ensure it remains cooler. And the sooner you close them, starting at around 11 AM, the better.


Maintain your AC Unit

Last but not least, much like a car, your Air Conditioner needs to be maintained and tuned for proper and optimal operations. One of these is to change the filter, something you can do yourself. And for an annual maintenance check, call a licensed HVAC tech. These will save you at least 5-10% if not more, savings that can add up together with other measures already mentioned above.


Like already mentioned, there are literally hundreds of methods by which you can lower your hydro bill. A simple google search will give you more ways and tips on how to do this. You will be surprised at how many things you currently do-or don’t do-that contribute to a higher bill.


How to fight back against high utility bills and save hundreds every year!

It seems like every utility bill I was getting lately, whether it is for electricity, water, gas etc., was higher than the previous one. So much so that utility bills were absolutely killing my budget. They were starting to eat away into other items’ allocation.

I realized this can’t go on like this forever. Something had to change.

I started by gathering my last 6 bills from each service and utility, including: -Gas (Enbridge)
-Hydro and Water (PowerStream)
-TV, Internet and Telephone (Rogers)

I basically did my own energy auditing and assessment to find areas where I can target for savings and efficiency.

I began by reviewing every bill, and comparing it to the previous ones and seeing what the trend was. In most cases, I was paying more every month.

Next, I looked at reasons why I was paying more, and in a lot of cases, I had to call the utility companies to find out. In some cases, I spent close to an hour going over every detail and line with them. It is amazing how many surprises and savings you can uncover by simply talking to them at length.

Next came the actual application stage, where you start renovating, repairing and changing things around the house to reduce your energy, gas and water use. This could be a leaky faucet, new insulation, an automated thermostat etc. You can achieve double digit reduction in energy use if you employ all the available resources out there.  The internet is full of sites with tips and advise on how to make your home more energu efficient and save on your utility bills.

Once I went through all these steps, I then moved on to take advantage of real time tracking tools, which let you check your energy use, updated to the hour, and sometimes to the minute. This helps you do an energy self-discovery, to find out whether the changes you made are translating into real reduction in use and eliminating any costly losses.

After I was done from auditing my utility bills, I moved to the other entertainment and communication bills, mainly phone and cable TV. I went through all the packages and bundles I had, and got rid of a few of them. Mainly, I noticed I had a lot of duplicates or features I no longer needed. You see, as we move on, life styles and tastes change. Which is why you should review your cable and phone packages every one or two years, to make sure you are not paying for anything extra or something that you needed before, but don’t now.

Finally, sit down and wait for the bills, and hopefully be able to reap the rewards of savings from all your auditing efforts.

If you have any other tips on how you went about reducing your energy and other home utilities bills, please share them in the comments section.