Ontarians are Stripping Down to Stay Cool

Direct Energy survey finds three-quarters of Ontarians wear minimal clothing and one-third sleep naked when it's hot outside

TORONTO, May 29, 2013 /CNW/-- According to a recent survey conducted for Direct Energy, Ontario homeowners will do just about anything to stay cool throughout the summer like sleep naked (32 per cent) or wear fewer clothes (73 per cent). Despite the large majority (81 per cent) of Ontario homeowners having central air conditioning installed, Ontarians are finding other ways to cool down, some folks sticking with the tried and true methods such as spending more time in the basement (42 per cent) and using fans (48 per cent), while others use more current ways to keep cool like blasting the air conditioner unit. Whatever the preference though, Direct Energy wants to help Ontarians keep cool and save money this summer season.

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"With a combination of different traditional and modern methods homeowners can find the perfect mix to stay cool during the summer without seeing major spikes in their seasonal energy bills," said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas for Direct Energy. "Simple methods like using a ceiling fan or barbecuing more often and keeping the oven and stove use to a minimum will really help to keep things cooler in the home. Running the air conditioner is the most common method to cool down the house in the summer, but something as little as closing curtains or blinds during the day can help to keep temperatures at a comfortable level."

Survey results also showed that Ontarians are making some common mistakes, but with a few simple fixes they could save some money. One of the biggest mistakes is setting their thermostats too low during the summer months, with 47 per cent of Ontarians admitting to leaving their thermostats set below 23 degrees. By bumping the temperature up from 23 to 25 degrees, homeowners can positively impact their electricity bills and save a few dollars. Any temperature setting lower than 24 degrees can increase energy use by as much as three to five per cent. Having a central air conditioner installed can account for up to 50 per cent of summer electricity bills and the cost to run a central air conditioner unit for 24 hours could average eight to 12 dollars a day.

"Installing a programmable thermostat based on your living patterns will help control your energy usage," added Walton. "Even better, homeowners can take advantage of the new 'learning' thermostats. These are great new tools that actually monitor your usage, adjust temperatures, or delay the equipment coming on, and this is a good way to save yourself some money."

With the summer quickly approaching, homeowners shouldn't have to worry about trying to avoid the heat and hiding away in the basement to stay cool. There are plenty of old-school and new-school ways to keep the temperatures and energy bills comfortable. Here are some more helpful myth-busting tips that homeowners can consider when preparing for this summer season:

  • A small number (32 per cent) of Ontario homeowners aren't replacing their air filters every three months. Air filters should be replaced every three months, even over the summer. Clogged filters mean your furnace blower motor is working harder to send cool air through your vents and can affect the efficiency of your equipment.
  • The majority (73 per cent) of Ontario homeowners know very little or nothing at all about higher efficiency air conditioning units. Before buying an air conditioning unit or system, find out its seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER). An average older air conditioner operates at 10 SEER. A new unit operates at 14 SEER (or higher) which equals as much as a 37 per cent savings on electricity costs compared to the 10 SEER system.
  • A ceiling fan is not just a decorative choice. In fact it really does make a difference in the room it is used and costs about one cent for every two hours it operates, which is much less than an air conditioner. During the night when it's cooler turn off the air conditioner and use a ceiling fan to keep the room cool instead.
  • Only 35 per cent of Ontario homeowners take preventative action and have an annual maintenance performed on their central air conditioner. Checking the air conditioner unit before each summer season is essential in making sure everything is working properly and there aren't any unexpected problems. Not to mention it will operate as efficiently as possible for you all summer long.

About the Survey

From May 7th to May 8th 2013 an online survey was conducted among 1,144 randomly selected adult Alberta (n=589) and Ontario (n=555) residents who are homeowners and Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20 for all respondents, and +/- 4.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20 for each the Alberta and Ontario residents. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of each Alberta and Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is North America's largest provider of heating & cooling, plumbing and electrical services and a leading energy and energy-related services provider with over eight million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, please visit http://www.directenergy.com

SOURCE: Direct Energy

For further information:

Jeff Lanthier, Direct Energy, Jeff.Lanthier@directenergy.com, 905-943-6260, or Tania Divito, High Road Communications for Direct Energy, Tania.Divito@highroad.com, 416-644-2262

http://www.directenergy.com

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