From upgrades to simple changes: How homeowners can save more than $600 annually on their energy costs

Enercare Home Services provides Ontarians with advice on what to do this summer to save energy and money throughout the year

TORONTO, June 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Making energy efficient home updates this summer can make a big difference on annual energy bills, according to new data released today by Enercare Home Services. By performing five energy efficient upgrades around the house, such as sealing leaks and topping up insulation, Enercare Home Services, which acquired Direct Energy's Ontario home services business in October 2014, calculated that Ontario homeowners could save more than $600 on their combined energy bills annually— a much-needed savings now that electricity during peak hours is double the rate of off-peak hours (as of May 1).

"With warm weather upon us and the recent rise in electricity rates, now is the time for homeowners to make upgrades around the house and increase energy efficiency," said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas for Enercare Home Services. "Implementing professional upgrades, as well as simple do-it-yourself techniques could help Ontarians conserve energy and reduce their gas and electricity bills, which is good for the environment and their wallets too."

Using data from HOT2000 software (recognized by Natural Resources Canada as the Canadian tool for use by trained and certified energy auditors), Enercare Home Services calculated that homeowners who invest in the following upgrades will see a return of more than $600 per year on their combined energy (natural gas and electricity) bills:

  1. Caulking and weather-stripping around doors, windows and exterior wall electrical outlets to keep the moist hot air out in the summer, and warm air in during the winter.
  2. Installing high-efficiency windows. Up to 30 per cent of the heating and cooling costs in a home can be lost through poorly fitted windows and doors.
  3. Checking that there is at least 16 inches of insulation in the attic - anything less and homeowners will need to budget to get it topped up. A properly insulated home is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to cut down on heating and cooling costs. 
  4. Replacing an HVAC system that's older than 15 to 17 years with a high-efficiency air conditioner and furnace.
  5. Upgrading a traditional hot water heater to a tankless or condensing water heater can save up to 40 per cent in energy consumption.

 

Savings were calculated with pre-May 1 electricity rates and current natural gas prices using a typical Ontario home profile, which is defined by the Canadian Real Estate Association, Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada as 1,860 square feet, 40 years old and two stories. Depending on a home's size, age and energy use patterns, some homeowners could see an even greater return on investment with these upgrades.

Small changes can add up to even more savings
Whether major upgrades are made or not, simple, do-it-yourself changes around the house can help homeowners realize savings on their energy bills this year. Enercare Home Services offers the following tips for all homeowners to help them conserve energy this summer:  

  • Use electricity at off-peak times. Do laundry and run the dishwasher on weekdays from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and all day on weekends and holidays when electricity prices are lower to save up to 8.1 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • Replace furnace filters every three months to save as much as $50 a year on energy. Clogged filters mean that furnace motors must work harder and use more energy.
  • Increase the temperature setting on the thermostat by a couple of degrees. Save two to three per cent for every degree higher than 22 degrees Celsius.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs. Energy-efficient light bulbs, like CFLs and LEDs, use up to 75 per cent less energy than traditional light bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer.
  • Plant deciduous trees on the southwest or southeast exposures of the home. Well-designed landscaping can reduce cooling and heating costs by up to 25 per cent.
  • Install ceiling fans to maximize air circulation and move fresh air throughout the home. Fan blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction in the summer to move the air downwards and maximize cool air circulation so the air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard.
  • Unplug vampire electronics while away on vacation or when they're not in use. Vampire electronics are the household appliances and devices, such as computers, televisions and chargers, which suck away at energy even when turned off. Even the average older home desktop computer uses about 311.0 kilowatt hours annually when in standby mode, costing approximately $24.00 a year.
  • Keep the curtains closed. Close south and west facing curtains, drapes or blinds during the day to block out the high summer sun and keep the home cooler.

 

"We hope Ontario homeowners understand they really can save money on their energy bills, even just by making simple changes around the house," said Walton. "Start by using major electrical appliances during off-peak hours and increasing the temperature setting on the thermostat to see how these small changes add up to big savings and help keep equipment running properly in the summer."

About Enercare Inc.
Enercare is one of Canada's largest home and commercial services companies with more than 900 employees. Enercare provides water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and other HVAC rental products, protection plans and related services to approximately 1.1 million customers. Enercare also owns Enercare Connections Inc., a leading sub-meter provider, with metering contracts for condominium and apartment suites in Ontario, Alberta and elsewhere in Canada.

SOURCE EnerCare Inc.

For further information: For further information on home energy efficiency tips or to book an interview with Dave Walton, please contact: Jeff Lanthier, Enercare Home Services, Jlanthier@enercare.ca, 647-221-4763; Nicola McGroarty, High Road for Enercare Home Services, Nicola.McGroarty@highroad.com, 416-644-2274

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