Tips to Combat the Biggest Energy Wasters at Home

Electric rate for some Alberta homeowners expected to rise close to 60 per cent in May

CALGARY, Alberta, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - With regulated electricity rates forecasted to rise significantly in May, Alberta homeowners concerned about the possibility of rising energy bills need to be more conscientious about how they use energy. Unfortunately, each year, many homeowners waste hundreds of dollars on unnecessary energy costs because they're unaware of simple money-saving strategies.

Direct Energy Home Services wants to help Albertans identify the biggest energy wasters in their homes that increase their monthly energy bill. This includes making sure equipment is working properly, identifying household appliances and devices that consume electricity when they're in standby mode, and understanding which energy efficiency upgrades provide the largest return on investment.

Here are some ways to help gain control over your energy use and budget from Dave Walton, Direct Energy's Director of Home Ideas:

  1. Beware of vampire electronics. These are devices around the home which constantly draw power while plugged in. The biggest culprits are computers and printers, phone chargers, gaming consoles and DVD players. To alleviate this, unplug electronics when they aren't in use.
  2. Use energy-saving light bulbs. They can last up to ten times longer than an incandescent bulb and use up to 75 per cent less energy. A single 20 to 25 watt energy-saving bulb provides as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb while also emitting less heat.
  3. Consider upgrading the windows in your home. Select high efficiency windows with low-e coatings, argon gas fill and insulated spacers.
  4. Out with the old, in with the new. Consider upgrading your old furnace to a new energy efficient unit. An older conventional burning furnace operates at 60 per cent efficiency meaning 40 cents of every dollar you spend on heating your home is going right up the chimney. A new high-efficiency furnace operates at over 90 per cent; wasting less than 10 cents on every dollar you spend heating your home.
  5. Install a programmable thermostat if you don't have one already and set the times and temperatures to match your schedule. Also, consider having the thermostat turn off your air conditioner at night.
  6. Use appliances efficiently. Microwaves use substantially less energy than ovens so opt to use your microwave when cooking and reheating items. Also, defrost your freezer regularly. When ice builds up, your freezer uses more electricity. You should also keep your freezer at least three quarters full for maximum efficiency. You can even consider removing that old fridge in your garage or basement if it's only keeping that six-pack cold.
  7. Stay in Shape: It's important to have your furnace and air conditioner maintained and inspected every year. Consult the experts and book a pre-summer or early summer maintenance appointment with a licensed technician who can check that your system is ready for summer and performs more efficiently when higher temperatures put it to the test. A system that isn't running properly can waste a lot of electricity and natural gas.

These tips can be copied in whole, or in part, and credited to Direct Energy Home Services.

About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with more than 6 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.

SOURCE: Direct Energy Home Services

For further information:

Jeff Lanthier, Direct Energy,, 905-943-6260

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