15 simple ways to save on your energy bill

Hello winter. We meet again. It’s official – the cold weather has arrived and as the mercury plummets, the hydro bills sky-rocket with Canadians trying to keep themselves warm. To help your bank account this winter, here are 15 tips for spending less on hydro and electricity.

Ironically, I had the door open for about a minute or so to take this photo, while my heat poured outside.



  1. Invest in a programmable thermostat. Program your heat to go down at night and when you’re at work and increase when you’re home in the evenings and weekends.
  2. Use extra blankets. Cold at night? Toss on a couple extra blankets before dashing to the thermostat.
  3. Wear layers. In first year residence the heat was cranked so high in the winter everyone was wearing shorts and t-shirts. That ain’t right. Throw on an extra sweater or some long johns to keep you warm on those cool days.
  4. Cover your windows with plastic. Help keep the cold out by covering and sealing your windows with plastic.
  5. Use the power of the sun. Open up the curtains during the day to let as much sunlight in as possible to help warm your home.
  6. Prune trees that are blocking sunlight. Related to using the power of the sun, be sure to prune large shade trees that may be preventing the sun’s warm rays from getting inside your house.
  7. Install storm windows and doors. While this may be an expensive upfront cost, the extra insulation these windows and doors provide will help you save in the long run.
  8. Upgrade the insulation in your house. Making sure your attic and outside walls are well insulated is key to saving big bucks.
  9. Seal all drafts. Using putty, caulking and weather-stripping on leaky doors, windows and other parts of the house is another cheap way to cut costs.
  10. Heat only the rooms you use. Close the door to the spare room you never use and heat only those areas in which you are actually living.
  11. Dust or vacuum all radiator surfaces frequently. Dust can block a lot of heat and keep your ducts and vents from working optimally. Clean them out to keep things as energy efficient as possible.
  12. Have your furnace serviced before the cold season. It may cost a bit to get your furnace checked and serviced but you could end up saving hundreds of dollars making sure it’s running well.
  13. Cover pots and pans when heating liquids and turn off the oven 5 minutes before the cooking time is over.
  14. Use an electric blanket instead of heating the whole room. A plug in electric blanket is much more cost-effective than heating an entire room.
  15. Buy a smaller house. Looking to move? One of the advantages of downsizing – in addition to it being easier to maintain and clean – is that there’s less space to heat and less money being spent on hydro and electricity.


Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is the author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.

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4 Responses to 15 simple ways to save on your energy bill

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the tips!
    Do you have an opinion on whether it is better to: always have your heat on low (even when you are out or asleep) and turn it up when you want to feel it (when you get up or get home)? Some people tell me it is better to keep your house a little warm as it costs less to raise the temperature when you need it. That doesn’t really make sense to me as it means your heat is on for a lot longer. What do you think, oh heating guru?

    • I think it’s a good idea to always have some heat on in the depths of winter (especially in Canada) if only so your pipes don’t burst. But I think you’re right – if you’re gone for an extended period of time (like all day at work or over a weekend), you don’t need to have the heat on very high at all.

  2. Andrew Wheeler says:

    Great tips, Josh. I LOVE my programable thermostat. A couple of thoughts:

    RE: #6, that sounds good now, but I’m not so sure it’s such a great idea for the summer when all those rays will be sending the A/C into nuclear meltdown.

    RE: #14, the electrical field from those things will give you cancer. I’m not going anywhere near one.

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