It’s widely known that using an older appliance can suck up more energy and increase your hydro bill. The main reason? Older appliances are less efficient, so they use more energy to perform the same job as before. So how do you know if the savings on your energy bill is enough to warrant buying a new appliance? This is an excellent question and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when you should replace it, but there are some guidelines.
The first one is to be aware of a specific lifespan of a typical appliance to run. Take a look at some common appliance lifespans below:
10-15 years: washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, microwaves, refrigerator, dryer, electric range, air conditioner
Of course, depending on the brand and the usage, the lifespan can be less than or exceed this range. It doesn’t have to be an exact science, but you generally can’t go wrong with replacing your appliance when it’s approaching the 15 year mark. If, of course, the appliance is making funny noises or isn’t operating like it used to, regardless of its lifespan, you’ll have to look at either a repair or replacement to have an optimally running machine.
If you suspect your appliance may not be running as efficiently as before, take a look at the offered warranty and see if you can get a free or price-reduced repair or replacement. If it’s past the warranty period, you’ll have to ask yourself how well the appliance is seemingly running and whether you can wait another couple of years before replacing it.
It’s surprising how many people forget to unplug unused appliances when they go away for an extended period of time, whether it’s for work or a much-needed vacation. Many appliances and electronics still draw energy even when they’re “off”, so you’re essentially paying for those devices when they’re not in use. Here are a few things you should turn off or unplug when you’re away for more than a weekend trip:
Being aware of what uses up energy even when not in use can really help you save money in the long run. Unplugging and shutting things off is particularly important the longer you’re gone, so take the time to turn off these sneaky energy stealers and go enjoy your vacation!
By far the biggest energy guzzler in your home is your A/C and heater. If you’re concerned with saving on your hydro bill, which can really add up over several months, then take note of the following tips that can leave more money in your wallet, without having to sacrifice your comfort.
1) Set your thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter. This is probably one of the most effective ways to create significant cost savings. When you go away on a trip, consider increasing the temperature a few degrees more in the summer (or turning it off completely), or lowering it a couple of degrees in the winter (don’t shut it off completely though, as this can cause frozen pipes). Better yet, update your thermostat to a programmable one, so if you’re out for most of the day, adjust it so the A/C or heater isn’t running at its maximum. And consider lowering the temperature around bedtime during the winter. Studies have shown that a few degrees cooler at night is more conducive to a restful sleep.
2) Consider investing in ceiling fans. Proper air circulation can help reduce the amount of A/C used.
3) Have your blinds and curtains partially or completely drawn in hot weather to prevent the sun from overheating your home, thereby reducing the A/C. In colder weather, open them all up to let the sun naturally warm up the home. But be careful, your home’s windows and insulation must be in working order for this to be effective.
4) Tune up your furnace or air conditioner annually. If running inefficiently, it can use up more energy than needed, leading to an increase in your electric bill.
5) Replace air filters. This again relates to the efficiency or lack thereof of running units. Better efficiency = less energy wasted.
Now, there are other big energy guzzlers in your home including your water heater, major appliances like your refrigerator, electric stove, washer and dryer, big or multiple electronic devices that are constantly on, and lighting, but if you at the very minimum reduce your A/C and heating consumption, you should see some improvement in your hydro bills. You can also contact your local electrician to inspect your home for any inefficiencies - that way you'll have a better idea of how to effectively save on your electric bills.
If you’re looking to replace or add lighting to your home or business, your head might be swimming with all the different types of light bulbs available. Which one is the best for office work? Which one is better for general home use? Before we dive into these questions, let’s take a look at the differences between these four different light bulbs.
Incandescent: annual cost is about $7 per bulb, and lasts about 1,000 hours.
Halogen: annual cost of about $5 per bulb, is 28% more efficient than incandescent, and lasts about 3,000 hours.
CFL: fluorescent lighting that costs about $1.75 per bulb per year, 75% more efficient than incandescent, and lasts about 10,000 hours; popular in many office settings, but recent studies have shown a link between fluorescent lighting and mood/sleep disturbances.
LED: annual cost of about $1.19 per bulb, is 83% more efficient than incandescent, and lasts about 25,000. Its popularity has soared in the past couple of decades due its longevity and annual cost savings.
If you’re deciding on what type of bulb to use, we highly recommend LED lighting for the majority of your lighting needs. The drastically reduced replacement schedule coupled with the annual cost efficiency makes it an obvious choice for most of our household and office needs. There is nothing wrong with choosing the other types of bulbs, but be aware of the difference in annual cost, efficiency, colour temperature availability and maintenance.
With a recent surge of pet adoptions, it only makes sense to be aware of electrical safety around your home and to protect your fur babies. Ensuring your home is safe for your pet isn't too unlike baby-proofing your home. Here are the top 5 tips to avoid electrical hazards around your pet:
1) Utilize the same safety measures you would use for a human child
We put a lot of care in protecting our children from electrical hazards, so it would make sense to be mindful of your pet's safety too - they're just as curious and active, possibly even more so, plus they have the complication of chewing into things, and if one of those things is an electrical cord, they're in big trouble. Some deterrent methods include: using a twist tie to wrap your cords, adding a citrus or unpleasant scent to the wires, or blocking off the area altogether.
2) Unplug your Christmas tree
When you leave your home, remember to unplug your tree. If you use non-LED lights on your tree, any pet pouncing on tree can get the tree to fall, and broken bulbs can be a major fire hazard.
3) Be mindful of where you place your small appliances
Small appliances such as small space heaters should be placed in an area out of reach of your pets, especially if your fur baby is curious and is likely to treat the appliance as a toy, leading to potential trips and burns.
Take the extra thought and time to electrically safe proof your home and you can have peace of mind about your pet's health and safety in your home.