Keep cool, save money - MoneySense

Keep cool, save money

According to the 2007 Survey of Household Energy Use, more than 50% of us now have air conditioners in our homes. And just about now, they’re all coming on!


The highest numbers of homes being artificially cooled are in Ontario (80%) followed by Manitoba/Saskatchewan (70%) and Quebec (47%) Everyone else is at 20% or less. With higher electricity rates and time-of use billing, your hydro bill is set to go up this summer. If you like using your air conditioner to keep cool, take these steps to save:

Don’t set your air-conditioner below 25C
Each couple of degrees less will cost about 5% more in increased electricity consumption. And if it’s really hot outside, setting your air-conditioner to lower levels will force it to constantly operate as it tries to reach a lower temperature it can’t possibly hit.

Turn on your dehumidifier
Humidity makes you feel hotter. Get rid of it and you’ll be more comfortable at higher temperatures.

Shade your home
Did you know that proper shading can reduce air-conditioning costs by up to 30%? No trees? Make sure you draw your blinds against the hottest part of the day to keep your cool.

Close the basement vents
Cold air falls because it is heavier. Closing the vents in the basement forces most of the cold air higher.

Keep your filters clean
Over time dust accumulates on filters and can significantly reduce the efficiency of the air-conditioner. Check your filters once a month.

Cool only closed spaces
Contrary to what you’d think walking past all the stores that air condition with their doors wide open, there’s no point in air-conditioning a house and leaving window or doors open “to get some fresh air.”

Switch to fluorescent lights
Not only are they cheaper and more eco-friendly in the long run, but they also give off no heat, so they won’t make your air conditioner work hard.

Forgo the oven
Leave the oven off so it doesn’t work against your poor air conditioner; throw your food on the barbecue.