Your home utility bill is likely one of your largest monthly expenses. In fact, the average Toronto household spends over $200 per month on electricity and natural gas alone. With energy and water rates steadily increasing each year, who couldn’t use some extra savings? The good news is that with a few simple changes, you can dramatically reduce your utility bills and keep more money in your pocket.
In this article, we’ll explore a few easy ways to cut your Toronto home utility costs. Whether your goal is to reduce your environmental impact or simply save money, these practical tips will help you slash your utility bills without sacrificing comfort.
Track Your Energy Usage and Save on Your Toronto Utility Bill
The first step to saving money on your Toronto utility bill is to understand exactly where your money is going. Most utility bills will break down your charges by the amount of energy and water you used that month.
Look at the usage section of your bill and make note of how many kWh of electricity, cubic meters of natural gas, and cubic meters of water you used. Compare it to bills from the same month last year to see if your usage has increased.
Many utility companies also let you access detailed usage data online that shows your consumption on a daily or hourly basis. Review this frequently to identify times of peak usage and look for waste. Seeing exactly when you use the most energy and water makes it easier to target your conservation efforts.
Check if your utility offers a home energy audit. An energy expert will come to inspect your home and identify areas for efficiency upgrades. The audit report will show how much energy different appliances and systems consume so you can pinpoint the biggest energy hogs.
Monitoring your consumption patterns over time is crucial to understanding where you can cut back. With better visibility into your energy and water use, you’ll know which habits to change and where to target upgrades for the biggest savings on your utility bills.
Use Less Energy
This may seem like an obvious step but there are several easy ways to reduce your electricity usage and lower your Toronto utility bills:
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. LEDs use at least 75% less energy and last much longer.
- Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Don’t leave lights, computers, TVs, etc. on when you leave a room.
- Use power strips to cut phantom load from chargers and electronics that draw energy even when turned off. Unplug the power strips when not needed.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater to 49°C/120°F if possible. This can reduce water heating costs by 6-10%.
- Run large appliances like dishwashers and washing machines only when fully loaded. Partial loads waste energy and water.
- Use curtains and blinds to block sunlight during the summer. This reduces the need for air conditioning. Open them during winter to let in warmth.
- Seal air leaks around windows and doors to prevent drafts. This will make heating and cooling more efficient.
- Set your thermostat lower in winter and higher in summer. Each 1° change can save up to 5% on energy bills.
- Replace your HVAC air filter regularly so your system doesn’t have to work as hard.
With simple habit changes, you can substantially reduce the amount of electricity you use in your Toronto home.
Use Less Water to Reduce Your Toronto Utility Bill
Reducing your water usage is one of the easiest ways to lower your utility bills. Here are some tips to use less water in your home:
- Take shorter showers. Try to keep showers under 5 minutes. Install a shower timer if needed.
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving. Don’t let it run continuously.
- Only run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Adjust water levels for smaller loads.
- Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. Look for WaterSense labeled models.
- Fix any leaky faucets or running toilets. A small drip can waste hundreds of liters per month.
- Sweep driveways and sidewalks rather than hosing them down. Use a bucket and sponge instead.
- Water plants and the garden in the morning to reduce evaporation. Target the roots instead of leaves.
- Collect rainwater with barrels to use for watering plants later.
- Don’t leave the tap running while rinsing dishes. Fill one basin with wash water and one with rinse water.
Making small changes in your daily habits can significantly reduce your household’s water usage. Conserving water will be reflected in your next utility bill.
Unplug Appliances and Save Energy
Many appliances continue to draw electricity even when switched off. These “phantom” energy losses can add up over time, increasing your electricity usage and costs. An easy way to eliminate this wasted energy is to simply unplug appliances that are not in use.
Some of the biggest culprits are chargers, TVs, gaming consoles, desktop computers, printers, and even microwaves. Switching off devices isn’t enough – the AC adapters continue sipping power unless physically unplugged. Make it a habit to completely unplug any device that’s currently not in use. Consider getting a power strip to make this process more convenient.
To find other sneaky energy users, feel appliances to see if they’re warm while switched off. If so, the appliance is still drawing power and should be unplugged to maximize savings. According to Energy.gov, unplugging unused appliances can save you up to 10% on your utility bill each month. With minimal effort, those small changes add up to big energy savings over time.
Replace Old Appliances
Replacing old, inefficient appliances with new energy efficient models can help reduce your utility bills. Appliances that are more than 10 years old can consume significantly more energy and water than newer models.
Look for the ENERGY STAR logo when shopping for new appliances. ENERGY STAR certified appliances meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by Natural Resources Canada. Replacing old appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers with ENERGY STAR models can save you money on your electricity and water bills.
When it’s time to replace an aging appliance, calculate the potential savings with an energy efficient model by comparing the wattages or energy rating. While the upfront cost may be higher, the long-term savings on your utility bills can make it worthwhile. Appliance retailers can provide energy calculators to help determine the payback period.
Replacing old appliances is one of the most impactful steps you can take to improve energy efficiency and lower utility bills. The savings start right away too, so consider upgrading appliances that are near the end of their lifespan for maximum benefit. Just be sure to recycle your old appliances properly when the time comes.
Use Timers to Save on Your Toronto Utility Bills
Setting timers for your lights, AC, and other appliances can help reduce energy waste. Here are some tips:
- Install programmable thermostats to automatically adjust the temperature when you are asleep or away from home. This prevents heating or cooling an empty house.
- Use timers, motion sensors, or smart switches to automatically turn lights on and off based on your schedule. You can install timers on specific lights or get smart bulbs that connect to your phone. This prevents lights being left on accidentally.
- Use smart plugs to set schedules for appliances like fans, televisions, and computers to turn off when not in use. You can even control them remotely with your phone.
- Set your water heater timer to only heat water during time periods when you need it. For example, heat water in the mornings and evenings, but not overnight while everyone is sleeping.
- Make sure the AC is off during times when no one is home. You can install a smart thermostat or smart switch to control it based on your schedule.
- Use delayed start settings on dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances so they run during off-peak energy hours when rates are lower.
Seal Air Leaks
Sealing air leaks is one of the most effective ways to save on your Toronto utility bill. When there are cracks and openings in your home, warm or cool air can escape, forcing your heating and cooling system to work harder to maintain the temperature.
Focus on areas where there are gaps between walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, fans, vents etc. Even small cracks add up and can lead to significant energy loss.
- Caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors. Caulk will seal gaps up to 1⁄4-inch wide. For larger gaps, use weatherstripping. Make sure the doors seal tightly when closed.
- Seal plumbing, ducting, and electrical penetration. Look for areas where pipes, wires and vents pass through walls, floors, ceilings and seal with caulk or foam.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet covers and switch plates. This stops drafts from flowing through electrical boxes.
- Inspect fans and vents. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal any leaks around the framing. Make sure dryer vents and range hood vents have tight fitting dampers.
- Check fireplace dampers to ensure they seal properly when closed. Consider adding glass fireplace doors.
- Fill larger gaps with spray foam. Spray foam expands to fill cracks and crevices thoroughly. Use it sparingly and according to directions.
Taking time to seal air leaks around your home can lead to big savings on your energy bills without sacrificing comfort.
Lower the Thermostat
Lowering your thermostat is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy costs. In the winter, set your thermostat to 68°F or lower during the daytime, and even cooler at night or when no one is home. In the summer, set the air conditioner to 78°F or higher.
Every degree you adjust the temperature up or down can save up to 5% on heating and cooling costs. Turn your thermostat down 10-15 degrees for 8 hours a day in winter, and you can save up to 15% annually.
Use fans to feel cooler in the summer. Ceiling fans allow you to raise the thermostat about 4°F without any reduction in comfort. Portable fans and ceiling fans use much less energy than air conditioning.
Make sure to turn off fans when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not rooms, so there’s no need to run them when a room is empty.
Start Saving on Your Toronto Utility Bill Today
Living in Toronto can be expensive, and utility bills often take up a chunk of your monthly budget. The good news is there are many ways to cut down on your energy and water usage to save money on your utility bills each month. With some small daily changes and efficient upgrades, you can see a noticeable drop in your energy and water consumption each month. Lower utility bills let you keep more money in your pocket without sacrificing comfort and convenience. For more information on how to keep your utility bills low, contact one of our expert energy advisors and they will be more than happy to assist you.
Learn how an electric water heater saves money and helps the environment. Know when to replace your old heater with a new energy-efficient electric model.
A smart thermostat helps make your home energy efficient. We discuss benefits, how they work, and tips for choosing the right model for you.