We often talk a lot about how Calgarians can save on their utility bills be embracing efficiency. This can mean big investments, like upgrading appliances (like your furnace) to new, high-efficiency model or choosing a tankless water heater, but it has to also include little changes. Not everyone is in a position where they can afford a large upgrade — though the rebates from the Alberta government has helped to make them more affordable to everyone. And, unfortunately, those who can’t afford to upgrade arguably need the most the most help. They’re the most likely to have older water heaters or furnaces that are just less efficient. So here are five little things you can do to help.
Insulate Your Utility Room.
If the room where your hot water tank is kept is cold, your tank is going to have to work a lot harder to keep water warm. Since most hot water tanks are kept in the basement (often with one or more, uninsulated, exterior walls), the cold can take quite the toll on your utility bill. We recommend evaluating your utility room and adding extra insulation if the room is more than a little chilly.
Lower Your Furnace Settings.
In winter, Calgarians see their gas bill go up. There’s no way to avoid that, but there are ways you can mitigate just how high it jumps. You save around 5% on heating costs for every degree you drop your thermostat. Most Canadians are comfortable with the idea of wearing a sweater in the winter and curling up under a blanket in the living room, and by dropping the house’s temperature by just 2 degrees, you can save around 10% on your bill.
Just like a cold utility room is going to make your hot water tank work harder, uninsulated pipes are going to mean needing more hot water to get your shower the temperature you like. Pipe insulation is very affordable and easy to install. It makes a great weekend project to insulate any exposed pipes.
Change Your Filter On Time.
One of the best ways to keep your furnace working as efficiently as possible — and therefore save you money— is to simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how often to change the filter and which filter you should be using. When a filter is old and clogged up, it’s more difficult for the furnace to force air through it. It has to waste energy doing something that should be easy, and that means higher utility bills.
Invest in a Thermal Blanket.
There are tons of fluffy blankets for Canadians to curl up with during the winter months, but did you know they make blankets for hot water tanks as well? These thick, insulative tools help your tank to keep water warm with less energy. They’ll also regulate how quickly energy is lost, which means the water inside will stay at a more consistent temperature. Of course, if the room is well insulated, so the tank is surrounded by warmth anyways, the blanket might not help a whole lot.
At Plumbing Paramedics, we want to help all Calgarians get the most out of their money. Paying too much on a utility bill isn’t helpful to anyone, but these little, affordable tricks should help make a real difference without replacing an expensive appliance. However, if you think your furnace or hot water tank are costing you too much because something is malfunctioning, contact the experts at Plumbing Paramedics right away! Waiting on repairs is never the right decision.