Energy Efficiency Tips
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inside for ways to
Tips Look
save energy and reduce
your energy cost.
This information has been prepared by Toronto
Hydro-Electric System Limited to help you save
energy and reduce costs on your electrical bill.
© 2004
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Do you see the black hole?
If you add up all the cracks, gaps and
openings in your house, you could end up
with a hole that measures 2.3 square feet! *
This is the average size of the energy loss
area in most Toronto homes.
Even a well-insulated house, if not properly
sealed, will lose 30% or more of its heat
through cracks and crevices in the building‘s
outer walls, roof and floors. Comprehensive
draft proofing can save you up to 10% on
your heating bills. Source: City of Toronto. will
help you save energy and costs on your elec-
Heating/Cooling 54%
Hot Water 20%
Appliances 18%
Lighting 5%
Other 3%
Energy Efficiency
Tips in this booklet will help you save energy
and costs on your electricity bill. Saving energy also
reduces SMOG causing emissions – and that’s good
for our environment.
Table of Contents
Hot Water Heating
Clothes Washer
Clothes Dryer
Home Office/Electronics
Did you know?
In a typical home, about 54% of energy costs are tied up in
heating and cooling and 20% in hot water. You’ll find the
maximum amount of savings in heating and cooling, and
hot water. Source: Hydro Quebec.
* The black hole concept was produced in partnership with
Green$aver and Toronto Hydro Corporation.
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Some energy efficiency tips won’t
cost a cent to put into action – others
will. Look at the legend below. It will
help you develop your energy conservation budget. Remember – the more
you invest – the greater your return
in energy savings.
under $10
under $25
under $50
under $100
under $150
under $1000
FREE Keep all your exterior doors tightly shut and try
to avoid frequent in-and-out traffic. Padded door
runners help reduce drafts under doorways.
FREE During the winter months, as much as 3% of
the energy your furnace uses can be saved by
lowering your thermostat by 1 degree. For the
average electrically heated detached house built
before 1990, that could be a savings of approximately $73.39* per year. It all adds up! Source:
Office of Energy Efficiency - Natural Resources Canada.
FREE During the heating season, keep the draperies
and shades on your south-facing windows open
during the day to allow the sunlight to enter and
heat your home. Keep them closed at night to
reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
cost can vary based on
the size of the projects.
Cleaning your furnace filter every two months
can increase it’s efficiency by up to 50%.
Source: Greenest City.
If your furnace is more than 20 years old, it may
be cost-effective to replace it. Replacing a low-efficiency furnace with a high-efficiency unit can, by
itself, reduce your home energy use by 20%. The
average 10-year-old furnace wastes as much as
45% of the heat it produces. Newer natural gas
furnaces are up to 98% more efficient. Source: City
of Toronto.
Recommended thermostat settings for a comfortable
environment during the winter months are:
• 21°C (70°F) when you are home relaxing
• 18°C (64.5°F) when you are sleeping, and
• 15°C (59°F) when you are away from your home for an
extended period of time.
* Heating energy costs are based on an average electrically
heated detached house, built before 1990 in the Toronto area.
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25% of a home’s heat is lost through windows.
Wrapping your windows with plastic is a low-cost
option to replacement that can reduce this loss by
50%. Source: City of Toronto.
New double-paned glass windows and doors may
cost more to install, but can reduce heating costs
by 34%. You could save $831.73* per year.
Test your home for air tightness. On a windy day,
hold a lit incense stick next to your windows,
doors, baseboards, electrical boxes and outlets,
plumbing fixtures, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches
and other locations where there is a possible air
path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels
horizontally, you have located an air leak that may
need caulking, sealing, or weather stripping.
Comprehensive draft proofing can save you up to
20% on your heating bill or $489.26* per year.
Source: Office of Energy Efficiency - Natural Resources
Other areas of air loss to
consider sealing:
• Any holes or gaps where the electrical lines,
plumbing, gas lines or oil fill pipes go through
the external walls.
• Cracks in the wall, ceiling, foundation wall and
• Where a wood frame wall joins a masonry wall,
stone foundation or chimney.
• Fireplace dampers and fireplace bricks.
• Behind bathtubs and under sinks.
• Around floor drains.
• Leaky ducts or poorly fitted hot air registers or
cold air intakes.
Upgrade your insulation in walls, basements and
attics. Insulating your basement walls and attic
can reduce your energy bill by 30%. Source: Office
of Energy Efficiency - Natural Resources Canada.
Install a programmable thermostat. It will automatically turn the heat down after you go to bed
at night and up before you wake. You can also program it to turn the heat down when you leave
home for work or school in the morning and back
up just before you return. They can reduce your
heating and cooling bills up to 10% a year. If you
are using electric heat and a 2.5 ton air conditioner – that’s a savings of about $294.63* per year.
Source: Greenest City.
Have a professional home energy evaluator do a
thorough home energy audit. Green$aver is an
environmental organization that specializes in
residential energy audits. You can contact them
at 416-203-3106 or at for
further details.
Safety note
If you plan to caulk around items that are a source of heat
(chimney, light fixtures, fan motors, etc.), be sure to use a
heat-resistant caulking compound. Silicone or polysulphide
sealants usually work well. Special high-temperature silicones
are available for flue pipes.
* Heating energy costs are based on an average electrically
heated detached house, built before 1990 in the Toronto area.
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FREE Ensure outside doors are closed to keep cool air
inside the house. If the space will be unoccupied
for more than 24 hours, the air conditioner
should be shut off.
FREE As a rule of thumb, your thermostat should be
set to 25.5°C (78°F) or higher if comfort permits.
You save between 3 - 5% in energy costs for every
degree you raise it. Source: Office of Energy Efficiency Natural Resources Canada.
FREE Keep window coverings closed during the day to
prevent heat gain from the sun and save up to 5%
in cooling costs. Source: California Energy Commission.
FREE Avoid using heat-producing appliances, like ovens
and dishwashers, during the hottest part of the
day. Use your microwave oven or barbecue instead
of your stove or have a cold meal.
Periodically check that the filter in your air conditioner is clean. Replace filters every one or two
months to further reduce your cooling costs by
1 – 2%. Source: California Energy Commission.
100 Use a programmable thermostat for central air
conditioners. This will allow you to set the timer
so your home will be cool when you arrive, and
while you sleep. They cost less than $100 and can
reduce your cooling bills up to 10% a year. If you
are using a 2.5 ton air conditioner – that’s a savings of about $50.07 per year. Source: Greenest City.
100 Install a ceiling fan to circulate air and avoid
using the air conditioner. A 60 Watt fan costs less
than $1 to operate monthly, while an air conditioner can cost between $26 and $178 a month.
Source: Office of Energy Efficiency - Natural Resources
FREE If you are using a central air conditioner, make
sure you are cooling only the rooms that you are
using. Close the vents or doors in rooms not being
FREE Try to install your air conditioner in a shaded
area. An air conditioner that is exposed to direct
sunlight will consume 5% more energy than one
that is shaded.
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Hot Water Heating
FREE Take a quick shower. It's cheaper than a bath. A
five-minute shower with an efficient showerhead
will use about 50% less hot water than one bath.
FREE Wash laundry in cold water whenever possible.
Always use cold water to rinse clothes. You can
save up to 4% in hot water energy costs.
Source: California Energy Commission.
FREE Turn your electric water heater off when you're
away for an extended period.
Fix leaking hot water taps. Leaking taps cause the
hot water tank to continuously heat cold water
entering the tank.
FREE Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking is
complete; the heat already in the oven will finish
the job.
FREE Avoid overcooking your meal or opening the oven
door too often; both practices waste energy. Every
time you open the oven door as much as 20% of
the heat escapes and the oven has to work harder
to replace it.
FREE Use the self-cleaning cycle only for major cleaning
jobs. Start self-cleaning right after cooking, while
the oven is still hot.
FREE Use the convection oven setting whenever possible; circulating heated air around the food will
reduce baking times up to 30%.
FREE When baking in glass or ceramics, lower the heat
by 14°C (25°F) because they transfer heat better
than some metals. Source: Hydro One.
Did you know?
Did you know?
A leaking faucet at one drop
per second (2 millilitres per minute)
uses 1037 litres of water per year.
Every time you open the oven door, the temperature drops
5 to 10°C (9° to 18°F).
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FREE Avoid placing the freezer near a heat source,
such as a radiator, heating vent, washer, dryer or
furnace. Your freezer will have to work harder
than necessary. Consider placing your freezer in a
cool, dark spot to boost its energy efficiency.
FREE Let hot food cool down before putting it in the
1000 Consider purchasing a new energy efficient freez-
er. It may cost more to purchase, but will save you
money and energy over its lifetime. A freezer purchased today is about 52% more efficient than one
purchased before 1994. Source: Blue Ridge Electric.
Look for the lowest EnerGuide rating and the
Energy Star label. Consider these guidelines when
looking for an energy-efficient freezer.
• Determine the size of freezer you need. A good
rule of thumb is a maximum of 130 L (4.5 cu.
ft.) of capacity per person. Anything larger
wastes energy and money.
• Keep in mind that if you have the space, chest
freezers (with the lid on top) are 10 - 25% more
energy efficient than upright models (which
resemble a refrigerator) for two reasons. First,
they tend to do a better job of keeping the
cold air inside the freezer when the door is
open. Second, most chest freezers are “manual
defrost,” eliminating the energy used by the
automatic defrost feature.
Did you know?
The household refrigerator uses 11% of the home’s total
energy consumption.
That old refrigerator in the basement may be costing you an
extra $100 - $150 a year to run. Consider disposing of it and
FREE Avoid forcing your refrigerator to work harder
than necessary by locating it near a heat source,
such as a radiator, heating vent, kitchen range or
FREE Thaw frozen food inside the refrigerator. This will
help the interior cool and eliminate energy used
for thawing in an oven or microwave.
FREE Let food cool, at least partially, before putting it
in the refrigerator. This way, the refrigerator
won’t have to work as hard to keep the food cold.
1000 You can reduce refrigerator energy use up to 40%
by replacing a 1993 or older unit with a new,
energy-efficient model. When buying a refrigerator it is important to select the right size for your
needs. A model that is too big wastes both money
and energy. The following recommended sizes
refer to the combined capacity of the refrigerator
and freezer:
• For three or four people, consider a unit of 14
to 17 cubic feet in size.
• For each additional person in the household,
add 2 cubic feet.
Look for the Energy Star label and the lowest
EnerGuide rating. Consider these guidelines when
looking for an energy-efficient refrigerator:
• An “Energy Saver” switch controlling heating
coils in the cabinet. The switch prevents condensation in humid weather, but you should
turn it off when the air is dry.
• Separate temperature controls for the refrigerator and freezer compartments.
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FREE Avoid running small loads in your dishwasher. You
can save 1% on your energy costs by loading your
dishwasher to capacity before running the cycle.
Source: California Energy Commission.
FREE If your dishwasher has the option, choose air
drying rather than heat drying. If not, stop the
machine before the drying cycle starts and open
the door to let dishes air dry. By doing so, you
can reduce the dishwasher’s energy use by 10%.
Clothes Washer
FREE Wash laundry in cold water whenever possible.
Rinsing your clothes in hot or warm water won’t
make your laundry any cleaner. Select your washing machine’s cold water rinse and save 4% in
energy costs. Source: California Energy Commission.
1000 An energy-efficient clothes washer may cost more
to purchase, but will save you money and energy
over its lifetime. Newer energy-efficient models
can save 27 – 42% in both energy and water use.
Source: City of Seattle.
Look for a clothes washer with the Energy Star
label and a low EnerGuide rating. Watch for these
• A water-level control or a small-load basket –
both allow you to use less water for small loads.
• A variety of temperature controls that allow
you to choose hot, warm or cold water.
FREE Short (“Econo”) cycles use less water and energy
than heavy-duty cycles. Do not use a more powerful energy cycle than you need.
1000 Consider purchasing a new energy-efficient dish-
washer. Dishwashers today are 90% more efficient
than units purchased in the early 1970’s. It may
cost more to purchase, but will save you money
and energy over its lifetime.
1000 Although they are more expensive, consider
buying a front-loading or tumble-action clothes
washer. They use less energy than top-loading
washers. Here’s why:
• They use 40% less water than top-loading
• They extract more water during the spin cycle,
which reduces drying time and saves energy.
Did you know?
A normal dishwasher uses 41 litres of water per cycle.
Five minutes of rinsing dishes under a faucet uses up
to 95 litres of water.
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Clothes Dryer
FREE Use an outdoor clothesline to dry your laundry
and save 5% in energy costs. Your clothes will last
longer and smell great! Source: California Energy
FREE Shake out the wet clothes before placing them in
the dryer.
FREE Drying two or more loads in a row makes the
most of the heat already generated by your dryer.
FREE Avoid over drying – use your dryer’s moisture sensor or timer and remove loads promptly. This saves
energy and prevents wrinkles.
FREE Keep fixtures and bulbs clean. Dirt can absorb as
much as 50% of the light.
FREE Always turn off the lights when leaving a room,
even if it’s only for a few minutes. It’s just a myth
that it takes more energy to turn a light on than
to leave it on.
FREE Try to put floor or table lamps in a corner. This
allows light to reflect from the walls, making the
room brighter without turning on more lights.
Change from incandescent to fluorescent lighting.
Compact fluorescent lights use up to 75% less
energy than comparable standard light bulbs
and can last up to 10 times longer. You can save
approximately $35 in energy costs over the life
of a compact fluorescent light and avoid the cost
of replacing standard bulbs. Source: City of Toronto.
Try using lower-Wattage bulbs – your lights may
be brighter than you need.
FREE “Perma-press” drying cycles offer a “cool-down”
feature that finishes the job and prevents heat-set
wrinkles by using residual heat from the dryer.
FREE Clean the filter in the dryer before every load to
ensure maximum operating efficiency. A clogged
filter can increase the energy use by up to 30%.
FREE Ensure your dryer’s outside vent is tightly closed
to prevent outside air from leaking in and running up your heating or air conditioning costs.
Did you know?
Did you know?
The average household does 37 loads of laundry per
month, using 6,817 litres of water.
If you replace 25% of your lights in
high-use areas with fluorescents, you
can reduce your lighting energy costs
by about 50%. Source: U.S. Department
of Energy.
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Home Office/Electronics
Switch from traditional Christmas lights to the
new LED lights and reduce the energy cost by
80 – 90%. Source: NOMA.
You can reduce lighting consumption by up to
30% by installing motion sensors for outdoor
lights and timers for indoor lights. Source: Greenest
Use task lighting, which focuses light where it’s
needed. You’ll save energy by using a reading lamp
instead of lighting up your whole room.
FREE Shut down the home office computer when not in
use. A continuously running computer and monitor uses between $75 and $120 worth of electricity
each year. Source:
FREE When you go for a coffee break or leave the office
for a short time – consider turning off the monitor.
That alone will save 60% of the total energy used by
the computer.
FREE Unplug electronic devices and re-chargers when
not in use and save an extra 2% in energy costs.
All electronics with a digital clock, including
microwaves, continue to use electricity even when
switched ‘off’. Use a power bar to ensure ‘off’ is
really ‘off’. Source: California Energy Commission.
FREE Set your pool heater thermostat back 3°C/6°F and
save 20% in energy costs. Source: City of Toronto.
Use a solar blanket to cover your swimming pool
for each night of the summer season when the
outside air temperature is cooler than the pool
water and save another 20% in energy costs.
Source: City of Toronto.
Did you know?
One 40-Watt fluorescent tube produces the same amount of
light as three 60-Watt incandescent bulbs!
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