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Tips on keeping your utility bills low during the COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO -- The price of electricity in Ontario is now 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour at all times of the day and will remain that way until the end of October.
Our homes have been working overtime the past several months as we made extra meals at home, ran the dishwasher more often, the heating and now the cooling - it all adds up.
According to Consumer Reports there are a few small steps you can take to try and keep your utility bills in check.
“Adjusting your thermostat settings is actually one of the simplest and most significant things you can do to keep your energy bills under control,” Dan Wroclawski with Consumer Reports said.
He added that programmable or smart thermostats are a good investment.
“Some other smart thermostats can actually adjust your temperature settings based on your activity and behavior,” Wroclawski said, noting that “some smart thermostats also offer wireless temperature sensors that detect motion in a room that allows you to heat or cool a room when it’s only being used.”
You can curtail costs in the kitchen too, he said.
When cooking smaller meals, Wrocklawski advises using a toaster oven or microwave, which costs less than heating up your big oven. To save water, instead of prolonged pre-rinsing and handwashing dishes, simply scrape off food and load it right into your dishwasher.
“Use the quick rinse or rinse and hold cycle on your dishwasher. That'll rinse all the dishes and use a lot less water than the faucet and then you can save them up for when you have a full load to run,” Wroclawski said.
It's a good time to check the filter on your HVAC system and clean the filter if you have a window air conditioning unit. Ceiling fans can keep you cool, but they don't cool down your home so always shut them off when you leave the room.
It’s also a good time to check for water leaks, seal air leaks around windows and doors, keep curtains drawn on hot days, use cold water to wash clothes and don't overwater lawns.
If you want to save even more water you can institute shorter showers telling everyone in the household they should be five minutes or less.
One of the easiest ways to save money in the laundry room is to use the highest spin setting on your washer. Giving clothes an extra spin helps reduce moisture and can reduce drying time by up to half.