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Broke the bank during the holidays? Save money with these tips!

Have you ever woken up in early January, opened your wallet or banking app, and felt your heart stop? No matter how much we plan and budget, the holiday season seems to have a way of draining our bank accounts. Thankfully, ENERGY STAR Canada® has seven low-cost energy-saving tips to help you recover from the holiday extravagance and save money this winter.

1) Reduce phantom power

When was the last time you unplugged your phone charger? How about your coffee machine? When you leave appliances and cords plugged in while you’re not using them, they draw something called standby or “phantom” power, meaning you end up paying for energy you don’t use. Phantom power can account for up to 10% of your electricity bill, so get in the habit of unplugging devices when you are not using them.

2) Use window coverings to your advantage

Make sure the heat you are paying for is not escaping through your windows. During the day, open your blinds, curtains or drapes to let the natural light heat your home. At night, close your window coverings to reduce any cool drafts around windows and keep the heat in. This simple tip will help you save energy and keep your home cozy and comfortable this winter without busting your budget.

Piggy bank beside a jar of coins that says “This is my year to save”.

3) Activate eco-mode

Many people just use automatic settings on appliances or electronics. Instead, take advantage of that “eco-mode” or “energy saver” setting! This is an easy way to automatically program appliances or electronics for optimum energy savings.
Pro tip: Power down electronics with “sleep mode” to avoid standby power use!

4) Fill your dishwasher

Whether you wash one plate or pack your dishwasher full, it uses the same amount of water and energy. To save the most energy possible, make sure you are running full loads in the dishwasher. As a bonus, washing a full load of dishes in the dishwasher can save more energy than washing dishes by hand. Learn more about how to use your dishwasher more efficiently in this blog post.

5) Use your microwave

Your microwave uses less energy than your oven or stove and is the fastest way to cook. So, break out the frozen veggies and give yourself permission to be a little lazy this winter!
Pro tip: No-cook or no-bake recipes are also a great way to save on energy, so switch things up and try out that new recipe from Pinterest!

Piggy bank beside a jar of coins that says “This is my year to save”.

6) Lower your thermostat

No, we have not lost our minds. Even in the winter, lowering your thermostat a few degrees can make a big difference on your energy bills. So layer up in your favorite cozy items instead of turning up the heat.

7) Install weather-stripping

About 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through poorly sealed windows. Hidden gaps and cracks cause your heating system to work harder and use more energy. Put your hand a few centimetres away from the edges of your windows and see if you can feel a draft. If you can feel cold air, you can probably benefit from installing weather-stripping, window film, or caulking. These are relatively inexpensive fixes, check out the Keeping the Heat In publication to help guide you through the process.

For more tips on how to save money and energy this winter, follow ENERGY STAR Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

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