Old man winter has arrived in Canada and our first instinct might to crank up the thermostat to stay warm in the house. Although it may be appealing to be toasty warm, it may not be the most energy efficient and cost effective way to keep your heating bills in check during with winter.

Here are five small changes you can make to reduce energy consumption and save money in the winter.

1. Turn down the thermostat

According to BC Hydro, lowering your thermostat by just two degrees can save you up to 5% on your heating bill. If you have electric baseboard heating, it’s important to keep it clean and clear of debris. This allows for better airflow for the heat to radiate more efficiently from the baseboard. For a more sophisticated approach, you can also put in place smart heating automation solutions to automatic adjust the temperature based on the time of day and individual room temperatures.

2. Weatherproof your home to reduce cold air draft

Get rid of uncomfortable draft by caulking, or using weather stripped on any cracks or gaps along window panes and doors. Another inexpensive way is to use a plastic window insulation kits, like this Duck Brand, that create an insulative air barrier between your windows and your room.

3. Turn off lights or electronics when not in use

Turn off the lights when you leave the room or unplug electronics when not in use. This alone can save up to $75 per year on your energy bill. For larger homes where there may a lot of switches and rooms, a smart lighting solution can help make the task a little easier with pre-set functions to turn off all the lights and outlets when leaving the house.

4. Replace inefficient bulbs with LED bulbs

Replacing inefficient incandescent bulbs with more efficient LED not only reduces your energy consumption, but on average, LED bulbs last 15 to 20 times longer than incandescent ones. Although the upfront cost of LED bulbs can be higher, the cost of LED bulbs has come down in recent years and will continue to drop making it more affordable and well worth the investment.

5. Take Shorter Showers

Hot water is expensive, and if two people in your house reduce their shower by one minute, you can could save up to $30 per year. See if you can limit your shower to four to five minutes.If that’s not possible try to reduce the amount of hot water being using, by switching to colder water.

You may already be using all the energy saving strategies above which is great. But if not, remember that even if you just use one or two, you’ll be able to save money and do good for the environment. One other helpful tip that my parents always said to me to put on an extra sweater and socks.

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