Saving electricity

If we want to keep our electricity bills down, we must be aware of the dozens of more or less efficient ways to use electricity in our everyday life. Here are few tips to lower our hydro bills While cooking:

  • Use utensils with flat bottoms and well fitting lids.
  • Try to us pressure cookers: they can save up to 30% of power you use in cooking!
  • Thaw frozen foods before cooking - this saves about 15 minutes cooking per pound and thus helps keeping the bill down.
  • Cooking small quantities of food, use the frypan or small appliances, such as grillers, woks, crockpots for every appropriate food.
  • Cook several dishes at one time. In doing this you save energy.
  • Keep the oven door closed and make sure it seals properly. Don't forget than each time you open it the temperature drop.So try to look through the oven window instead of opening it.
  • If food is ready, but it will not be consumed at once, keep it warm in an oven to use residual oven heat or just cover it with a towel.
  • Don't forget than to cook vegetables you don't need the water to be boiling furiously, as a gentle simmer is enough. Thus, you may save energy.
  • Don't boil water on a hotplate - use an electric kettle. You will save up to 40% in energy.
  • Select a fridge that uses waste heat for defrosting, etc. This kind of fridges is usually cheaper to operate.
  • Fill in the empty space in your fridge with empty bottles, boxes and so on to avoid using extra power. Nevertheless, the freezer should not be more than 2/3 full.
  • Keep dust and fluff brushed off the coils on the back or bottom of the fridge. Otherwise you'll spend energy on heating these elemnts.
  • Put the fridge in a well ventilated position and leave some space between the wall and the fridge (about 8-10 cm will be enough).
  • Place your fridge away from direct sunlight or any source of heat.
  • Never put hot food into a fridge or freezer.
  • Try to defrost before the ice builds up to 1 cm thick.
  • Open the door of the fridge only when necessary and never keep it open for a long period of time.
  • Make sure the door of your fridge seals well. If a piece of paper will slide easily between the cabinet and the door seal is not good enough.
  • Keep the refridgerator section at between 2C and 5C (36 to 42° F,) and the freezer at -18C (0° F). These temperatures ensure food safety.Lowering the temperatures further wastes power.
lights of the city
Lights of the city. Photo : (c) provincequebec
Heating and cooling you house:
  • In timber framed or brick houses the walls should be insulated with at least 5 cm of fibrous or foam insulation. It will cost you some money, but otherwise a lot of heat will be lost.
  • Have the ceiling insulated as well.
  • Doors and windows should fit well. Don't forget than draughts can waste a lot of energy.
  • Block off any chimneys not being used, as a lot of heat is lost there.
  • Zoning of a house conditioned by a ducted system cuts energy consumption to a half. Close the doors of the rooms you will not heat or cool.
  • Close curtains. Using curtains and shades will help to stop heat escaping.
  • If you use air-conditioner, always keep clean air-conditioner filters and condenser coils.

Important: Sometimes, air-conditioning is necessary. F.i., if you have respiratory problems, a heart condition.

  • Reduce heating or cooling appliances to their minimum when rooms are unoccupied for a long time (but don't put them off unless you leave for a week or more).
  • Use fans for relief from hot weather. Running fans costs much less than air conditioners.
  • Use evaporative coolers. They are very effective when installed correctly. The operating cost of an evaporative cooler is only a fraction of that of a refrigerated unit.
  • Very effectif: electric blankets are the cheapest form of bedroom heating.
  • If you own a house, put more insulation in the attic and solar generated ceiling fans that automatically came on at a certain temperature. Ask experts if they can have the solar radiant barrier spayed on the under side of the roof of your house.
Une rue à Montréal, la nuit de Noël. Photo : © GrandQuebec
Une rue à Montréal, la nuit de Noël. Photo : © ProvinceQuebec


    • Turn off lights when not in use.
    • Use light translucent shades, as opaque or dark shades require bigger lamps.
    • While reading, writing, etc. use a local light near the task ("task lighthing"). It is more effective and more efficient than a central light.
    • Use fluorescent tubes and replace incadescent lamps (traditional light bulbs). The fluorescent tubes use about a quarter of electricity used by ordinary globes and they last much longer.
    • Don't forget than fluorescent tubes can be switched on and off as often as you need. This will not affect operating cost.
    • While fluorescent tubes are still more expensive to purchase, they pay for themselves with time. Actually, they 1/4 of the power and have a life of 6 to 10 times longer.

    Important: DO NOT use fluorescent lamps in places of very high humidity like bathrooms.

    • Dust your incandescent or fluorescent lamps and light fixtures with the power off. Be aware than even a thin layer of dust reduces light levels.
    • Portable and baseboard electric heaters are real power hogs and if improperly used can be a fire hazard (see the Apartment Safety page). Setting the temperature a couple of degrees lower during the winter can save you a lot of money.

    Washing and drying

    • Adjust the water level in a washing machine to economically wash a partial load. But it is better to wait until you have a full load (don't overload the machine).
    • Use correct type of detergent. It allows you to use cold or tepid water to wash clothes effectively.
    • Why do you use a dryer? Use solar energy to dry washed clothes - it costs nothing. Wash your clothes and then hang them up, especially the heavy stuff.
    • If you need to dry clothes in a dryer, operate it using the fan alone. Switch the heater on if it is really necessary.
    • If you really need to use a dryer, never overload or underload it - you get most economical operation with the correct load.


    • Computers, printers and particularly laser printers can run up your power bills. Some printers take as much power as 660 watts. Keep printer turned off using the switch on the printer, when not in use
    • If you are going away from the computer for a rather long period of time (let's say one hour or more) turn the computer off. You will save more power in that hour than that used to power one regular fluorescent lamp for 24 hours
    • Use a hairdryer sparingly and don't use the maximum heat setting, not only will you save energy, but your hair will thank you
    • Finally, do least two electricity audits a year, one for the coldest month and one for the hottest to understand how much power are you using and where can you save.

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