A family's feet in socks resting on a table
Credit: iStock

In winter, heating costs can go up by as much as 140% compared to the rest of the year. One of the most effective things you can do to control your heating costs is to optimize your thermostat settings. If you have electric heat, lower your thermostats by 2° C to save up to 5% on your heating bill.

 

Manual thermostat

Manual thermostat graphicYou can better manage your heating even with a simple manual thermostat. Simply adjust the temperature depending on the time of day or activity:

16°C when you're away from home or sleeping.
21°C when you're relaxing or watching TV.
18°C when you're cooking or doing housework.

 

Programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostat graphic

A programmable thermostat — typically $70 to $200 — can help you manage your heating costs by reducing wasted heat. Simply set it to turn on at the times you arrive home, such as in the evening after work, and turn down when you're out during the day, and at night when you're asleep. Unlike a manual thermostat, you can set it and forget it.

 

Smart thermostat

Smart thermostat graphic

Smart thermostats allow you to remotely control your thermostat with the help of your smartphone or computer. For example, if you make spontaneous evening plans, you can adjust your thermostat right from your smartphone so your home doesn’t get warmed up until your arrival. Some models, like the Nest, will learn your daily routine and automatically adjust the temperature for you. Others use multiple sensors located around the home to monitor temperatures in order to better balance heating and cooling over the course of the day.

 

Dress for the season

Sweater graphic

The easiest and most cost-effective way to get comfortable without turning up the heat is to put on a sweater or hoodie, wear slippers indoors, or keep a blanket in the TV room to get cozy while relaxing.

 

Use window coverings effectively

Curtain graphic

Curtains and blinds can help regulate not only the natural light coming into your home, but also the heat loss (and gain) around windows. Keep window coverings closed at night to provide an extra layer of insulation. Open them in the morning to maximize passive solar heating (especially on south-facing windows) as well as natural light that helps houseplants grow, among other benefits.

Find more energy-saving tips and easy DIYs at powersmart.ca