I’m writing this post in late February, after a vicious cold snap that came through Winnipeg has finally dissipated. The weather was awful for weeks, so cold that even outdoor sports lovers were probably bundled up inside, the temperature dipping into the below 40s several times over the course of a few weeks. Winnipeg winters can be absolutely savage, and that means a lot of heating costs, and these costs can make your Hydro bill skyrocket, especially when you have an electric furnace. I love energy saving tips, so here’s a few to help you through the next cold snap.

Insulation is so important in our winters; without it, your furnace is going to be working harder for fewer results. Check all around your home – your doors, your windows, your attic, anywhere – to see if there’s cold seeping through at a higher rate. When there is, it’s probably time to get some new insulation; for some projects, Manitoba Hydro can offer substantial rebates. One area that you can work on is your roof; darker coloured roofs are better at absorbing the heat from the sun, which can be incredibly valuable in the cold months. Obviously, poorly insulated, damaged or old roofing can make your heating bill skyrocket, so consider a local company like Roofco to repair or replace your old roof with something that will keep you toasty.

There are a variety of lower cost methods of lowering your bill in the winter, too. Most of these involve timers and smart devices that will lower the amount of energy being used idly. One of the biggest culprits in Manitoba? Block heaters. You probably plug in your car before going to bed, leaving it charging for upwards of 8 hours; realistically, most of these only need to be plugged in for 4. Fortunately, there are block heater timers that will start heating your engine a few hours before you wake up, saving all that energy that would be going to waste. In a similar vein, there are smart and programmable thermostats that you can use to keep your home cooler while you’re at work, heating it up right before you get home. The few degrees difference each hour will save you a lot of money over the course of a winter season.

Other small changes, like low-flow shower heads, can drastically improve your energy efficiency when coupled together. A major consideration near and dear to our hearts is the overall efficiency of your home’s electric grid; faulty wiring can lead to an increase in electrical costs, and increase the chance of hazards like house fires. Checking on your wiring can help you save money and stay safe; find a licensed Winnipeg electrician to do a thorough inspection on the wiring in your home to ensure that there’s no energy being wasted to faulty wiring.