Cut back on air conditioning with these cool and easy tips

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It pays to be smart with your air conditioning. Not only will you save money on your utility bills, but you’ll also help to conserve energy – and that’s a good thing no matter where you live.

If you live in Ontario, cutting back on air conditioning is even more important. “Conserving energy in the summer months is especially important in Ontario because we’re the only province that uses more electricity in the summer than in the winter months,” says Peter Love, Ontario’s Chief Energy Conservation Officer. “Air conditioning accounts for one third (33%) of a home’s energy usage. That’s more than from running appliances and even lighting.” It represents a huge drain on electricity resources.

Act now, save now
There’s a lot that all Canadians can do to conserve energy. Peter Love suggests the following ways to have a positive impact this summer when it comes to both central air conditioning and window units.

  • Don’t leave your air conditioner on when you’re not at home. That’s simply a huge waste of energy – and money.
  • Reduce your use. “Use window blinds to keep your home cooler and use ceiling or tabletop fans to circulate cool air,” advises Mr. Love.
  • Earmark your owner’s manual. “Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual carefully,” explains our energy conservation expert. “Like all major appliances that are used heavily, air conditioners need to be serviced regularly.”
  • Switch off the lights. “Wasted heat that comes off light bulbs will increase the heat in your home and make air conditioning more necessary.” While Peter Love is not asking you to sit in the dark, be adamant about switching off lights when they’re not needed.
  • Invest in a programmable thermostat. “A programmable thermostat will help you save on both heating and cooling costs,” advises Mr. Love. If you think they’re difficult to operate, think again. Newer models are easier to program and, as Mr. Love points out, “Ask a 10-year-old for help. They don’t even need a manual!”
  • Replace old units. “Air-conditioning technology has improved immensely over the last 10 years,” he says. “Upgrade to an Energy Star approved model and save on your electricity bill. You may also be eligible for a federal rebate program, regardless of where you live in Canada.”
  • Ask about Ontario’s peaksaver® program. If you live in Ontario, you can take advantage of the province’s peaksaver program. Through this voluntary program, homeowners allow their electricity provider to control and cycle energy use during peak times. “Most homeowners don’t even notice when this happens,” he says. Until, of course, they get their energy bill.

Peter Love’s 3-pronged plan for smart homeowners
All Canadians can benefit from Peter Love’s approach to conserving energy.

  • Think about electricity and conservation. “It may be hard to do because electricity and conservation are intangible,” he says. You can’t see or touch them, but they affect every aspect of daily life.
  • Believe you can make a difference. “When we work together, we can make a huge difference,” continues Mr. Love. “Little things add up to huge savings.”
  • Act. “I’m not asking people to get rid of their air conditioner,” he explains. “I am suggesting that they should be smarter about how they use it.” And, fortunately, that’s easy to do.

More cool tips and resources
Access a whole slew of detailed air-conditioning saving tips from these three organizations:

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