Energy Matters – January 2018

Power Smart tip

An ENERGY STAR® certified front-loading clothes washer can save up to 75 litres of water per wash.

Included with this month’s Energy Matters:

Keep your home warm in winter

Does your home heating plan involve the entire family wearing parkas when watching evening TV?

Well, here are a few simple upgrades you can do to make your home more comfortable for everyone during the cold winter nights—and reduce your energy bill.

  • Check windows and doors for drafts. Seal with caulking or weather stripping. Also caulk and seal gaps along baseboards and electrical outlets to stop outside air from sneaking in your house. Also check attic openings to stop air leakage.
  • Have your furnace serviced by a qualified technician to be sure it’s operating efficiently. It doesn’t matter what kind of furnace you have—it should be checked once a year to lessen the chance of a sudden breakdown on the coldest day of the year. Also regularly check the furnace filter and change it if there is a noticeable buildup of dust. During the heating season, a furnace filter should be changed at least every three months to protect your furnace’s operation.
  • Keep your heating duct system clean from dust and pet hair, and floor registers open, to encourage airflow throughout the house when the furnace is operating.
  • You can use a smart thermostat to remotely adjust the temperature of your home from your phone, turning it down when no one is at home and turning it up before you get home.
  • With any thermostat, turn down the heat in rooms you seldom use and at night, or when you’re not at home, to reduce heating costs. Lowering the temperature just three degrees when you’re out during the day can save you 3 to 4% on your heating bill.
  • Take advantage of heat from the sun—keep south-facing blinds and drapes open during the day.
  • Install an exhaust fan timer to help ensure proper ventilation in a bathroom after a shower, and kitchen after cooking, to remove moisture without over ventilating your home.
  • Also check the exterior dampers on your exhaust vents—including your dryer vent—to clear ice that may be keeping the damper frozen open. A frozen open vent causes cold air to rush into your house, making more work for the furnace.
  • If you’ve got a high efficiency natural gas furnace, check the exterior sidewall vent for snow. Keep the area around these vents clear year-round for safe operation of the equipment.
  • To learn how you can increase your home’s energy efficiency and save money, take our online Home Comfort & Energy Evaluation. The evaluation takes about approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. We’ll use information from the evaluation, combined with your home’s energy use history over the previous 12 months, to produce a customized report. You will receive your report in the mail in about 3 to 4 weeks after completing the evaluation.

You can complete a mail-in version of the evaluation for $19.99 plus GST. This charge is added to your energy bill.

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Protect your electronics from power surges

Extreme weather can cause power outages or power surges that can put your electronic devices at risk.

A power surge is a rush of current that can occur during a power disruption or when power is restored. Even though it might last only a fraction of a second, a surge can damage delicate parts in electronic devices, including your computer, home entertainment system and appliances.

Having the proper surge protection installed can protect your electrical equipment.

For the best protection from power surges you can use a combination of a main service surge suppressor and several point-of-use surge suppressors.

Main service surge suppressor

A main service panel suppressor protects your home by cutting big power surges down in size. If any of the surge is left, the point-of-use surge protector can intercept it to protect equipment.

The main service panel suppressor must be installed in your home by a licensed electrician.

Point-of-use surge suppressors

You should plug electronic equipment you want to protect, like your computer or entertainment system, directly into a point-of-use surge suppressor. These are usually in the form of power bars or hard-wired receptacles with built-in suppression. Know the difference between a power bar surge protector and a power strip. Power strips give you additional outlets for your electronic devices, but don’t necessarily offer any additional surge protection.

Here are some other ways you can protect your electronics:

  • Limit the number of devices connected to a single outlet.
  • Use a dedicated circuit for sensitive electronic equipment. For example, avoid plugging your computer into the same circuit that runs your air conditioner.
  • Make sure the wiring in your house is properly grounded. If your lights dim or circuit breakers trip or fuses burn out frequently, contact a licensed electrician.
  • Use three-pronged plugs whenever possible and wherever appropriate.
  • Unplug sensitive electronic devices during electrical storms.

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Epilepsy and Seizure Association of Manitoba

One in 10 Manitobans will have a seizure in their lifetime, but thousands are affected by epilepsy and seizure disorders. Please help us March 26 to promote epilepsy awareness by supporting Purple Day 2018.

To get involved call the Epilepsy and Seizure Association of Manitoba at 204-783-0488 or toll free 1-204-783-0488.

For more information visit Epilepsy and Seizure Association of Manitoba website.

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