If it feels like your electric bills are skyrocketing, you’re not alone. Especially during these cold winter months in Ontario, many Ottawa families are finding it difficult to make ends meet just to pay their hydro bill. Only 6 years ago, Ontario power was $0.099 per kilowatt hour during peak times. Today, we pay almost double that – $0.18 per kilowatt hour. Clearly, hydro prices haven’t matched Canadian inflation rates and as we watch our neighbors to the north in Quebec pay an average of $0.073 per kilowatt hour, the average Ottawa resident needs to figure out how to save as much electricity as we can to avoid huge bills.

Here are a few tips on how to lower your electricity bills in the winter months:

1. If you’re heating your home with electricity, you have options!

Heating a home in Ontario with electricity can be a HUGE drain on your finances, especially in the winter months. If you live in an area where natural gas is available, consider converting. Even if you have to pay to get the gas line brought to your house, the thousands of dollars of savings alone can make it worth your while. Of course, this depends on the age and size of your house but Enbridge offers a great online tool to give you an idea on how much you could save. Give it a try to find out.

2. Upgrade your heating / cooling system to a high efficiency system – and get a rebate to boot!

How old is your furnace or heat pump? The age of a furnace can really impact its efficiency. What’s more, many companies will offer incentives to upgrade your furnace to something more efficient. For example, Hydro One is currently offering up to $4,000 in rebates to upgrade to a high efficiency heat pump in their Heat Pump Advantage Program. As a partner of this program, Signature Home Heat and Air can help answer any questions you may have or get you a quote if you qualify for the rebate. And if you do, not only would you get up to $4,000 off the project costs, a high efficiency heat pump can save you up to $1,350 on annual heating costs.

3. Look for other sales and rebates!

As specialists in the home heating industry, we see many sales and incentives cross our desk from all kinds of vendors. Be on the lookout as to what sales might make most sense for you and your type of heating. If you don’t feel like browsing Home Heating sites all day (hey, it’s our job but we know it’s not for everyone), a great trick is to set up a Google News Alert to advise you of what kind of sales are out there, as they’re launched.

4. Phantom Power wasn’t just a great Tragically Hip Album

Also known as Standby Power, your electrical appliances which you think are off, are actually still consuming energy all day long – meaning peak periods. Things like home phones, televisions, microwaves, kettles and other small home appliances are all adding to your electric bill while you’re at work. To avoid the drain from phantom power, plug your appliances into a power bar that has a switch which you turn off while you’re not using the appliance.

5. Adjust your Water Heater

Is the hot water from your tap scalding? That might be a sign that your temperature is set too high and unless you have a tankless system, you’re paying for that water to be heated… all day long! Turning the temperature down just a few degrees will help you save lots of money!

Hope these tips were helpful and for more information, stay tuned to our homepage for the latest in Ottawa home heating promotions!