Fuzzy socks and beyond: cold weather conservation tips

Programmable thermostats are affordable, easy to install and can add comfort to the home while also reducing your home energy use.

Posted by Simi Heer

I have been wearing my warm fuzzy socks a lot lately to deal with the cold temperatures. At home, I am breaking all fashion rules by layering pieces of clothing that don't really match.

However, it's all in an effort to ensure I don't overheat my home, which is what some people may end up doing when colder temperatures arrive. My most basic piece of advice to you is to layer your clothes to make sure you aren't wasting energy.

I have other conservation tips too. Here are four of my favourites, with links to in-depth information in our Green Your Home guides:

  • Make sure your draftproofing is up to speed. This is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to reduce heat loss from your home. Use caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows to stop air leaks. Try not to leave any windows open (even just a crack) – this just allows warm air to flow out.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is one of the best investments you can make. They are relatively cheap to buy – $50 to $100 – and have a quick payback. You can set the thermostat to adjust temperatures at different times based on your family's activities.

    For example, when you are sleeping or when no one is home, you can set the thermostat to automatically turn down and turn back up again when it is time to wake up or when you return home. You don't leave your car running all night to make sure it is warm in the morning, so why do that with your home?
  • Make your lighting as efficient as possible. Use CFLs – they consume 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Consider installing a motion sensor or timer for your outdoor security lighting. And, if you have holiday lights, make sure you are using holiday LEDs – they use 95% less electricity than incandescent lights and last 10 times longer. Also, make sure your holiday lights are on a timer so that they are not on during the daylight hours.
  • Make simple behavioural changes. By doing little things such as washing your clothes in cold water and turning of the heated-dry option on your dishwasher, you can make a difference. Involve your family by encouraging everyone to turn off the lights, computer and televisions when they are not in use.

For more tips and ideas, explore our Green Your Home guides and see what some Team Power Smart members from B.C.'s north are doing to cut their consumption.

Join Team Power Smart and get in on a draw for 2010 Winter Games tickets – including tickets to the gold medal men's hockey final. And if you're a BC Hydro account holder with at least a year's consumption history at your address, delivering on your 10% electricity reduction goal over 12 months could pay off with a reward.

The best way to keep up to date on BC Hydro news, energy-saving tips, customer stories, and contests is to subscribe to our popular Connected eNewsletter.