Unplug This Blog!

An energy-saving kit can improve your home and help you save

Applying weather stripping to a doorway

Posted by Julia Chiu

You can do many quick fixes to your home in order to save energy. For qualified low income customers, energy saving kits brought to you by BC Hydro and FortisBC offer products that can help you start saving energy and money.

We spoke with Blake Mansbridge, a Victoria student, who told us about his experience with the Energy Saving Kit. Mansbridge recently moved and applied for kit specifically for apartments. Kits are also available for houses and townhomes. Mansbridge first heard about the Energy Saving Kit program during his time working for BC Hydro's community team. After learning about all the benefits, he decided to apply.

Installing the items is simple, even if you're not an expert

For some, installing items or doing even minor renovations around the house can be a daunting task, but the components of the kit are easy to understand. "I found it pretty straightforward," he explains. "The tips online were very helpful."

Mansbridge recalls that he was intimidated by some of the products in the kit, especially the foam weatherstripping for around windows and doors, and the window insulator film. Looking at them first glance, he wasn't sure how they worked and how to install them. "I didn't even know where to begin" he explains, "but with the directions, it all fell into place". He used the Energy Saving Kit Installation Guide for Apartments [PDF, 1 MB] that outlines installation steps for each item.

A warmer home and a cooler fridge

With the items from the kit installed, Mansbridge has already noticed the differences around his apartment. "When we first moved in there was a draft. We put in the foam weatherstripping and it has helped prevent that," he offers up as one example. Draftproofing  your home is cost-effective and can reduce heat loss by up to 10%. Not only does draftproofing your home help you stay warm in the winter, but it also helps you stay cool in the summertime by preventing the hot air from coming in.

He's even become more aware of the effectiveness of his appliances. "The fridge was a little warm, but I wouldn't have known that if it wasn't for the fridge thermometer." The thermometer is a card that you place in a visible area in your fridge. After 15 minutes, you can check the thermometer's reading to make sure your fridge is at an ideal temperature between 2°C to 3°C. An efficient fridge can help you save up to $25 a year.

With greater awareness about his energy consumption, Mansbridge has become Power Smart beyond the kit. Although Mansbridge received CFLs in his kit, he was inspired to purchase more CFLs for other lighting in his apartment. With CFLs you immediately save money on your energy bill since they use 75% less energy and can last up to 10 times longer than your regular incandescent light bulb. LEDs are another excellent option for lighting in your home. These energy efficient light bulbs last a minimum of 25,000 hours or 25 years based on average household use.

Next steps: track the ongoing savings

Mansbridge is looking forward to creating an online profile with MyHydro so that he can track how much energy he is using. His new apartment includes laundry and a dishwasher, appliances that he didn't have at his last residence. "I'm interested to see how it differs from my last apartment in terms of the in-suite laundry and dishwasher. My energy consumption will be more with that, but hopefully with the kit installed I can make up for some of those increases."

Even with the new clothes washer and dryer, Mansbridge can take actions to save energy. By washing your clothes in cold water, you can save energy and money on your bill. With summer approaching, take advantage of the warm weather and hang your clothes outside to dry. Hanging your clothes outside will make your clothing look brighter and smell fresher.

We asked Mansbridge if he would recommend the Energy Saving Kit to people who are qualified to apply. "Yeah, for sure! I recommended it to a friend, I'm pretty sure he got it."

Learn more and apply for an Energy Saving Kit

Julia Chiu is a web specialist with BC Hydro's Digital Communications team.