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    Your thermostat and you – a guide to energy savings.

    The greater the temperature difference between the inside and outside of your home, the greater the potential for heat loss. You can reduce energy consumption by lowering the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees while you’re away, or while you’re sleeping. During the heating season, reducing the temperature in your home by 1° C over a 7-hour period each day, can save you 1% on your heating bill. As a rule of thumb, however, don’t turn the temperature down more than 6°C / 10°F below your normal setting in the winter. Also, remember no matter how high you turn up the thermostat, you will not heat your home any more quickly.

    Programmed for efficiency

    Programmable thermostats (as their name suggests) allow you to pre-program temperature settings and they never ‘forget’ to raise or lower the temperature of your house. For example, you can program the thermostat to turn down the temperature of your house when you are sleeping and raise it again before you get up. Some programmable thermostats even have a separate setting for weekend use and are compatible with most air-conditioning systems. As always, look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol when purchasing a programmable thermostat – it ensures products provide the greatest opportunities to save energy.

    Conditioned to save

    If you have an air-conditioner in your home, you should turn up your thermostat a few degrees during the hot summer months to reduce air-conditioning costs. It’s not as easy to state recommended temperature settings for cooling as it is for heating because the air-conditioning system must do two jobs; cool and dehumidify the air to make you comfortable. Generally, an efficient and comfortable temperature zone to maintain is between 24°C / 74°F and 26°C / 78°F, and never set the thermostat more than 8°C / 15°F below the outdoor temperature.

    Location. Location. Location

    Where exactly is your thermostat? This can affect the efficient operation of your heating or cooling system. Be sure your thermostat is located away from direct sunlight and blasts of cold air from an opening exterior door. Avoid locating it above or near appliances such as lamps, TVs, or other appliances that could give off heat.

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    How energy efficient is your home?

    We all want to do our best to help improve our household energy savings when heating, cooling, using hot water and other uses of energy. But where do we even begin? And what should we consider before overhauling our homes with renovations?

    A home energy audit is a great place to start and you don’t have to hire anybody to do it. Union Gas offers a great do-it-yourself energy audit checklist for you to determine what is already working well in your home, and what may need improvements. We’re interested to know, before you conduct your audit, what do you think you are already doing well and where do you think you can improve?

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    Here Are Some Watch-Outs For Your Windows

    Did you know the windows in your home can cause significant increases in your energy bills? There are solutions. Heavy drapes or energy-efficient window coverings can be used to reduce heat loss, especially at night. During cold winter days, be sure to open your drapes to allow heat and air circulation to get to the glass to help minimize condensation problems. And in the summer, block the hot sun by closing your drapes during the day.

    You can also improve the thermal resistance of the existing window glazing by installing additional layers of glazing. This can be accomplished by an exterior storm window or an ‘interior storm window.’ Interior storm windows are made of either acrylic sheet attached to the window trim with a magnetic seal, or thin sheets of polyethylene that are attached with double-sided tape. A hair dryer is used to ‘shrink’ the plastic in place and to ensure an airtight installation. Both are available commercially.