TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 21, 2012) - With Summer now officially underway and heat waves hitting cities across Canada, Canadians are looking to cool down without heating up their energy bill.
According to a BMO survey, the majority of homeowners (51 per cent) cite utility costs as the biggest surprise financially. Cranking up the air conditioning (AC) may provide temporary relief for those looking to make their home an arctic haven; however, heating and cooling systems can account for approximately half of a homeowner's annual utility expenses.
"In today's economic environment, households are increasingly looking for ways to cut down on expenses, and this includes the overall costs of running and maintaining a home," said Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal.
With that in mind, BMO offers the following top 10 energy-saving tips to keep your house cool this summer without breaking the bank:
1. Ceiling Fans and Portable Fans: Neither use much energy to power, but produce great air circulation. Generating air movement can make the temperature in a room drop by up to five degrees. Ceiling fans are the most effective as they blow air downwards, however portable fans can be a great alternative.
2. Windows: If there is a slight breeze outside, and you do not have the AC turned on, open the windows and doors. Be sure to open more than one window as this will allow for a cross breeze to circulate throughout the house.
3. Light Coloured Window Shades, Blinds or Drapes: Choosing a pale colour of window dressing can reflect heat away from the house. Also consider window film for heat and glare reduction. This can help other cooling devices such as fans or air-conditioners work more efficiently.
4. Thermostat Programmer: If you do choose to use your AC, be sure to limit the time that it is running. Program your thermostat to turn on the AC only during times when you will be home.
5. Internal Heat: Be aware of where heat is coming from within your home from sources such as appliances, electronic devices and lighting. Try to avoid placing these heat generators near your AC unit, as this will cause the system to work harder and longer.
6. Humidity: As humidity often makes the air feel warmer, reduce activities that create a humid environment such as washing and drying clothes, showering and cooking. If these cannot be avoided, turn on a ventilating fan to help extract warm, moist air.
7. Plant a Tree: Well-placed trees and shrubs can put your house under the shade and reduce cooling costs by almost 25 per cent. Deciduous trees should be planted facing the south and west, and conifers to the north for maximum shade.
8. Insulation: Properly insulating your house (and the attic) and sealing any leaks can keep cool air in and hot air out. This will reduce the amount of work your AC has to do and can cut utility costs and emissions by almost 10 per cent.
9. Service your AC Unit: Be sure to service your air conditioner unit and the ducts every spring to ensure that it is working efficiently. Old air conditioners or those that work poorly have to work harder, increasing utility costs.
10. Reflective Roofing: Dark coloured roofing or outside walls can attract the thermal heat from the sun. Painting your roof or walls a light colour or installing reflective strips can deflect heat from your house and keep things much cooler inside.
BMO MoneyLogic allows Canadians to track and review their spending limits and savings goals in real time. For more information, visit www.bmo.com/moneylogic.
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.