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July 18, 2021

Tips to reduce electricity consumption during a heat wave

Feelin' hot, hot, hot.

With the summer heat wave rolling across Canada there are some easy tips to reduce your electricity consumption and keep your cool.

To reduce the strain and drain on the electricity system, Canadians are urged to find ways to stay comfortable while using as little electricity as possible, particularly between the peak hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

As we discovered in Ontario in August 2003, the huge strain on the electricity system resulted in a widespread blackout that lasted days for many.

Everything was shutdown. No grocery stores. No gas stations. No pharmacies. No liquor stores. Nothing.

Food was quickly turning sour in our fridges and freezers. Cars were on empty. You were lucky if you had a propane tank and could barbecue food before it went bad.

It was an opportunity to take life easier -- for some. For others, temperatures rose.

That's why it is always better to stock up on emergency preparedness items including batteries, water, canned food, manual can opener, radio (and batteries), extra prescriptions, propane, full tank of gas, extra cash, and even a generator.

It's better to be safe, than sorry.

So with this in mind, here are some tips to reduce your energy consumption during a heat wave:

- Set thermostats no lower than 26 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit), taking into consideration any health concerns. If you use a ceiling or tabletop fan in conjunction with your air conditioning you can set your thermostat even higher at 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure to keep all doors and windows closed when air conditioners are running.

- Close all drapes and blinds to keep out the heat of the sun

- Turn off lights in homes and offices

- Unplug all appliances and electronic devices when not in use including computers, printers, televisions, and video game consoles

- Limit the use of appliances during peak hours. Do laundry in the early morning or later evening hours and hang to dry

- Run the dishwasher in the early morning or late evening to minimize the heat load and humidity in your home

- Cook dinner in the microwave or on the barbecue instead of using the oven or stove.

You never know, you just might save some money too by reducing your energy consumption.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

Do you have any other tips for reducing electricity consumption?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...