If you’re thinking about transforming your outdoor space with a new deck or garden, here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started:
Think about appliances and equipment early. Give some thought to the types of appliances or equipment you may want installed based on what’s most important to you. Is it comfort, energy efficiency or aesthetics? Plan based on what you’d like now and potentially in the future to identify what you’ll need, such as support beams, electrical wires and natural gas lines. When choosing the appliances, don’t forget to factor in the fuel source. There are several natural gas appliances available, like fireplaces, pool heaters and outdoor lighting.
Barbecue like a chef. If you’re designing your backyard with entertaining in mind, opt for a natural gas barbecue. Since they’re hooked up to your home’s natural gas line, you won’t run out of fuel or have to wait for charcoal to heat up. That means more time to spend with your guests.
Chefs also chefs prefer cooking with natural gas because the direct and consistent heat allows for more precise temperature control and even cooking.
Call or click before you dig. When you’re ready to start your backyard project, but before you do any digging, contact Ontario One Call to see what’s underground. Damage to a natural gas line can result in a gas leak, fire or explosion, and can even cut off utility service to an entire neighbourhood. A natural gas connection should also only be installed by a licensed HVAC contractor. Find more information at www.on1call.com or by calling 1-800-400-2255.
Temperatures are rising, and many of us are reaching for the thermostats to stay cool. But there are also energy-efficient ways that will help you stay comfortable while controlling your costs. Check out these tips from Hydro One:
- Open the windows on breezy days. Ventilation is the least costly and most energy-efficient way to cool your home. Open a few windows to create cross ventilation and let a refreshing breeze come through.
- Put food on the grill. Using large appliances like your oven when cooking can add a lot of indoor heat. Cook outdoors on the barbecue instead.
- Draw your curtains. Keeping blinds and curtains closed during the day blocks out sunlight and will help keep the cool air inside.
- Take care of your thermostat. Keep your thermostat out of direct sunlight. Set it to 25°C when you are at home and raise it to 28°C when you leave the house for optimal energy efficiency.
- Invest in a ceiling fan. Having a ceiling fan will allow you to raise your thermostat settings and save energy without affecting your comfort. Set the fan to spin counter-clockwise to create a downward cooling breeze instead of running the air conditioning.
Find more tips at www.hydroone.com/coolingguide.
Warmer weather has teased us out of hibernation and has us planning for a fun-filled summer. As a cottager, you’ve likely marked your calendar with the day you’ll be opening up your summer escape.
Here are some dos and don’ts from Hydro One that will ensure your next few months are stress-free when it comes to electrical maintenance:
- Do download the free mobile outage app so you can easily be informed about power outages in your area. You can also register to receive proactive free personalized text or email alerts about outages as well.
- Do a circle check and inspect the power line feeding your cottage. Watch out for any tree branches that are growing close to the line, as they could potentially cause a power outage.
- Do perform basic maintenance checks regularly. Hydro One will disconnect the power supply to your property once a year at no charge so that any maintenance along or near your power lines can be performed safely.
- Do check your electricity meter for damage before entering your cottage. Report any damage observed to your local electricity service provider.
- Don’t energize all your branch circuits at once. Ensure that they are in the off position before turning on the power. You can then open the main switch and energize individual circuits one at a time. Make sure you also fill your water tank before switching on the power to avoid damaging your water heater.
- Don’t make any repairs without contacting a licensed electrical contractor. You are required by law to do so and they have the expertise, equipment and training to do the job safely. The Electrical Safety Authority has a contractor locator that you can use to find a contractor working in your area.
Hot temperatures have us relying on air conditioning to keep us cool. And since we spend most of our energy dollars controlling our home’s temperature, if your unit is more than 10 years old, it may be time for an upgrade.
Use these tips from Hydro One to help you purchase an efficient model:
- 1. Look for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) labels on air conditioners. Official Canadian EnerGuide labels display the model type and SEER, which measures how efficiently the system runs over the entire cooling season. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system. Use this rating while you shop to compare the energy efficiency of different models.
- 2. Consider investing in an air-source heat pump. It’ll serve you all year round, as it provides energy-efficient home heating and cooling. In the summer months, heat pumps cool your home efficiently by removing warm air and transferring it outside. They also act as a dehumidifier, removing moisture from the air indoors.
- 3. Once you’ve purchased your new unit, make sure it is tuned up once a year. Proper maintenance can reduce your cooling costs by up to 10 percent and increase the lifespan of your system.
Spring is in the air, which means it’s time to start decluttering and organizing. While the main purpose of spring cleaning is to clean your space, it can also include taking on tasks that will make your home more energy efficient.
Here are some tips from Hydro One on how to save energy and make spring cleaning a breeze.
Book a spring tune-up for your air conditioner. Annual servicing can reduce your cooling costs by up to 10 percent and extend the life of your system.
Commit to being clutter free. Keep weeds and debris away from your outdoor condenser unit to allow the air to circulate freely. Prune foliage to be at least 24 centimeters away from the condenser.
Change or clean filters. Clogged filters restrict airflow and make your system work overtime, making it less efficient. Spring is a great transitional season for you to check both your furnace and air conditioning filters to ensure they are clean and working properly.
Install a programmable thermostat. If properly set, it can reduce cooling costs. Set your central air conditioner for 25°C when you are at home and 28°C when you are away. Or turn it off to save more energy.
Schedule your washing loads. Run your dishwasher, washer and dryer early in the morning, in the evening or on weekends when electricity rates are lowest.
Find more tips at www.hydroone.com/saveenergy.