TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2012) - Halloween festivities serve as a reminder for many that the winter months are just around the corner. As the chill rolls in across the country, Canadians should look for ways to keep the heat without heating up their energy bill.
For the majority of homeowners (51 per cent), utility costs are the biggest surprise financially, according to a recent BMO survey. Cranking up the thermostat in your home may provide temporary relief; however, heating and cooling systems can account for approximately half of a homeowner's annual utility expenses.
"The rule of thumb is that total housing expenses should not consume more than one-third of total household income," said Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal. "To remain safely within these parameters during the colder months, homeowners should continually look for ways to cut down on expenses - particularly for utility costs, which can begin climbing in the fall."
With that in mind, BMO offers the following five cost-friendly energy-saving tips:
1. Programmable thermostat: One of the most effective ways to keep heating costs down is to limit the time the furnace is running. Program your thermostat to turn on only during times when you will be home.
2. Windows: To prevent cold air from sneaking into your home, make sure to winterize all windows - especially if you live in an older house. Also, take advantage of the sunshine and keep curtains and drapes open during daylight hours to allow Mother Nature to warm up your home.
3. Insulation: In addition to insulating windows, properly insulating your entire house (including the attic) and sealing any leaks can keep warm air in and cold air out. This will reduce the amount of work your furnace has to do and can cut utility costs and emissions by almost 10 per cent.
4. Internal Heat: Utilize heat generators within your house to keep the temperature up and thermostat down while you're home. Appliances, such as the dishwasher, laundry machine/dryer and the stove/oven all provide a generous amount of warmth when in use, so dial down the thermostat while these large appliances are on.
5. Service your furnace: Be sure to service your furnace and the ducts every spring to ensure that it is working efficiently. Old furnaces - or those that work poorly - have to work harder, increasing utility costs.
To learn more about how to better manage spending and savings goals, please visit bmo.com/smartsteps. For information on BMO MoneyLogic, please visit bmo.com/moneylogic.
BMO and the Environment:
BMO achieved enterprise-wide carbon neutrality relative to its energy consumption and transportation emissions in August 2010 by targeting emissions reductions, purchasing renewable energy and using carbon credits to offset the remainder.
BMO is one of the initial investors in the Greening Canada Fund (GCF), the first-ever voluntary carbon emissions reduction fund aimed exclusively at large Canadian corporations. The fund provides direct access to high-quality carbon offset credits and helps BMO support Canadian-based energy efficiency projects in Canadian public schools, hospitals and community housing. BMO's initial investment commitment in the fund was $10 million.
BMO is listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Series Index. BMO has also been included on the Maclean's/Jantzi-Sustainalytics list of the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada and Corporate Knights Magazine's Best 50 Corporate Citizens.
To review BMO's environmental performance data, visit www.bmo.com/environment.