Valley First

Valley First

August 02, 2012 12:15 ET

Valley First's Top Tips for Taking the Heat Out of Summer Energy Bills

PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 2, 2012) - The summer months in B.C.'s Interior can be hot. And, keeping cool can contribute to high energy use in your home. But, by following a few simple tips, it is possible to take some of the heat out of summer energy bills.

"Keeping cool can sometimes lead to an unwelcome surprise on your electricity bill," says Valley First's Rutland branch manager Marc Germain. "Fortunately, there are some easy ways to trim your energy use without having to suffer through sweltering summer nights. In fact, by being sensible about energy consumption, it is possible to save a few hundred dollars a year."

FortisBC estimates that almost 60 per cent of an average's household's total energy use goes toward heating and cooling costs.

"Before you switch on or upgrade your cooling system, we strongly recommend that you take steps to keep cooled air inside your home," says Mark Warren, director of customer service for FortisBC. "Your heat pump or air conditioner will work more efficiently if your home is well insulated and draft proofed. If you need help upgrading your home's energy efficiency, FortisBC offers a number of financial incentives."

By following the below tips, it's possible to stay cool inside and still beat the heat financially.

Block out the heat

It seems like we wait an eternity for summer to arrive, so it's a shame to shut out the sun. But, by keeping windows and curtains closed during the day the sun can't heat your home as much meaning your air conditioner or heat pump doesn't have to work as hard.

Only cool the rooms you are using

If you have central heating and cooling, close the vents in the rooms you seldom use and close the doors. Cooling a smaller space is far more economical. Also, use a fan to help circulate cool air and reduce the amount your air conditioner or heat pump must work to keep your home cool. Set your ceiling fan to forward (counter-clockwise) to create a wind chill effect.

Make the most of barbecue season

One of the greatest things about summer is barbecue season. By grilling outside, you can reduce the use of heat producing appliances. If you must cook inside, consider using the microwave or eating foods that don't require long cooking times.

Harness the power of cold water

Cold water isn't just the domain of the annual polar bear swim. Taking cold showers and doing your laundry in cold water reduces the energy used to keep the water in your hot water tank hot. Also, you can consider turning down the temperature on your water tank.

Re-program your thermostat

Programmable thermostats, which allow the temperature to rise during the day when no one is home, can lead to annual savings of approximately 30 per cent. Check your thermostat to ensure you are only cooling your home when you need it cool.

For more helpful tips on staying cool, visit

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to 1,400 employees.

Contact Information

  • Valley First
    David Kropp
    Corporate Communications Specialist