In this article we analyze different methods of energy conservation and energy efficiency that will significantly reduce utility costs in your Toronto home. But first, let’s take a look at how your utility bill differs if you are renting as opposed to buying.

RELATED: The Cost of Buying and Owning a Toronto House by Neighbourhood

What you can expect from utility costs in Toronto when you are renting

According to a May 2020 report, the average cost to rent a Toronto 1 bedroom apartment is $2,125, and a 2 bedroom is $2,665. Usually these prices are inclusive of all utility costs.

When looking for rental units, if you are a first time renter or a student it is ideal to look for a unit with all utilities included in the lease. These utilities usually include general repair and maintenance, gardening and snow removal. If you are renting a property, the agreement that you sign with your landlord will affect how much you pay. In most cases, hydro is not included in your bill and the average cost of this will differ for each unit depending on consumption and square footage. According to citynews.ca, the ballpark of how much a Toronto resident pays is around $200.00 per month. This can be significantly reduced if you follow peak energy rates on the Toronto Hydro website, are unplugging electronics and turning off lights when they are not being used. If you are looking to add cable or wifi, these costs will most likely be separate. Always check which utilities will be included in your lease to avoid any surprises later. Although the base price of your unit may be a little bit higher, general utility increases, taxes and convenience costs will be covered during your time of occupancy.

Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency – How does it reduce utility costs in my Toronto home?

The main thing to consider when reducing electricity costs is energy conservation and energy efficiency. Energy conservation means avoiding unnecessary energy, such as unplugging electronics when they are not being used. Energy efficiency relates to the systems you use to keep your house comfortable. Below, we analyze different ways you can consider energy conservation and energy efficiency when reducing costs on your utility bill in Toronto.

1. Using a smart thermostat will greatly affect the cost of your utility bill.

Investing in a “smart” thermostat may set you back in the beginning, but in the long run, it will help reduce the electricity bill whilst providing residents the best comfort in comparison to an ordinary thermostat. A smart thermostat is highly efficient system that allows you to program your heating and cooling systems from your phone and includes motion sensors that can learn your schedule and adjust accordingly when no one is home. HGTV.ca states that 60% of your annual hydro bill goes towards heating your home, and according to Hydro One, your costs raise about 5% for every degree above 20 that you set the thermostat. This puts costs in perspective when considering which type of thermostat you want to use. Refer to this article for a list of the best smart thermostats of 2020, and what to consider when you are buying.

2. Consider reducing your “water footprint”

A lower water bill begins with investing in newer more efficient appliances. Most appliances, such as a washer or dryer, have efficiency labels listed that can greatly reduce costs, specifically a “WaterSense” seal. It is also important to consider the time you take showering, what kind of shower head you use and how this greatly affects your electricity bill. Investing in a low-flow shower head is an extremely easy and efficient way to cut costs and will not set you back initially as most are priced on amazon to be around $10.00. They are easy to install and plenty of youtube videos if you are unsure of how to do so yourself. These shower heads on average reduce the amount of water your showers used per minute to 1.25 gallons which can save up to $200.00 on your annual bill. If you are unsure of how much water you use, this easy water consumption calculator can help you determine how much you use on average giving you a better idea of what you need to reduce your footprint. 

3. Repair and Maintenance Costs

General repairs and maintenance around your home can not be predicted right off the bat. It is important to get into a routine of checking to see if any repairs or updates are needed on appliances, plumbing, security/electric systems etc. This is important for avoiding breakdowns, saves money and helps to keep your home looking its best. Some factors to consider when calculating a budget for repairs that your home will likely require are when your home was built, the climate of the city you live in, topical, graphical and biological variables and the square footage of your home. It is beneficial to look into these variables before you purchase a home so you can plan out your average costs beforehand.

RELATED: Why Toronto Homeowners Need An Oh Sh*t Fund

4. Be aware of the lighting you are using

Switching to LED light bulbs is a great start for reducing electricity costs. Incandescent light bulbs are no longer manufactured in Canada and most have been switched to a more energy efficient fluorescent bulb but swapping all fluorescent bulbs to LED can reduce energy expenditures by 80%. Capitalizing on natural light can also reduce costs in regards to lighting as well. By consulting with a windows and doors specialist, you can reduce costs related to lighting as well as temperature which will in turn save you a lot of money on utilities in Toronto.

5. Reducing utility costs in Toronto using the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)

The Ontario Electricity Support Program is a program that was developed by the Ontario Energy Bored (OEB) that lowers electricity bills for lower income households. You can apply online at any time through their website. Visit their FAQ to get information regarding any questions you may have about this program. 

Although some of the changes require a professional to install new fixtures or asses your home’s carbon footprint , you can radically reduce the amount you spend on utility bills if you understand the costs and factors associated with your bill. If you are renting, contact your landlord to see what is included in the rent before you sign the lease. If you are buying, it is important to understand where you are buying and the different factors that will affect your bill. Book a call with one of our agents today if you have any questions about where you are planning to buy, and different utility costs that may be associated with that property.