Canada has always been the preferred country in the developed world for those who wish to start new lives. Yet, the country has become home to some of the most expensive homes and properties on the planet, albeit not as expensive as Hong Kong and Australia.
Yet such prices are becoming a cause of concern among many.
Toronto comes after Vancouver for being an expensive Canadian city in terms of purchasing a home. Regardless of whether residents are looking to buy or sell residential property, they should take time in considering the utility costs when it comes to calculating numbers involved in buying a home.
Yes, utility costs comprise a good chunk of living costs in Toronto. We will now explore various methods of conserving energy and energy efficiency that help in saving costs in utilities. Let us first explore how utility bills are different when it comes to rented and owned homes.
Utility costs when the home is rented – what should residents know?
As per a report from May, the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is C$ 2,125 and that of a two-bedroom apartment is C$ 2,665. These prices are often inclusive of the utility costs involved.
When residents are looking for rental units especially if they are students or first-time renters; then it is best to look for a unit that includes all utilities in the lease. They often include general repair, general maintenance, gardening, and snow removal costs.
Those who looking to rent a property should understand that the rent agreement they will sign with their landlord will affect how much they will pay. IN most instances, the cost of water usage is not included in the bill and the average cost for this differs for each unit which is dependent on the square foot of the property and how much the tenant has consumed.
According to some sources, the average Torontonian spends around C$ 200 monthly on Utilities. If they follow the rates mentioned on the website of Toronto Hydro, they can significantly reduce those by unplugging electronics and electrical appliances not in use as well as turning off lights when leaving the room.
Those who are looking to add cable or Wi-Fi, they should know that the costs of these are going to be separate. Prospective tenants should always check which utilities will be included in the lease and which won’t be so they can have a good idea.
Though the base price of the unit might be a bit high; general utility cost rises, convenience costs and taxes will be covered during their time of occupancy.
Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency – How to reduce utility costs in your home?
Regardless of whether you live in Etobicoke, Pickering, Oshawa, Mississauga, Scarborough, or Yorkville (whether in a suburban house, apartment, loft, or Yorkville Condos), the main thing to consider when reducing electricity costs is energy conservation and efficiency.
Conserving energy means avoiding wastage of energy (such as unplugging electronics not in use, closing lights when rooms are not in use and the like) whereas energy efficiency pertains to the things & systems residents use to keep their house comfortable.
Let us now analyze different ways residents and tenants alike can consider energy efficiency & conservation when looking to cut down costs of utilities in Toronto.
1. Considering maintenance and repair expenses
General repairs and maintenance of the condo are unpredictable. However, it is a must to routinely check to see if any repairs are needed on appliances, electrical systems, plumbing, flooring, security, etc. This helps prevent untimely breakdowns, saves costs, and helps the condo be on its best.
There are some factors worth considering when the calculating budget for repairs the condo will require: When the condo and the unit were built, Toronto’s climate, suburb’s climate, topical, biological & graphic variables as well as the unit’s square footage. It is beneficial when examining these variables before a condo is purchased as it helps in budget and cost planning.
2. Reduction of the water footprint
A reduced water bill starts in investing in efficient appliances. Most of them have efficiency labels listed on them and they can reduce costs by a considerable margin, specifically a ‘WaterSense’ seal (found on most dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and the like).
It is also important to consider the time residents take a shower, the type of showerhead they use, and how this affects their electricity bill. A low flow showerhead is a good buy and an efficient way to reduce costs. They are easy to install, and they reduce the gallons of water showers use in a minute giving a saving of C$ 200 on the water bill.
3. The type of lighting used
LED bulbs are instrumental in cutting down electricity bills. Incandescent light bulbs are no longer produced in Canada because most Canadians have switched to energy-efficient bulbs. Swapping all fluorescent lighting for LED lighting cuts down energy expenses by 80%.
Utilizing natural light is useful too. Prospective condo buyers and condo owners can always consult with a door & window specialist in harnessing natural light to the max. This also helps adjust the temperature accordingly.
4. Utilizing the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) for reducing utility expenses
The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) was developed by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) that reduces electricity bills for low-income households. Residents can apply for it through their websites and can visit their FAQs page to see information about anything they need to ask about the program.
5. Usage of a smart thermostat helps reduce utility cost by a considerable margin
Residents’ investment in a smart thermostat can send them to start line but it is beneficial for the long run because it will save a decent amount on money on electrical costs whilst providing the same amount comfort to residents.
What exactly is a smart thermostat? It is a highly efficient system that allows residents to program their cooling and heating systems using their phones. It also has a motion sensor that learns residents’ schedules and adjusts utilities accordingly when no one is home
Reliable sources are of the view that around 60% of the annual hydro bill goes towards heating the home and these costs could rise by 5% for each degree above 20 any resident sets on the thermostat. This then raises the question of what kind of thermostat resident’s use and which one should they be using? Hence, a smart thermostat is a good option.
Implementing these changes requires the assistance of a professional in the installation of new fixtures and assessment of the condo’s carbon footprint. They can also help residents reduce the amount they spend on utility bills if they can understand the costs and factors associated with the bill.
Those who are planning to live in a rented condo can contact their landlord to see what is included in their rent before they sign the lease. Those looking to purchase must understand where they are buying and the factors affecting their bills.