Two Muskoka chairs on a dock by the lake

Make cottage season more energy efficient

Here are a few easy tips for using less energy at the cottage that’ll still leave you plenty of time to relax.

Inside the cottage and out, there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your second home by saving energy. Next time you’re escaping to the cottage, remember that saving some energy – even while you’re kicking up your feet – can be pretty simple.

 

Check those old appliances

Cottages can easily become the go-to for old fridges, freezers and more. But even though you may not be there year-round, you can still benefit by upgrading to ENERGY STAR®-certified appliances. An ENERGY STAR®-certified fridge, for example, uses 10 per cent less energy than a standard model.
 
If you have a chest freezer, check the seal around it to make sure it’s tight and properly closed. They’re easy to leave slightly ajar, wasting electricity (and worse, ice cream). 

Stay comfortable indoors

When thinking about ways to cool down on hot summer nights, consider using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning, fans use less electricity and can also be used for lighting. Learn how to set your ceiling fan for each season.  
 
Next, get out some trusty weather stripping and caulking to seal up gaps around windows and doors, so you can stay warmer in cool weather and cooler on hot summer days. Weather stripping can not only help with keeping your cottage comfortable, but can also keep pesky mosquitoes and blackflies from coming indoors. 

Another option to keep your cottage comfy is to upgrade your windows. Check out our window buying guide to make the right energy-efficient decision for your place.

Make the most of the outdoors

Since you’ll be spending most of your time out of doors, here are three easy ways to make the most of outdoor living while saving on energy: 

Embrace the barbecue for all of your cottage family meals. Unlike stoves, ovens or microwaves Barbecues don’t require electricity, so you can add a lot to the cottage experience without adding to your electricity bill.
 
Use a cooler. Opening and closing the fridge, and coming in and out of the cottage often for all those cold drinks may be wasting energy. Plus, by using a cooler you can avoid overfilling your fridge and freezer, which makes them cool less efficiently.
 
Take advantage of the long sunny days at the cottage for your laundry. Hang clothes, sheets and towels out to dry on a clothesline or drying rack instead of using a dryer to save even more electricity. 

Make time to unplug (literally)

If you’re spending most of the daytime outdoors, take a walk around the cottage and unplug any electronics that may use phantom power when you’re not around, like your TV, cell phone chargers or microwave. Do the same when you’re leaving the cottage after your stay. Another option is to purchase a power bar with auto on/off timer. These power bars are great for turning electronics off while you’re away or if you’re out and about enjoying the sunshine.

 

Tip

If you’d like to bring your gadgets with you out on the dock or boat, consider a solar powered charger for small electronics like your phone, or portable stereo.

Then, get smart

Outdoor motion sensor lighting can help curb waste from lights left on, plus provide a level of added security. If your outdoor lighting is more decorative, consider opting for solar-powered lights. They look great along the driveway or near the fire pit, helping you and the family stay outside longer once the sun goes down.

Also take a look at your hot water heater. Smart timers designed for water heaters can help turn off the electric heating element. Set the timer to turn your heater off during the day when electricity pricing is at its peak (and you’re most likely at the beach, out on the lake or otherwise enjoying the outdoors).

Saving energy at the cottage is easier than it seems. Now sit back, relax, and unplug. 

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