What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Few Tips For Saving on Electricity

I have been focusing on our use of electricity over the last few posts.  The reason for this is many in Ontario are having a hard time adjusting to the new TOU pricing combined with the additional HST of 8% that has brought hydro bills to a total of 17% higher.  The TOU pricing per kWh is 5.3¢ off-peak, 8¢ mid-peak and 9.9¢ on peak.  The reality is the cost per kWh is only 43% of the total hydro bill so the actual cost per kWh is more than double the stated cost.  In short during on-peak hours the actual cost per kWh including all the service charges is 23¢.  Hydro One Networks gives a few pithy tips for conserving electricity like running the dishwasher and washer during off-peak hours.  If you run the dishwasher during off-peak hours you will save 17¢ and if you run the washer during off-peak hours you will save 5¢.  Quite frankly this is not much of an incentive to alter your daily routine and it certainly will not make much of a difference in the additional 8% due to the HST.  There are however a few more ways I've discovered to help save a little electricity.  None by themselves will are enough to cover the $8 in HST on an average $100 hydro bill but every little bit does help.

  • dishwasher - While the savings is only 17¢ per load by switching to running the dishwasher during off-peak pricing the average family with 5 loads per week will save 85¢ per week or $3.40 per month which is a good chuck of savings towards what the HST costs.
  • washer - Switching to off-peak hours saves 5¢ per load.  An average family at 5 loads per week saves 25¢ or $1 per month.
  • furnace -  I have been taking advantage of the milder weather by using the gas fireplace during the day which stops the furnace from coming on.  Currently natural gas is considerably less expensive than electricity so I'm saving there as well as not paying for the furnace fan to run.  Ideally, our plans are to switch the furnace fan to solar which will eliminate any electricity being used by the furnace.
  • off is better than on - I have gone through the house unplugging anything that doesn't need to be plugged in.  The premise is off is better than on and unplugged is even better because there can be no phantom electricity use.
  • timed, auto-shut off and programmable appliances -  Years ago I went to an auto-shut off iron and curling iron.  The nice thing about auto-shut off is these appliances shut off automatically removing the threat of overheating.  I also experimented with home automation and while the system itself does use trickle electricity the money it saves outweighs the cost.  This house due to design does not warrant using home automation so I have all my modules safely tucked away for the next house.  Timers and programmable appliances are a must with the new TOU pricing especially small kitchen appliances.  My largest slow cooker has been slowly dying so I replaced it with a programmable, auto-off model bought on sale of course.  I now know this appliance will not be on any longer than absolutely necessary and it will turn off by itself if I happen to forget.
  • being conscious - I'm paying attention to the TOU pricing that is currently in the winter cycle meaning the on-peak hours (highest cost) are from 7 AM to 11 AM and 5 PM to 9 PM during the week.  The morning hours are easy to reduce electricity usage since we seldom have a hot breakfast during the week and the most we have on extra is the percolator, a few CFL lights due to the layout of our house and my iMac (energy efficient).  The evening hours are a bit more difficult to adjust what with cooking dinner and the television on but I'm making a few cutbacks there as well.  The busiest of the canning season has passed as well so I have been able to switch canning sessions to off-peak hours usually on the weekends.  I should be able to get through most of the winter using this strategy but in fairness I save so much by canning that if I had to run the canners during on-peak hours I would without thinking twice.  The same can be said for meals cooked at home.  The only thing I've cut down a bit on is dehydrating via electrical means.
Garden Gnome