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 :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our First Hydro Bill for Our New Home

I mentioned in another house that it is very difficult to compare energy usage between two houses even if they are identical home.  There are a lot of factors that affect energy usage.  We just received our first hydro bill for our new home.  We moved in on September 1 and the billing period ended October 5.  We used a total of 523 kWh with 336 kWh at off peak rate.  The good news is a good portion of our hydro usage is during off peak hours.  The bad news is the consumption is up from September of last year at our old house.  I certainly was not impressed to see that 79.86% of neighbouring homes used less hydro than we did for that month.  We are used to being on the lower end of hydro use.  Given we were away for two weeks during September of each year, I would have expected our usage at the new house to be lower but instead it was higher.  One month is not enough usage to determine if our hydro usage will remain higher here especially since there was higher usage due to the actual move (eg. AC on but doors constantly opening to bring things in, power tools, charging lawn mower batteries, and etc.).  However, I am speculating over the course of a year our overall consumption will be about the same.  Here are some of the changes from our last house to this one.  The ones that will save us money are in green while the ones that will cost us money are in red.  Hopefully, there will be enough in the green to keep us on track.

  • cooking - We used hydro for cooking at our last house but using natural gas for cooking here.  This is a big change as natural gas is about a third of the cost of hydro here so we should see a difference on hydro usage.
  • lighting - By design it was necessary to have 8 to 12 lights on even during the day at our old house from the time we got up to late evening.  This house has plenty of natural light so at most one or two lights are on but only on the dull, dreary days or briefly when in the laundry room or pantry.  Ceiling lighting in the games room and our bedroom is halogen and one bathroom has the narrow base incandescent bulbs.  The games room lights are recessed so would be a pain to change out and they are only on when the room is being used for larger gatherings so we will likely leave them as is.  Neither bathroom has a window meaning the lights are on when in use.  We are installing a solar tube in the upper level bathroom in the spring.
  • air conditioning - Our old house was on waterfront property (natural cooling effect) with a good cross air current.  The main living was on the lower level that was mainly below grade so was always cool in the summer.  As a result the air conditioning was only used on the uncomfortably humid days.  Our new house is wide open on one side and the back but lacks the natural cooling effect of a larger body of water.  We anticipate having to run the central air more often here.  The unit is likely as old as the house, almost 14 years.  The central air at our last house was only 4 years old so more efficient.  Clogged floor vents were discovered here and the furnace filter was blocked that would make the AC work harder but we did get them cleared out so the HVAC should work more efficiently
  • televisions - We had a television in the family room, game room and master bedroom of our last house, each with satellite receivers.  Two of the tvs were in regular usage almost daily and quite often I would have the family room tv on during the day for the noise.  In this house we still have three tvs.  Two are brand new Phillips LCD 32" screen to replace the two older CRT (tube) televisions.  These are hooked to one satellite receiver rather than two, eliminating one hot box.  They are EnergyStar® certified and are only on when the games room is being used, about once a month.  We eliminated the television from our bedroom entirely and I've returned to not having the television on during the day.
  • refrigerators - We had a Whirlpool ED2FHXSQ02 22 cubic foot side-by-side refrigerator and an Igloo Party refrigerator (4.6 cubic feet) at our last house.  We brought both with us but the Igloo is not plugged in and the Whirlpool is now the games room refrigerator.  We have a 26 cubic foot Maytag MZD2666KEB in the kitchen.  Both the Whirlpool and Maytag refrigerators are EnergyStar® certified but obviously running two larger fridges will cost us a bit more.  Of note, the Maytag was so blocked underneath with dust and hair that it clogged the vacuum twice while trying to clean out the clog.  This was costing in terms of higher energy usage but now we have it cleaned out so the cost should be reduced.
  • dishwasher - Our old house had a Bosch SHE44C02UC bought in 2007 when we moved into our last house.  It was a nice machine and I have no complaints but I chose a Whirlpool Gold Quiet Partner Esquire GU2475XTVB1 for this house.  The Bosch is super energy efficient but we got an excellent deal on the Whirlpool because we bought the natural gas stove at the same time.  It is EnergyStar® certified using 40% less energy than older models because it has a low wattage motor but it is not as energy efficient as the Bosch.  It says that some loads can average 2 to 3 hours but I have not experienced that yet.  The loads are running the normal hour or so.  The nice feature is there is a 4 hour delay so I can load the dishwasher then set it to run during off-peak hours something I could not do with the Bosch.
  • swimming pool - We had swimming pools in our first two houses but not our last three so we are aware of the associated costs.  Right now there is no way of telling how much hydro the pool will use but it is newer equipment so shouldn't be too bad.  There is no doubt it will cost though for the months of June through September.
Garden Gnome