Written by Dominique Jarry Shore
Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
We saved more than $450 in electricity costs this past year thanks to a few simple changes.
When our family of five moved into a small two-storey home a couple of years ago, we spent the first year using electricity without thinking twice. We got a rude awakening when we were hit with a large bill at the end of the year, because our monthly budgeting plan with the utility company wasn't enough to cover what we had used. We knew we could do better and implemented a few ways to reduce energy consumption. The result was $462.50 saved in a 12-month period compared to the previous year.
Here's what we did:
1. Updated the insulation around all windows and under the front door. (Cost: $50)
My husband bought some caulking and expandable spray foam and checked all the windows to make sure they were well insulated against the cold. We noticed that cold air was coming into the home under the door of the vestibule. Since there was an electric baseboard heater right in the path of the cold air, this meant the heater was on nearly constantly in the winter. My husband built a doorjamb with a strip of foam on one side that effectively prevented cold air from escaping under the door.
2. Installed a clothesline. (Cost: $30)
I can't overstate how much having a clothesline has changed our electricity consumption. We have three children and do a small load of laundry most days of the week. But our dryer was sucking up electricity. We use the clothesline from April until November and it had a big impact on our ability to save on electricity. Hanging clothes on the line has also become one of my favourite household chores. If your living arrangements don't allow for a clothesline, look into other options like drying your clothes on an indoor clothes rack.
3. Used our thermo pump for heat in winter instead of electrical baseboard heaters (when possible).
Our house came with a heat pump that provides air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter on the second floor. When we had the unit cleaned the technician told us we could save money on electricity by using the heat pump instead of our electric baseboard heating. We tried it out and were able to save. There are some limitations however, as the heat pump is recommended for milder winter days (we used electrical heating when the temperature was colder than -15 degrees Celsius).
4. Turned down the heat when we weren't home.
We all know we should do it, but it can take some discipline to remember to turn down the heat when we're out for the day. In our home, we don't have programmable thermostats, so we need to manually turn down the heat in each room. After a few weeks it became second nature and actually felt weird to leave home without changing the room temperature setting: 18 degrees Celsius when we were out, and 21 degrees Celsius when we were home.
By implementing some simple, low-tech changes, we were able to save big bucks on electricity.