Unfortunately it’s official; The Ontario Energy Board has announced that energy costs will be increasing on November 1st, 2015. It’s estimated that the new rates will increase a family’s energy costs by an average of 3.4% or $4.50 a month. While this increase is not very large, it adds to the seething fire of belief that Ontarians are paying too much in energy costs. The issue is effortlessly annoying, but it fortunately allows us to open up a debate about opportunities to reduce our energy costs.
As always, thanks again for reading this article and please share it with anyone that may benefit. Also, please share any tricks and techniques that you use to reduce your energy bill. You can find more about here about The Friendly Financial Coach, Toronto’s only Financial Literacy Coach.
The Basics About Energy Usage
The most basic element of energy conservation is how energy is measured. This is called a kilowatt hour (kWh) and is typically understood to be a unit of measurement about the amount of electricity consumed over a time period. One kWh equals 1,000 watts used in an hour. You’ve undoubtedly seen these watts on light bulbs and lamps.
These kWh are then priced at a certain rate that can fluctuate throughout the day. These daytime rates can change throughout the seasons and as an example I’ve included Toronto’s upcoming seasonal rates.
The amount of electricity that you use can be summarized as the total of the following equation;
Energy Cost x Energy Usage
Therefore, the only ways to save are to reduce your total energy usage and/or reduce your energy costs. Below is a list of simple and affordable ways to do just this.
General Ways To Save And Conserve Energy
The easiest way to save on your electricity bill is to heed the varying energy costs by controlling when and how you consume energy. For example, instead of running a half-full dishwasher or washing machine during peak hours you can wait until there are cheaper hours and run a full washer. Overtime this behaviour can easily save your household some money every month and cut back on your carbon footprint.
Another big way to save on energy costs is to install a programmable thermostat at home. This investment will easily pay itself off within a year and save you the hassle of always readjusting the temperature. Now, when you’re away or sleeping, the temperature will automatically change to a lower temperature and deeply cut back on your bills and energy wastage. Anecdotally, I did this exact same conversion and with a little bit of research it was pretty easy to do everything yourself.
Another easy way to cut back on your bills is to change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs when the old bulbs die out. These new bulbs can use up to 75% less electricity and last ten times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb. It’s reported that lights represent 17% of an average electrical bill and therefore any reduction will help.
Toronto Hydro states that up to 25% of your total heating costs can be attributed to air leakage around windows, doors, vents and electrical outlets. You can use weather stripping, caulking and other techniques to cut back on drafts. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even install bubble wrap to insulate your windows; apparently it’s really effective and you can find out how to do that here.
With Christmas quickly coming up, you can utilize LED seasonal lights that reportedly use 95% less electricity and last at least seven times longer. These bulbs also don’t get as hot and therefore are less of a fire hazard. Overtime, these bulbs will cut back on your energy usage and save you money.
Appliances account for 45% of an average households electricity bill. There are many tricks to reduce their electrical usage without replacing them. For example, using cold water in a washing machine, using full loads (dishwasher, washing machine, etc.) and keeping units clean are just some of the simple ways that that can be used to reduce energy usage.
Insulate your hot water tank. Simply wrap pipe insulation around the piping and install an insulation cover over an electric water heater to increase their efficiency and minimize heat loss. Also, it’s generally advised to have an electric heaters heat set to 54 degrees Celsius to balance needs and cost
Watch out for phantom power, a phenomena when plugged-in electronics drain electricity when they are not being used. Toronto Hydro reports that as much as 20% of total electrical usage from these devices is lost through phantom power. If you choose, simply unplug the unit or turn off a power bar to reduce electricity costs.
Well that’s it for this week, but if you any questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 647-289-0012. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter below.