I Can’t Believe We Were Looking Forward to the Hydro Bill

It’s become an exciting day when we receive our hydro bill in my house. We actually look forward to it, if you can believe it, it has become a bit of a game with us.

Last year, my son, who is also environmentally inclined, decided to tackle our hydro usage. He has changed all of the lightbulbs in our house to either CFL’s or more recently LED‘s. (See my post from January 4th about LED’s), we only use LED Christmas Lights and almost anything  that is plugged in is now on a timed power bar. The only items that we don’t have on power bars are items that we need plugged in all the time. My alarm clock, the telephone, the oven and the carbon monoxide detector don’t get unplugged or powered off.  The oven could be powered off, however, it’s the only item that has a clock that we still leave on, everything else gets powered off.

Our TV, the PVR and the cable box are all powered off when not in use. PVR’s and cable boxes use a lot of power, even when they are turned off. See the chart here for examples of power usage of common items.  All of our phone chargers get powered off unless they are charging a phone. Those little devils are a really deceptive source of phantom power, they continuously draw power even when there is no phone plugged into them. An incredible amount of power is wasted in this country due to phantom power, this is power that is drawn from an item that is plugged in but not turned on. Anything that has a light, or clock draws power even if the item is not plugged into it or turned off. Even items that don’t have a light or clock can draw power, the cell phone chargers are perfect examples.

Computers that are left plugged in but not in use are another good example of wasted electricity. Laptops use a lot of power, unplug yours when you aren’t using it. Of course, even if you use CFL’s or LED’s turn lights off when you aren’t in a room.

Timed power bars are power bars that have a timer on them, you can set them to go on and off whenever you want. So you could set your TV to be powered off all day and powered on in the evening when you are home. Just to clarify, by powered off, I mean it is completely off, as if you had unplugged the unit, the TV would not turn on if you press power. So if it is set to power on between 6 and 11 pm when you are home, you would still need to turn the TV on to watch it.

I really can’t believe how easy it has become to save on our electricity, some months we have been able to cut our usage by 50 %.  According to this months statement, in the 30 days prior to January 6 2011 we used 1,726 KWH of electricity and the 30 days prior to January 3rd of this year we used 1,304 KWH of electricity, that’s a very large drop in usage. As time of day usage comes into effect if will be even more important not to be using electricity during peak hours, that phantom power we all use will really start to add up.

My son used our house, as well as a couple of others as experiments for his new business of helping consumers save on their electricity bill. I would say the experiment has been succesful and he has been able to assist some others along the way as well. It’s quite simple, for a small fee, he will do a consultation with the home owner to see how and where they use the most electricity and then he will supply a report on how to drastically reduce your usage. You can then either do it yourself, or he will bring in lights, powerbars, etc and set everything up for you.

As I mentioned, it has been a very easy transition for us, we are diligent about switching power bars off, it truly becomes a habit, and it has paid off for us. Not everyone in our household thinks green, believe me, it took a few months to get my husband on board, he hated the thought of switching things off, but as he started to see how much we saved he quickly became adjusted.

That’s why we look forward to getting the hydro bill, we want to see how much we have been able to save.

If you would like an electricity consultation contact Artigas Cruz at cruz.artigas@gmail.com or by phone at 416 508 9482, he’d be happy to discuss your current situation with you.

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