There are some bills that are out of OUR control, like property taxes, as an example. However, the bills that are in my control I try to make it a fun challenge to reduce costs. For example, because of Time of Use (TOU) for hydro billings, I live by minimizing my hydro consumption the best I can. By adopting some of the ideas below, I have managed to keep my hydro bills lower than ever and if the bills come in lower than budgeted, those savings go directly into my SAVINGS account.
I have changed 100% of the light bulbs in my house to the energy efficient ones. The most significant savings can be found here. For example, a regular light bulb is 60 watts, however, the energy efficient one is equivalent to 7 watts. Likewise the old 100 watt bulb in energy efficient ones is 13 watts. If you do the math, you can see how significant the savings can be.
I have gone around my house and unplugged everything that does not need to be plugged in on a regular basis. I use power bars for many things, and always have the power switch turned off unless it's in use.
- If you have spare bedrooms, and you have a digital clock in each room, unless you are having guests staying in those rooms, it’s not necessary to keep the clocks plugged in. Likewise for the spare room tv’s, dvd’s, pvr’s etc.
- If you have rechargeable flashlights plugged in the wall – just in case the power goes out, this too is using up unnecessary electricity. Or if you’re concerned about your safety, consider plugging & unplugging it every couple of days.
- Any night lights that are plugged in around the house, ask yourself if it is really necessary.
- Any unused appliances if plugged in are subject to surges during electrical outages and lightening storms. If you’re not using your toaster, unplug it and only plug it in when you’re about to use it. Unplug your phone charger and only plug it in when you’re using it. This is just naming a few ideas, but you’d be surprised at how many things you can unplug to conserve energy.
- Set up a timer for items that can run during the night which is the off-peak timeframe instead of running during the day.
- Wait until either after 7pm on weeknights or until the weekends to do laundry, run the dishwasher, or use your oven. Consider using your BBQ rather than your stove or oven. These three areas, are significant draws on power, and if you’re going to use them, why not use them during the off-peak Time Of Use periods and save yourself some money. During the summer months, I hang my laundry outside, rather than use the dryer. If it’s a rainy day, I wait for a sunny one, or hang the clothes to dry in my basement.
- If I’m not in the room, the lights are off. Likewise if my TV or radio was on and I’m not in the room, I turn it off. During the day, open your drapes, rather than turn on the light. Natural light is a very good way to conserve. At night, if you’re watching TV, turn off your lights, do you really need the lights on to watch TV?
- I am participating in the “smart meter” program through my hydro company, where I can digitally monitor my usage by using a handy tool provided to me (for free) in determining just how much energy I am consuming for any given time of day or any given appliance. As well, during the summer months when air conditioning is in use, it will allow my hydro company to increase the temperature on my thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees during peak usage – I’m told I won’t even know the difference. This will reduce my costs as well as conserve energy overall.
Because of all of the above examples, the first year that I implemented these ways of conserving, I managed to reduce my hydro bills by 56% one year over the next. That’s significant savings!