Friday, February 6, 2009

Household Cost Cutting...

Another big area of our household budget is the actual expense of keeping a house running. We are not wasteful people but there are some things I hadn't even realized we could do to save money on the household bills. Here are a few ideas :

Cut Back On Electricity Use To Reduce Your Monthly Hydro Bill

Here's How :

  • If you are not in the room - turn off the light ! Well, duh...the tips get better - honest :)
  • Change all of your light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs ( they cost a bit more but they use up way less hydro and also last longer ) Here is a calculator from the Ministry of Energy showing how much money you will save switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent )
  • Open your curtains during the day and let the sunshine in :) It will heat your house and also you won't need to switch on the lights - natural lights are better anyways - helps you to see all those wrinkles in the mirror much clearer :)
  • Unplug unused appliances - this is a huge one that I actually learned from the Oprah show and it works too - for example when you are done with your computer turn it off and unplug it ( anything still plugged into the wall - even if it is off - is still using some electricity ) Things you should consider unplugging - lamps, televisions ( I don't know about you but we have three televisions & two computers which are always plugged in - I am going to start unplugging them and I am sure I will see a difference in the cost of electricity ), hair dryers, toasters, kettles, coffee pots, exercise equipment, the fridge ( haha - just kidding - I just wanted to check and see if anyone is paying attention to this rambling blog...), the freezer ( again, just kidding that would be a very bad idea !! )
  • Turn down your thermostat ( adjust the thermostat by just one or two degrees - down in the winter, up in the summer ) and you should save on heating
  • Eat dinner by candlelight - well maybe not if you have kids as I do, but if its just you and your guy why not ?? Its romantic and it saves on hydro :)
  • Trade in old appliances - if you have an old fridge out in your garage it sucks a tonne of hydro, if you absolutely have to have an extra fridge/freezer than you should consider getting a newer edition, it will be more efficient and use much less hydro - check labels for 'energy efficient'
  • Fix drafty windows and doors ( click here for how to fix drafty doors , fix drafty windows)
  • Use a clothesline in the warmer weather - not only does it do a great job of drying your clothes, it will save you a tonne of money
  • If you live in Ontario - keep the hydro usage below 600kw/h in the summer, and below 1000 kw/h in the winter - as the price goes up after these marks
  • If you have a SMART METER ( in Ontario Canada these will be implemented into most homes and businesses by 2010 ) you should try to cut back on the use of hydro during the peek times. The worst / most expensive times to use up a lot of hydro ( for example doing laundry, cooking, running the dishwasher etc. ) are between 7 a.m - 11 a.m and 5 p.m - 8 p.m. Hydro is nearly half the price from 10 p.m to 7 a.m so if there is any way you can do laundry, run the dishwasher or whatever during that time you will save. Although as a mom I certainly don't know how that would be possible - by 10 I am so beat I can barely even say the word laundry ! I think this smart meter makes life sort of difficult but it would be great if you are a night owl ! You can view the current rates and further information here
  • DID YOU KNOW ? ( I sure didn't before I researched ) that if you have a Smart Meter, on the weekends and holidays you are charged the off-peak rate ( which is the cheapest ), so if at all possible do your laundry on the weekends and it will cost you nearly %50 less than usual !!
  • Program your thermostat - if you have a programmable thermostat you should set it so that it runs a program where the heat/air conditioning is turned down lower when you are not home thus using less hydro when you don't really need it
  • Replace or clean your furnace filter once a month ( really - it does save money in the long run )
  • Use a ceiling fan to circulate cold/warm air - you will be able to turn down your thermostat a little bit without even noticing a difference
  • In the summer close all shades and blinds to keep the sun from heating up your home
  • If your dishwasher has a timer, use it and set it to start after 10 pm ( that way the hydro rates are %50 less )
  • Reduce the amount of hot water you use during peak periods if you have a smart meter ( it takes up hydro to heat and refill the tank )
  • If you have a pool run the pump during off-peak hours
  • Use a crock pot whenever possible - seriously these use up far less hydro than an oven does and they are great when you have children - just throw something in in the morning and you're set
  • To help homeowners save energy, save money and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Ontario government has created the Ontario Home Energy Savings Program .
    This program provides homeowners with up to $150 towards the cost of a home energy audit and rebates of up to $10,000 (50 per cent paid by the province and 50 per cent paid by the federal government ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes Program) for retrofits that address the energy issues identified in the audit.

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