Life in the 21st Century is more dependent on electricity than ever before. Our heat, our entertainment, our cooking, our security and much more are all linked to the power that flows effortlessly from the sockets and through the wiring in our homes. It should come as no surprise therefore, especially during the cooler seasons that the effort of heating a home will take up the lion’s share of the power consumed each month. But did you realize that on average the job of heating your home’s interior space and water will consume as much as 75 per cent of the electricity you use?
According to researchers at National Resources Canada (NRCan), the energy consumption of residential electrical users in British Columbia is broken down in the following way: 54.0% – heating the home, 20.7% – heating water, 18.4% – power for computers, video games, DVD players, TVs, fridges and stoves, 6.3% – lighting and 0.6% – air conditioning. In other parts of Canada the percentages will vary somewhat from the BC average presented here.
So what can you do to conserve electricity, to reduce your consumption levels and ultimately save yourself some money? Well, quite a lot actually. Here are just a few tips to help dial back your electricity usage without taking away any of the pleasure you derive from your home on a daily basis.
Stop Air Leaks: Check yours walls, doors, ceilings and windows for obvious drafts and when you locate them, seal them up. By some estimates as much as 40 per cent of home heat loss comes from these areas.
Proper Insulation: While there has to be a certain amount of air flow through a home, excessive levels take away the comfort and drive up the expense of heating it. One of the best ways to staunch this air bleed is to insulate everywhere. This includes in the roof, floors, walls, and especially in the basement. By reducing the passage of air from the outside your property will be cooler in summer and warmer in the winter.
Watch Those Standbys: Without exception an electronic device equipped with a clock, digital timer, remote control or other form of standby mode is drawing electricity around the clock. Electrical engineers call this form of energy consumption ‘phantom electricity’ and it can represent a significant portion of your electricity bill. A general rule of thumb is: if you’re not using it then unplug it!
Centralized Charging: Do you have a cell phone, lap top computer, digital camera or tablet device charging in your home right now? Is each of these systems charging on a separate plug in your home? Then you are wasting electricity. One way to reduce the cost of feeding your various devices is to set up a ‘charging station’ for any of the equipment that requires regular reenergizing. When you are tart, you should try this method to solve the problem. In essence make use of a single power bar to charge all of your devices. Simply plug everything that needs a fresh charge into that power bar at the same time, and then turn it on only when you actually need to charge something. Once your electronics have been given their fresh boost, turn the power bar off to avoid the standby drainage recounted above.
Bye-Bye Incandescent Bulbs: Even though a few of the classic incandescent light bulbs may still be glowing in your home, bite the bullet and make the switch to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs. Far more energy efficient (as much as 85 per cent more efficient) than conventional bulbs these new forms of lighting last longer, they are more rugged and are safer (they don’t get hot) than the legacy lighting technologies we used previously.
Energy Efficient Appliances: If you’re in the market for a new fridge, stove or washer / dryer make a conscious choice to purchase Energy Star appliances. Increasingly popular, appliances of this class are much more energy efficient than their more distant ancestors. For example, an Energy Star refrigerator uses on average 40 per cent less energy than a model produced before 1993. Since major appliances can last for decades, there are a lot of older systems still working away, and drawing electricity all across the province. If you’re going to upgrade anyway, do the right thing and buy systems rated as Energy Star products.
The list could go on, but you get the idea. There are a lot of things you can do as a home owner to reduce your energy usage without sacrificing comfort or convenience. If you have questions just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss the best way to trim your bill and to make your home more energy miserly.