With the all the doom-and-gloom news recently over rising electricity costs, I thought I was prepared for the worst when my hydro bill arrived.
With four sons who fancy long showers, a backyard pool thankfully without an energy-guzzling heater and a washing machine that runs night and day, dollar signs practically leap from our smart meter.
Don't get me wrong: I'm a strong advocate for conserving energy. I'm always nagging my boys to turn off lights when they leave a room, regularly hang laundry outside to dry and keep the air-conditioning unit set at a modest 23 C on the hottest summer day.
So when I ripped open the bill and saw that I owed $637, I was shocked. In a blink of an eye, my hopes of installing a steamy hot tub next the pool were dashed.
To help homeowners like myself slash their mounting electric bills, Consumer Reports Canada offered these quick and practical energy-saving tips:
Program your thermostat. By reducing your energy use at night or when you're not home, you can save up to 20 per cent on yearly heating and cooling bills.
Unplug when not in use. According to the magazine, between "five and 10 per cent of residential electricity goes to devices that draw power when they're off or in standby mode." Time to unplug the video games, kids.
Stop pre-rinsing. Running dirty dishes under the tap before throwing them in the dishwasher wastes close to 30,000 litres of water a year and that doesn't include the cost of heating the water.
Cold water works. Several laundry soap manufacturers offer cold-wash detergent designed to remove stubborn stains and dirt without having to use scalding hot water. To further reduce costs, switch to off-peak hours and only wash and dry full loads.
Fix leaky ducts. Seal and insulate heating and cooling ducts throughout your house to prevent energy loss. It could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
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