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HOME ENERGY MONITOR

why is my hydro bill so high?

Since 2018 the average consumer bill has increased by 1.8% using tax dollars to subsidize upkeep and new projects is actually costing us more? Even worse since 2006 the average cost per kilowatt has gone from 3.5cents to 8.6 cents in 2016 a 150% increase. How is it that public funding contributing to clean energy has the utility companies actually raising prices for energy? With todays subsidies on hydro bills even still, hundreds of thousands of people won’t see any relief to theses escalating costs.

<link to article from global news>

The only way to save on energy is not to look for our government or regulatory bodies to help out we have to find active measures in each household to stop this, it will unfortunately require a change of our habits and usage but also a smarter way to measure and track where these power hungry loads are.

What does wasted energy mean?

Here I will outline some things that you can do to actually lower your electricity bill, it starts with learning what energy waste actually means.

Ever find yourself in such a hurry to leave the house and forget to turn off the lights, heater, or other appliances? Preoccupied with work, school, etc. and don’t have time to make energy-saving a priority?

Such actions, however harmless as they seem, are among the main reasons for electricity waste in the average household. In addition, they can be heavy on your wallet.

Thats why the team at Stealth Electrical Contractors collected a list of common mistakes the average consumer makes. The goal is to help you understand how we waste at home and what you can do to avoid running your monthly bill up.

Electricity waste by the numbers

*pricing as of December 2020 using tired pricing from IESO



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Vampire loads and their causes here are 11 ways to combat the drain on your wallet

1. Lights ON

2. Incandescent Light Bulbs

3. Your Appliances Stay Connected

4. You Power an Empty Freezer

5. Opening the Refrigerator Frequently

6. You Run the Dishwasher Half-Full

7. The Washing Machine Runs Hot Water

8. You Set the Thermostat too High

9. The Ceiling Fan Is Left on

10. You Forget to Change the Air Filters

11. Phantom Power

1. You Leave the Lights ON

A bright home leads to big electricity bills. If you or your close ones frequently forget to turn off the lights after leaving the room, closet or hallway, it will lead to chronic energy waste.

2. Usage of Incandescent Light Bulbs

Worldwide we consume 2,900 Trillion Watt hours of energy per year for lighting according to the UN Environment model. Conventional incandescent lights convert less than 5% of the energy they use to produce light while we transform the rest into heat.

3. Your Appliances Stay Connected

You may ask yourself:

Is electricity wasted when devices are not working but stay plugged in?

The answer is YES!

Electronics consume energy when they are on standby or even when turned off. If you leave your TV, printer, computer, and phone chargers always plugged in, you significantly contribute to energy wastage. According to US junk & waste professional Luke Hancock, the excessive workload built up over time severely shortens the lifetime of appliances and thus contributes immensely to real-life, physical waste and pollution.

4. You Power an Empty Freezer

Freezers are great for food storage for the whole family or when you come across a sweet deal at the supermarket. Chest freezers are usually energy-efficient unless we use half-full or empty. They consume around 103 kWh and make your electricity bill slowly but steadily rise.

5. Opening The Refrigerator Frequently

Do you open the fridge, again and again, hoping its contents have changed?

Or you’re in the mood for a midnight snack?

Every time the fridge door is being opened, even for a quick peek, it adds up to 7% of the appliance’s total electricity use.

Another example of how electrical energy we waste is when you put warm food in the fridge. It causes the appliance to use more power and thus consume energy you could save if we leave your dish to cool down naturally.

6. You Run the Dishwasher Half-Full

Dishwashers can cause significant consumption of energy and water. Especially if you own a larger model and run it daily. The average appliance requires anywhere between 1500 to 1800 Watts of electricity per cycle. Therefore, daily usage can cost the average homeowner up and above $66 per year!

A different way of energy-wasting is to set the dishwasher to rinse with hot water. Keep in mind that some models have a dryer function which contributes to electricity usage and results in a bigger utility bill.

7. The washing machine uses hot water.

Around 80-90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes to heating water.

Older models are energy-inefficient and use up to 1300 Watts per cycle, which can increase your electricity bill. A key way of energy misuse is to run the washing machine frequently with small loads of laundry. The energy consumption is the same as one full load cycle.

There’s one more reason we strive to do a full load of laundry, especially if you wash synthetic clothes.

 fewer clothes in the washing machine lead to more friction. This motion releases harmful microplastics from polyester clothes that go straight to the Great Lakes.

8. You Set the Thermostat Too High

In almost every home, the increase in electricity bills comes from incorrect usage of heating, air conditioning and ventilation. A 10-year-old unit could double consumption compared to electric-efficient ACs. The difference between an analog vs digital controller builds up most wintertime when thermostats keep temperatures above actual needs, thus causing significant energy waste occurs.

In many households, people set water heaters at 140 degrees daily, while the recommended temperature is 120 degrees, which also adds up to the utility bill.

9. The Ceiling Fan is Left ON

Many households gain a ceiling fan for energy-saving. Sadly, sometimes it can do more harm than good.

The most common mistake is to leave the fan on when you are not at home. Another error occurs if you set your ceiling fan incorrectly. It works best if the direction of the blow is down in the summer and during the winter.

10. You Forget to Change the Air Filters

Another example of energy being wasted at home are dusty air filters and HVAC units. Flowing particles, such as dust and hair, stick to air filters when appliance runs. Therefore, if HVAC filters clog, the system will consume more energy.

10. Dirty air filters

Another example of energy being wasted at home are dusty air filters and HVAC units. Flowing particles, such as dust and hair, stick to air filters when appliance runs. Therefore, if HVAC filters clog, the system will consume more energy.

11. Phantom Power

Ever heard of “phantom or vampire energy“?

The term stands for the power used by appliances and electronics when turned off but still plugged into a power outlet. Some vampire energy consumers are often devices operated with remote control (for example, TVs, DVD players or garage door openers).

Computers, laptops, and cable boxes are among the biggest phantom power users, which draw about 9 to 44 Watts in standby mode. While energy-saving is great, it can be hard if you have devices plugged behind a big shelf or entertainment centre.

Don’t discourage but take action!

Invest in power strips that offer you the opportunity to disconnect devices by flipping a switch without manual unplugging. Another benefit of disconnecting appliances is the lower risk of power surges.

Multiple studies confirm the plausibility of phantom energy adding up to $200 per year to the electricity bill of the average homeowner.

How to Save Energy and Money

Now that you know how energy is being wasted at your home, perhaps it is time to turn over a new leaf and learn how to avoid electrical misuse.

The following will help you save energy consumption and as a bonus – trim your bills:

Limit refrigerator browsing;

Turn off lights when you are not in the room;

Switch to LEDs, halogen or fluorescent light bulbs;

Clean the air filters regularly and keep vents open;

Upgrade your old energy-inefficient appliances;

Dry the dishes manually;

Use a programmable thermostat;

Install motion sensor light sockets;

Unplug devices or appliances when you are not using them;

Use these tips to adopt energy-saving habits and maintain a financial and ecological balance at home.

What if I want to measure where all this power is being used ?

Just like we have connected wearable technology to track all kinds of metrics with our health and wellness, the same kind of tech exists to measure down to the watt where our power usage is going.

A home energy monitor.

This graph is illustrating my realtime usage as I write this article, at 2 am in my office with only my lamp on, together the rest of my home is using over 1 kilowatt of power.

There are a few on the market and they do similar things, namely, power measurement, cloud and app connected and control over many types of IOT devices.

What’s really great is this unit over time has learned what each of my appliance has been using, by utilizing machine learning this unit not only identified large loads like the stove and cloths dryer but even my small appliances like dehumidifier and even singular loads like the kitchen and bathroom lights.

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Home energy usage

Realtime

I was able to see that my old attic fan is using about 500w / day I replaced this unit to a more energy efficient model for a total power drop of almost 50% savings versus my older unit. It all adds up !

This unit was using 500 watts/ day (182 kw / year) which translated into around 6 cents a day and cost yearly $ 23.50

I was able to reduce this load to about 300 watts ( 109 kWh per year) for a projected yearly cost of $ 14 saving me $9.44 a year sure you might say, $10 a year is not that much, remember that the price of electricity is going up at a constant rate so my $23 cost today was a 150% cheaper 15 years ago( approximate age of the fan) and if left in place will end up costing significantly more in the future.

These kinds of minor upgrades like this fan coupled with added smart switches, outlets and power strips that allow me to make sure that when not in use lights and smaller appliances are turned completely off. This coupled with an energy monitor for monitoring the larger appliances, not only contributes to an energy saving in the long term but also helps offset our carbon footprint.

It has already helping me develop new energy aware habits in my own home. Even with the Christmas lights on this month ( and there’s a lot of them) I am still projected to use 100 kilowatts less this month that I did last.

Contributions to this article from westline electrical services, Australia and the global news. ca

More information

If you would like to know more about installing a home energy monitor and connected smart devices in your own home call Stealth Electrical contractors today. Our electricians can customize a plan for your home that includes smart switches , thermostats, receptacles and a home energy monitor, as an added bonus we will include with every installation of an energy monitor, a whole home surge protector.

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