…WITHOUT so-called “smart meters”, energy efficient light bulbs, or timing your electricity use.
- Live in the smallest home that fits your true needs and budget. You’ll not only save money in the amount of electricity it requires, but it will save you money in furnishing it as well as rent and mortgage payments, allowing more money for the things you really want to do. A young couple, even if they are raking a few hundred thousand a year (and most are very far from that) don’t need much more than 1200-1500 square feet in most cases (which is about the space townhouses have in many areas of Toronto), and most couples can get by on 600-800 if they’re careful about how they use the space.
- Forget about Christmas light displays in your windows or outside of your home if you live in a house. All those little bulbs, even with LEDs, add up, especially when you have more than a couple hundred of them.
- Turn off lights in rooms you are not using.
- Use space heaters with good safety features (eg: auto shut off if it’s tipped over) if the room is too cold if only using one or two rooms.
- In the summer, use fans instead of air conditioning only in the rooms you are directly using.
- Use the radio for entertainment and news as much as possible.
- Don’t use or buy a big TV, because large TVs use a lot of electricity even with energy efficient models. Particularly in a small space such as most condos and apartments which it’s almost impossible to get the appropriate viewing distance. You’ll also save money in the cost of a TV, as smaller ones (36 inches and smaller) can be as little as 1/10 the cost of a 50-60 inch TV or even less. In smaller rooms and most apartments, a 27-32 inch TV is suitable for the correct viewing distance.
- Don’t buy a video gaming system, which it’s easy to get addicted for hours, get little done, and consume a lot of power.
- Particularly if you have dark corners in your home, use reverse tall lamps (with the shade facing the ceiling) to spread the light in combination with local light sources, especially for reading, which you can use in combination with a quality battery LED reading light.
- Like TVs, large stereos can consume a lot of power, use a smaller system with high quality sound.
- Another reason for owning or renting a smaller home: use of electric devices around and near the outside of the home (eg: garage) use up a lot of power, especially in home with large yards, so go for a smaller yard or minimize or avoid use of electric devices outside your home.
- Turn off the TV except for possibly news reports or watching movies or TV series. And don’t binge watch for hours at a time.
- Go to bed earlier and turn off EVERYTHING before you go to bed. Most people need more sleep and to get up early for work, so going to bed at 10:30 pm or earlier can save you money, because you’re not consuming electricity.
These tips help my husband and I keep our hydro costs significantly lower than the average Toronto resident, to about $65 a month, which most people pay $85-$150 a month. Sometimes we are under $60/month, in a one bedroom apartment of slightly larger than average size. (though need a little more space than most people because of the space a fairly small acoustic piano requires) In addition, these tips have helped us completely avoid even notices of hydro disconnections and keep more for food and other necessities especially during a long unemployment period both of us experienced for 1 1/2 years (and surviving on government benefits and help from friends, which we were living on about 1/2 of what we used to make between us (40-55K became 20-25K a year), which hopefully will end soon with other sources of income in the near future.)