Our new tradition is to share tips for saving money on electricity twice a year. It's November 1st! Our official day to talk winter electricity savings. (Have you got shivers of excitement? I didn't think so, but I'll do my best to make it interesting.) We chose this day for this discussion because this is the day many folks with time-of-use electricity billing have moved to the winter schedule.
You can use our tips (and the time-of-use electricity rates) to your advantage. Here's some ideas for you...
If you live in Ontario...
In our province (Ontario, Canada) November 1st is the day our time-of-use electricity schedule changes. (Read more about Ontario time-of-use rates here). There are three price periods:
- Off-peak (least expensive),
- On-peak (most expensive) and
- Mid-Peak (in between)
Come November 1stthe On-peak period switches from midday to 7am to 11am and 5pm to 7pm on weekdays. Here's a chart to explain:
Last year we shared tips for using electricity differently during the Winter schedule. (You can read last year's winter tips here.)
There are printable coupons for energy saving products for Ontario residents. You can print them from the SaveONenergy site here. There are coupons for many items, including:
- ENERGY STAR qualified Specialty CFLs
- ENERGY STAR qualified Light Fixtures
- Lighting Control Products
- Hot Water Pipe Wrap
- Electric Water Heater Blanket
- Heavy Duty Outdoor Timers
- Advanced Power Bars
- Baseboard Programmable Thermostats
If you don’t live in Ontario...
You can still find information and coupons to help you save money on electricity. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find with a simple search.
Just take a few minutes and Google the name of your province, state or electricity company, plus the words:
- “electricity coupons” or
- “electricity savings”.
I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think to do this simple search when we replaced the light fixture in our bathroom, we could have used a coupon! (Bad! Bad, Frugal Blogger!).
New Times for Old Timers
Like many people we have a damp basement, especially during this recent wet weather. We have a dehumidifier to make the air less wet. The trouble is, when you have a constantly damp basement, that dehumidifier constantly runs. That dehumidifier doesn't care if it runs during On-Peak electricity rates, but we do!
We’ve added a timer to our dehumidifier so that it only runs when the electricity is the least expensive. For us, that’s 7 am to 7pm, year round. It works great! We’ve noticed no change in the humidity level in the basement whatsoever. And the investment in the timer was minimal. (I'm not sure we actually paid for it at all. No, we didn't start shoplifting. We're pretty sure it came with the house.)
We've had this particular timer for years. Normally, we use it for our Christmas lights. We have out outdoor Christmas lights on a timer so that they come on and off on their own. Partially, we do this for electricity savings. Mostly, we do this because we are lazy and forgetful and would leave them on all night sometimes. I'd like to set the lights for the Off-Peak/cheapest time period this year, but I don't know. It gets dark so early in the winter and sometimes the sparkly pretty lights are the only cheerful thing in the dreary, dark, winter nights. (S.A.D. much?).
Clear the Air Without Clearing Out Your Wallet
We recently added a hard-wired timer to our main floor bathroom fan. This has been a simple and effective change. In the past, the fan could run for hours, especially if someone turned it on and then left for the day (no fingers pointing here...). I'd get pretty irked to find we were paying to run a fan all day and pumping our warm air outside for hours. Now the fan runs for 10 minutes and then shuts itself off. Easy-peasy.
My new fascination with timers has led me to trying to figure out other appliances to plug into one. Some appliances work better than others:
- Freezer? Nope.
- Fridge? Nay.
- Alarm Clock? Not if you want to keep your job.
- Battery chargers? OK!
- Water softener? Maybe. (Ours has an internal timer that we have set for the middle of the night.)
- Do you have another idea?
Do you have time-of-use electricity billing where you live? Got any tips on how to use it to your advantage?
Other posts about Saving Electricity: