How Can We Use Less Electricity at Home?

Posted 2014-09-30
Written by
Category Household

Everyone wants to bring their power bill down. Spending less on electricity would benefit every household across the north. The first step to doing this is to reduce our use of electricity. The low water levels are making it more difficult to produce clean hydro-electricity and making it harder to get fuel to communities that depend on the barge for transportation, so any reduction in use can help the environment as well as your household finances.

To start, look around your home and see what is plugged in. Many electronics use power even when they are turned off – TV’s, DVD players, game boxes, microwave ovens, etc. - So invest in power bars for these items and turn off the power bar when they are not needed.

Make sure everything is turned off when nobody is in the room. Lights, TV’s and computers don’t need to be running if nobody is using them. And speaking of lights, replacing old incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs will save money and there is also a rebate available through the Energy Efficiency Incentive Program (EEIP).

Appliances use a lot of electricity. If your appliances are older, consider buying new Energy Star rated appliances. They use significantly less electricity and you can apply for an EEIP rebate for a fridge, freezer, or washer.

Check the manual for the most efficient way to run your appliances. For example, a fridge or freezer is more efficient when it is full, so fill up containers of water and store them in the fridge or freezer, or replace the fridge or freezer with a smaller model.  

Electric ovens and dryers both use a great deal of electricity.  Finding efficient alternatives to using these appliances may result in lower electrical use and therefore lower electricity bills. One option may be to invest in a small countertop toaster oven if you regularly cook small items.

Drying laundry on an indoor clothes rack will add humidity to your home, making it more comfortable and save the electricity needed to run the dryer and a humidifier.

A final item to look at is your electric hot water heater. Storing hot water at a high temperature uses a great deal of electricity. It makes sense to turn down the temperature on the water heater and conserve hot water use by installing low flow shower heads and faucets. Another option for some homes is to replace the electric water heater with an on demand system that heats the water as it is used, rather than storing hot water all the time.  

And remember, if you are going away for a few days, make sure you unplug everything and turn off the breaker to your hot water heater, so you can come home to a lower power bill to offset the holiday costs!

For information on the amount of electricity that various items use, see the Northwest Territories Power Corporation website.