So as it turns out, living in a log house in the forests of
is an expensive endeavour. While we have the fortune of having great supplies of hydro electric power in this province, which translates into reasonable electricity rates, when you use thousands instead of hundreds of kilowatts, you have a problem. Quebec
|This eating area is actually cold, not even cool.|
We knew moving here that the heating costs would be substantially higher than our previous home, a townhouse. The new place has baseboard heaters as its main heating source as well as a propane fired woodstove-looking heater in the kitchen (lowest level in the house) to keep the lower area of the house warm. This propane heater works well to keep the ultra-drafty kitchen reasonably warm. We also use a 1000W space heater that we move around the house as needed, an electric fireplace heater in our bedroom, and then the baseboard heaters do the rest. We have a wood fireplace in the main living room area, however, it is an old stone masonry fireplace with no installed blowers, so essentially, if you want to kick all your draft points into overdrive, you light a fire. The fireplace blows so much air out the chimney that replacement air has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is all the draft points. So in effect we cool the house by lighting a fire, so we don't do it all that often on really cold days. The house also has a lot of big windows which are drafty, too.
|You can feel a small breeze from these windows|
So back to my main point: electricity. We went from using about 15 kWh per day in the summer to a whopping 50kWh per day in the fall. Recently we got our latest bill for the winter months: 95 kWh per day! A shocking embarrassment. Now, we knew that the baseboard heaters would cost more to run but a 600% increase!?! We are doing all this stuff we can to live more responsibly and reduce consumption etc... yet we have this 6100 kWh bill for a 64 day period.
We decided to brainstorm a bit to figure out some simple and easy solutions to reduce our consumption. Here is a brief list:
- Not use the electric fireplace in our room, instead, we use the electric blanket
Erin got for Christmas. Erin is constantly cold in the best of circumstances, so winter here has been a bit tough for her in the temperature department. We used to have the electric fireplace on high all night (or whenever I would wake up sweat-soaked and turn it off) which would run about 8 – 10 kWh per night. The electric blanket should cut that substantially.
- We have been setting all the thermostats down to about 15°C at night except the girls’ rooms.
- We are going to go back to hang drying most of our laundry on the 3 drying racks we have
- Setting the hot water tank down 10 - 15°C
- Committing to taking shorter showers (pssst:
- Replacing some 100 and 60 W bulbs in the house with some of the CFL’s we saved from our old place
- Identifying and temporarily covering major draft areas
- Erin made some draft baffles for the bottoms of doors (I need to do a major repair / overhaul of the weather-stripping on doors but this will be a bit more challenging, considering I cant buy anything new…).
- Turning off the computer when not in use
- Candles! Nice motif and kick off a pinch of heat.
So this is just a starter list of things we are doing immediately but there is so much more we can do.
My goal for the next billing period is to have cut our electricity consumption by 45% or down to an average of 52 kWh per day. I will be tough, especially if we get some more serious cold snaps, but I think, if we all make the effort and put on some sweaters, we can do it.
If you have some more neat ideas to save electricity of save heat energy in our home let us know! Send a comment here so everybody can share them and try as well!