Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Cutting Your Natural Gas Bill in Half
Here's my long-range plan:
1. Lower night-time temps as much as possible. Lower daytime temps a degree or two. We keep our house temps low, but they could be lower. According to BC Hydro, lowering your thermostat by two degrees can save you 5% on your bill. BC Hydro is an electric company, so I'm not sure the numbers are comparable for natural gas heat. Pacific Northern Gas doesn't have that info on its website. But we'll save some amount of money that way.
2. Perhaps stop using the heat earlier in the spring and start later in the fall.
3. Play with turning down the heat at the kids' bedtime rather than keeping it high until we go to bed. Maybe we'll start going to bed at a decent hour.
4. Get slippers for everyone. Canadians take off their shoes when they enter a house. Buying myself some comfy and warm slip on shoes was the best thing I've done. I'm much more comfortable this winter than I was in previous years.
5. Make sure everyone has a decent supply of sweaters. I do. The boys don't.
6. Switch from washing our clothes in a warm/cold cycle to a cold/cold cycle. I actually thought I was doing this already - turns out I wasn't. I do anywhere from 7 to 10 loads of laundry a week, so it adds up.
7. I just went and checked and our hot water heater runs on gas. I hadn't realized that before. That means we can take shorter showers and be careful not to let the hot water run needlessly when we're washing dishes, etc.
8. Eventually (this is the long range part of the plan) move to a smaller house. We currently live in a 3500 sf house. Our last house was 1600 sf. We wondered if our heating bill would be twice as high when we moved here, but that turned out not to be the case. At the old place we had a 30 year old heater. In this house we have a high-efficiency heater. We are heating twice the space for the same price. That tells me if we moved back to a 1600 sf house with a high efficiency heater we could cut our heating bills (and our carbon footprint) by quite a bit.
We had our house on the market most of last year. So did everyone else in town, unfortunately. I don't know if we'll be able to sell anytime soon in the current economic market. Some day we will, though.
I'm off to turn down the heat