Contact Us

Our Services

Published Columns»
  •Economics of Portable Power
  •Vehicle Efficiency
  •Repair or Replace?
  •Being Water Wise
  •Heating and Cooling Alternatives
  •The Phantom Strikes Again
  •Appliance Comparison
  •Green Power
  •Read the Manual, Read the Meter
  •Small Is Beautiful
  •Kitchen Waste
  •Those Darn Numbers
  •Stringing You a Line
  •The Nuclear Roadshow
  •Smart Facts
  •How Low Can You Go?
  •Care and Feeding of CF Bulbs
  •Take an LED light for a spin
  •Showered with Feedback
  •The heat is on for new records
  •Charting the Changes
  •Will you be in hot water as the rates rise?
  •What about Solar?
  •Time shifting your load
  •Where do I start?
  •Think like Scrooge
  •Heating water can be a tankless job
  •Q: Should I buy a DC furnace fan?
  •Turning an Emergency into an Inconvenience
  •The Shock of the Bill
  •Recipe for Kitchen Cuts
  •Shedding some light on the subject
  •The phantom strikes

Your Consumption

   How to Read Your Meter  

   Quick Home Audit  


Your Bill

   Cost Breakdown  

   Smart Meter Costs  

   Bill Simulator  

External Links

© 2004-2021 John Ford

Become an Educated Energy Consumer    OttawaEnergyAudit     Thursday 21 January 2021
Current Time-of-use pricing is: medium at 19.393¢/kWh
Contact us now to book your audit.

Published Columns: January 2005
Curbing Your Consumption:
Where do I start?

By John Ford

Many people would like to make some changes, but have limited resources. So which steps could you take now which will give you the best bang for the buck?

For comparison, one compact fluorescent of 13 Watts replacing a 60 Watt bulb on for 8 hours a day saves $13 per year.

Information on the the National Resources Canada web site lists the average energy use of appliances by year in kWh:
Year 1984 1990 1997 1999 2002 save/year
Fridge 1457 1067 666 664 526 $86
Dishwasher 1213 1026 650 641 623 $53
Freezer 813 658 342 338 336 $44
Clothes Washer 1243 1218 931 861 876 $34
Dryer 1214 1103 888 908 909 $28
Range 790 772 773 759 750 $4

As you can see, replacing a 20 year old range will not bring big savings, but a new fridge or freezer would be quite worthwhile. Also keep in mind that an older fridge or freezer will also have suffered insulation breakdown, so the numbers today might be as much as 50% higher. At today's cost of 9.23¢/kWh* it could take 5 to 8 years to pay for a new fridge on energy savings. As electricity rates rise (expected in the spring) these times will shorten quickly. If you're using enough to trigger the higher 10.1¢/kWh price, you might save enough to bring you back under 750 kWh/month, increasing the savings.

Also look at reliability. If you listen to CBC radio's appliance call-in show like I do, you'll know that today's appliances are made with more plastic parts, are less reliable, and are sometimes not repairable. Appliances take energy to produce them. If a new dishwasher only lasts 5 years and needs replacing, there is no economy, financial or energy-wise. Always do some homework before buying an appliance to see how reliable it will be.

*Total cost after all charges and taxes.

Ask the Miser
If you would like to see answers here to your questions about energy consumption, email them to

John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy conservation business.