Curbing Your Consumption:
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By John Ford
There are two areas discussed in this column that generate the most
response: inline or on-demand hot water heating (Nov '04) and the
actual cost of electricity.
Since writing the original column, many people have written to ask
where they can get an inline heater or detailed the process of
deciding to install one. They are now reasonably easy to order, but
there still only a small number of companies who will either do the
work or even know what you're talking about. Not that long ago the gas
company included an insert in the bill talking about the installation
of an inline heater, so they are becoming mainstream, although still
Some people have been told that your house requires an increase of
copper water supply pipe diameter. This depends on whether you are
willing to accept a lower flow rate, which may not support two showers
running at the same time. You may have to settle for a smaller unit.
We all know that saving energy is really about saving money. While we
all may want to do something for the environment, the main motivating
factor is lowering costs. Your energy bills are getting more crowded
with various fees, charges, and calculations. After doing your part to
lower your consumption, make sure you're paying fairly for your
energy. Many people say that they find the numbers behind the prices
and their bills difficult to understand. You should understand the
numbers on your bill and where they come from.
Check that late fees are assessed fairly. This month a bill arrived
seven days before the due date. According to the insert in the same
bill, you are supposed to allow up to ten days for ATM payments.
Read your meter and ensure bills are accurate. You can report your
meter reading to Ottawa Hydro to avoid high estimates. You will pay
more if the estimate moves you into the higher rate unnecessarily for
the months covered.
Did you know that despite the advertised transition point of 750 kWh
per month adding 0.8¢ per kWh, the actual point is 723 kWh? This is
because 3.64% is added to your consumption first to compensate for
average losses in the system.
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