It is no secret. I hate our Ontario Hydro bill. But I really love having all of the modern convenience electricity allows me to have – like a washing machine, a laptop, my Kitchen Aid mixer, you know, just the staples of my everyday life *grin* But, I really do resent it when our hydro bill just goes up, up, up and it seems like no matter how much I cut, how much I reduce, and what changes I make, that no significant difference is made in our bottom line. Why? Time of Use billing is a pain in the ass, making it necessary to make my working day even longer, as running bigger, harder working appliances before 7pm is akin to shredding our dollars while pointing a 100w spot light directly into the sun. Stupid, see? So, I am always thinking of things to try in order to reduce our usage and ultimately our bill. I would like to say that my primary motivation is to reduce our ‘footprint’ but I would be lying and I really trying to stop that *grin*, so I will openly admit that my true motivation is to wrestle our monthly bills lower.
So, I hang all the laundry from as early in the year as possible until October/November. The dryer does not see a day of use during that time. I have, up until the last two weeks, washed all dishes by hand, no dishwasher. I turn off power bars, lights, unplug things and we do not run the central air conditioning, for we have found it only keeps the main floor livable and the upper floor (where the bedrooms are) is still a sauna.
The result? It still feels like we spend far too much for hydro – and it’s only summer! When the days get shorter and it gets darker earlier and too cold to hang laundry, the cost is only going to increase. So I figured out that I really need to know what is and what is not saving us money on our hydro bill.
Maiden Savings Experiment – Doing The Dirty (Dishes, that is!)
I read somewhere that using the dishwasher once a day at off-peak times would save money over hand washing dishes all day long (six people produce a LOT of dishes over the course of a day). I wash dishes after breakfast, morning snacks, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner and bedtime snacks (when the smalls have them). And I use HOT water to clean my dishes. I scald my hands in the water, but washing them in cold water just feels wrong and like I’m not really cleaning them, just moving the junk around on them, you know? So that means that in addition to my high-peak time frame shower, I’m firing up the hot water heater at least six times a day to wash dishes. That MUST be more expensive than using hot water all in one shot, during off-peak pricing to wash a single load of dishes in the dishwasher, no? I do not know the answer anymore, so I’m going to try to find out.
Starting today (Tuesday) I will go back to hand washing all the dishes, as I always have. I will record our hydro usage for the day, including the cost of hydro every day for five week days. So, because this week had a stat holiday on Monday, I’ll record Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday. Then, on next day, I will use the dishwasher after 7pm for the next five week days and record our usage and cost for those five days. All of our other ‘hydro habits’ will stay the same for this period of time. At the end of the two weeks, I’ll post the results for all to see.
To be honest though, I have enjoyed my hiatus from the near constant dish washing so I am just a little, teeny, tiny, eensey-weensey bit hoping the dishwasher proves to be a cost saving measure, but either way, I’ll be painfully and brutally honest with my reporting. The only one it can hurt is, well, me.
So, I am off now, to empty the dishwasher for the last time and then get elbow-deep in piping hot dishwater to wash up our breakfast dishes.
Now, now, don’t be a hater, we can’t all live the glamorous life of the Keswick Blogger *grin*
Have a good day, ya’ll!
UPDATED (many moons later)
I ran the experiment as outlined above. And then realized that our hot water tank was leaking like a bastard. And that it was probably using far more hydro than necessary because of it being a p.o.s. So, mid-way through the experiment, Mr. K.B. installed a new hot water tank (have I mentioned lately how handy he is?). And then I started again. And I checked our usage every morning and honestly, running the dishwasher once a day, during off-peak hours is NOT any more expensive than washing our dishes throughout the day, by hand. And except for the fact that I have SO MUCH EXTRA time on my hands by NOT washing dishes four to six times a day, I’m kind of weighing in pro-dishwasher right now.
I still hand wash pots and pans, and anything that I need immediately (usually my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer bowl!) or anything I’m not certain will survive the dishwasher.
Oh, and if you forget to turn the dishwasher off BEFORE the dry cycle (which is the smart, frugal and KB-way) and you let the dishes cook inside to dry, just know that little kid plastic plates do NOT fare well. They get all kinds of warpy and stupid looking. And then they are not even decent frisbees. What a waste!
But, back to Hydro – the biggest savings I can see is from hanging up all the laundry for those months (and today!) and forgetting that we had a clothes dryer. Just doing that one small thing easily knocked around $20 a month off of hydro bill without me getting dish-pan hands in the mean time = Win!