FROM CHEAP TO STEEP by: John Avenson Date: May 2021
TOU = "Time Of Use" = Electricity rates from any power supply company will vary between cheap and expensive, usually during the afternoon and evening.
Your life style can have a big impact on TOU and it can be your advantage, or disadvantage. It will soon be VERY important to totally avoid afternoon hours of high rate charge due to high rates.
Below are some life style changes to consider:
CHEAP: The cheapest energy is using NO energy at all. This can be accomplished by:
1) Hang your clothes on the drying rack, 2) Eat foods that don't require long oven and stove times, 3) Use cold water for your laundry which will avoid re-heating the water in your hot water tank, 4) Keep the refrigerator door closed, 5) Keep lights off however LED lights draw very very little, 6) Use a laptop computer (17 watts) instead of a Desktop computer (200 watts), 7) add insulative foam panels to the back sides of your refrigerator “freezer” (not over the refrigerator portion where heating escapes), 8) Place warning signs around the kitchen for reminders of new habits, 9) Ensure front and back doors and all windows are closed , 10) Open shades on the south side of the house in the winter and close the shades on the shaded side. 11) Don't use any resistive heating if possible, You can turn on your oven with the door slightly open but set a timer for safety) 12) Inspect and add Weather striping around front door, 13) Caulk leaks around windows,
14) Add “outside” thermometers on 4 sides of the house to become aware when to close windows and save heat in the house,
15) Use motion sensors on wall switches and a Timer on bathroom fan, 16) Give Training to all household occupants for new habits, 17) use light whitish wall colors to reflect light rather than dark colors which absorb light,
18) Purchase a Kill-a-Watt meter $25 and measure the watts used by your refrig (s/b about 100 watts), TV (70 watts), computer, toaster, lamps, etc. It is fun to educate yourself.
19) Use a TV antenna and do not use an always-on Cable TV box. 20) Close doors and heater ducts to rooms that are not used. 21) Replace the furnace air-filters for better flow, 22) Free Education = Attend Youtube wibnars from CRES, attend CRES meetings. www.cres-energy.org
LIST OF DELAYED ACTIONS UNTIL CHEAP RATES start: 1) Delay EV charging, 2) Delay dishwasher, 3) Delay laundry and drying, 4) Delay Hybrid hot water, 5) Delay cooking, 6) Vacuum the carpet only during cheap times (vacuums pull a lot of power) 7) Delay using a Hair-dryer (1300 – 1500 watts)
MEDIUM COST: 1) Join a Solar garden,
2) Purchase energy Monitors to learn which circuits the power is being used.
3) Install Sun tunnels for natural lighting, 4) Install storm windows as a second layer to your windows https://thinkalpen.com/products/winsert-introduction/ 5) Add a glass screen door to protect your main door from low temperatures. 6) Replace LED lights that are 5 years old with brand new LEDs because today’s LEDs are more efficient than 5 year old LEDs due to technology advancements, 7) Replace any refrigerator older than 2004 with an E-Star rated refrigerator (1/4 the watts), 8) Get an energy audit, https://hvacree.net/xcel-co/public_search.cfm 9) Have Xcel Energy service your home with new LEDs https://xehomeenergysquadco.as.me/schedule.php
STEEP COST: 1) Get a Rheem Hybrid hot water tank $1200 (HomeDepot) and do NOT use the instant On-Demand hot water 2) Add Roof top solar 3) Add PV Battery back up, 4) Replace widows but insist on a LOW U value Example= U0.12 to U0.16 windows, 5) Add Thick insulation and Dense-Pack Insulation in your walls above ground and basement, 6) Add heating with Hot Air panels, 7) Add Automictic shades inside and outside (Homedepot and Lowes) 8) Add Heat-Pump Mini splits of high SEER >40, high HSPF =15 and a high COP Coefficient of Performance >4 to 1 energy multiplier..
TEST QUESTION: All of the above savings and inconveniences are not necessary if your PV system generates surplus electricity more than you use? FALSE! The rates of TOU will charge high rates during the evening hours when there is no sun. By using just one minute over the minimum rate will trigger the whole “high” rate period to engage.. The only fix is to install Battery Backup which you can draw power from during the high electricity rate period.