In our last article we went over the most common summer season electrical stressors, which you can easily mitigate with just a little know-how. By doing so you can help bring down the cost of your electrical service in Calgary. Another way to keep your residential and commercial electricity costs low is to not operate major appliances during peak hours of electricity use.
According to ENMAX, electricity prices will vary due to weather, temperature, and time of day. The Alberta Electric System Operator’s (AESO) job is to watch how much electricity is available and how much is needed, and responds in real time. They will tell Alberta’s generation facilities to turn on and off as needed, as it is very costly to try to store electricity. As such, each hour, Alberta’s electricity generators provide a price to AESO for their production of power, and AESO will accept the lowest price offered in order to meet the demand. Sometimes generation facilities plan outages for maintenance, and other times power outages will occur because of unforeseen circumstances, such as a lightning strike, flood, or power surge. ENMAX has a helpful page available where current, recent and upcoming power outages are all reported. Their Twitter feed is also a good source of up-to-date information.
Peak Power Use Times in Calgary
In Calgary, commercial enterprises and industry account for 65% of overall energy use. For residences, the demand for electricity peaks between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. This is due to Calgarians returning home from school and work and firing up their entertainment systems, taking hot showers and baths, cooking dinner, and turning on lights as the skies begin to darken.
If you can decrease your use of your electrical service Calgary during peak hours you will soon see a difference in your electricity bill. The most major electricity guzzlers in homes are air conditioners, clothes dryers, water heaters, electric ranges, and ovens. Here’s how to reduce their use during late afternoon and early evening.
- Prepare meals during the morning or early afternoon so that they only need to be quickly heated up to eat.
- Consider using the barbecue more (there’s nothing better than barbecued meat!), and fun and healthy summer-friendly dishes include cold salads, sandwiches and grilled veggies.
- Run washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers later at night or early in the morning.
- Keep the refrigerator door shut! It takes a lot of energy to cool the interior back down, even if the door has only been opened for a few seconds.
- Use a smart thermometer to cool or warm your home up before 4 p.m., and then regulate the temperature by shutting or opening windows and closing or opening blinds as needed.
- If you must use your air conditioner, set it at 24 degrees to help optimize its efficiency.
- Use natural light as long as possible.
- Shower later in the evening or early in the morning.
- Switch all of your light bulbs to LED. These use up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs, which lose most of their energy through heat.
- Energy-efficient appliances can make a big difference. If you are looking to replace an old stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, or water heater, look for a new one that has the Energy Star rating. You may even earn a rebate.
Have an Electrical Inspection Performed
If you have been trying your hardest to reduce your use of electricity but aren’t seeing the results of your efforts in your electricity bill, it may be time to have us come by for an electrical inspection. There are lots of reasons why your electrical system may not be operating at peak efficiency, especially if you have an older electrical panel. Some causes may be leaking (or arching) in your wiring due to loose connections, too little electricity being delivered to areas of your home that need it the most, improperly mounted lighting fixtures, old outlets that drain electricity even when not being used, and surges happening because of lack of proper grounding. We can suggest ways to reconfigure your electrical panel to deliver the right amount of electricity, where and when you need it.
Electrical Service in Calgary by A-Star
A-Star’s certified journeymen electricians can help keep your appliances and electronics as safe as the rest of your Calgary home. We always work to not only meet, but also exceed, all Alberta electrical codes. Your electrical system is vital to both the functionality and comfort of your Calgary home or business, and we treat your property the same way we would treat our own. Contact us today!