Save Energy and Outsmart Smart Meters


Smart power meters do not in themselves save you money.  Generally, they are designed to track  consumption in more detail, so that consumers can be billed at time-of-use electricity rates.  That means that in order to save money in energy costs, you must rethink when you do things that use electricity.  Granted it’s not going to be easy, but you have to find ways to outsmart the smart meter.  In other words, reschedule tasks to a cheaper time of day.

Some things such as heating and cooling cannot entirely be rescheduled in most cases, but there are still some little things you can do, to reduce consumption all day and especially during those periods of the day when electricity rates are the highest.

Overall Consumption Reducing Tips:

  • Buy or upgrade to Energy Star rated or more energy efficient appliances.
  • Adjust your air conditioner temperature, setting the comfort level to a slightly higher degree – so it will come on less often.  You’ll hardly notice a few degrees.  Turn it off while the home is empty for a few hours, while you are at work.
  • Be vigilant about turning off lights when you leave a room; teach the family too.
  • Lower the heating temperature on your water heater.
  • Upgrade to or supplement with more energy efficient heating.
  • Lower the heating system temperature at night while sleeping.
  • Hang to dry some dress clothes washloads.
  • Improve your home’s insulation and reduce drafts
  • Change heating, cooling, air purifier and humidifier filters regularly to improve efficiency.
  • Use the economy drying setting on the dishwasher or open door slightly to air dry dishes
  • Operate the trash compactor later in the evening.
  • Use a shorter wash cycle when you can on the washer; lower water levels will also save water.
  • Take shorter showers which reduces energy to heat the water; use a water-saver showerhead which conserves water and energy.
  • Shorten your dryer cycles till you reach the dryness point, if your dryer does not have drying sensors.  We tend to set it for 30 minutes, when 20 minutes may be sufficient.
  • Be aware to reduce phantom power use where you can – every kilowatt hour counts.
  • Better manage cordless appliances and tools and only plug them in a few hours before you need them.  Some tools are plugged in for days till we use them.

How to Manage & Reschedule Tasks With Time-of-Use Rates:

  • Set the dishwasher to delay start later during the cheapest time block.
  • Laundry is tough to reschedule, but you can do one or two loads later every evening, or very early in the morning, when rates are cheaper, rather than doing laundry over one or two full days at higher rates.  Some washers have delay start which is ideal.
  • Shower early or later in the evening, when rates are lower.
  • Use cooking alternatives to the range or wall oven, such as slow cookers, electric cookers, electric skillets, rice cookers and small counter ovens which will use less energy than the oven.  Even just two or three days a week of using cooking appliances will help.
  • What do you have plugged in but don’t really need on while away at work, on vacation or only need occasionally?

Be proactive and be on the lookout for energy consuming hogs (inefficient appliances), or other ways where you can cut down on energy use or reschedule  to a cheaper time of day.

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