Pulling out the AC

Here is the latest BC Hydro electrical consumption data from the house. I know you are as fascinated as I am.

I expected more of a rise in electricity consumption when we broke out the big heater, but is hot water use seems more significant
I expected more of a rise in electricity consumption when we broke out the big heater last Tuesday, but hot water use seems more significant


As you can see, the temperature dipped pretty low there for a few days, (I’m sure people in other parts of Canada are scoffing right now) and we had to ramp up our efforts to keep the house warm if we weren’t going to turn on the oil furnace. There is a jump in electrical consumption there on Tuesday and Wednesday because we added a new element to our heating repertoire.

Weeks ago Leanne reminded me that we had a portable air conditioner in the basement and asked, “doesn’t it have a heating function?”

This is why our electrical consumption jumped
This is why our electrical consumption jumped

When we moved in to the house, my dad was concerned with how hot it got in the kids bedrooms upstairs in the summer. He likes to solve problems so he went ahead and bought us this air conditioner. Since then, perhaps because of the insulating we did in 2008 and also because we became accustomed to the warmth upstairs as the kids got older, we have stopped using the A/C unit. (It was quite cumbersome to set up, too.)

Not a sustainable location with the cord across the door...
Not a sustainable location with the cord across the door…

On Tuesday, we put it in the kitchen by the door to the basement where it can blow heat towards the bedroom, office and bathroom. The unit doesn’t seem to kick out a lot of heat, but the fan certainly helps circulate the air in the house from the warmer front rooms toward the rear ones.

As we grow used to keeping a fire going and the minor discomfort of a slightly chilly bedroom and bathroom, I start to think what an example it would set if we took out the oil furnace altogether in the middle of winter. Everyone is so busy it is hard to find time to imagine life without fossil fuels. If someone in the neighbourhood sets an example, how much easier does that make it for everyone else?

There is a protest going on now in Burnaby, BC, where an oil pipeline is working its way through an extremely biased approval process. Regular folks are being arrested for disobeying a court order to allow the pipeline company to conduct tests on Burnaby mountain.

If these people are willing to be arrested, doesn’t it fall to the rest of us to at least examine our lives to see where we can, for example, reduce our use of fossil fuels? Any small action in the right direction that you can think of doing. I encourage you to do it.

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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