A.G. and her husband live in Bruce County. A.G. works part-time. Her husband works full-time. They used to have a house heated solely by electric baseboard, but after watching their hydro bills steadily skyrocket, they decided four years ago to install a gas furnace to cut back on their electricity costs. With the installation of the vent system, duct work and furnace, the total cost was close to $10,000.
An energy audit of their home at the time gave them an excellent rating. Windows, doors and insulation were all good.
They thought the savings in their electricity bill would pay for the furnace over time. Unfortunately, in less than 4 years their hydro bill has climbed back up to the point it was before they installed the furnace (and beyond). So the money they saved didn’t come close to paying for the switch. They now keep the thermostat at a steady 60 degrees (15 C) in the winter to save as much as they can.
They wrap themselves in comforters when watching tv or on the computer. Even the simple act of turning on a light has become worrisome. The only time they turn on a room light after dark is when they use the bathroom.
“Air conditioning is completely out of the question in the summer, no matter how hot and humid it is.” This past summer, they didn’t dare turn on the a/c even though there were several nights they couldn’t sleep. They found that it affected their performance at work.
“We’ve already cut way back on our food bill and heat has become a luxury that we can barely afford, even with the change to gas heating. I can’t imagine what we’d do if our children were still living at home. What a terrible situation for young families to be in.”
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Related articles: E.P.’s story