Battling families pull out all the stops, including second fridges

“Things are not very electric around here,” joked Power Smart Energy Challenge contestant Karen Jones in her weekly update to coach Greg Morandini, a Power Smart engineer.

“Being in this contest has definitely helped us become more aware of the electricity that all items use and has helped to bring us a little closer as a family, without all the electronic distractions that we would have had otherwise.”

Rival contestant Deborah Parks agreed with her rival. “We’re all now very aware of what uses energy and how much electricity things actually use.”

Both families are seeing consistent improvements in their energy consumption as they battle for  the grand prize, a $6,000 home entertainment system. The winner of the Power Smart Energy Challenge will be announced on Global TV's morning news show and on next week.

Unplugged second fridge pays off

 The Parks’ unplugged their secondary fridge in the basement last week which sparked a noticeable change in their consumption for that week.

“When I told Deborah about her consumption improvement for this week compared to last, it was quite the eye opener as to how much an older fridge actually consumes,” said Power Smart engineer Tony Mauro, coach for the Parks family. “Deborah actually felt it wasn’t that big of a deal to not have the second fridge, and mentioned that they would consider recycling it after the contest.”

Illuminating waste

When coach Morandini was looking for further opportunities for the Jones’ to save, he identified that the electric baseboard heating thermostats had a problem.

“Their electric baseboards were bleeding electricity; the old thermostats were never actually shutting off,” explained Morandini.

Toby Jones has since purchased new thermostats for the three electric baseboard heater areas, which each possess a positive off setting.

“These ended up being more economical for us, compared to the digital ones, as we rarely use them. So now they will stay off!” said Toby.

The Jones’ have also made the effort to incorporate more LED lighting options into their homes, especially when it comes to night lights, and they have installed some auto-light sensors. The biggest problem they have faced with lighting is their daughter Rachel’s chandelier.

“We’re having a hard time with the cost of the LED or CFL options for this application,” explained Toby. “We may have to rethink this lighting and go with more traditional lights, though I’m not sure Rachel will like that.”

In the meantime, Toby purchased a dimmer switch for Rachel’s chandelier which will allow her to reduce the lighting level to only what she needs and thus, save electricity.

The family that stays together... saves together

The Parks’ have made wise energy use their main focus throughout the competition by focusing on what they can use less of and how they can optimize their usage in the most efficient manner.

“We’ve been spending a lot of our evenings together in the same room, so that we can reduce the amount of light being used,” said Deborah.

They’ve also been avoiding the central vacuum, using a smaller one instead.

The Parks’ are now air drying all of their clothes, which is a big step for a household which has not one, but two washers and dryers.

About the Power Smart Energy Challenge

The Parks' are going head-to-head with the Jones' from October 6 to 31.

The families were randomly selected from a long list of applicants for the contest, which features a winner's prize of a $6,000 home entertainment system, including a 46-inch ENERGY STAR® LED TV.

The household which reduces its electricity use by the largest percentage over the challenge period will get the new TV, plus a variety of other energy-efficient electronics.