2019 a wild year for me. Greg and I welcomed a new baby to our family!
Baby Jack arrived July 22nd and we love him to bits.
But I’ll come clean in saying I was not one of those laid-back Moms who just go with the flow and learn as we go. We took classes on infant CPR, on baby first aid, even a hypnobirthing class! I wanted to know everything we could possibly know about birth and raising a baby before he arrived.
And the internet delivered! It seemed like there were blogs, articles and books about how to prepare for practically everything we could imagine.
But one thing we definitely did NOT read about in the baby blogs was the hike we would see on our energy bill in these first few months postpartum.
As folks who work in the energy conservation business, Greg and I had a laugh when we realized that even we didn’t see that coming, but that these expenses probably add up for every new parent. And we want to help others be better prepared than we were!
So I’ve rounded up a list of some of the ways that having a kid can add to your energy costs, and what you can do to battle the bill, with help from other parents here on the OhmConnect team!
Before Jack came along, Greg and I were pretty ‘frugal’ with our thermostat settings. (And by frugal I mean we regularly wear sweaters and hats in the winter months when the temperature drops and we play a game of “How hot can we handle?” before turning on the air conditioning in the summer.) Home heating and cooling accounts for around 43% of your annual energy bill and we try our best to keep that cost low!
Jack is a summer baby and this summer was HOT, which meant we needed to think of new ways to keep our apartment cool, and eventually turn on that A/C. Here’s how we minimized that cost as much as we could:
Baby gift registries were a whole world that I hadn’t known the extent of before Jack came along - nor did I know the breadth of products marketed to new Moms and Dads that personally, we believe Jack can happily live without! We decided to spare our wallets and avoided the temptation to buy things like bottle warmers, electric baby swings, bum wipe warmer and diaper alarms (yes, these are all real things.)
No shade coming from me though if these products are up your alley! There’s enough Mom-judgement out there already. If your baby gets a pre-warmed wipe with their diaper changes, please just don’t tell Jack what he’s missing!
“Right now my kids (sons, aged nine and 14) are all about sports and video games,” says OhmConnect CEO Cisco DeVries. “They either want to be playing baseball outside, watching baseball on TV, or playing a baseball video game.”
Lots of appliances and devices (like video game consoles!) are what could be called “vampire appliances”, meaning that even though it looks like they might be turned off, they are still sucking small amounts of “phantom power”, and adding unnecessary costs to your energy bill.
By attaching these devices to a smart plug, Cisco and his family make sure they’re not paying for extra energy that they don’t actually want to use. “Until I connected my entertainment center to a smart plug, I didn’t realize just how much power the system was using even when it wasn’t on.”
(Not sure what a smart plug is? It’s any type of wifi-enabled, plug-in electrical socket that allows you to control the devices attached to it from your phone or through an automated set of rules like turning off your smartplugs automatically so you can get paid for your energy savings when an OhmHour is happening.)
Intrigued? Check out our blog on the smartest place to put your smart plugs.
Not yet an OhmConnect customer? There’s no better time than now to get your family signed up for the free service that actually pays you to save energy.
OhmHours are energy saving events, usually an hour in length, in which OhmConnect has committed to the grid that our users (you!) will save energy.
It goes a little something like this:
“Whenever we get an #OhmHour, we take the time to go out for a walk and get ice cream,” explained OhmConnect Founder Matt Duesterberg. “Now, whenever we get a text message around dinner, my daughter perks up and asks - is OhmHour here? Do we get to go get ice cream?”