If there is one thing true about owning a home, or property anywhere for that matter, it is that the price of the home is only the beginning as far as costs go. Home ownership means a constant drain on your bank account, as you retain a certain level of comfort for yourself and your family. For many people in Surrey and other parts of the Lower Mainland, utilities aren't anything they have to worry about. The price of real estate means most are renting their homes. However, if you do own and have to pay the bills, learning ways to cut down on in house spending can put some extra money in your wallet.
Coming in second on most people's lists as far as highest regular bills paid is the hydro bill. People living in condominiums may even find it is the highest, since they don't use gas as much as a detached dwelling or this particular bill is covered by the condo company. But if you do live in a place where you are charged monthly for the hydro, it is in your best interest to discover ways in which you can decrease those costs. Not to mention it is a lot better for the environment as well!
The first way to cut down on your hydro bill is to make be diligent when it comes to turning off the different electronic devices around your house. Computers which don't go into sleep mode properly (which is all of them, if you own PCs) and big screen televisions are particularly inefficient when it comes to the electricity they use. Just go up to your big screen after you have been watching it for a few hours and feel the heat generating off of it. All of that is wasted hydro dollars. So make sure to turn everything off.
Next, check what kind of light bulbs you have around the house. Just because you bought your condo with incandescent bulbs doesn't mean you have to keep it that way. Florescent and other types of light bulbs will cut down on the amount of energy turned into heat instead of light, and that will mean big savings over the long run.
Condo owners are mostly out of luck when it comes to appliances, but if you purchased a home you can buy your own. This is a great chance to really cut down on your hydro costs over the next few years; just get the most efficient models you can find.
The best way to make sure your hydro bill is as small as possible is to research options. If you are in the middle of building or renovating, home plans should include ways for saving energy and thus money on hydro. Think about how useful rain barrels could be! Or what about having a tankless water heater or high efficiency boiler installed (see products here)?