Wednesday, June 27, 2018

radon testing 2

You won't know you have a radon problem in your home unless you test for it. The test is easy to do and inexpensive.

Two radon tests recently done in my basement came back well within the allowable limit. The Canadian guideline for radon is 200 becquerels per cubic metre.

About 10% of Canadian homes are above this limit.

My results are 111 and 137 Bq/m³.

The reports (both from AccuStar) state that this test has an uncertainty of plus or minus 15%. I plan to repeat the test at some point.

I read somewhere that radon tests are required for real estate transactions in some US jurisdictions, but not yet in Canada.

radon testing - part one about how I did the test

Radon Responsible For 20% Of Grey Bruce Lung Cancer Deaths (2017)
CBC report - High radon levels found in Health Canada tests across country (2014)
Radon Reduction Guide - Government of Canada (2013)
Cross Canada Survey of Radon Concentrations in Homes - Health Canada (2012)
Radon FAQ - Health Canada

Thank you for your interest

George Plhak
Lions Head, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

home electric progress 3

INDEX to the series

I have been monitoring my electricity usage and trying different reduction strategies which I've written about on this blog.

How am I doing?

This chart shows my total kWh usage (from my utility bill) for the month of May for the last five years.

[click any pic to enlarge]

Why May? It was last month :). Also I started this project May two years ago when I got the ability to read my smart meter data. You don't have to read your smart meter, but you can. And I had three years of prior history, so five Mays total.

My furnace burns oil and electricity. A major winter user, the furnace should be minimal in May. No A/C here. I can normalize for weather using heating degree days but I did not do that for this chart. I don't think it would make a big difference but I will check. The $ cost (below) really tells the story.

The kWh chart gives the impression of a cliff drop in usage two years ago but it wasn't like that. There was a whole year between the tall yellow bar (2016) and the green bar (2017). A whole year of trying stuff and changing things. Over the past two years I replaced two major appliances (water heater, then refrigerator) but also made many other smaller changes.

The kWh chart does not show my effort to use less peak priced power if possible. I actually used less DOLLARS since I used at different times, when rates were lower.

This DOLLAR chart shows my total bottom line bill electric cost for the same months. My month of May electric costs were rising until 2016 but have fallen for the past two years.

This shows me that my efforts to shift my "demand" to less expensive rates is working at the bottom line, even including all the "other charges" (delivery, debt repayment, tax, and the rebate/Ontario clean energy credit).

It does not cost much to shift time of use with timers. I use timers to shut off some appliances during peak billing periods: water heater, freezer, and even the refrigerator. Some appliances that we leave always on don't need to always be on. They can coast through six hours off even opening the doors a few times in the hottest weather if the seals are good. No food has spoiled here in two years. I always have hot water and well frozen food. It cost me about C$200 for the timers and energy monitors.

Your mileage may vary.

Thanks for your interest,

George Plhak
Lion's Head, Ontario, Canada

INDEX to the series