“Our house is a very, very, very ‘bright’ house”. It’s ‘fine’ too, but it’s also very ‘bright’, even though we’re off the grid.

The only concern that Michelle had when we were contemplating purchasing this off-grid home was that she didn’t want to have to live in the dark. Oh, she isn’t so wasteful that she leaves lights on all over the house, but she also didn’t want to feel like she was living in a cave.  So we keep our home well lit. It took a decade of learning about energy but it turns out that lighting actually accounts for a very small amount of our overall energy use, so it never made any sense to me to walk around bumping into things in the dark. As a male, I am able to do that consistently with the lights on.

I have often noticed how many homeowners will leave their porch light on when they leave for work on a dark morning. Many people leave their porch lights on overnight too. A 100W incandescent bulb uses almost 2-1/2 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity in a 24 hours period (24 hours x 100 watts = 2400 watt hours = 2.4 kilowatt hours). We often run our home using just 5 kWh/day, and so those homeowners are using half of our total daily electricity consumption just by leaving their front porch light on. These are often the same people who complain about the cost of their electricity.

I was always happy with the light we got from our compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) but some people rebelled against them. They didn’t like the light. Or they didn’t like the higher cost of the bulbs, despite the fact that they last much longer than an incandescent bulb and save money on the household’s electricity bill. Again, these are often the same people who complained about their electricity bills. We found a lovely stained glass overhead lamp for our dining room table that has a lot of yellows in it. It helps to soften the glare that causes so many people to complain about when they use CFLs.

dining-room-CFL

Now Canada and the U.S. have phased out incandescent bulbs and it sounds like some people were stockpiling them. These must be people who really love their Easy Bake Ovens because incandescent bulbs are much better producers of heat than light, hence the ability to bake a small cake with a 100W incandescent bulb.

LED lights have become more readily available in recent years. I have watched the price of LED lights and I still don’t think they’re cheap enough for me to cost justify switching my entire home over from CFLs. At $15 to $20 or more a bulb versus a buck or two for CFLs the increased efficiency will take a long time to pay for.

Recently though I was in Canadian Tire and I experienced one of those “Yee Ha” moments. The stock of incandescent bulbs had been removed (or were sold out in advance of the ban?) and there was a huge influx of LEDs taking up the vacated space. I have always wanted to change the incandescent bulbs in our fridge and freezer and the light over our cook stove. I could never find a CFL small enough to fit and I had heard that using LEDs in a cold environment might be problematic.

I had found an LED bulb online for $12. The description claimed that it would work in appliances but I didn’t feel like ordering it and then discovering it didn’t fit or didn’t work. Previously I had checked at lots of different stores and had never found anything suitable. But finally that day at Canadian Tire there it was. An LED with a regular base that would fit in our appliances… for $12! So I bought one, tried in it all the places and then bought two more once I confirmed that it worked.

LED-package

I AM SO PUMPED ABOUT THESE! Think about it. I’ve gone from a 40-watt heat-producing bulb in my fridge to one that uses just 2 watts, produces the same light and doesn’t provide any heat. I always found it ironic that every time I opened my fridge door I had this little heater in there that started warming the air. Our friend Jerry shared this philosophy to the point that he had removed the bulbs from his fridge. This sounds logical but my experience was that it took me twice as long to find anything in a dark fridge, which caused me to leave the door open longer, so I’m not sure there was a savings. Now I have the best of worlds, light with next to no heat.

Does it mean my world is pretty small, the fact that I’m so excited about some new light bulbs? Yes it does! But I’m okay with that. Every time I open the fridge I marvel at the wonder of it all. Unfortunately there is a downside to the new 2-watt LED bulb that I installed over my cook stove. When the bulb was 40 watts we rarely turned it on and so it was easy to ignore the spills and messes on the stovetop. And when you don’t wipe them up quickly then tend to get baked on. So we’ll have to be much more diligent of cleaning the stove top, now that it is illuminated!

LED-stove-light

And that fridge bulb! How great is that! No longer will I go into the fridge with a mapped out strategy of where I’m going and what I’m getting so I can close that fridge door as quickly as possible. Nope, not me. I’m going to lean on that door, just staring at the inside of the fridge, thinking, contemplating life, just like all the people you see in movies and in TV shows, staring at their fridges.

Freezer-2W-LED

Well, no, probably not. I don’t think I could ever be THAT energy wasteful!

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If you are looking for a new recipe, check out our daughter’s food blog. She has enjoyed cooking and baking since she was tall enough to reach the stove and so I really enjoy seeing what food she has been creating and enjoying now that she’s “all grown up.” Take a look and say hello while you are there! http://pamplemoussi.com/