Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Energy Bills

Do you keep a close eye on your energy consumption in your home or apartment? It's very easy if your gas and electric company breaks them down for you on your bill. It's how I keep track of how much I am reducing my bill.

So every month we scrutinize our utility bill. We look at how many KWH's were consumed that month by my electrical appliances, lighting, TV's computers, and air conditioning and how many therms were consumed by our gas heat, gas stove and oven, and gas tankless water heater. For example our last electric bill was for $69.32 and we consumed 619 KWH. Our last gas bill was for  $ 128.84 and we consumed 166.9  therms. They are both high bills but it was winter from mid January through mid February. We use much more gas in the winter because we heat with gas and cook with gas. We are more likely to use the stove and oven in the winter because we make casseroles, large roasts, turkeys and whole chickens, and stews and soups.  

I also look at our usage year over year to see if our usage is reduced for that month. Here is the Feb. usage in 2015 and 2016:

Electricity Daily Average Comparisons

Billing Period  Average Daily Use    Avg DailyTemp.

Feb – 16         19 KWH                  27 degrees   

Feb - 15          23 KWH                  16 degrees

Natural Gas Daily Average Comparisons

Billing Period    Avg Daily Use    Avg. Daily Temp.

Feb – 16           5 therm               27 degrees

Feb -  15           6 therm              16 degrees

You can see that we cut our daily average use by 4 KWH and our therms by 1 over the past year.

It is much easier to cut our electricity usage than it is to cut our gas usage. Because we heat with gas, the usage is really dependent on the weather. The usage was down this winter because the winter has been milder. The therms were not only down in February but they were down in the other winter months also. I can stop using the gas stove and oven but that wouldn't save that many therms. We could take cold showers but we don't like cold showers. I already wash in cold water. Perhaps we could be more careful at the sink about hot water running down it.  We do try to take navy showers and we do keep our heat to a comfortable level for us. We do turn the heat down another 5 degrees during the night.

Some of the electricity KWH hours are associated with the electronic ignition of our furnace and our oven and stove. But the majority of those KWH are for running the refrigerator, the chest freezer, the humidifier now and the dehumidifier in the summer, lighting, the microwave, the toaster oven, the Keurig, the washer and dryer (when I use it), the water softener, the sump pumps, 3 large screen TV's, 3 Roku's, 1 cable box, 4 telephones, the garage door opener, our alarm system, 2 computers and the associated printers, modem, etc. There are many other things like clocks and many small appliances. So I guess when you consider them all that 19 KWH per day isn't so bad. But we know people who only use 2 - 6 KWH per day. Would we like to get down that low? You bet we would.

But we have to take into account the size of our home and all of the things in the rooms. Our home is 2112 sq. ft. with another 440 sq. ft. for the garage. The basement is another 2112 sq. ft. and it has heat run down there. We keep the registers closed but I would bet that some of that heat leaks through.We do not heat the garage.

We try every day to reduce the amount of KWH's that we use. I think about what appliance to use that will give me the best bang for my buck. We only use lights at night or when we have a very dark day. We only use one light in the rooms that we are in with the exception that our outside LED lights are on all night for safety reasons. We turn off our computers when they are not in use. We don't stare into the refrigerator when it is open thinking about what we want to eat. I rarely use the dryer. 

It is still a work in progress. Do you keep an eye on your utility bills and try to reduce them every month? If so see how low your KWH's go year over year and month over month. Figure how many KWH's you use per day. If you have a meter like mine you can check to see what your refrigerator and any other appliances, etc. are costing you. When I checked mine, it was a real eye opener. 

If you haven't paid much attention, perhaps it is time to and start putting some of the money saved into investments instead of your utility company's pocket.      


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