Author Topic: Electric Usage for all Electric Houses?  (Read 14486 times)

crunchy_mama

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Electric Usage for all Electric Houses?
« on: June 11, 2012, 12:07:09 PM »
I was looking at MMM energy usage and scratching my head at the kwH but then I see that he uses propane for cooking, water heating and heat (if I'm not misunderstanding).  Those items are the highest energy users in my home so it is not really an equal comparison.  My electric bill is currently at $118 month average but that is as I said is the total of my utility costs.  I think that is pretty good but we are constantly looking for ways to cut back.  I'm curious about what others spend who are all electric.

-We have a 3000 sf house, 1850 upstairs and 1150 in an *almost* finished basement. 
-We are a family of 5. 
-We live in the midwest where the winters get nice and cold (below freezing) and summers nice and hot (& humid) temps in 90-100+ humidity 80-90%+
- We keep our thermostat at 64-67 during the day and 62-65 at night for winter, 80-82 during day and 77-80 at night for summer- we try to utilize the sun opening shades for sun when cold and closing when hot, use fans to bring in cool night air for summer and closing off the house during the day blocking the sun.
-Our c/h/a is a heat pump and energy efficient, although not as efficient as a geothermal unit
- Our house has spray foam insulation but is traditionally built (we both wish we were better situated for passive solar but we didn't know about passive solar when we built).  We have no shade, my brother who helped build our house, affectionately referred to it as hell hill(we have some fast growing shade trees planted but they aren't helping yet). We have energy star appliances, except our deep freeze(14 cf) and our water heater which is 13 yo.  We have all cfl except one fixture(which we are looking at changing when we can)
- Usage- we moniter light usage, don't use a dryer and I crack down hard on hot water usage but I have 3 kids so that means extra dishes, laundry and I cook a everything from scratch and cook a lot.  I try to use the crockpot, cook in batches and use my stove as efficient as possible but I just cook a lot.  Clothes aren't washed unless actually dirty.  Baths for the kids are in the small tub without a lot of water and showers are quick.
- We own and operate one laptop, a 27 in CRT tv, blueray player, and wireless router.  We don't watch a ton of tv, no cable, only netflix streaming. The only other phantom draw I know of is our cordless phone w/ answering machine and alarm clock (both of which had nearly non-existent draw when dh tested).

Dh is looking at building a solar hot water heater/space heater next year as that is our biggest use besides heat and air.  I'd like to look at an outside wood furnace but dh had to haul wood as a kid and is pretty opposed to the idea.
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/Space_Heating.htm

Dh thinks our usage is very good(considering our location, house and family size) but I'm always on the look-out for more ways to save.  So, I'm curious as to the usage of others in similar set-ups and situations.

In the future I'd like to consider propane for cooking and perhaps a refrigerator, with a long term goal of going off-grid but as of now we are just focusing on the improvements we can make for the quickest payback with the least initial investment.

twinge

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Re: Electric Usage for all Electric Houses?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2012, 12:28:36 PM »
It would be helpful to tell us your average KW hours as costs vary by location. We're an all electric house, about 2200 sq ft if you add in our finished basement, 1300 if you don't. Our cost averages roughly 150 mo and our average monthly usage for last year was 1250 KWH. Similar climate, though likely slightly milder/shorter winters.   A huge part of our costs is when the temperatures drop as our electric heat pump has a back up electric heater that is wildly inefficient.  But we also work at home and run about 4-5 computers, one of them a server that's on 24-7.  It's an older house without new windows etc. but we've added attic insulation.  The electric heat is somewhat killer, but we're looking to upgrade to a heat pump that will be less likely to require the electric heat backup. Our other appliances are fairly energy efficient. We are 2 adults, 2 kids.

This is definitely an area we can improve, so I wouldn't hold us up as an ideal to beat :), rather what a not outlandishly wasteful family in a similar situation does.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 12:31:44 PM by twinge »

kolorado

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Re: Electric Usage for all Electric Houses?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2012, 01:52:29 PM »
We're a family of 5 in 1250 square feet and right now we're using just under 700 KWH a month. We do not have an AC or a pump, just fans. The heat over the winter will be natural gas. I can't control the appliances here in the rental so they may be very inefficient. We can do a lot better though and I know it. Right now I'm working on line drying most of our laundry. At about 30 large loads a month, it will save a lot of electric over the dryer.
You could call your electric company to see if they have an off-peak hours savings program. They will charge you different rates during different times of day. My SIL saves money on this program becasue she tries to time her peak usage when the rates are cheapest.

gooki

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Re: Electric Usage for all Electric Houses?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2012, 06:50:00 PM »
We're using about 900 kw a month in winter, in an all electric houshold (2 adults, one child, wife and child home most days). That will drop down to about 500 kw a month come summer.

crunchy_mama

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Re: Electric Usage for all Electric Houses?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 07:26:22 PM »
We use:
 600-800 kwH when not using heat or ac
1200-2000 when using heat
900-1600 when using ac

We're home pretty much every day here.  There is no difference in rates for peak and non-peak times.  As I said previously I don't use the dryer, except rarely, I used it 10 min the first time in months the other day due to the rain coming in before the clothes finished.  I ration hot water as well, kids share bath etc.  All clothes are washed in cold.  I suspect a large part of our usage is our 13 yo hot water heater, last year I turned it off some days and our avg usage(not using any heat or ac at the time) went from 22kwH per day to 11-13 kwH per day.  I cook 3 hot meals a day as well, most every day, although we sometimes do have leftovers, I do love to cook and cook everything from scratch.  Our freezer is also a bit older, and not energy star and was freezing up, dh hopefully fixed that this weekend though as it was running nearly all the time. 

We would save a ton with wood heat as we could use our own wood but with our rates being relatively low at our rate of usage it would take about 10 yrs for it to pay off, the solar hot water heater on the other hand will cost 25%-33% of the cost of the wood stove with a likely quicker payoff.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 07:39:06 PM by crunchy_mama »

happy

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Re: Electric Usage for all Electric Houses?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 03:36:11 AM »
I am in Australia, in a subtropical rainforest so my heating costs are not so high as some parts of US. I live in a large 5 bedroom house with lots of glass windows ( non mustachian, but bought pre MMM, thinking my elderly parents will need to stay here more and more.)

Our last bill for electric but have gas cooker (not oven) and 1 gas heater (also have reverse cycle aircon) was the lowest yet 20kw/day or 600/month. We are coming into winter so starting to heat the house. Down from our highest 35kw/day = 1050/month.

This has been the result of 2 years work, a lot of things, so its rewarding to finally see it coming down:
 - upgraded insulation where possible in roof and under the wooden floor.
 - retrofitted double glazing where possible and a low E laminate in hopper windows where DG not possible
 - installed those fancy switchboards for the TV that close everything down when you turn the TV off.
 - CFCs  replaced all tungsten lights and LED downlights in strategic locations (we have lots of downlights) so that mostly LEDs not regular downlights are used
 - Turned off peak electric hot water system down to 60 C
 - stopped washing clothes in warm water (they're still clean)
 - minimize use of dryer, line dry clothes if at all possible or put in front of gas heater if on.
 - burn wood for heating as much as possible, but open fire is down one end of the house on an outside wall
 - fitted draught strips to external doors
 - where new window coverings needed bought cellular blinds
 - paid moderate attention to turning off excess lights/ and appliances at the wall
 - wear suitable clothing indoors
 - pay attention to weather and open/close house/blinds as needed
 - section off unused parts of the house and leave uncooled/unheated
 - deciduous trees near house provide summer cooling/sun in winter
 
Wow so much to get to 20kw/day!.