Author Topic: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?  (Read 198771 times)

KBecks2

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #600 on: March 10, 2015, 05:55:51 PM »
I found one last incandescent light in our family room, and I have a chandelier with incandescent bulbs because the LEDs I bought looked very green under the shades (when I replaced just one of the 5 bulbs, it looked so different from the others).  I may replace all 5 to get an even look, and maybe try daylight color?  I don't' know.  It seems a little spendy to replace those bulbs, but it may be worth it.

Other than that, I really don't know!  The kids Playstation they got for Christmas?  The fish tank?

Karen

bzzzt

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #601 on: March 10, 2015, 09:59:01 PM »
Have people been home more often? On days that my wife is off, we use approx. 20% more electricity.

Just got my March electric bill. It was 5* colder on average (furnace running more, etc) than February's bill period and we still managed to use 10% less electricity per day. Down to an average of 15.5 kWh/day, 512 kWh total. Not a record or anything, but down 52% from last year. I'm a happy guy!
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 10:03:46 PM by bzzzt »

Greg

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #602 on: March 11, 2015, 08:48:31 AM »
We've managed to drop our usage by about half compared to the previous year, despite my parents moving to our property in a separate building on the same meter.  Notice the December spike, we had some cold weather, not sure why it affected our electric use since we have mostly propane and wood heat.

adam

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #603 on: March 11, 2015, 09:14:32 AM »
Month--------Avg Usage(kwh/d)--Total Usage-------Avg Temp---#d>90---#d>80
July ----------33.83kwh/day---------1016----------------83----------22--------29
August-------33.00------------------990-----------------82----------13--------30
September---32.52------------------1008----------------78-----------3--------30
October------25.17------------------755-----------------69-----------0--------17
November----21.00------------------588-----------------51-----------0---------3  -under 50* = 19
December----19.07------------------572-----------------56-----------0---------0 - under 50 = 21
January------23.68------------------805-----------------54-----------0---------1 - under 50 = 25
February-----19.38------------------562-----------------51-----------0---------0 - under 50 = 26, under 40 = 18
March--------22.79------------------638-----------------54-----------0---------1 - under 50 = 23, under 40 = 11
April---------18.55------------------612-----------------61-----------0---------7 - under 50 = 16,  under 40 = 5
May----------19.80------------------594-----------------71-----------0--------15 - under 50 = 2
June---------33.45------------------1037----------------78-----------3--------30
July----------31.81------------------986-----------------82-----------7--------31
August------40.28------------------1289----------------82-----------12-------30 - 32 billing days
September---29.97-------------------869----------------80----------12--------29 - 29 billing days
October------22.43------------------673-----------------71-----------0--------15 - under 50 = 0, 30 billing days
November----17.36------------------486-----------------60-----------0--------2  -  under 50 = 16
December----22.12------------------708-----------------56-----------0--------3 -   under 50 = 24, 32 billing days
January------22.25------------------712-----------------49-----------0--------1 -   under 50 = 28
February-----21.03------------------652-----------------50-----------0--------2 -   under 50 = 27
March--------18.03------------------523-----------------54-----------0--------1 -   under 50 = 21
April----------17.43------------------523-----------------64-----------0--------11 -  under 50 = 9
May-----------23.48------------------681----------------74-----------6---------22 - under 50 = 0
June----------34.16----------------1093-----------------81----------19-------32
July-----------38.74----------------1201-----------------83----------19-------31
August-------37.29-----------------1156-----------------84----------20-------30
September---30.17------------------905-----------------80----------10-------28
October------19.90------------------596-----------------71-----------1--------15
November----21.50------------------602-----------------58----------0---------4 - under 50 = 16
December----21.84------------------699-----------------53----------0---------0 - under 50 = 25
January------24.62------------------837-----------------51----------0----------0 - under 50 = 28
February-----26.54------------------743-----------------46----------0----------0 - under 50 = 28


updated November-February

MrSal

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #604 on: March 12, 2015, 08:52:32 AM »
Just switched suppliers today.

PPL went up for a third time in a row to 0,0955 it was enough!

Switched to a 6 month fixed contract with AEP for 0,071

Gerard

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #605 on: March 13, 2015, 06:09:13 AM »
Our electric is balance billing $240 a month, $20 is the outside light, about $20 is for taxes. Usage around 1800 kwhs in the winter.  [...]  We could cut some but I don't think the bills are that high for what we use.

I think your usage profile is a good example of very efficient micro-choices (what kind of appliances, etc.) combined with big-energy-using macro-choices (size of house, dryer, amount of laundry) and the limits of that strategy. What's worked for me is going in the opposite direction. I don't worry too much about my three remaining incandescent bulbs, but I do live in a small cosy-ish house, dry clothes on a rack or line, and usually take navy showers. I've dropped my usage almost in half (to about 9 kwh/day) and my bill by about a third (to $40-something a month) since mustachianism. Now to do something about my pig of a fridge.

Different strategies for different lives!
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daverobev

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #606 on: March 13, 2015, 09:39:59 AM »
We had a bad month this month,  809 kwh.  I don't know why!  I have been hang drying the laundry and we have almost all CFL / LED lights.  No second fridge, no freezer, wth!

Line drying inside or out? Remember if you're hanging stuff on a clothes horse, it takes energy for the water to evaporate.
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daverobev

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #607 on: March 13, 2015, 09:45:11 AM »
Our electric is balance billing $240 a month, $20 is the outside light, about $20 is for taxes. Usage around 1800 kwhs in the winter.  [...]  We could cut some but I don't think the bills are that high for what we use.

I think your usage profile is a good example of very efficient micro-choices (what kind of appliances, etc.) combined with big-energy-using macro-choices (size of house, dryer, amount of laundry) and the limits of that strategy. What's worked for me is going in the opposite direction. I don't worry too much about my three remaining incandescent bulbs, but I do live in a small cosy-ish house, dry clothes on a rack or line, and usually take navy showers. I've dropped my usage almost in half (to about 9 kwh/day) and my bill by about a third (to $40-something a month) since mustachianism. Now to do something about my pig of a fridge.

Different strategies for different lives!

+1

We're discussing moving to a larger house (in a few years, if/when sprog #2), and it's not just the mortgage increase that worries me - it's the property tax, heating, electricity, maintenance...

Currently we're in a small (well, it isn't really small, it's a 1.5 storey so the bedrooms feel small) 2 bed, with a clunky old furnace, mostly ok windows but a couple with single pane glass and secondary panes screwed on to the outside. And it's not worth changing any of it - our heating bill is relatively low, our electricity is fine considering my wife has showers during peak times, etc, etc.

We'd save a couple of hundred a month on driving costs if we moved, and a lot of my wife's time which is the biggest thing, but the costs would offset the gains.

Go for the big wins, low hanging fruit, etc.
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SeattleStache

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #608 on: March 19, 2015, 07:35:43 PM »
Just got my first electric bill and I'm averaging 3.03 kWh/day so far (1 bedroom condo).  I'm lucky that my place is surrounded by neighbors above/below/sides so I haven't had to turn on the heat yet.  Interested to see what it goes down to as spring and summer arrive.

Connemara

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #609 on: March 21, 2015, 02:30:33 PM »
I just got the first electric bill for my new apartment: $220. Ouch! But the heat is electric baseboard, the refrigerator and stove are quite old, and it's not the most well-insulated space (old brick rowhouse).

The "shrink wrap" window films help cut down on drafts. Also, check the actual temp inside the fridge and freezer. I was able to turn my fridge thermostat down one level. LED and CFL lighting will help and they're easy to take with when you move. Good luck.
[/quote]

These are good tips. I put plastic over the windows shortly after I moved in and it reduced drafts significantly. I also put weatherstripping around the front door of my apartment, which was very drafty. I also replaced all bulbs with LEDs, except for one fixture which still has incandescents. Going to replace those soon too.

I wasn't overly surprised by the high costs considering this February was the second coldest on record...and I'm in the Northeast!

When it's in the 30s or 40s I can easily go the whole day without turning the heat on thanks to passive heating from neighbors. My apartment is in the low to mid 60s (thermostat isn't quite accurate) right now and I'm comfortable with a few layers and a blanket.


MMMdude

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #610 on: March 21, 2015, 03:46:34 PM »
Compared to winter last year i am using 5 or 6 more Kwh per day.  I'm trying to figure out why this is the case.

A few things have changed.  My wife now works from home full time and is on her laptop pretty much all day during the day.  With her being home, obviously lights would be used more and the thermostat is left a few degrees higher with her at home compared to last year where i set it to 59 degrees. 

Also, I had two humidifiers on for most of winter .  The one attached to the furnace was on all winter (when the furnace runs) and I also had a stand alone electric one which i ran for about six weeks and I now know those things are energy hogs.   Whereas last year I didn't run either humidifier at all (that I can recall). 

Lastly, I got a brand new furnace this year.  It replaced my furnace of 25 years old and has what is supposed to be an efficient ECM motor which is supposed to use much less electricity compared to the old style motor which I can only assume my old furnace had.

So I turned the furnace humidifier off as winter is pretty much over and i didn't really find much of a difference this winter with it on. I long ago put away the other humidifier after finding out the energy usage.  I can't do much about my wife working from home now electricity wise and i'm hoping it has nothing to do with the new furnace as one of the main reasons for replacing versus repairing was the energy savings.   I guess my question is...is the 6 Kwh per day difference explained by my wife working from home and the humidifiers?


1967mama

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #611 on: March 21, 2015, 03:56:41 PM »
Compared to winter last year i am using 5 or 6 more Kwh per day.  I'm trying to figure out why this is the case.

A few things have changed.  My wife now works from home full time and is on her laptop pretty much all day during the day.  With her being home, obviously lights would be used more and the thermostat is left a few degrees higher with her at home compared to last year where i set it to 59 degrees. 



MMMdude, I know that I am home all day with 5 kids and homeschooling. 2 of the older kids use computers full time for schooling and the other 3 and myself hop on and off during the day with various activities. We also have to keep a little heat on to keep us comfortable and functioning well. There's also cooking at home during the day, opening and closing of the fridge, the lights, opening and closing of outside doors and perhaps other hidden power draws. My power usage is a lot higher than many here, but I know that this is why.

I imagine that if you had NOT replaced your furnace, your daytime power usage would be a fair bit higher with the less efficient furnace now that your wife is working from home. Probably a good thing you got that done!

MMMdude

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #612 on: March 21, 2015, 04:43:04 PM »
Compared to winter last year i am using 5 or 6 more Kwh per day.  I'm trying to figure out why this is the case.

A few things have changed.  My wife now works from home full time and is on her laptop pretty much all day during the day.  With her being home, obviously lights would be used more and the thermostat is left a few degrees higher with her at home compared to last year where i set it to 59 degrees. 



MMMdude, I know that I am home all day with 5 kids and homeschooling. 2 of the older kids use computers full time for schooling and the other 3 and myself hop on and off during the day with various activities. We also have to keep a little heat on to keep us comfortable and functioning well. There's also cooking at home during the day, opening and closing of the fridge, the lights, opening and closing of outside doors and perhaps other hidden power draws. My power usage is a lot higher than many here, but I know that this is why.

I imagine that if you had NOT replaced your furnace, your daytime power usage would be a fair bit higher with the less efficient furnace now that your wife is working from home. Probably a good thing you got that done!

OH definitely understandable - just want to try and confirm that the excess usage is related to something besides the furnace.  Whenever those salesmen are trying to sell you something they will say anything.  It makes sense it would use less power than my old furnace.  The only real info i could find online is that a traditional stand alone cool mist humidifier you can buy at any store can use 200 to 300 kwh per month so definitely not using that thing anymore!

daverobev

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #613 on: March 22, 2015, 11:01:06 AM »
If your wife is using a laptop 12 hours a day it's probably drawing a third of a kWh, or less.

Lights, if they are CFL or LED, are pulling 10W or less each. Even 5 being on all day is 1 kWh.
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Cookie78

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #614 on: March 27, 2015, 11:15:05 AM »
Yesterday was the first time I actually looked at the usage on my utility bill (power, gas, water, sewer, garbage). I'm excited to take the next step in my MMM journey and figure out what steps I can take to lower it. Now that I have a baseline and know how to measure the changes it's exciting to have a new goal to see how low I can get it.

I also have two tenants in my basement who do not pay utilities. They are friends of mine, so hopefully I can get them on board with this, even a little bit.

So many small steps to take!

Breaker

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #615 on: March 27, 2015, 10:08:07 PM »
Last year I replaced all (6) kitchen ceiling lights with LEDs, I think that is why my usage has dropped about 0.75 Kwh/day this year.  But it is still at 9.27/day. 

After reading this thread I FINALLY unplugged a VCR that has not been used for at least a year.  The plug was easy enough to reach but finding the right plug on the strip was not.  So, I just let it go.  As of about 5 mins. ago it is unplugged.

What do you do with your rechargeable tools?  If I unplug the charger, they are never charged when I need them but the chargers are using electricity all of the time.

1967mama

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #616 on: March 28, 2015, 01:15:33 AM »
After reading MMM's current article on cutting your power consumption, I remembered that my power company was offering a special price on a device similar to this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Efergy-Elite-Wireless-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B003XOXU02/ref=pd_sim_sbs_pc_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=12FXDH3CM9ZR7EQCP1AR

The offer ends March 31st so I went ahead and ordered one for $39. It will arrive next week so I can start tracking specifically where and when we are using SO. MUCH. ELECTRICITY. Hoping to see a major drop in our daily usage very, very soon!


bzzzt

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #617 on: March 28, 2015, 06:39:03 AM »
What do you do with your rechargeable tools?  If I unplug the charger, they are never charged when I need them but the chargers are using electricity all of the time.

I measured my Dewalt chargers with a Kill-a-watt. After the batteries are fully charged, I flip them over on top of the charger and they don't use power.

LennStar

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #618 on: March 28, 2015, 08:06:17 AM »
Last year I replaced all (6) kitchen ceiling lights with LEDs, I think that is why my usage has dropped about 0.75 Kwh/day this year.  But it is still at 9.27/day. 

After reading this thread I FINALLY unplugged a VCR that has not been used for at least a year.  The plug was easy enough to reach but finding the right plug on the strip was not.  So, I just let it go.  As of about 5 mins. ago it is unplugged.

What do you do with your rechargeable tools?  If I unplug the charger, they are never charged when I need them but the chargers are using electricity all of the time.
What do you mean with rechargeable tools?
I only have the phone (in all the time) and an electric toothbrush (once a week or so from empty to full in a night or on a day, except then unplugged).

Breaker

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #619 on: March 28, 2015, 11:37:17 AM »

What do you do with your rechargeable tools?  If I unplug the charger, they are never charged when I need them but the chargers are using electricity all of the time.
[/quote]
What do you mean with rechargeable tools?
I only have the phone (in all the time) and an electric toothbrush (once a week or so from empty to full in a night or on a day, except then unplugged).
[/quote]

I own an electric screw driver and grinder which have their own charger.  They are used infrequently but still used several times a year. not on a schedule.  If I unplug them invariably they have lost their charge when I do need them.   

Merrie

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #620 on: March 28, 2015, 03:06:56 PM »
Wow, this thread was a big face punch for me. Our usage was horrible the last 2 months, average 100kwh per DAY and a $425 bill. Yikes! It's been cold here so I blame a lot of that on the heating. We have a 2100 square foot house that is all electric, 3 people home almost all the time, 2 of whom are little kids who don't seem to care and 1 of whom is my rather un-mustachian husband who likes his creature comforts and is always wandering around in a t-shirt complaining about how cold he is. The house doesn't seem to be very well insulated and I've been going around figuring out the ages of things... the fridge dates to 1997, the heat pump to 1990 and the water heater to 1992. No wonder we have problems. Even in the summer our electric bill has been about $200 (interestingly, it doesn't go up much in the summer versus spring/fall, but winter is ridiculous).

Things I'm contemplating:
Replacing one or more of those horribly old items
Putting in a whole house fan to save on AC usage during the summer
Adding more attic insulation
Turned off the ice maker on the fridge to see if that improves its effectiveness (still waiting for that number on the Kill-A-Watt)
Putting in curtains on the east side of the house to use during the summer mornings--but we have  a lovely eastern exposure that we will still want to sometimes enjoy
Getting better insulated curtains in general

We do a lot of laundry (all in cold except rags and diapers) because little kids are messy, and it's a real pain to hang up a ton of tiny clothes when you have kids nipping at your ankles. I do want to try to do some more line drying. But really I feel that we have large things that are inefficient and I don't want to get too hung up on tiny changes and lose sight of the big ones, something I have a history of.

LennStar

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #621 on: March 29, 2015, 01:01:39 AM »
Wow, this thread was a big face punch for me. Our usage was horrible the last 2 months, average 100kwh per DAY and a $425 bill. Yikes!
OMG. You are using more then 4KW on average! I dont have electric heating (or cooking) and I would be hard pressed to get that high even if I start everything. I think I cant even go up to that, my cutout(?) would jump at 3.5KW I think.

louloulou

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #622 on: March 29, 2015, 03:20:38 AM »
we are using 10kwh/day for a family of 4.

We use electric for cooking.

Use woodburner for heat and a wetback on fire to (help) heat water.

Live in a house that makes the most of passive heat- facing sun, double glazed, extra wide wall cavity/insulation and concrete floors.

Don't own a clothes dryer

Feel pretty happy with where we are at for energy. Would like to add solar to water for summer months but currently still too expensive here to make it cost effective.

bzzzt

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #623 on: March 29, 2015, 11:31:50 AM »
Wow, this thread was a big face punch for me. Our usage was horrible the last 2 months, average 100kwh per DAY and a $425 bill. Yikes! It's been cold here so I blame a lot of that on the heating. We have a 2100 square foot house that is all electric, 3 people home almost all the time, 2 of whom are little kids who don't seem to care and 1 of whom is my rather un-mustachian husband who likes his creature comforts and is always wandering around in a t-shirt complaining about how cold he is. The house doesn't seem to be very well insulated and I've been going around figuring out the ages of things... the fridge dates to 1997, the heat pump to 1990 and the water heater to 1992. No wonder we have problems. Even in the summer our electric bill has been about $200 (interestingly, it doesn't go up much in the summer versus spring/fall, but winter is ridiculous).

Things I'm contemplating:
Replacing one or more of those horribly old items
Putting in a whole house fan to save on AC usage during the summer
Adding more attic insulation
Turned off the ice maker on the fridge to see if that improves its effectiveness (still waiting for that number on the Kill-A-Watt)
Putting in curtains on the east side of the house to use during the summer mornings--but we have  a lovely eastern exposure that we will still want to sometimes enjoy
Getting better insulated curtains in general

We do a lot of laundry (all in cold except rags and diapers) because little kids are messy, and it's a real pain to hang up a ton of tiny clothes when you have kids nipping at your ankles. I do want to try to do some more line drying. But really I feel that we have large things that are inefficient and I don't want to get too hung up on tiny changes and lose sight of the big ones, something I have a history of.

Insulation will be the biggest ROI. It helps in all seasons. Attic is the easiest, but the prep work can still be time consuming to really do it correctly (air sealing, rafter baffles to prevent mold, etc). I have natural gas heat in my house and garage and my winter bills were $180. I had insulated the walls when I dry walled, but I didn't do anything with the attic space as I wanted to use that for storage (only 1000 sq. ft. house with small closets). This past fall I insulated the rafters to only R19 and it cut my heating bill by $50/month! I just finished insulating attic over the house to R60 over the bedrooms and R45 over the kitchen living room (ran out of cellulose and blower was due back) and I can already tell it's a huge difference just by how much less the furnace runs.

Turning off the ice maker will be a small gain, but the fridge is already less efficient than it could be if it has the ice/water in the door. If you enjoy the convenience, I would go after other low hanging fruit (FWIW, it appears MMM has an ice maker, so don't feel bad).

As far as water heater, you can buy a blanket to put on it to increase it's insulation without replacing the entire unit. A 1992 water heater is already past it's normal life, so you can either run it until it breaks or be proactive. Not very familiar with heat pumps, but house insulation might help more than replacing the pump. Example, my house still has a 1982 gas 80% efficient furnace. I have replaced most of the wear items since I've moved in, so I'm going to run it until it cracks the heat exchanger. My winter gas bill is down to $100 as of last month. Even if I replaced the furnace with a 98% unit and assumed all usage was going to heating the house (it's not. Gas heater in garage, stove/oven, water heater), the most I could expect to save would be $18/month in winter months. Assuming 6 months of that bill (not reality), break even would be in the 20-30 year range.

My point about the large equipment is to run the numbers to see if upgrades actually make sense or if they will just be a "feel good" effort.

My wife has a habit where she leaves the lights/fans/exhaust fans on a lot. Other than hounding her and making a mountain out of a mole hill, I have found ways to minimize the waste. All lighting is now LED or CFL. LEDs in all the places that are used often and aren't cost prohibitive. Certain bases are still extremely expensive (candelabra base, GU24, etc), but standard bases have come down a lot in price. Quality of lighting is still all over the board, but that's why I have no problem returning them if I don't like them. I have even put LEDs in the closets, since that's one of the easiest to forget and it's a great place for those cheap lamps that have poor lighting quality.

Don't forget about seasonal items that may not come to mind often. I found out that leaving the block heater for my diesel pickup plugged in all the time was costing almost $40/month! Now, it only gets plugged in when I need it. This goes for Christmas lights and gutter/ice dam prevention heaters as well.

Good luck!

Merrie

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #624 on: April 01, 2015, 05:08:49 AM »
My back-of-the-envelope calculations have heat at ~70% of our total spending. Ack! I think you are right, bzzzt, about the insulation. We will look into that first. AEP subsidized an energy auditor to come out (usually $400 for a whole house audit, we paid $50) and he said we are using less than similar houses and do not have a lot of room to come down. (Challenge accepted.) He said that adding more insulation, replacing the heating system, and replacing the water heater would be the big ones. And sealing various cracks with spray foam. He said probably the whole-house fan wouldn't be worth it, but my husband wants to replace the bathroom fans anyway and if we got really powerful ones we could get close to the same effect.

Running the fridge sans ice maker leads to the same watt-hour usage as with ice maker, so I turned it back on and will try something else.

I'm also experimenting with saving energy while cooking--using microwave/slow cooker where I can rather than stovetop/oven. Cooked some beans in the slow cooker the other day, that reduces electric usage by 75% versus the stove top.

But mostly I think anything else is dwarfed by the heating bill. I can't sell my husband on the "turn it way down and use long underwear" approach, but at least this morning I managed to advance the notion of "if we accidentally leave it off too long, don't put it back on with a big temperature jump or the strips will come on." Grar.

forummm

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #625 on: April 01, 2015, 07:14:12 AM »
We have 2 electric cars, so some nights we can use 20kWh while we sleep. But with TOU rates, our electric bill in the winter has been about $40. We have gas stove and heating.

b4u2

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #626 on: April 01, 2015, 07:25:24 AM »
I have a electric tankless water heater with 4 of us in the house. I think I should have really gone to gas or maybe even a tank gas water heater. Gets expensive trying to experiment to find what cuts the electric bill down though.

bzzzt

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #627 on: April 01, 2015, 08:00:13 AM »
I can't sell my husband on the "turn it way down and use long underwear" approach, but at least this morning I managed to advance the notion of "if we accidentally leave it off too long, don't put it back on with a big temperature jump or the strips will come on." Grar.

Insulating may help on that front also. Before I insulated the attic, we kept the thermostat at 69* to have it feel warm enough. After the insulation, I was able to turn it down to 66* and have it feel the same. I have a feeling we could turn it down further if I blew cellulose into the walls which would keep them from radiating the cold making the rooms feel warmer.

bzzzt

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #628 on: April 01, 2015, 08:21:45 AM »
Gets expensive trying to experiment to find what cuts the electric bill down though.

Gathering data and doing the math is the key. Yesterday, I noticed my plug in CO detector. Throwing the Kill-a-Watt behind it measured 8w. At that draw, it'll cost ~$11/year to run it. I placed an order on Amazon for a CO detector that runs on 2 AA batteries and cost $16. I already have rechargeable AAs, so it'll take less than two years to pay back and it'll be 70kWh/year that I'm not consuming. Even if you were using standard batteries, two AAs is cheaper than $11/year.

[edit]Like I mentioned, gathering data is key. I checked it 3 days later and it had only drawn .4kWh. So, evidently it doesn't draw 8w all the time.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 06:12:42 AM by bzzzt »

1967mama

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #629 on: April 02, 2015, 02:01:53 AM »
My new real-time energy monitor arrived in the mail today! I was so excited! hahaha

It was super interesting to get the initial readings as we turned on things like the dishwasher and the dryer -- WOW! did the usage ever jump! More than doubled from 23 kw/h to 56 kw/h! I couldn't believe it! You'd better believe I got my butt out there and hung 2 loads of laundry today -- one inside and one outside on the line.

If you have a serious problem with huge power bills, I'd highly recommend a device like this in your home! Link is upthread.

b4u2

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #630 on: April 02, 2015, 05:08:51 AM »
My new real-time energy monitor arrived in the mail today! I was so excited! hahaha

It was super interesting to get the initial readings as we turned on things like the dishwasher and the dryer -- WOW! did the usage ever jump! More than doubled from 23 kw/h to 56 kw/h! I couldn't believe it! You'd better believe I got my butt out there and hung 2 loads of laundry today -- one inside and one outside on the line.

If you have a serious problem with huge power bills, I'd highly recommend a device like this in your home! Link is upthread.

What device did you buy? I saw MMM recommend the efergy device which costs about $140. I was thinking about buying it because the TED I bought a few years ago doesn't really monitor the whole house.

1967mama

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #631 on: April 02, 2015, 11:23:58 AM »
This is the exact energy monitor I got. It is compatible with our power meter outside the house. It was on sale for $35 when I got it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00BGDPRAI/ref=redir_mdp_mobile/178-2563505-3440551?fp=1&pc_redir=1427995351

b4u2

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #632 on: April 02, 2015, 11:28:19 AM »
This is the exact energy monitor I got. It is compatible with our power meter outside the house. It was on sale for $35 when I got it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00BGDPRAI/ref=redir_mdp_mobile/178-2563505-3440551?fp=1&pc_redir=1427995351

I have a time of day meter from my power company Alliant Energy. I'll have to see what they use and what will work.

bzzzt

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #633 on: April 04, 2015, 05:58:55 AM »
New personal low, 300kWh! I still haven't had time to replace my "tan with wood grain handles" second fridge, but it's on the short list. I used to think there was no way I could get my usage anywhere close to MMM's, but I'm sneaking up on it!

The insulation I blew in the attic is helping three-fold. Using less gas because the furnace isn't running, using less electricity because the blower isn't running, and was able to turn the thermostat down 3* (to 66*) because it doesn't feel as cold.

Having a $53 electric bill is total Badassity and I can't wait to see lower!

lizzzi

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #634 on: April 04, 2015, 01:46:38 PM »
My latest electric bill was cut in half when I started keeping the heat at 60 degrees almost 24/7. I think the blower on the furnace has been responsible for a big chunk of my electric bill. I thought never using the dryer would be more helpful than it has been. (Of course the gas bill was unbelievably low, too. I just wish I wasn't so cold all the time. I know…complainypants…and it is officially spring, for heaven's sake….I mean, it has to warm up sooner or later, doesn't it?) (Doesn't It??!!!)

MrSal

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #635 on: April 04, 2015, 10:40:17 PM »
I compiled data since my wife owns this house.

I only moved in last year around October so changes were implemented.

Here is a history of it.



As you can see we didn't have much savings on electricity since October... just a little bit. December 2014 though, it would have been a sub 300 month if not for the outside christmas lights. We only had a few, but in total they were burning 1.2 kWh !!!!

Also, January, February and March we have been using the dryer - mostly its my wife - a few times here and there ... also according to my thermostat, the furnace worked 110 hours in January and 116 hours in February...

If we assume that the blower uses what? 300-500 watts ... we can infer that something like 30-55 kWh in the month were just the blower of the furnace!

Also we have a very old fridge from the 80's I believe which runs at 2.1 kWh per day.

I figure that with the new fridge we will be getting , which according to manufacture it consumes 400 kWh a year it will be a 50% savings there, so we will be able to drop 30 kWh right there. Additionally with the blower working less in April and May I assume around another 30-55 kWh drop! In the end we may see a total of 60-90 kWh drop putting us into the 200 kWh a month.

I am eager to see what summer will bring... we will definitely see big savings there I bet since we will use the programmable feature a lot as well I hope (my wife is a teacher so she will be home a lot and she is very trigger happy with the thermostat :D ) ... Will try to use mostly fans if we can or fan from the furnace to circulate air.

One area where we can see SIGNIFICANT improvements is the HEAT!

I installed a NEST in the beginning of November ...  ... of course the results are amazing. Most of the savings come of course from the programmable feature nothing exclusive from NEST, although I was able to grab a NEST on ebay still with 3 years warranty for 85 USD, when on average they were selling for 170 USD even the 1st generation used ones. It was a find!

Some months we got more than 50% savings!!

And this is with 2015 !! being colder than 2014 around 10-15% colder actually!!

I am eager to see what summer will bring... we will definitely see big savings there I bet since we will use the programmable feature a lot as well I hope (my wife is a teacher so she will be home a lot and she is very trigger happy with the thermostat :D ) ... Will try to use mostly fans if we can or fan from the furnace to circulate air.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 10:52:56 PM by MrSal »

1967mama

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #636 on: April 05, 2015, 02:00:45 AM »
@MrSal, You seem to have mastered this stuff of watts and kw/h!

Funny question, but in the spirit of Reddit, would you be willing to ELI5 (explain it like I'm 5)? Maybe there are others who don't really understand these basics ... or maybe I'm the only one :-(

I can read my bar graphs and see when my usage is down. I can read my new minute by minute energy monitor as the kw/h's fluctuate up or down depending on how much electricity is running at that moment but I don't actually understand what it means.

Sorry if I'm unclear!


Merrie

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #637 on: April 05, 2015, 05:08:38 PM »
I have a feeling we could turn it down further if I blew cellulose into the walls which would keep them from radiating the cold making the rooms feel warmer.

How do you figure out if this is something your house would benefit from? Is there a way that doesn't involve taking the wall apart to see what's inside it?

MrSal

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #638 on: April 05, 2015, 08:18:56 PM »
@MrSal, You seem to have mastered this stuff of watts and kw/h!

Funny question, but in the spirit of Reddit, would you be willing to ELI5 (explain it like I'm 5)? Maybe there are others who don't really understand these basics ... or maybe I'm the only one :-(

I can read my bar graphs and see when my usage is down. I can read my new minute by minute energy monitor as the kw/h's fluctuate up or down depending on how much electricity is running at that moment but I don't actually understand what it means.

Sorry if I'm unclear!

What do you mean you dont understand?

It's pretty straight forward its only a unit of measurement just like speed.

For example let's say your Microwave. It has a power of 1000 Watts. Watt is the unit of power just as gram is a unit of weight or meter is a unit of distance. So, the same way a KILOmeter or a KILOgram equals respectively 1000 meters and 1000 grams, so an appliance with a power of 1000 Watts is also a power of 1 kW.

Now, this is only unit of power and NOT a unit of measuring electricity consumption, the same way when you're driving a car you dont say "oh im driving at 50 miles". you are indeed driving at 50 mph.

Then we have the Watt-hour which is the unit of energy equivalent to 1 watt of power expended in 1 hour.

So lets go back to the microwave, it uses energy at the rate of 1000 Watts-hour or 1 kWh. It just means that if the microwave is on for 1 hour it will have expended 1000 watt-hour.

Even though you're expending at a rate of 1000 watts-hour, doesnt mean you actually spent that amount. Let's say you turn on your microwave for 6 minutes. Sure the rate is 1kWh at any given time BUT in the end you only spent 100 Watt-hour, or 0.1 kWh NOT 1000 Wh/1kWh ... why? Because you only had it turned on for 6 minutes.

It's the equivalent of saying that you are driving at 100 miles per hour for 6 minutes. You were indeed driving at 100 mph but you didn't travel 100 miles in the end. You only got to travel 10 miles total. You would travel 100 miles if you would had mantained the rate of 100 mph for a total of 1 hour.

The exact same thing with electricity.

1967mama

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #639 on: April 05, 2015, 09:08:57 PM »
Thank you, Mr Sal!!!!

lizzzi

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #640 on: April 06, 2015, 07:54:00 AM »
To MMM dude--I sent you a PM. Let me know if it doesn't come through.

pagoconcheques

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #641 on: April 06, 2015, 08:09:54 AM »
The fish tank?

Yes, the fish tank.  Absolutely. 

When we finally got rid of our 20 gallon heated freshwater tank after using it for many years, our electric bill dropped noticeably.  You've got a pump, a heater, an aerator, on all the time.  Depending on your fish and tank location, you may have a light on as well a lot of the time. 

Looking back, we really didn't love the fish that much.  If you have kids who care enough to do the maintenance then keep it for a few more years, otherwise consider putting the tank, fish, and all on craigslist. 

b4u2

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #642 on: April 06, 2015, 10:22:36 AM »
I had my daughter go count all the lights in the house, top to bottom and garage. We have 42 lights total. Most of them are cfl currently. Most are not used for weeks at a time, like the basement lights. So does i make sense to switch them all to LED at once?

Where do you get the best price for LED?

LennStar

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #643 on: April 07, 2015, 01:16:47 AM »
I had my daughter go count all the lights in the house, top to bottom and garage. We have 42 lights total. Most of them are cfl currently. Most are not used for weeks at a time, like the basement lights. So does i make sense to switch them all to LED at once?

Where do you get the best price for LED?
$ wise it makes no sense to change from CFL to LED, the difference is quite small. However LED often have better lights and dont take time to get to full light.
"Best price" for LED is not always what you aim for (and strongly depends where you are I think). You should look at how the light looks and if the LED makes a sound (like most CFL do) when on if you want it for e.g. reading lamp or a room where you sleep. Or if it takes half a second to start or not. There are unfortunately a lot of small differences between LED lamps and depending on your situation a few bucks more can really be worth it.

But overall I would prefer bad LED over CFL (if I need a new one) every time.

MikeBear

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #644 on: April 07, 2015, 03:50:25 PM »
I had my daughter go count all the lights in the house, top to bottom and garage. We have 42 lights total. Most of them are cfl currently. Most are not used for weeks at a time, like the basement lights. So does i make sense to switch them all to LED at once?

Where do you get the best price for LED?

Home Depot, and go for the "CREE" brand of bulbs. 2700k for the traditional "yellow" look, and 5000k for a bit starker bright white type. My wife and I used all 5000k bulbs for everywhere (especially outside) except in the living room.

b4u2

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #645 on: April 08, 2015, 07:31:41 PM »
I;ll check those out. I hate the "yellow" light. My CFL are all daylight bulbs.

takeahike

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #646 on: April 09, 2015, 11:51:45 AM »
I;ll check those out. I hate the "yellow" light. My CFL are all daylight bulbs.

Personal preference is a funny thing.  I despise daylight bulbs lol. They are just so intense. Reminds me of work.

urover

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #647 on: April 11, 2015, 04:30:33 AM »
March is one of the warmer months of the year here in tropical India, followed by intense heat in April and May. Our bill for the month of March came to less than 10$ for 190 units (kwh). We pay 5cents per unit, which is not very expensive. We are an upper middle class family that more or less lives on american middle class standards in terms of what we own and use. Our house is 1700sq ft in area.

Let me know if anyone's interested in knowing the details of how we achieve low bills.

A mom

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #648 on: April 12, 2015, 07:21:23 PM »
March is one of the warmer months of the year here in tropical India, followed by intense heat in April and May. Our bill for the month of March came to less than 10$ for 190 units (kwh). We pay 5cents per unit, which is not very expensive. We are an upper middle class family that more or less lives on american middle class standards in terms of what we own and use. Our house is 1700sq ft in area.

Let me know if anyone's interested in knowing the details of how we achieve low bills.

Yes, please.

Ozstache

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #649 on: April 13, 2015, 04:42:28 AM »
My solar power system was installed last month and has been generating around 14 kwh per day on average since then, which has reduced our consumption cost by nearly half. We now try to use high power appliances during periods of peak generation to take best advantage of the system.

If anyone is interested, the following is a link to the pvout website with stats for my system http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=37052&sid=34002. Due to problems I was having for a while feeding correct consumption data to this website, these statistics are only useful since I fixed it on 09 Apr15.