The Results are in

It’s the beginning of the month and the time I sit down to pay all my bills in one go. I like to compare how much I am saving from month to month and one year with the next. I was pretty excited to see the little changes I’ve made, such as changing out the incandescent bulbs that were in the house when I moved in with LED ones, have such a big impact.

electrical chart

This chart shows the total Kilowatt hours of electricity used each month starting with January 2015 on the far left.  Actual readings are identified with an “A” at the bottom and estimated readings an “E”.

July and August are months I will have to work a bit harder to reduce but the spike is from using a fan to keep things cool in here, I don’t use air conditioning, and having my grandchildren staying with me for two weeks each month. I’m not sure why there was such a spike in June, I’ll have to investigate that further but I think it may have a lot to do with having to charge my wheelchair more often as outdoor work drains the battery quicker.

The differences between last January and this I put down to warmer temperatures resulting in the furnace being used less often. I have a gas furnace but the thermostat and electronic start on the pilot light both add up on the electrical bill.

Then I read this:

electricl usage

If you look under the graph you’ll see a break down comparing last year to this.  You can see the amount of daily KWH used was cut by more than half!!  But the part that shocked me was the average daily temperature.  We had some bitter cold temperatures last winter that seemed to last forever but in reality the worst of our winter held off until February, and you can see the additional usage of the furnace reflected in March when the adjustment was made by the actual reading.

When I looked at this house the one thing I wanted to do was add solar panels. It was a top priority on my list of ways to green my life so much so that if the roof line wasn’t at the proper angle to make solar feasible I wouldn’t have bought the house. Now I look at how little electricity I use and I question the value of the investment. Sure, it would be nice to have energy independence but at what cost.

Ways I’ve reduced my electricity around the house

  • Removed every incandescent light bulb and replaced them with LED
  • Changed out the five bulb ceiling fans with a single bulb fixture
  • In the bathroom where there is a light bar that hold 5 light bulbs I removed all the original bulbs and replaced with only two LED bulbs
  • I keep only the room I am in lit
  • Replaced the large refrigerator that came with the house with a chest freezer and a tiny dorm fridge
  • Use the slow cooker when possible, instead of the oven, which even being operated for longer periods of time use a fraction of the electricity
  • When cooking I prepare extra portions and freeze the leftovers for another day reducing the number of times I need to cook. Warming food takes less time. Less time= less cost
  • Unplug everything when it’s not being used. For hard to reach outlets I use a power strip that can be turned off when not needed.
  • Open curtains to use natural light to brighten up a room instead of turning on a light fixture
  • Operate the dishwasher only if I have enough dishes to fill it completely, which is no more than twice a week, with the exception being the four weeks in the summer I have my grandchildren staying with me.

As you can see I invested very little to reduce my electrical usage so far, the largest investment was in the LED bulbs. Yes, I replaced light fixtures but I did so with used fixtures. The most expensive light fixture was $15, followed by two $5 fixtures and a $1 fixture.  My son is an electrician who did the work for me for free but you might have to factor in the cost of hiring out if you aren’t comfortable working with electrical.

There are still plenty of things I want to do to reduce my energy use, starting with proper insulation of the house, which will reduce both heating and cooling costs, but I’m excited to see the inexpensive changes, such as light bulbs, can have such a huge impact.

 

What one thing would you recommend to reduce electrical consumption around the home?

 

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “The Results are in

  1. wow…impressive. I wish that schools would have folks like you come in several times a year, over the course of a elementary/junior high/high school career, and demonstrate/explain how you live. I think it would give them (the youth) much (needed) info, and much needed options in future lives. (am thinking there is no way this is going to happen…sigh)…A lot of times what youth/adults need, is to learn there are options…Options which still allow and encourage a good life, or even a better life.

    Like

    1. I don’t know, I do think that as things change with resources become more scarce and utility costs rising schools will look to educate students in better ways of saving money and learning to do for themselves. They will need to bring in people who have already mastered the skills so you may see your wish come true.

      Like

      1. I hope it comes true..But, I surely doubt it. Unless one finds some sort of unique (private) school, cant imagine it happening. Just see to much stupid stuff going on in schools (as you likely did in past, as you home educated your boys)

        Like

        1. I agree, to a point, with your views. I have high hopes because I’ve seen public schools invite vegetarian chefs in to plant gardens students then take over and teach the cafeteria staff how to cook with fresh ingredients in an effort to combat obesity and lower the costs of providing school lunches. It’s happening in pockets all over the US too which gives me hope that as it gets more expensive to maintain our homes and public buildings those running them will seek to educate the students on reducing consumption. I know I’m being optimistic but it’s how I have to view the future to have hope for my grandchildren.

          Like

  2. Most of my rooms – especially the bathrooms, have those over the mirror panels of light bulbs that all get switched on when you turn on the switch. I use a small accent light with a lower wattage bulb in those areas. And we do all the same conservation methods in other areas of the house. Our electric carrier (our house is all electric) provides a statement that compares you to your neighbors in usage. We always come in about 30% cheaper than our energy efficient neighbors. Our house has good insulation and I have managed to find many of the air leaks and block them. In fact, I even put those child proof electric plug caps on some of our open outlets because I noticed cool air coming in through those openings during very cold and windy days. I believe it is the little things that have made a difference for us – and the fact our insulation (by the builder – 30 years ago) was above standard for the time.

    Like

    1. Well done! I’ve put insulation gaskets behind my switch plates and didn’t even think of the child-proof plugs I use in some of the rooms. I’ll need to add them to the rest of the rooms, thanks for the suggestion. I had wished my entire house was electric as I had planned to put solar panels up but now that I see how low my heating bills are I’m okay with having gas for the heat and hot water.

      What’s with those light bars in the bathroom? Who needs that many light bulbs in a small room? My bathroom is tiny 5 X 7 and the fixture hold 5 bulbs. I put two in but I think I could easily get away with one.

      Like

      1. Lois, I have been told at least twice by electricians (no idea if it is so), and heard on a radio show,
        that regarding light bars with multiple lights, and say a kitchen ceiling with multiple lights on one switch.

        — if you do not have all the sockets filled, with all the same watt/size bulb, it creates stress on the “system” of that unit, and can draw more electricity trying to balance, or create stress and overheat it all. I’ve been told if I don’t want to keep all the lights “filled”/working, to put a different fixture in.

        as I say, no idea if it is so, but…might be worth replacing the fixture in your bathroom.

        Like

        1. This is news to me, I will ask my son, who is an electrician and see what he has to say on the subject. At some point I will be replacing the fixture but there are more pressing updates and repairs needed first.

          Like

          1. let us know what your son says. no idea if it is correct, just been told/heard it a number of times. (however repeating the wrong info ten times does not make it correct, grin)

            what I have always worried about , even more than the possible extra electricity it might draw
            was the danger of hotspots in a wiring system designed to operate differently than I was using it (by leaving a few bulbs out, etc…)

            Like

          2. No need for concern, go ahead and removed those excess bulbs. I spoke to my son and have just posted his answers about light bars and the concerns you expressed. You can read here.

            If you have any more questions for “the electrician” I’ll do my best to answer them as soon as I can.

            Like

  3. I’m still going backwards here to see what I missed and delete what I can’t get to but wanted to catch this. You’ve done an amazing job. I was doing well until the kid moved in with all his computers and monitors going. Truly the best thing to do to keep energy costs down is insulation. Mine is not as well insulated as I’d like but better than many manufactured homes. I even looked underneath and it’s buttoned up nicely down there. Gas heat is always cheaper than electric and I wish it were available here. Solar isn’t cost effective for most people. We don’t have enough hours of sun here in the PNW. My son has to wear a stocking hat inside because I keep the heat so low. I will keep the recirculating fan on all summer and that cuts down on my the number of times my AC comes on. When the temps hit 90’s, I start to get ill so it has to work a bit harder then. Otherwise, it’s just the fans and lots of water to stay cool. I’m at 1472 e-mails so I’d better get a move on.

    Like

    1. Here I thought I fell behind, I don’t think I’ve ever been more than 500 or so emails behind. I don’t think any mobile home or RV can be as well insulated as a home on a foundation but at least you don’t have the extreme cold in winter that some places, like here, have so your insulation is probably adequate for most of your weather. Btw, I have a picture in my mind of you removing the skirting and climbing down to inspect the underside of the house. 🙂

      I have a love-hate relationship with gas. Many years ago in a rented flat I came home to find the smell of gas in the home. Turned out the pipe feeding gas to the kitchen stove rotted and was seeping gas all day while I was away. So gas scares me but I know it’s cheaper. I’m okay having a gas furnace, which I have now, but not a gas stove in the kitchen. Ever since that day I am terrified to move a gas stove to clean for fear of damaging the pipes but that leads to me becoming obsessed about not being able to clean. Luckily I have an electric stove here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hate electric stoves. Always had gas till my apartments. Think my gas stoves always had a flexible line so I could pull the stove out to clean. I learned how to tell if there was a leak by mixing soap in water and look for bubbles. Or call the gas man. They show up fast from the gas company. If I smell gas I don’t wait, I call. Gas company doesn’t charge for that. As for me crawling under, never gonna happen. There is a little door and I looked inside when T.S. went under to change an outside faucet. The whole ground and up was covered in a thick white plastic so we could see if there were any leaks or problems. Easy to crawl around under there, if you aren’t old. 🙂

        Like

        1. Cooking on gas is easier and it was what I knew growing up but as an adult most of my homes have had electric so I’m used to them now. I did call the gas company that day I had the leak and they showed up very quickly but the guy was seriously afraid of going in my house. He said the whole house was filled with gas and could have blown from even the friction of opening the door. We had to stay out of the house for a couple of hours to let it air out before it was safe to return.

          You ruined it! I thought you were game and climbed under your house. Even I wouldn’t do that I feel too claustrophobic under there.

          Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your thoughts, won't you please tell me what's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s