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.
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:
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?