To say that electricity has revolutionized the way people live is somewhat of an understatement. In fact there is little we do today around the home that does not in some way utilize the tremendous power of electricity.
In fact there is little we do today around the home that does not in some way utilize the tremendous power of electricity. Light bulbs, clocks, small appliances, computers, radios and televisions are all things we use almost everyday of every year.
But what are the big users of electricity? What are the energy hogs around your home? The answer to that question is not very hard to find. One feature of a home that often consumes the most electricity is the heating and air conditioning system.
Another big user in the home is the source of those wonderful hot baths, your water heater. In the kitchen, your refrigerator and freezer, along with self-cleaning ovens, are the biggest consumers of electricity. And, finally, the clothes dryer in the pantry, on average, can account for a sizable portion of your monthly bill.
To figure out how much energy a particular appliance in your home uses, simply find the wattage of that appliance (it should be listed somewhere on the appliance). If the wattage is not shown, it can be calculated by finding the amperage and voltage ratings on the appliance and multiplying the two numbers (Amps x Volts = Watts).
Once you have the wattage, multiply it by the number of hours per day the appliance operates, and divide that number by 1000. You have just determined how many kilowatt-hours per day the appliance uses. An approximate monthly usage can be determined by multiplying that number by 30 days. You may then multiply the monthly kWh usage by the appropriate rate you pay to determine how much that appliance costs per month to operate. Later in the book, a worksheet is provided which will allow you to figure an approximate usage for your entire home.
Wattage x Hours of Use = kilowatt-hours
Two of the biggest consumers of electricity in some homes are also two of the best hidden energy hogs. They are heaters for water beds and hot tubs.
They are heaters for water beds and hot tubs. Studies have shown that there are water beds in about 30% of homes in the United States. And if not handled properly, they could be costing those people a lot of money.
Likewise, to heat a large hot tub could double your monthly power bill. Another hidden consumer of energy around your home is the well pump, especially if the system is not operating properly. A variety of problems with the well pump and its storage tank could be causing the pump motor to run almost constantly, wasting those valuable kilowatthours.
Beginning with the next section of this book, we will take a look at specific consumers of electricity in the home and ways to cut back on their appetites.
Just because you are able to get away and take some time off, doesn’t necessarily mean your electric appliances are getting time off too.
And so bills can’t always be expected to be dramatically lower when you’ve been away on vacation. While you are away from home, your refrigerator, water heater and heating or cooling system, along with a hand-full of smaller appliances may be running almost as much as usual.
If the refrigerator or freezer is not emptied and turned off, for example, it will continue to maintain the preset temperatures. They may not run quite as much, but they will run just the same. The same is true for your water heater and heating and air conditioning system. Unless they are turned completely off, they are likely to operate periodically and use energy.
Other things around the home that may operate even though you are not at home are clocks, older color televisions with instant-on features, your well-pump if you have one, and attic fans or ventilators.
Deciding which of your appliances will be left on during your vacation is your decision. But it does not have to be an all-or-none situation.
In the end, every home and every family is different, and there are undoubtedly other things you can do in your home to trim the electricity used while you are taking it easy.