In recent days I’ve been reading an abundance of energy saving tips, testing them out each day to find areas where we can make the biggest changes and greatly decrease our energy usage. Why have I suddenly become aware of our electricity consumption? It was thanks to a very recent $366 electric bill that we expected to be around $200 (YIKES!). I’m blogging about what I’m learning here, and how we’ve been able to implement changes to drastically reduce our kilowatt hour usage to help us soon achieve our goal of regular monthly electric bills under $100 for our family of 10. If you’re interested in our challenge and you’ve missed the beginning of the “About That Electric Bill” series, view my first installments here:
Part 2: The Water Heater
Part 3: The Air Conditioner
Part 4: The Breaker Box
We’ve been quite successful the last week and a half in keeping our KWH’s under 30 a day, which was the initial goal. However, the last week has found us going one better, easily keeping them under 25.
So yay for that!
In this process I’ve learned quite a few things. There are numerous little changes you can make each day to help reduce your electricity usage, and your bill. We’ve been turning off our house at the breaker everyday for about 6 hours, so many of these tips aren’t things that apply to us. But I thought that, for those of you who aren’t interested in going all pioneer woman (as my friend and bread baking teacher, Donna put it) these tips might be perfect for you.
- Unplug chargers when you’re not using them. Chargers continue to draw power even when they aren’t charging anything.
- Turn off your plasma or LCD TV when you’re not using it. Plasma’s are the worst, but LCDs aren’t far behind.
- In fact, you should unplug your plasma or LCD TV. These things stay on standby even when they’re off, constantly drawing power. I read about one lady who said her electric bill went up $60 the first month she had her new plasma TV. YIKES!
- Use your crock pot more than your range. Not only does your range use more energy, but it can heat up your house very quickly. This isn’t a big deal in the winter, but in the warmer months you’ll want to watch your heat output. Using your crock and putting it in the garage to cook can help keep the house from heating up. Stephanie has an amazing website with a year full of crock pot recipes. They’re not just for soup!
- Unplug your microwave and range when you’re not using them. Or turn them off at the breaker box. They both draw power when not in use.
- Change your digital clocks to analog clocks. Analog clocks take a single battery that will generally last a long time. Plus, they’re way prettier.
- Line dry your clothes.
- Shut down your computer when you’re not using it. Computers produce a lot of heat and leaving it on is going to heat up your house. Plus, leaving your computer on means it’s constantly drawing power, whether you’re using it or not.
- If you have a full chest freezer, experiment with turning it off for a day. My research has shown me that a full chest freezer can stay off for up to 3 days and still stay frozen. Don’t take my word for it though. We aren’t even using our chest freezer right now so I haven’t had a chance to test this out.
- Get a Kill-A-Watt meter. Because we’re just turning everything off everyday we haven’t had a need to buy one. However, if you want to know how much electricity each item in your house is using a Kill-A-Watt meter is the way to go.
- Do frequent house walk-throughs to make sure all the lights are off.
- Stay aware of your KWH usage. Take daily meter readings, preferable at the same time each day, and pay attention if the numbers suddenly shoot up.
This may seem like a lot of work, and at first it might be. Make a list so you can just go down it each day, or do what we did and learn your breaker box - this is much easier than scouting your home for unexpected energy users.
I’m sure there is more to write on this, and I will as new energy saving ideas come to me. But for now, we’re already saving a ton. I’m pleased, pleased, pleased.
I’ll update as soon as our next electric bill arrives in a couple of weeks. We only went a few days in this cycle before we started our energy saving experiment. If we don’t hit our goal this month I’m hoping we’ll at least be close!