How to save even more money on your electric bill
Due to the warmer weather, we’ve gone 100% without either AC or heat for more than a month! I received our first resulting electric bill a week or so ago. I was excited to see how low it was going to be. While it was significantly lower than our winter bills, about 45% lower. The bill was still higher than I anticipated.
I’ve been assuming all winter long that the primary consumer of electrical power in the house was the heat pump and underlying electric based back-up coils. While certainly a large portion, it would seem there might be some additional opportunities to reduce costs as well. Here’s the run-down of other consumers and in the order I think they are “guilty”:
- Hot water heater
- Dish Washer
- Window/Box fans at night
- My Saltwater Aquarium (filters, lights and pumps)
- Electric Oven
- Miscellaneous electronic devices left on (computers, DVR, etc.)
To determine the cost of each, I found a neat site called: How much electricity does my stuff use? The site has a calculator where you can select the offending electric device and determine how much it’s costing you. I put the breakdown of how my devices break out below. Now, just a point of clarification: remember, I have a big family: 6 kids. As a result, we wash dishes daily, do 2 loads of laundry per day, and there are 8 showers per day (4 in the AM, 4 in the PM). My costs are skewed much higher than the average family of 4.
|Device||Estimated monthly cost||Comments|
|Hot water heater||$84.00||I assumed it was running about 8 hours/day to keep the water warm.|
|Washer/Dryer||$40.00||.65 cents per load, 2 loads, 31 days|
|Dish Washer||$22.00||Used 2 hours per day|
|Window/Box fans at night||$12.50||5 fans all night. We like white noise.|
|Saltwater Aquarium||$25.00||This was just a guess, and I erred a little high|
|Lights||$7.00||Another guess, but we don’t really use lights much as we have lots of windows in our home.|
|Electric Oven||$8.80||Estimated 1 hour/per day for 20 days per month. We usually cook on our gas grill.|
|Refrigerator||$12.60||We have two refrigerators and a freezer.|
|Misc Devices||$25.00||Computers, coffee makers, alarm clocks, DVR, and other plugged in devices|
I was really surprised, this estimate was not far off from our actual bill at all. Our bill was $220.00. I also didn’t predict correctly how much various devices were using. For example, I thought the window fans would use way more electricity than were. I also assumed the refrigerators would use more as well.
How to reduce our electric bill
So armed with the data on what my various devices are costing me, I can now take some additional steps to begin lowering our costs even further. Here are just a few of the items I’m going to pursue:
- Install a hot water heater timer. I’m going to do this today. I’ll turn the heater off around 7:00pm and turn it back on at 5:00am in time to get the water warmed up for morning showers at 6:00am.
- To reduce washer/dryer costs, we’ll begin using only cold water. We do this fairly often anyway, but will begin to do this even for the extra dirty white loads (we have 5 boys…need I say more?)
- For my saltwater aquarium, I’m reducing the amount of lighting per day. I doubt this will make a huge difference, but we’ll see. Maybe it will cut down on my algae growth as well.
- For the miscellaneous devices, I’ll make sure things are unplugged when not in use, I’ll shut down our kids computers at night, and make sure I leave mine and my wife’s on standby. Again, we generally do this, but we’ll make a stronger effort.
If you haven’t checked out and analyzed your electrical use lately, I highly recommend grabbing your bill and visiting the How much electricity does my stuff use? site. I found it very insightful. I’m determined to continue to reduce my bill. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.
Did I miss anything? What other tips do you have to help me (and others) reduce our expenses? Add a comment and let me know what you think!
Photo by: redjar