April 20, 2016

Forgive us, we know this is long overdue!  Quite a while back we posted a survey and asked you what you think are the highest energy users in your home.  Although we did not have much participation, something tells me you might be interested in some answers anyway!  You can find our first post here:  http://www.solairenergy.com/news/2016/01/28/which-do-you-think-highest-energy-user-your-home.

1.  Lights - Anyone can do the math on this one.  For example, if you are still using incandescent light bulbs the wattage is right on the bulb!  Instead of using a 65W bulb, you could replace it with a 13W CFL or as low as a 9W LED for an equivalent amount of lumens.  In other words, you would be saving up to 56 Watts per bulb!  Let's say you use ten bulbs for one hour each day for a month - that would be 19,500 Watts per month.  Penelec currently charges $0.136 per kWh, which would come to $2.65 per month or $31.82 per year.  A switch to LED lighting for those ten bulbs would save you $4.41 per year.  Obviously, if you have 100W bulbs, or more than ten light bulbs, or if you keep your lights on more than an hour a day the savings would be greater.  Not to mention, both CFL and LED bulbs have a much longer life span - which saves you money on replacement bulbs as well.

2.  Refrigerator - This can mainly depend on how new your refrigerator is.  If you purchased it before the days of Energy Star ratings, it is possible that it could be costing you enough that it would be worth replacing.  Your typical 18 cubic foot refrigerator can use around 110 kWh per month, which is about $179.52 per year.  A newer Energy Star refrigerator of the same size could cost you as little as $48.69 per year!  This means if you bought a new refrigerator, it would basically pay for itself within the first five years.  If you know the make and model of your current refrigerator, you can sometimes find the wattage use online.  Then you can do your own calculations to see if it would make sense for you to make the switch.

3.  Television - This varies as to the type and size, but we can give you a rough idea.  A standard 28" television uses about 120 Watts, an LCD 32" television is about 160 Watts, and a plasma 42" television uses about 270 Watts.  If you watch your LCD TV an hour a day, it is probably costing you around $7.83 per year.  Not as bad as you thought, huh?

4.  Electric Water Heater - Did you know your electric water heater can account for up to 18% of your electric bill?  A typical 40 gallon water heater uses about 5,000 Watts.  At an average of 75 hours of use each month, that is a whopping $612 per year!  But what can you do?  Well, you can check to make sure your water heater is set at the recommended 120°.  You can conserve hot water usage by washing your clothes in cold water, or not running the hot water the entire time you do your dishes.  Stagger showers, baths and dishes to make hot water go further or take quick showers instead of full baths.  In the end, you know the habits of your own household and can probably come up with the best ways for your family to save on this portion of your electric bill.

5.  Electric Baseboard Heat - Your average eight foot baseboard heater uses about 2,000 Watts.  If used for an average of 150 hours per month, one baseboard will cost you $489.60 per year.  Today's heat pump technology has made ductless mini splits a great way to save if you have electric heat - or if you spend a lot of money cooling your home in the summer.  It's a little too complicated to do the math here, since every home is different.  But if you are interested in making the switch, give us a call!

6.  Window Air Conditioner - Again, this would depend on the size of your unit and how much you use it each day - but just to give you an idea, it can average about 1,100 Watts.  If you use it 90 hours a month, one window unit is costing you about $161.57 per year.  Again, there are Energy Star products that may be much more efficient than what you are currently using.  You can look at the plate to find the information about the Wattage use of your air conditioner and work out whether it would be beneficial to switch it out for a more efficient unit.

7.  Electric Dryer - An electric dryer uses about 3,400 Watts.  At an average of 16 hours per month (or four loads per week), it can cost you around $88.78 per year.  The most obvious way to cut this bill is to hang your clothes out to dry when the weather is nice!  (Did I mention we also install clotheslines?) But for other suggestions, you can use a "less dry" setting on your dryer to shorten the cycle, dry full loads, keep your lint trap clean and dry consecutive loads while the dryer is already heated up from the previous load.

8.  Other - One thing that we find quite a bit that surprises people is coffee maker use.  Did you know your coffee maker can use up to 1,500 Watts?  If you keep your coffee maker on to keep your coffee warm just four hours a day, that can cost you up to $293.76 per year! Wow!  We like to suggest using a carafe - trust me, they work great and keep your coffee quite warm for hours at a time without costing you a dime!

So hopefully now we have you thinking about that pesky electric bill that arrives every month.  What can you do to save?  Energy education is just one of so many benefits that you enjoy when you have an energy audit.  If you feel your bill is higher than it should be, we have the tools to help you figure it out!  Call us today and take advantage of some of the great rebates that electric companies are currently offering their customers!