Finding out how much energy each item in your house uses can be quite revealing. When I can choose what time to run an item, I have reported on peak and off peak costs. When the item is on constantly, I have averaged the price from my bill. Here are my results:
Dryer – jeans still not dry after 1 hour on high.
Water Heater – from completely cold (I shut it off, used the water up, and then turned it back on).
Fridge – because of the cycling this is more accurate per day instead of hour.
Bread Machine – full cycle, one loaf of bread.
Piano – one hour read still 0.00
Making Things More Efficient
I can use the information above to make better choices about using electricity. We have time of use charges, therefore it is cheaper for me to run the highest consuming electrical items during the off peak electrical times. I make sure any baking or wash is done prior to 11:00 am. I will cook most of lunch prior to 11:00 am. We power wash vehicles on the weekend. We try to make supper after 7:00 pm, but this doesn’t always work.
Let’s say I want supper ready at 6:00 pm on Thursday because I’m having company (just because that is the only day that works for them... I would obviously have them over at an off-peak time! – HA HA) and I’ve chosen split pea soup with fresh bread.
Cooking the soup will cost:
Stovetop – 3 kwh - $0.51
Pressure Cooker - $0.13
Slow Cook 8 hours – $0.64
Baking the bread will cost:
Oven – $0.32
Bread Machine - $0.07
Knowing what I know now, I’ll be using the bread machine and cooking that soup in the electric pressure cooker. Simply changing the cooking method can save $0.75 without even trying. If bread and soup is a regular weekly meal, the payoff for making these simple changes in electricity usage is $39.00 per year. On ONE MEAL.
Family Involvement & Learning Opportunities
When Boy #3 has a new business plan to hatching chicks in an incubator and sell them, I know just what his expense in electricity will be and he can add that cost to his business expense.
In our home we hang our clothes to dry. All of my children start doing their own laundry at age 8. They all earn money in one way or another, and if they choose to use the dryer it costs them $2.00.
They don’t all like to pay. Boy #2 went down to read the dryer usage (on the door) to figure out if he was being overcharged. Most appliances have a sticker on the back, door, or somewhere that shows the estimated usage.
To figure out usage from the door sticker, he took number of volts (240) and multiply it by the number of amps (26) to get 8240 watts or 8.24 kwh per hour. He took that 8.24 and multiplied it by our cost per kwh, $0.12.5 (off peak) to get $1.03.
Guess what? Smart Boy was being charged more than the actually usage! It’s only $1.03, an overcharge of $.97! Am I lowering the price? Ummm…..no. We will call the remainder a convenience fee, but what great lessons he has learned!
- Always check your costs to make sure you are being charged correctly.
- Calculate the cost of usage when you are thinking about buying something by using the information on the appliance.
- I don’t need a dryer to have clean clothes.
- Convenience costs me money, better planning saves money.
- And a bit of math…..Volts * amps = watts. To get a kwh you divide by 1000.
**When I tested the usage by shutting everything else down and recording the meter reading, I got 4 kwh per hour or $0.52 per hour, but an hour doesn’t always dry everything completely. The information on the door does not match the actual usage in this case.
We need to look at everything in our homes that consume electricity- or better put, consumes our hard earned money.
***When I took a step back and looked at my findings, I thought really, do pennies matter? But beyond frugality, and my attempt to save my family money, there is more. I don’t believe electricity will always be as reasonable as it is now. Should it rise, or I move to another area (like Europe) my family is prepared and ready to consume as little as possible. There will be no learning curve for them. From a green standpoint I also feel we are doing our part to conserve resources – even as a large family.
Next time, we will look at little tips that can save you BIG money.