With winter arriving, I have been curious as to how our changes will effect our electrical usage. Our first winter we froze because our newly installed wood heater (our only source of heat at the time), was located in the front of the house and was unable to get heat to the back of the house (which was poorly insulted back then). By the following winter our electric air source heat pump was installed, and I tried to figure out a way to keep costs down by using both. True, the kitchen and back bathroom were warmer, but our electric bill skyrocketed. Finally in January we got the wood cookstove installed in the kitchen.
This winter we decided to only use the heat pump occasionally, in mildly chilly weather. It becomes increasingly less efficient as the outdoor temperature drops, often blowing cold air out the registers. Then the auxiliary heat strips finally kick in, which really guzzle down the electricity. The goal is to avoid that.
The other day I paid November's electric bill and was pleased that compared to last year, our kilowatt hours had been cut by more than half. Weatherwise, temperatures were about the same but last year, November's electric use average was 33 kWh. This November, we averaged 15 kWh per day. I think that's pretty good for an all electric house.
That daily 15 kWh was for:
- electric lights, used only as needed & all energy efficient type bulbs
- 2 refrigerators (one energy star rated)
- 1 chest freezer (energy star rated)
- ceiling fans to circulate heat from the wood stoves
- fan at night for "white noise" (barking dogs & the occasional zooming car)
- 2 LED night lights with switches to turn off during the day (I got rid of the ones with light sensors)
- occasional use of power tools
- occasional use of electric dryer on rainy days
- occasional use of electric stove when I don't cook on wood cookstove, and for canning
- occasional use of toaster oven
- occasional use of bread machine
- rare use of the electric skillet
- rare use of the little hand mixer I got for shelling cowpeas
- rare use of crock pot or slow cooker (wood cookstove is excellent at this)
- occasional use of heat pump, for mildly chilly days
- vacuum cleaner a couple times per week
- television for watching DVDs a couple nights per week
- radio when Dan's home
- electric water heater, mostly for showers because I use heated water from the cookstove water reservoir for washing dishes when I can
- morning coffee, otherwise I keep a kettle on one of the woodstoves and use a coffee press or tea pot
Something else I've been doing is to unplug things that aren't in use (that teeny digital clock on the coffee pot is worthless anyway). We put the TV and DVD player on a surge protector, so they are easy to turn off with a flip of a toggle switch. I turn off the computer at night. Another thing that has helped, has been not having to use the electric heater in the kitchen bathroom when we shower, because the wood cookstove keeps the bathroom nice and warm as well.
We do not use home heating oil, natural gas, propane, kerosene, etc., so to me, this is a significant indicator of successful lifestyle changes. I don't mind saying that I'm mighty pleased.
December kWh Report
November kWh Report © December 2012