Thursday, November 8, 2012

Electricity Use - Lowest Month Yet

I have been tracking our electricity use since we moved here in mid-2010. Last month we had our lowest usage yet, which I'm pretty excited about. Our second lowest usage month was April 2012, which, when I think about it, really isn't a big surprise. Both months are during the transition period between using the air conditioner and occasional use of space heaters for supplemental heat.

Because we heat with propane, but cool with electricity, our electricity use is always very uneven from one season to the next. We are, however, pretty consistent electricity users during the heating season. From October 2011 through March 2012 our average daily usage was 13.59 KWH. Usage during each of those months was within 6% of that average. Overall, however, our usage is trending down. Whereas our usage for October 2011 was 13 KWH, it was down to 11.43 KWH for October 2012. Going back 6 months, I see an ever larger decrease. Usage for April 2012 was 11.45 KWH per day, compared to 17.61 KWH per day for April 2011.

We haven't done anything drastic over the past year to reduce our energy demands, so I can't really tell you precisely what has caused the decrease. I suspect that it is a combination of small changes, as well as us becoming generally more conservation minded. One change that we made was to purchase a new freezer. I haven't compared the electricity usage of the two, but I'd be surprised if the new one was a significant savings, as it has nearly three times the capacity of the old one. I need to check though, to know for sure.

During the heating season our biggest electrical user is the hot water heater. Beyond that, the next highest users are the refrigerator, freezer, space heaters, and the tv. I suspect that the refrigerator and freezer use less electricity during this season due to the cooler inside temperatures, although I haven't taken readings to determine what impact that actually has. Since we spend more time inside during the cooler months, the tv gets used more, so the usage adds up. Andrea likes to have the tv on as background noise, although she often uses the radio or plays audio books instead. I should probably compare the electrical usage of the various options, to give her some input on how each option compares. There is a real possibility that the tv accounts for 10% of our average daily electricity use.

Our overall electricity use needs to continue to go down, especially since we would like to switch to a renewable energy system at some point. I'm happy to see that it is trending downward, and I am very interested in keeping an eye on it to see how things go from here.

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