Electrical Usage

Old 12-03-03, 07:32 PM
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Unhappy Electrical Usage

I need some suggestions on how to cut down on my electricity use. According to my BGE bill I use 786kilowatts a month. It is a family of four. Please help?? Any electrcial hardware i can purchase to help reduce my usage, such as bulbs that stay on only when someone is in the room etc. Thank you
Old 12-03-03, 07:44 PM
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Most of your consumption comes from a few large loads. Turning off the lights isn't going to help much.

Is this an all-electric home? Then most of your usage comes from home heat and the water heater. Talk your family into taking shorter (5-7 minutes) and less hot showers. Buy a setback thermostat. Set it to no more than 68 in the day and 55 at night. Set it down in the middle of the day too whenever no one is home. Keep the exterior doors (including the garage door) closed. Consider drying more of your clothes by hanging them up. Wait for full loads to wash clothes, and don't use water any hotter than necessary. Run only full loads of the dishwasher.

Concentrate on the big stuff.
Old 12-04-03, 11:02 AM
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Good advice from John. If I may, here are a few other things that might help:
1) Compact Fluorescent bulbs use a quarter of what standard incandescent bulbs use. They're fairly inexpensive and can be used in a variety of places. They also last several times longer than an incandescent bulb.
2) Old appliances can be major energy hogs. Replacing an old refrigerator or an old freezer can often pay for itself in less than a year. Replacing an old washer with a new high efficiency front loader can cut both electricity and water usage (a normal load of laundry from a new washer only takes about 20 minutes to dry because the washer's faster spin removes more water. An average cycle only uses around 15 gallons of water compared to the 40+ gallons some old washers use. At around 7 loads per week, the savings adds up fast.)
3) Turn off the computer when it isn't being used. Make sure the power saving features of your computer are enabled so it will go to low power automatically when it's inactive. A computer left on all the time can easily waste 150 KWH in a month. More if the monitor is left on too. Most people have no idea how hungry these modern marvels are.
4) Unplug electronics that aren't in use. Most of today's electronic devices work on low voltage power. A device called a transformer is used to convert standard house power (120 Volts) to the low voltage power needed for the device. Transformers use electricity all the time, even if the device they power is turned off. They use only around 2 or 3 watts, but if you had 10 (probably quite low for most homes these days...) plugged in 24 hours-a-day, you would probably be wasting around 20 KWH per month.

Candidly, 786KWH per month doesn't seem unreasonable for a family of 4. If you are all electric (I doubt it...), it's not bad at all. KWH = watts X hours / 1000. Use that formula to estimate what the various electrical things around the house are actually using. Wattages for any appliance are usually listed somewhere on the appliance or in the manual. Find out where you're using energy and initiate changes in the areas where there is waste.

Good luck.

Doug M.
Old 12-04-03, 12:27 PM
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Your monthly power consumption is approx. equivalent to a "constant" load of 1000 watts. If you consume 1000 watts for a period of one hour, the power consumed is 1 kilowatt/hr. For 720 hours, its 720 kilowatt/hrs. 720 hours = 30 days X 24 hours.

A "constant" load of 1000 watts is approx. 5 amps x 220 volts, which means you have the equivalent of 5 amps of "continual" current.A 5-amp load would be one freezer and one refrigerator "running" without interruption with no other loads on the system.

Obviously, in you household, when the fridge goes "Off", something else goes "On"

You "constant" load of 5 amp does not seem excessive by present-day standards.
Old 12-04-03, 02:48 PM
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I use about 750 Kwatts every month, and it's only a 1000 sq ft apartment (plus laundry room) I don't see that value being that high considering that my parents use close to 1000 Kw every month (both are homes in the Chicago area with all gas, and these are values not really impacted by the central AC (only running perhaps 2 or 3 days out of the month)). Emergency heat on a heat pump will realy add up kW pretty fast, and so will a lot of lights. I have 50 light bulbs in my house if I were to turn them all on.

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