10 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Electrical Consumption Part 1
Understanding your power bill and how electricity is consumed in your home is the first step in reducing your costs. The average family in the U.S. consumes about 850-1000kWh per month. The abbreviation kWh stands for kilowatt hour (or hours) and is a unit of energy equal to 1000 watts. Most utility companies bill by the kilowatt hour. If you turn on a lamp with a 100 watt bulb for 10 hours, you've just consumed 1kWh. In order to determine how many kWh your using check your power bill. It may fluctuate depending on what time of the year it is. For example, if it's summer time and your running your air conditioner more frequently, then your kWh will be higher. It's best to take several of your most recent power bills and get an average. If your average is 850kWh per month, then your goal is to drop your electricity consumption to 425kWh per month or less. The following 10 steps will help you reach your goal.
STEP 1. LOW FLOW SHOWER HEADS
"Wait a minute. You said these steps would reduce my electric bill and now your talking about water?" That's exactly right. This step is a very important step. It's gonna save you water and electricity. Most homes heat water using electric hot water tanks. Your electric hot water tank is more than likely your biggest electricity consumer in your home. Please don't stop reading if you have a gas hot water tank. This step will save you gas and water.
If you've ever taken a shower and ran out of hot water, you probably blamed your spouse or thought the hot water tank was too small. In all likelihood, it was probably your shower head. Most homes have shower heads installed that have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Installing a low flow shower head with a flow rate of 1 gpm will save you a ton of money. You'll use 60% less hot water versus the standard 2.5 gpm shower head. That means you'll save water and electricity at the same time!
STEP 2. ELECTRONIC WATER HEATER TIMERS
Let's stick with water for a little bit longer. Ever wonder what your hot water tank does all day? Most people don't give it a second thought. That's unfortunate because your hot water tank is a power consuming monster.
If your like most people, you shower once a day. Occasionally you'll hit the rain locker twice in a 24 hour period. For the sake of this example, let's say you shower twice a day and your showers normally last about 15 minutes . Your total shower time for the day is 30 minutes. What happens the other 23.5 hours of the day. You guessed it. Your hot water tank continues to heat water.
Your goal should be to only heat water when you need it. There are several solutions to this problem. One solution is to install a tankless on-demand hot water heater. To learn more about tankless water heaters click here.
Another solution would be to cut the power to your hot water tank when it's not in use. This is a simple and effective way to fight this problem and best of all, it's free. You simply flip the breaker to your hot water tank and the problem is solved. Just remember, you'll need turn the power back on approximately one hour before you need hot water again. If you forget and your in a hurry, you'll be taking a cold shower.
The best solution is to install an electronic water heater timer. These devices cost about $35-$100 dollars depending on which model you purchase. Installing an electronic water heater timer gives you the option to program how often your hot water tank turns on and heats water.
Keep in mind your hot water tank will need approximately one hour to fully heat the water in the tank. Once it's fully heated, the water should stay hot for several hours. If you program your timer to turn on your hot water tank once in the morning and once in the evening, you'll have several hours of hot water twice a day. Instead of your hot water tank running 24 hours a day, it will only run 2 hours a day and that will save you a fortune!
PART 2 IN THIS 5 PART SERIES WILL BE POSTED ON MARCH 23rd, 2011