Not many decades ago, electricity companies were encouraging people to buy appliances and maximize their use of electricity. Note the ad to the right dated circa 1932.
Maybe you're wondering how we spend so little on electricity each month. Here are some of our tips:
- After we received a SMART meter outside our home, we did a family experiment. Using the digital reading of how much electricity is being used in real time, we tested the amount of kilowatts used by various appliances, one by one. It was enlightening. A floor fan used far less electricity than the air conditioner; the water heater when powered up used the most.
- We have a natural gas furnace, so the only electrical cost associated with heating is the furnace fan. My husband has programmed our thermostat according to the time of use rates for the winter season. Between 7 am and 11 am and again between 5 pm and 7 pm, the time of use rates are at their peak, so those are also the times when our thermostat is set the lowest. It's almost unavoidable for us to not be cooking between 5 pm and 7 pm, so the heat from the oven and stove help warm our living space and we are seldom aware that the temperature is lower.
- Our water heater runs only at night between 7 pm and 7 am on weekdays; we turn off the breaker switch each morning and reset it each evening, but we do not run out of hot water during the day. On the weekends when time of use rates are at their lowest level, we keep the water heater on all day.
- We live in a semi-detached house, so there is less square footage to be heated and/or cooled.
- In summer we use fans instead of an air conditioner unless there have been 3 days of high humidity in a row.
- If we are baking or cooking smaller items, we use a toaster oven rather than our large oven.
- We wash dishes by hand.
- Our flooring is mostly hard wood, so a vacuum cleaner is used less often than a broom or dry mop.
- Our family hobbies include occasional movie watching and wood working, but not gaming or sitting in a hot tub.
- We expect everyone in the house to wear an outfit more than once before it is put in the laundry, unless it was somehow soiled. Towels are used for a whole week, and bed sheets are changed twice a month.
- Laundry is done after 7 pm, but we have no clothes dryer. We hang clothing from lines in the basement every other day so that humidity levels do not get too high. In spring, summer and fall, we hang clothes outside to dry.
- Our light fixtures contain fluorescent bulbs, but when multiple bulbs are expected in a lamp, we unscrew at least one of them. How bright does it really have to be in the bathroom?
- We have one refrigerator, deliberately the smallest that would meet our needs, and one chest freezer.
- We power down our computer at night and hibernate it when it is not being actively used.
- We use a power bar to turn off our television and DVD player.
I'd be interested in any ways you have reduced your electricity consumption.