Sunday, September 30, 2012

LED light bulbs make cents!

 At some juncture, while looking at ways to winterize my home and make it more energy efficient, I got to looking at the light fixture by my bed. As is my habit, I like to read in bed and so inevitably leave the light on after I fall asleep. So, the light burns night after night for about eight hours. It’s a regular 60 watt incandescent bulb as opposed to a CFL light bulb which I found can cause skin cancer when used close to the body. Over time I found that this little bulb, being on every night, could cost around $18 per year to operate. Not a great savings, that’s true, but if there’s a cheaper alternative I'm all ears.

Enter the 40 watt LED light bulb from a company called Hitlights. An alternative light source that costs about $11but which boasts a 40,000 year lifespan! (That’s about 13 years if I were to use it 8 hours a day). And, at only a power consumption level of 6 watts (.006 kWh), that would bring the cost down from $18 for a 60 watt bulb to about $2 over the course of a year. Not a bad savings in my book! So, what’s the downside?? – In a word, color. This bulb’s color rating is 6500 K – which puts it more toward the blue end of the color spectrum when viewed by human eyes. (Note: for $18, they also offer a 75 watt bulb that uses 9 watts of electricity, but which is much closer to a regular incandescent at 2700 K). Will that work for a bedside lighting source? I’ll update this post when it arrives sometime in October.

Update: Hold the presses! My light came recently in the mail and when I installed it I was amazed at how good the light looked!  Here. Judge for yourselves....This photo was not altered in any way and shows just what the light looks like.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My 2012-13 winter power goals!

Let me set the record straight! Last year's winter was pretty darn mild. And so were my electric bills when compared to the year before. Over the four month period November through February, I used 4,066 kilowatt hours of electricity to run and warm my home. That was 2,639 kwh less than the winter season before and represented a 39.4% savings in hard cash! Yowser! This year I'm hoping we have yet another warm winter thanks to Global Climate Change. (I think the odds makers are saying we have something like a 34% chance of a plus 3 degree winter over the norm). If that comes to pass and along with other improvements I've made, I'm hoping for a drop yet another 25% off last year. In real terms, that would be about 1000 kilowatt hours less over the four month period and would represent one heck of a drop when you average the past two years out!

I'll post updates on how well I'm doing after the winter season gets underway.