Sunday, January 18, 2015

Living life at 20 kWh a day!

Forsyth MO - Man, if it weren't for those cold winter night and hot summer days, I'd be doing real good from the standpoint of electrical use. My electric bill for January 2015 will come in at about $200 (1800 kWh's used) and boy, I've been looking for some fresh ideas to try and cut into that!

In some of the milder months of the year, like April and May for instance, my furnace is (thankfully) silent all day long. On those types of days, the average power use per is somewhere between 13 and 20 kWh. This would translate in to 30 x 17 = 510 kWh which would translate to a $70 bill! Very livable. In the graph, you can also see that some of the wintertime cost saving efforts I've made have paid off! Sadly, January 2015, however was a real bitch with many nights dropping down in to the 20's! It's those really cold temperatures that force my heat pump to use resistive heating as they just don't work very well at temperatures below 30°F. In the summertime, I've generally been able to cope pretty well using fans and the results of that effort are also apparent in the graph.
Now this is what I'm talking about!

So, the challenge will be to come up with ways to maximize my energy savings for four months out of the average year, without giving up too much in the way of creature comforts. I've discounted on-grid solar energy systems as still being way too expensive. In order to lower my yearly electric bill an average of 30% using one system I looked at, I'd have to pony up about 7K. Last year I ball parked my use at about 14,000 kWh. Let's say that translates to about $1600. So, were I to save 30% each year that would be about $480, which means my break even point would be 14 years from now! I don't think so.

Another way to save some money is to replace energy inefficient appliances with those that are more efficient. This I've done over time and it shows. Of course, some years the gains have been offset by the constant rise in rates charged by my electric coop. In the last two years, Empire Electric (my electric supplier) has raised their rates by 13% or about 6.5 percent a year. (That's about a month's worth of use every year and it makes it tough to achieve any significant gains). Still, like a man swimming upstream, I'm losing less ground than others around me who are doing nothing but going with the flow!

As time goes on, I hope to post more entries at this site when inspiration strikes me from out of the blue!