Monday, September 26, 2016

Make Your Electric Bill a Bargain: Save Pennies

Are you worried about your electric bill this winter? According to the US Energy Information Administration, US households pay an average of $110.20 each month for electricity.
That's an average, so if you use electricity or fan forced heat to stay warm in the winter, the chances are that your bill will go quite a bit higher.

Since the average residential rate is 12.50 cents per kilowatt hour, it doesn't take much to rack up the bill. One kilowatt is 1,000 watts. A hundred watt light bulb burning for 10 hours will burn one kilowatt (100 X 10 = 1,000) so that single light bulb will cost you twelve and a half cents. That doesn't sound so bad, does it?

But let's say you replaced that hundred watt bulb with a 75 watt bulb. You would pay 9.375 cents instead of 12.50.

I hear you. You're saying, "Pat, you're really pinching pennies! That's not going to make much difference in my monthly bill!"

Well, yes, it will. Here's why. First, multiply that times 30 days for an average month: a little over $2.81. Okay, still nothing to lose sleep over, right?

We're talking about one measly light bulb. One. How many do you have in your home? Oh, I know you don't have all of them on for ten hours every day, but you do have some of them on some of the time, and it's quite possibly more than ten hours' worth each day.

Let's add in the refrigerator. How about the freezer? TVs? Computers? How about the electric cookstove or the electric heater? Or the fan on the gas heater? The microwave? And those are just the most common appliances and electronics the average household uses.

IF - and that's a big "IF," and of course it's nowhere near true, each appliance only burned the same as that one hundred watt bulb, then these basic appliances would cost you (theoretically) $33.72. That's figuring two computers, two TVs, one of all the rest and ten hours worth of lighting per day. Of course, most households use quite a bit more than that. Add in hair dryers, sewing machines, radios, etc., and start figuring the wattage for each one and you'll see what I mean.

Why all the figures? I am trying to show you how little things add up. If 25 watts can make a difference in your total monthly bill, how much can ten times that make? Did you know that it's your choice how much to spend on electricity? Sure, it is. Do away with that high wattage bulbs. Unplug the TVs and the computers when you're not using them. Minimize use of the cookstove (no, that's not an excuse to go out to eat!). Layer clothing and turn the heat down another degree. It all adds up... or rather subtracts down.

It's real money and it's your money, so why not keep it instead of blowing it by overusing electricity?