Much of the energy from power plants is lost well before it gets to your home, but do you know how much electricity is used for everything that you have plugged in right now, and how much more electricity is being wasted inside your home? Photo credit: Rebecca Moninghoff
The average home in the U.S. uses close to 1,000 kWh per month of electricity every day. There are many ways to help save energy in your house, but the first step is to figure out how much energy you are using (kilowatt hour = a unit of electrical power that equals 1,000 watts, or the app. amount of energy used to keep a 1,000-watt appliance running for about one hour).
We probably don’t think abut this often enough, but do you know how much of your monthly electric bill goes to lighting your home, keeping your refrigerator running or using your home computer and other electronic devices? Or what percentage of electricity you are wasting that isn’t providing any service for you at all?
Approximate Home Energy Use Breakdown
Heating, cooling, hot water, refrigeration and lighting account for about 75 percent of a typical home energy bill. Perhaps surprisingly, although we all use a lot of electronic devices in our homes these days, they only account for about 10 to 15 percent of our home’s electrical energy usage. A standard energy efficient TV typically uses less than 5 percent of our home’s electricity.
But a penny saved is a penny earned, and every dollar adds up. By monitoring the energy consumption of the everyday things you use in your home, and by making small adjustments like turning off lights and unplugging electrical appliances and other things around your house that aren’t in use, turning the thermostat up to 78F in summer and down to 65F in winter, lowering your water heater’s temperature to 120F (or lower) and setting your refrigerator and freezer to the manufacturer’s recommended temperatures (and don’t overload them), you will be saving hard-earned money on expensive electricity, and you’ll start seeing your home’s monthly utility bills getting lower.
Approximately 68% of the energy that flows through the U.S. economy gets wasted. Although much of that is lost from inefficacies at the power plants and during distribution before it even reaches your home’s electric meter, there’s no reason now to be wasting any more electricity in your home.
To help you find what’s plugged in in your house that is consuming the most electricity, consider investing in an inexpensive plug-in device called a Kill-a-Watt. Considering the potential amount of electricity you can shave off of your electric bill every month, it might just be one of the best little investments you could ever make.
A Kill-a-Watt is very simple to use, no special electrical skills are needed as you just plug the device into an electrical outlet, then simply plug in the appliance or household item you want to test into it, and turn it on. It will measure the kilowatt hours (kWh) used over a period of time. That’s it!
After you see some of the things that don’t need to be kept plugged in, unplug them after each use, or plug them into a power strip and turn that off when the devices are not in use.
The Kill-a-Watt measures the total energy that is flowing into a device and is very useful for finding the total energy being used by things like refrigerators, that are constantly turning on and off throughout the day and night.
Once you understand where and when you use the most energy you can adopt ways to help save more electricity in your home. By using energy more efficiently you will not only lower your monthly utility bill, but you’ll also be helping to make more energy available for other homes. So in theory, having an energy efficient home will also be creating more energy to go around.