How to First Calculate Your Energy Costs and Then Reduce Them

November 29, 2021

Would you like to pay less for power? For most people, the answer is a resounding "yes". However, many find calculating energy costs inconvenient and tedious. Fortunately, there is an easier way to dissect and reduce your power consumption and bills for good.

Confront Your Power Bill

It is a common habit to give your monthly energy bill a once-over and never look at it again. Now may be a good time to break that habit. Your power bill contains details that - if paid attention to - can help cut your monthly expenses by more than 50%.

Your power bill tells you how much energy you use every month. The amount is usually found under the title "Usage" and underneath the number of Kilowatt-hours used. If you are billed for 32 days, go ahead and divide this number (kWh) by 32 to determine how much power you consume each day.

Once you have calculated how many Kilowatt-hours you use daily, check your bill to see the cost per kWh. This should give you an idea of how much your home's power costs per day.

Analyzing your power bill and studying your home's energy consumption is a vital first step. It puts you in the right frame of mind to make changes necessary for reducing costs.

Go Into Detail

Now that you have an idea of how many Kilowatt-hours you consume on a random month, compare this to the kWh of every month for the past year. If you don't have past bills, you may need to request them from the utility company.

As you compare the numbers, you may notice that you use energy more during certain months than others. Your most expensive power bill might be useful here. It might provide the insight you need to find your energy-wasting culprits - the appliances that consume the most energy.

Find Energy-Wasting Culprits

Heating and cooling appliances are generally the most energy-consuming appliances in many homes. This includes air conditioning units, geysers, and refrigerators. Washers and dryers also require a lot of power, as do stoves, ovens, and pool pumps.

It is, therefore, not a coincidence if your power use increases during the height of winter or summer when air conditioning units or heating are on most of the time. Energy consumption can also spike during times when your children or relatives come home for the holidays.

So, how do you reduce power consumption once you have found your energy-wasting appliances? The best strategy is to find alternative power sources.

Switching to Alternatives

Lighting, for instance, can be easily replaced with lower energy-consuming alternatives like LED varieties or better yet, solar powered-lights. You can start replacing outdoor lights to test their efficiency and gradually replace those indoors.

Solar-powered indoor lighting can be tricky as it requires investing in solar panels. Before you do, consult a professional technician on how to divide your electric circuit so that the lights are powered by solar equipment while the rest of the house stays on the grid.

Using a washer may be necessary, especially with children in the home. However, dryers are not. If you don't already have one, set up a line in the backyard to dry clothes in the sun. An average dryer can use up to 75 kWh per month, so avoiding it can cut your energy costs significantly.

What about essential appliances like stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and geysers? It is possible to cut back energy consumption by simply switching off geysers when they are not in use. If you have more than one refrigerator or freezer, try scaling it down to just one.

Cooking appliances may be best used during off-peak hours, which means cooking earlier or later than most people do.

With winters getting colder and summers becoming hotter, it may be challenging to reduce your use of AC units. Luckily, a few adjustments around the home can help.

Look for tips on improving insulation for winter months and increasing air flow for summer months on the web. There is plenty of DIY advice on how to control the temperature of your home naturally, including sealing doors and fixing pipes.

Servicing your air conditioning units regularly also helps to lower power usage. Older ACs also tend to consume more power as they work harder than newer units. When you can, contact the seller of your AC unit and ask about the number of years the product is supposed to be used. If your unit was designed to give you 10 years of use and it is on its 11th year, it might be time to replace it.

Where possible, replace electric appliances with solar-powered alternatives. Turn off appliances you don't use. Try to use appliances during off-peak hours. If you have more than one of a type of appliance, consider using only one of them. And finally, fix insulation and air flow problems in the home to gain better control of the temperature.

Drop A Tier

Did you know that some utility companies use a tiered system to determine your monthly energy costs? If you are not sure you are on a tiered system, it is worth finding out. With a few tweaks to your energy consumption - such as switching off geysers and replacing lights with solar-powered options - you could drop a tier and be charged less. 

Consider Other Energy Costs

Most homes still rely on the national grid as the primary energy supply. But power can also come from other sources too. Generators, propane tanks, fireplaces, woodstoves, fuel used for power tools, and even batteries count as energy costs.

In addition to your monthly electric bill, you should add recurring costs such as filling up propane tanks and the cost of firewood and gasoline used for generators. Costs should also include the servicing of equipment like HVAC units.

Tally up the costs of other energy sources per year and divide it by 12 to see how much more you spend each month. You may find that you spend more on oil for heaters, coal, firewood, gasoline, propane, or kerosene than initially thought.

Combining the costs of electricity and other types of power supply will give you a clearer and more accurate representation of your energy consumption and where you can cut back. Don't forget to add the cost of gasoline you use in your car!

The Big Picture

Analyzing the way, you use energy in the home has become more important than people realize. Countries around the world are making an effort to reduce carbon emissions, which means gradually phasing out the burning of coal and other fossil fuels as primary sources of power.

By changing your own patterns of energy use today, you will be better prepared for a greener, more energy-conscious future. You will also be protecting yourself from fluctuating prices as the world transitions to environment-friendly alternatives. Stay ahead of the times.

Calculating your energy costs is much simpler than it seems. By determining kilowatt usage each month from your bill, identifying appliances that require a lot of power, and switching to energy-saving alternatives, you can cleverly cut expenses without compromising everyday convenience.

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