For a while we were pretty consistent with our electric bill. We had a bump here or there, a jump in usage that we usually could not definitively explain, but we averaged 400 kilowatt hours per month. Before we moved to this house two and a half years ago, I paid attention to how much our bill lowered my checking account balance, but I paid little attention to how much electricity we used. Not that we wasted electricity–we did what we could to minimize usage. I just didn’t pay attention to the actual number.
Now I do pay attention. Our last electric bill posted only 296 kilowatt hours of electricity. I was pretty happy with that, especially since it was for most of March. We use more electricity in the winter and March, in these parts, is definitely winter. In the winter we keep lights on longer. The heating system, although it is propane, kicks in and uses electricity. We don’t use the clothesline but rely on the electric dryer. We bake with our electric oven more. We make coffee or tea more often. We just use a lot more energy in the darker days of the year.
So I was proud that we managed to use less than 300 kilowatt hours for the month. We haven’t changed our life dramatically, but we have made some changes. The light bulb thing, although it has been drilled into us all so much we are becoming numb to it, makes a huge difference. Incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy–you can feel it in the form of heat. Any incandescent bulb we fave feels to me like it is just spitting electricity into the air. I feel the heat and I feel energy being wasted. So we have changed most of our bulbs. Why not all of them? We have a bunch of those candle flame shaped fixtures and those bulbs are hard to find in a compact fluorescent version. But we are slowly getting there.
Every time we change out a couple of light bulbs it seems to make a difference. The other big difference has been turning down the dryer. We used to always dry everything on the highest setting. Once we turned it down to the medium heat setting we could see a difference on our electric bill right away. We do wash lots of clothes. We have a couple of small children in the house. Once we can start using the clothesline again (soon!) we will use even less electricity.
We don’t have cable box on our television that sucks energy 24/7, and now that Vermont has switched to digital–and we still don’t have a converter box–we can’t watch any television at all. We watch DVD’s but not as often as we might now that the weather is warmer and we are spending more time outside. We will start grilling soon and use the stove less. I am hoping that on one of these bills we be able to get it down under 200 kilowatt hours. That may be tight but it is possible, I am sure.
I am glad we don’t have a 5,000 square foot home. That would make our challenge even harder. I still see people who leave light on all the time, even when they are not home. That just seems like kind of a Duh! I try to avoid the Duhs. Next month–going for 280.