Receiving the electric bill once a month is a not moment we particularly look forward to. This is even more true in the summer and winter months, when the constant use of the air conditioning and heating systems, respectively, takes its toll on our electrical expenses. If our residential electric system breaks down, or if we are experiencing severe electrical problems which require the assistance of a professional electrical contractor, the electrician costs can increase our expenses considerably. Still, as we all know, electrical problems cannot be overlooked, and not paying the electric bill is not really an option.
How are electrical costs calculated?
The electricity company measures your electricity consumption in kilowatt-hour (kWh) to calculate your monthly electricity costs. You might find on your electricity bill multiple kWh rates, one for "delivery" and a second for "fuel" – in such a case simply add both values to get the total kWh rate. An average U.S. household consumes about 11,000 kWh per year which adds up to an average of $1,034 annually.
The difference between watts and watt-hours can sometimes be confusing. The wattage stamped on the bottom or back of the actual appliance is used to describe how much electricity is needed to power that appliance at one instance. Watt-hours are used to describe the total electricity used over time. It's that simple!
Typical Watts for Household Appliances
|Refrigerator (16 cubic feet)||725|
|50-56" Plasma Television||191-474|
|50-56" LCD Television||210-322|
|42" Plasma Television||188-464|
|42" LCD Television||91-236|
|32" LCD Television||98-156|
|Water Heater (40 gallons)||4500–5500|
|Water Pump (deep well)||250-1100|
To determine your electricity loads, and therefore your electricity cost, you may want to use the following formula to estimate the appliance electricity consumption in kWh:
Wattage × Hours Used Per Day ÷ 1000 = Daily kWh consumption
1 kW = 1,000 Watts
The following chart illustrates how much electricity a typical appliance uses annually and its corresponding cost based on national averages.
Reduce Your Electric Bill
Reducing our electric bill is not a far-fetched fantasy. With a few simple steps we can lower the bill, and not only save money but save energy as well.
How do we go about doing this?
- Rethinking the Way You Use Your Washer and Dryer
Both these electrical appliances gobble up electricity. Replacing the appliances you have with energy-efficient ones is one way to go, but if it is not within your price range you there's a much simpler solution: next time you put wet clothes into the dryer, add a pair of dry hand towels. This technique will shorten the load by at least 20 minutes, and as far as energy and money saving goes – this is quite a lot!
- Heat Drying – Out, Air Drying - In
Using the "heat drying" option in your dishwasher cycle is a sure way of wasting money and electricity. Instead, open your dishwasher door and allow your dishes to air dry.
- Cold Water Wash Is The Way To Go
Did you know that when you set your washing machine to hot water wash you're wasting much more money on electricity than in the cold wash option? Our recommendation: always go for the cold water solution, and once every month run one hot cycle with bleach to keep that pearly-white glow on your white clothes. You are bound to spot the difference in your electrical costs as well.
- Now Is The Time To Replace Your Light Bulbs
A useful way to save money and electricity is to install fluorescent bulbs all over your house. Although they are more expensive than the standard bulbs, they last much longer and lower energy consumption by as much as 75%.
- Overcharging Your Cell Phones Means an Overcharged Bill
From now on, after your cell phone is fully charged, remember to unplug the charging unit from the outlet. Leaving it there means it will keep drawing electricity, even if the phone itself is no longer there. This is a very simple way to save electricity.
- Is It Time To Check Your Cooling and Heating Systems?
If more than three years have elapsed since you installed your air conditioning and heater, it would be a good idea to ask a professional to check if they're working properly and efficiently. True, having an expert come over to your house will obviously increase the electrician costs, but just think of the money you'll be saving in the long run!
- Too Hot, Too Cold - Too Much Money!
Your heater and air conditioning are electricity guzzling appliances. A sure way to save electricity is to lower or raise temperatures in the winter and summer, respectively.
- Air Conditioning Is Not The Only Way To Go
True, when it's hot we never want to leave the air conditioned room we are in, but it's important to know that ceiling fans consume much less electricity, and your room can still be nice and cool, even when it's scorching hot outside. In general, replacing all your electrical appliances with more energy efficient ones can significantly reduce your electricity bill and possible electrician costs.
With a few simple steps, taking the electrical bill out of the mailbox will no longer be a daunting experience!