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Monitoring energy usage

During the past 30 years, home appliances have steadily become more energy efficient. A microwave oven uses 90 percent less energy to cook a meal than a conventional gas oven, and compact fluorescent light bulbs can offer light similar to incandescent bulbs but use 75 percent less electricity to do so. Refrigerators now use less than half as much electricity as those built in the 1970s. So when you decide to purchase new appliances, make sure they're high efficiency. The higher up-front price will save you money in the long run.

 

lighting
fridge
water heater
Ovens and stoves
Energy efficiency
dishwasher

Other appliances

Small changes can make a big difference.

The best thing you can do to reduce your electronics energy use is it to turn off equipment — like computer monitors and printers — when you're not using them. Activate power-saving features on your computers and office equipment so they'll shut down when you're not using them.

For equipment like DVD players, TVs, stereos, computers and kitchen appliances, use Smart Power Strips to cut all of power to the appliances. Many electronics go into standby mode when you turn them off and will continue to draw a small amount of power.

For more information about appliance and equipment efficiency and commercial equipment standards, go to the U.S. Department of Energy website.
 

Frequent energy offenders

Old appliances/garage appliances Appliances become less efficient over the years, which can lead to them running excessively in order to maintain temperatures.
Electric water heaters (bottom element or pop-off valve issues) There can be hardwater build up that affects electric water heaters. Electric water heaters use apporximately 1.5 kWh per month.
Radiant heaters or baseboard heaters *ensure they are OFF Sometimes baseboard heaters are inadvertantly left on LOW instead of turned off. 6 ft. baseboard heater uses approximately 1.5 kWh per hour. 
In-floor heat Sometimes this can be inadvertantly left on, especially if there have been guests in the house.
Water softeners Water softeners can develop build up issues that cause them to run excessively.
Dryers in need of repairs  Taking multiple cycles to dry adds noticeably to usage.
Space heaters Space heaters create an increase in usage, they are only meant to heat small spaces.
Electric fireplaces Electric fireplaces create an increase in usage, they are only meant to heat small spaces.
Pumps (wells, sump)

Wells and sump pumps are checked infrequently; if there are issues with components, it can cause them to run excessively creating a spike in usage.

Compressors These are often found in garages/shops, and can run excessively if there is a leak or they are inadvertantly left on.
Bathroom exhaust fans Running bathroom exhaust fans for extended periods can cause the HVAC system to kick on more often, creating an increase in usage.
Hot tubs/pools During extreme weather, hot tubs/pools create additional usage in order to maintain set temperatures.
Block or tank heaters Diesel trucks that need to be plugged in can be a significant source of usage.
Window air conditioning units These units are meant to cool small spaces and are not as efficient as HVAC systems. Window AC units can use approximately 0.73-1.8 kWh per hour.
Portable air conditioners These units are meant to cool small spaces and are not as efficient as HVAC systems. Portable AC units can use approcimately 1.01 kWh per hour.


Questions to consider 

 

Is there a time of day when usage spikes?

In the morning & evening there are typically increases in usage from running dishwashers, electric water heaters, turning up the thermostat, etc. On weekends there can be increases when laundry is being done, vacuuming, dishwasher running, meal prep cooking, and having the thermostat set differently when people are home all day. Weather can also impact usage.
 

Are there any compressors or pumps that may be running?

Compressors are often found in garages/shops, and can run excessively if there is a leak or they are inadvertently left on. 
Wells and sump pumps are checked infrequently; if there are issues with components, it can cause them to run excessively creating a spike in usage.


Are there any radiant heaters that are running/left on unintentionally?

Sometimes baseboard heaters are inadvertently left on LOW instead of turned off.


Is the dryer taking longer to dry clothes?

Taking multiple cycles to dry adds noticeably to usage.


Is there an old appliance that is running?

Appliances become less efficient over the years, which can lead to them running excessively in order to maintain temperatures.


Is there an old appliance that is running?

Appliances become less efficient over the years, which can lead to them running excessively in order to maintain temperatures.


Are there HVAC filters that need to be changed?

When filters are not changed frequently, it can cause the system to run more, which negatively impacts usage, and creates issues with achieving/maintaining set temperatures.


Is there a water softener or electric water heater that is running excessively?

There can be hardwater build up that affects electric water heaters. Water softeners can also develop build up issues that cause them to run excessively.