Winter vs. Summer Electrical Usage

by staff on January 4, 2013

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Winter months are often an energy consumption and budget strain. On an annual basis, the average usage is about 600 kWh per month for a household. The summer average is about 500 kWh, while the winter average is over 700 kWh. The average winter bill is usually over $100.

There are things you can do to reduce your usage and make sure your bill doesn’t rise as the temperature drops. If it is possible, check your electric meter. Think about what you have on in the house and look at your meter and see how fast it is spinning. The faster it spins, the more electricity is being used at that moment.

Electric block heaters for cars and trucks can be heavy electric users. Many electric block heaters are 1,500 watt heaters and use as much electricity as fifteen 100 watt light bulbs. If you are plugging in your truck every night, you might consider a timer. Having the timer set to go off one or two hours before you have to leave in the morning is usually enough to let your vehicle start easily.

Electric hot water heaters are heavy electric users. Electric hot water heating elements can become covered with water residue. This tends to insulate the water from the heat source, forcing the heater to work harder to heat the same amount of water. Increased use of hot water for washing clothes and for personal use can certainly increase your usage. Manufacturers recommend flushing your tank annually.

Setting the temperature on your tank to 120 degrees can save you money. Often, heaters are set at 170 degrees at the factory. Remember that most 30-40 gallon tanks have two thermostats, a lower one and an upper one. They should both be set back to 120 degrees. Electric space heaters are very high users of electricity. A small heater can cost you $100 or more per month if used continuously, so don’t use them if possible.

Refrigerators and freezers are culprits of high consumption. Manufacturers recommend cleaning the cooling fins on a refrigerator or freezer annually. Additionally, if you have more than one of each and especially if they aren’t frequently used, consider reducing potential waste and donating these appliances. Your wallet will thank you.

Most of all, understand and track your usage. If a bill seems abnormally high in comparison to historical usage, call your utility company. There are many online resources and resources through utility companies that will break down electrical appliances and their usages, and offer tips on how you can locally reduce your bill.

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