The question might better be put "who..." but you should ask yourself, what are the electrical energy users in your house?
We all have choices. Sometimes we don't have a choice as regards energy, but in many ways we can choose to use energy or not. We can save energy too. For example, we can try to replace older things with newer things. Older things, and we'll get into this, typically use more energy than newer things.
Our electrical use is measured in terms of kilowatts. A kilowatt is 1,000 watts per working hour.
Electrical things are absolutely necessary. We all have them!
Sometimes electrical power used all the time, like your fridge for instance. Other things only when we turn them on. Then there are those things that continue to use energy even when turned "off." Those are called Energy Vampires, and we'll talk about those later.
You can pick your poison when looking for energy-use pie charts. I have this one on my website. They vary somewhat.
These are the top six electric energy users found in most American houses, followed by their watt usage per hour. The watt calculations for everything in this post come from General Electric.
1. Electric furnace 17,221
2. Central air conditioner 5,000
3. Dryer 3,400
4. Oven 2,300
5. Dishwasher 800
6. Water heater 479
But there are a multiplicity of electrical things we use in our houses every day! This will vary from house to house, of course. But as Americans our personal energy use grows every year. How many computers and TVs did you have in your house 25 years ago, and how many do you have now?
Typically savings come from technological advancement. That's what we do as Americans! We make things more efficient! As we do people can save money. So it really does pay to get newer things, generally speaking. Some new things use MORE energy!
Here is the wattage use for appliances most people will have in their houses: hair dryer 1,538, coffee maker 1,500, microwave 1,500, iron 1,100, toaster 1,100, and vacuum cleaner 650, freezer 273.
Some electric users most people have but don't use so much wattage per hour include video games 195, DVR 33, cable TV box 20, DVD 17, wireless router 7 and cordless telephone 3.
Energy Star suggests that some electrical appliances are Energy-Use Vampires.
Basically these energy vampires include anything with a light that's on all the time!
The light indicates there is stand-by power being used.
I have them, you have them, we all have them! A couple of things that most people might not consider would include the garage-door opener, satellite dish, smoke detectors and security systems.
Many of us consider those things to be necessary! And much of the things we have that draw stand-by power we probably consider to be necessary too.
But, some vampires, like charging cords, can be unplugged. And things plugged into power strips can be turned off.
What about old versus new?
Some new things save energy and some do not. For example, an old refrigerator (older than 1995) can use as much as 1,400 watts per hour. These are plugged in all the time, so they can be expensive. My power company charges me $.09 per kilowatt, so that old fridge could cost me $1,226 per year in electricity! A new fridge, by comparison, regular kitchen size, uses about 188 watts, and costs around $70 per year. That is a DRAMATIC savings! So, don't put that old fridge in the basement or garage! It's better to donate it to a charitable organization and buy a new one - you will break even really quickly!
A 60 watt incandescent light bulb uses, oh, 60 watts per hour! A CFL 60 watt equivalent about 18 watts. There are drawbacks to switching, but in terms of pure energy the CFL will save power.
What new things use more energy? Remember the stand-by light? New, flat-screen TVs use huge amounts of energy compared to the older TVs. An old TV used about 150 watts, and if turned on 5 hours a day would cost $27/year. The new flat screens? About 339 watts, for an annual cost of $62 for those same 5 hours! How many do you have in your house?
That's why the stand-by appliances are called vampires!
Of course you're asking - my computer and printer are on a lot. What does it cost me?
A tower computer uses about 150 watts, a monitor 150 and printer 50. If they are on 8 hours a day together they're costing you about $90/year. A laptop, by comparison, uses only 50 watts, so it saves a lot of electrical energy, costing only about $15/year.
My power company has an energy-use calculator. Yours might too. Just plug in your kilowatt charge, look up the watt usage of the electrical appliance, and figure it out!
My recommendation: we are all managers. We manage ourselves, our homes and our lives. In terms of energy use we can all be better managers! And after all, no one reaps the savings for smarter energy use but us! That's ALL of us!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560