A breakdown of residential electricity usage

The Choose Energy Team
By The Choose Energy Team May 5th, 2011
For business

Many of us have problems seeing the electricity bill when it arrives, and with good reason. Like many other commodities, residential electricity prices seem to rise and fall from moment to moment but here are many affecting factors, such as the time of the day, year, as well as the prices for fuel, just to name a few.

Other factors that affect the price of electricity are whether you live in a place where energy has been deregulated, and there is much more competition, especially from providers using alternative power sources, such as solar and wind.

When you are looking at your bill and wondering where all this energy is being used, here are some things you should know. Most people think that their air conditioner, water heater, even their home’s heating is what is taking up most of this energy. It is true that the air conditioner does use a lot of energy (and more so in states like Texas where it’s very hot in the summer), it isn’t the largest source of the problem. According to the Department of Energy, if you are using space heating, this can actually consume the smallest percentage, just 6% of the total residential energy consumption.

Refrigerators are just eight percent, and your water heater just nine percent. Your air conditioner takes up around 16 percent. What takes up the other 60% of your energy uses? All the other smaller appliances and lights in your home. While each of these may only use a small amount, together they consume a lot.

There are some aspects of your residential electricity usage you can’t always control. You need hot water for an example, as well as the heater and air conditioner. However, you can lower the percentage by upgrading your water heater, lowering the thermostat and only operating the air conditioner when you absolutely have to.

There are many ways you can reduce the sixty percent of your home’s usage as well. Making sure that your lights are turned off when not in use, as well as changing the bulbs over to more efficient bulbs. Your electronic components, even when turned off still use electricity. Why do you think that there is a light on when you turn the television off? Same goes with your computer, gaming platforms, and stereo components. In order to stop this wasted energy, plug all of these electronics into a power strip that has a surge protector and an off switch. Keep it somewhere you can access it easy, and when you go to bed, turn off the power strip. At the very least, when you are finished on your Xbox or other game console, unplug it from the large power supply box.  While they are not actually turned on – most of these devices are still pulling energy and increasing your residential electric usage.

It may be a good idea to make a habit of checking your home a few times a day to make sure there aren’t any unused lights on. When you go on vacation, or know you are going to be out of your house for a few days, unplug everything but what is essential while you’re gone, refrigerator, fish tank, etc. This way clocks and other small devices aren’t running while you are out. You can also find a lot of helpful tips and information about how you can save money on your electricity bill online.  Just go to our energy saving tips page here on ChooseEnergy.com.

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