A little over a year ago, I decided to “revolt” against the ever-rising electric bills and vowed that I will do anything I can, to reduce our outrageously high electric bills. For a medium sized home, with five people living under its roof, our electric bill was $220 on average in 2014.
My goal was to cut the expense by at least 30%. Like any good citizen, I began my “project” with the usual “home energy audit”. Have had visits from several inspectors and their unanimous conclusion was, that unless I go solar, I will not be able to achieve my goal. Why? Because my house was built about 5 years ago, it has good insulation, the doors/windows are sealed well and most of my appliances are “energy star” rated.
I was less than impressed by the outcome of these audits, so I researched what the average energy consumption in my state is, for a comparable house. Sure enough, our bill didn’t seem all that “outrageously high” comparing to similar households in our area.
But that didn’t stop me from exploring other ways of reducing the energy consumption. Equipped with an energy meter, I started to check the power consumption of various appliances. The one that really caught my attention was the water heater. It was an electric tank, so I decided to replace it with a gas tank.
Next, I looked at lightning. Even though my wife is one of those “can’t-you-turn-the-light-off-when-you-leave-the-room” kind of mothers, she does have what it seems to be a severe case of nyctophobia. So with her taking care of our two little ones, for the past two years, many lights were constantly on.
Another big time attention grabber was my oldest son’s “power-sucking” room. Like many teenagers, he has every imaginable gaming device. And you could guess, they were all on year round! Xbox, computer, TV, ceiling fan, extra fan to cool the overheating Xbox, ceiling lights, lamps, chargers etc
At first, I thought I can manage the lighting problem by changing behaviors. Yeah right, silly me, what was I thinking? Of course that didn’t work. Then, I became the switch guard. Lights on, here comes the super dad to turn them off. It worked for a while. Yup, my commitment didn’t last but maybe a week or so. Then one day I came across Home Automation.
At first it was Wink, then SmartThings! With a few power outlets, z-wave switches and several sensors, my wife’s dark-rooms phobia was efficiently taken care of, the vampires in my son’s room were effectively eradicated and we all enjoy more quiet nights without the constant “can’t-you-turn-the-light-off-when-you-leave-the-room” reminders.
Oh, almost forgot. About the savings, well, I’ve reduced our electric bill by over 50%. If you don’t believe me, here is this month’s energy audit prepared by my electric company: