Monitoring Energy Usage

Every month my electric company sends me a letter concerning my energy usage. They keep track of your usage over a 12-month period. This letter covers details about how you compare to similar homes in your area, how your usage changes from month to month, and even how your usage compares to that of the previous year.

I must confess that I’ve not paid too much attention to all the information that the letter contains; I usually look at it to ensure that my usage is similar or lower than similar homes (it’s usually a bit lower) for the month and leave it at that.

This month I actually took the time to read more than the little comparison chart on the first page. I discovered that I’ve used 9% less electricity over the past 12 months than I did the previous year!

I had thought that we were actually using more. It seems as if the bills have been a bit higher, at any rate.

As a result of this I plan to start keeping copies of my electric bills so that I can take the time to review them periodically. I would like to see just how much electricity we use over a period of years in this house, and my electric company only keeps records for the previous 12 months. Since I plan to remain in this home for the long haul, that information would show me if I am slowly lowering my energy usage over time or if last year’s energy savings was a fluke.

Do you keep track of your energy use from month to month and year to year? Has the information benefited you? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Bubble Wrap

Once again I have managed to achieve my goal of washing the dishes before bed. Maybe I’m starting to get the hang of this!

My daughter and I spent the day watching movies – though I took some time out to grab a snack for dinner. Simple snack of summer sausage with cheddar.

I used bubble wrap to line the windows in the kitchen today. I want to see if what they say about it keeping in more heat is true. I don’t know yet but I don’t feel as chill sitting by all of these windows in the kitchen now. I will miss my view here in the kitchen. I don’t look out the other windows so they won’t be missed.

I am hoping to have enough bubble wrap to give two layers to at least some of my windows for added insulation. They say that a single layer of bubble wrap will add an extra R-factor to the insulation value, so I am hoping it will help my single-pane windows.

I was going to just put some plastic on them, but cannot locate it since the move. Figured since I had to go purchase something, might as well try something new, you know?

Just a sign that I have too much stuff. If I didn’t have so much I wouldn’t be so disorganized!

Here in the kitchen the thermometer on the fridge says it is 65F in here, and the one near the ceiling says 68F. I will turn it down lower tonight and raise it back up in the morning. Thankfully we keep a stockpile of quilts.

I am a touch nervous about the first heating bill here, so we are keeping the heat low at first. I have been told that the highest heating bill here was $184 one month, but one never knows… I have lived in places and had $600 heating bills, so I want to make sure this place isn’t one of them.

When we lived in a 10×50 mobile home, even with horrible windows (with plastic you could still feel a breeze) the highest electric bill for heating was slightly over $200, but that was several years ago. I am heating 576 square feet here, not much more, and this place is in much better shape, especially the windows.

It will be okay.

Let’s just face it: I’m cheap.

Right now I would feel soo much better if my daughter and I were living in a tumbleweed house: she could have the attic, and I could sleep in the living area like I do now – and live in the kitchen, like I do now! It would be much less expensive to heat this winter, and I could pack up my whole home whenever I wanted to travel to visit my family!

Ah well – I’m happy nonetheless. I am living my version of the American Dream sans house and car payment – doesn’t get much better than this! But we all have little things we like to think about!

It is late, so time to walk the dog and hit the sack.. Goodnight everyone!

Electric usage and Mini blinds

For those who are curious as to how much electricity a device uses, I found a post where someone checked just that. I was surprised to discover that the microwave used less electricity than an electric oven, considering that I have heard that 110 will always use more than 220 in terms of electric devices. Hmm…

I have scavenged two mini blinds and placed them in the big window in my kitchen, where I spend most of my time. It seems soo much lighter and cleaner in here with just that small change! I have one more window here in the kitchen, and I am debating on whether or not to go ahead and purchase a mini blind for that window as well.

My concern is the dog. I fear she will destroy them as she has destroyed mini blinds in the past. Personally I prefer open miniblinds combined with a sheer curtain to not only let in light but give privacy as well, or just plain mini blinds in areas where people looking in are not a concern. In summer when you want the light blocked out the white is great for reflecting the heat, and sometimes I will put up simple black curtains. Before anyone asks, I gave up on colors several years ago due to an inability to mix and match the colors and patterns just so. Besides, simple solids are just peaceful.

Time to go back to cleaning. One benefit of minimalism is less to clean, unfortunately I’m not quite there yet.