My wife and I have a modest manufactured home in northern New England. It’s relatively new (less than 15 years old), and is well insulated like most homes around here. So when she said how much last month’s light bill was, I nearly jumped out of my skin.
We no longer have children at home, and relatively few electronic devices. We’ve even gone so far as to change out all of our old incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent (CFL) versions in all our lights and lamps. While we do heat our hot water with electric, we usually turn it off during the day to conserve, and we replaced both elements and the temp control module last year in an effort to improve it’s electricity usage.
So where do we start to track down this power gobbling gremlin we seem to have? Well, we first started with our local power provider. They have a simplistic, power consumption management utility available on their website that tracks your usage down to the hour if desired.
Using the tool, we were able to identify that our electricity consumption was “spiking” on the weekends when we’re both home. Back-tracking our habits, we knew we usually clean the house, do laundry, and other household chores on Saturdays and Sundays.
Once we had an idea of when our highest usage was occurring, we now need to figure out what is the device or appliance that is consuming so much. There are several devices you can purchase that plug into an outlet between a device or appliance that monitors and tracks electricity usage, however we’re too frugal (read; cheap), to buy something that would only be used for a short while to help us save a few dollars.
So, where does that leave us? Elementary dear Watson! A little old fashioned detective work is all we need. Because the energy manager tool allows us drill-down into the data to hour-level, we simply need to track our device and appliance usage over the course of a weekend or two using pen and paper. Once we have that record, we should be able to identify the culprit(s) that are the biggest electrical hogs.