1. StoneRyno's Avatar
    I'm at a loss of where to look or to get advice etc. Our electric bill is way higher than it should be and we can't reasonable figure out why. WE have energy saver bulbs in all light fixtures (~20W ea). We avoid using the electric stove at all cost. Using an online electric bill estimator we can confirm the obvious three big usages: Refrigerator, dish washer, and furnace fan. Based on the national average for a family of 4 that should account for ~$30 of the bill. However assuming that those 3 items consume the same amount the remaining amount is way too much. Years ago someone recommended to me that it is a good idea to have an electricity usage monitor to use to check for things we are over using electricity with. The first thing I'd check would be the refrigerator etc. Problem is I know nothing about electricity usage monitors to know what brand/model is best to get etc. And I'm hoping at least one person here can give me advice either on what to look for or where to go to get reliable advice.

    11-10-2012 06:46 PM
  2. Paul627g's Avatar
    Furnace fan could be a culprit if you have your control set to "ON" instead of "AUTO". I know many people recommend you leave your furnace fan on all the time for proper circulation but it comes at a price of more electricity used and wear and tear on the fan.

    Refrigerator is another place to look. When was the last time you cleaned behind it? The cooling fan for the system can draw in a mess of dust and over time make the system work harder to keep things cooler.

    Just some tips, I've gone down this same road of trying to keep the electric bill down.
    11-10-2012 06:52 PM
  3. GMJeff's Avatar
    Do you have an electric water heater? If not insulated properly, it too will use a lot of power.

    Anything that generates heat from electricity uses a lot of power. Things like microwaves, ovens, toasters, curling irons, hair dryers etc.

    Also, if your plumbing is in a crawl space, you may be running the water longer than normal to get hot water at the taps. Also, as mentioned previously, the refrigerator's compressor could be going out. They tend to draw a lot of current/power when they are dieing. That is probably why they want you to check how much it is using with a meter. And check to be sure it is sealing properly. If the cold air escapes, the compressor could cycle on and off numerous times a day more than usual because the thermostat is reading the box as too warm.

    We have gas stove and water heater as well as dryer and our power consumption is rather low compared to the average home. Our bill is around $120 to $140 a month with the heater on at night.

    Note2 or Note10, that is the question
    11-10-2012 07:16 PM
  4. StoneRyno's Avatar
    Thanks for the tips. I will need to find out what brand and model electricity usage monitor to get in order to check usage any tips on that or where to find out? I also forgot to mention this months bill was 50% higher than last months bill and last months bill was higher than it should have been by about 25% based on my history of two living in the house even accounting for a 10% increase in per kWh price. But to answer questions raised. We have gas water heater, gas furnace and gas dryer. The dryer is relatively new (purchased used from a local store) and bought a brand new washer (very cost effective one something like annual cost of $20-$30). We intended to get a gas stove but intend on not using the electric one at all until then. As far as I know it hardly was used the last two months (I wasn't present for meal preparations). Based on the consumers energy calculator things like microwave, TV, lights etc are minor usage compared to appliances and furnace fan. I'll have to check the fan to make sure it isn't set to on instead of auto. The refrigerator I'm told is at least 10 maybe 15 years old. And it may not have been cleaned as suggested in a long time (years at least). So I'll need to check that and the seal. We have a full basement. There are two of us living in the house. And based on national average we are consuming as much electricity as a family of 4. We also have a fireplace (should be the same as a wood heating stove) and according to consumers energy calculator should save us about $6 a month with one cord of wood burned for the winter season. Not a big deal by itself but if we can cut costs in as many areas as possible it will add up.
    11-11-2012 06:27 PM
  5. roshaiga's Avatar
    I have been using a monitor called the Envi PowerSave Low Cost Energy Monitors and Online Management for the past couple of years with great success. It literally paid for itself the first month because i learned that my pool pump was on continuously 24 hours per day (the pool guy had flipped the switch) and was costing me an extra $125 per month. They have a newer model now called the EnviR. Highly recommended.
    11-13-2012 08:23 AM
  6. StoneRyno's Avatar
    I have been using a monitor called the Envi PowerSave Low Cost Energy Monitors and Online Management for the past couple of years with great success. It literally paid for itself the first month because i learned that my pool pump was on continuously 24 hours per day (the pool guy had flipped the switch) and was costing me an extra $125 per month. They have a newer model now called the EnviR. Highly recommended.
    This sounds like it would be nice and can monitor 10 things according to the info on that site. My only concern is the cost and how long it might take to pay for itself. I'm estimating that best case scenario we manage to save about $20-$40 per month based on the first two electric bills. At minimum I figure I will have to get the Standard EnviR Kit $129 plus one Individual Appliance Monitor $30 or EnviR kit with 3 IAMs $129. I don't know if there is anything that needs the clamp and transmitter things or if everything can be monitored with the IAMs. I really should use it for the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove (and/or other cooking stuff like electric skillet), and furnace fan. And possibly the TV(s) and computer(s). And would I need to have as many IAMs/clamps as I things desired to monitor or could I monitor a particular thing for a few days to extrapolate monthly usage. Or would it be better to constantly monitor usage of each thing?

    I know one thing we did yesturday we didn't know about, the central AC unit outside has it's own power thing. We removed the fuses to disconnect the circuit. My dad told us it is possible that when not in use for cooling the house it may still draw power and could be one of the contributing factors. We also didn't realize it but the electric griddle we were using to cook some stuff on is 1500W. It got used quite a bit this last month and very well could have been a big contributor. We are highly considering never using it again if it indeed is excessive to our desired usage cost. We also have a microwave, crock pot, and electric skillet as options for cooking meals until we determine when we will be able to convert to a gas stove. We have to prioritize house repairs/upgrades and converting to a gas stove may have to wait depending on if we can sell the electric stove and use the money gotten from it to buy a nice gas stove and gas line to run to the stove. Oddly there is a hole at the stove for the gas line but no gas line.
    11-15-2012 04:44 PM
  7. Blue Line Innovations's Avatar
    11-22-2012 10:54 AM
  8. Blue Line Innovations's Avatar
    Another product you can look at is the PowerCost Monitor. I am an Intern for Blue Line Innovations Inc. Power Cost Monitor | Electricity Usage and they created a product that reads your smart meter and gives you real time energy useage. Please note I am not on this forum to sell the product I am speaking to you as a new user of the device myself. Two weekends ago I set the meter up myself, it was very easy to assemble and attach to my Smart Meter. Within minutes the sensor had picked up the signal and was reading our energy usage in real time and real money. We have it sitting on our window ledge in the kitchen and immediatly the kids were running around and unplugging and turning things off to help conserve energy. The youngest even makes sure she knows exactly what she wants in the fridge before she opens the fridge doors now as she is seeing the numbers rise. It is a great product that can read how much energy you are using for each appliance and give you day to day information. I now know how much we have spent this month already and bad habits are already changing in our household. This may be something useful for you as well, the monitor is a great reminder to everyone in the family to conserve energy.
    11-22-2012 11:04 AM

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