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How Much Electricity Do You Use?
Monitoring your home power usage can be an important step in saving electricity. Hope Power Monitoring begins with an understanding of the amount of electricity used by household devices. How does a solar PV system work?.

Survival Appliances Rated Watts Surge Watts
  Incandescent light bulbs 75 each 75 each
  Refrigerator (1/4 HP) 500 2000
  Freezer (1/4 HP) 600 1200
  Sump Pump 800 2000
  Water Pump (1 HP) 1900 5700
  Water Pump (2 HP) 2500 7500
  Furnace Fan (1/2 HP)* 875 2300
  Electric Blanket 400 400
  Space Heater 1800 1800
  Heat Pump* 4700 12000
  Dehumidifier 650 800
  Attic Fan* 300 900
  Table Fan 800 2000
  Window Air Conditioner 1200 4800
  Central Air (10k BTU)* 1500 6000
  Central Air (24k BTU)* 3800 15000
  Central Air (40k BTU)* 6000 24000
  Family Room    
  Computer System: CPU, Monitor, Laser Printer 1500 1500
  UPS System 2000 2500
  CD Player 100 100
  VCR 100 100
  Radio 100 100
  Television 300 300
  Receiver 420 420
  Kitchen Rated Watts Surge Watts
  Microwave 800 800
  Blender 300 900
  Coffee Maker 1500 1500
  Electric Range (1 element) 1500 1500
  Toaster (2-slice) 1000 1600
  Dishwasher (Hot Dry) 1500 3000
  Electric Oven 3410 3410
  Laundry Room    
  Iron 1200 1200
  Washing Machine 1150 3400
  Gas Clothes Dryer 700 2500
  Electric Clothes Dryer 5400 6750
  Power Tools    
  Hand Drill (1/4 inch) 350 350
  Hand Drill (1/2 inch) 600 600
  Skill Saw (7.25 inch) 1800 2600
  Band Saw (14 inch) 1100 1400
  Circular Saw (6.5 inch) 800 1400
  Sawzall 750 1400
  Drills (3/8 inch) 440 600
  Contractor Tools    
  Air Compressor (1 HP) 1500 4500
  High-Pressure Washer (1 HP) 1200 3600
  Submersible Pump (400 gph) 200 400
  Electric Chainsaw (1/2 HP) 900 900
  Electric Motors    
  1/6 HP Motor 300 850
  1/4 HP Motor 400 1150
  1/3 HP Motor 475 1325
  1/2 HP Motor 650 1800
  3/4 HP Motor 900 2500
  1 HP Motor 1000 2800
  1-1/2 HP Motor 1700 4800
  2 HP Motor 2000 5900
  3 HP Motor 3200 9000
  5 HP Motor 5000 13750
  Other Important Items    
  Security System* 500 500
  Deep Freezer 500 1000
  Hair Dryer 1200 1200
  Garage Door Opener (1/3 HP) 750 750
  Electric Water Heater* 4000 4000

Saving Energy in the Home

        Our parents taught us that the best way to save energy in the home was to shut off the lights when we left the room (“…do we have stock in the power company now!”). But as life has gotten a bit more complicated and electric rates have skyrocketed, we’re always on the lookout for less obvious ways to save energy. These tips are designed for homes that have already reduced their consumption in obvious ways like compact fluorescent bulbs and energy star appliances.

Watch your Humidity.
A hygrometer (Price: $10-50) to monitor humidity can save energy and make your home more comfortable and healthier. High humidity in the winter can make 68°F feel more like 76°F.(1) Too much humidity, though can cause condensation on the windows and mold.

The relative humidity in the home in winter should be between 20% - 35%. As the outside temperature falls, lower the percentage to prevent condensation from forming on windows.

Outside Temperature/Target Humidity
-10 F and below, 20%
0 F, 25%
10 F, 30%
20 F, 35%
30 F and up , 35%

In the summer, control humidity with air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and keeping doors and windows closed. Humidity above 35% promotes allergies, rot, mold, and more.

humidity and energy efficiency


programmable thermostat saves energy

Install a Programmable Thermostat.

Avoid heating and cooling your house when nobody's home. A programmable thermostat can automatically lower and raise your home’s air temperature when you're at work or in bed. By turning your thermostat back from 72°F down to 65°F for eight hours a day, you can save as much as 10% on your annual heating and cooling costs.


Use the Free Solar Energy Generators already installed your home.
They’re called ‘windows’ and, with proper use can dramatically impact the energy profile of your home. On cold winter days, raise south and west facing window shades. Close them at night. Reverse this in summer. Single-pane windows waste dramatic amounts of energy. If you can’t replace them with double-pane glass, seal them or cover them with plastic to reduce drafts.

Does your home breathe well?
The efficiency of the heating and air condition systems in your home is based on the movement of air. If air does not circulate well then you may be heating unused attic areas, the underside of pieces of furniture, and even the furnace itself.

Check your ductwork in unused areas like basements and attics. All heating system air ducts leak to some degree and some leak to a large degree. Leaky ducts not only blow expensive heated or cooled air into unnecessary places, but leaks in the intake portion of your ductwork suck dust and dirt into the system. Use duct tape to seal any holes or gaps in the ducts themselves and the insulation around them. There are professional services available that clean then seal ductwork.

Check the air vents in your home. The intake vents have no dampers on them and need to be clean and completely clear at all times. Heating (and cooling vents) often have dampers on them, allowing you to reduce airflow in unused areas. Close unneeded vents or seal them with cardboard and duct tape. Vents underneath furniture need to be sealed or fitted with a plastic vent-redirector or extensions.

leaks in ductwork waste energy

If you need to turn the thermostat to 76 to get the bedroom up to 73 then your system is unbalanced. If the imbalance is cased by leaky or clogged ducts then cleaning and repairs are needed. If, though, this is caused by poor heating system design, the problem can be often be solved by closing off vents in other rooms or installing a vent fan to suck heated air from the system into the underheated room.

change furnace filters to save energy

Replace Filters

Clogged filters, or the wrong type of filters in air conditioning and heating systems can waste as much as 10% of your energy. Replace at least every three months or more often during pollen season. Use the right filters for your system. Some high performance ‘hepa’ filters advertise relief from allergies but block so much airflow as to cause problems with some heating systems. Check the specifications for the system.


Hot Water Heater.
If you’ve already added insulation to your water heater, insulate at least the first six feet of pipe as it exits your water heater.

Understand Time-Of-Use (TOU) pricing, if available.
Your utility may be offering a Time-Of-Use pricing option. If you are willing to learn about these options and make lifestyle changes, there is a significant savings potential. Electricity costs more to generate during ‘peak’ times (late afternoon) and is less expensive at night and on weekends. More utilities are offering homes the opportunity to pay higher rates for energy used during peak times and very low rates for off-peak usage. If you can control when you use electricity with timers and lifestyle changes, you can be eligible for dramatic savings.

cover your air conditioner to save heat

Cover Your Window Air Conditioning Unit

Typically, air conditioners are not well insulated. In the winter, cover your air conditioner or remove it from the window.


Close the Damper in your fireplace when not in use.

Consider installing glass doors on your fireplace. In an open fireplace, much of the heat is sucked up the chimney. Glass doors prevent this and allow the fireplace to produce efficient, radiant heat.

glass doors on a fireplace will kepp you warmer


use the switch to completely turn off tv

Use a switched outlet for TV’s, computers, and other electronic equipment.

Your TV doesn’t shut off when you press the power button, it goes on ‘standby’, consuming, in some cases, 10% of the power used when it is on. Plug televisions and monitors into a switched surge protector or a wall outlet that is controlled by a switch. Unplug phone chargers when not in use. Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Ph.D. Commissioner of the California Energy Commission (and responsible for huge advances in global efficiency) calls these zillions of little black boxes “…energy vampires, sucking the life out of our grid one watt at a time.”

Energy Star rated TV’s use about 30% less electricity than standard televisions and use less than 3 watts when in the ‘standby’ mode. (2) energy star

Consider Solar Electric (photovoltaic or PV) or Solar Thermal panels.
If your home and your lifestyle is already highly energy efficient, you may want to consider generating some energy on your own.
A solar electric system provides the most power during peak electricity usage times. This is ideal for time of use pricing. In most areas, if you produce more than you use, you can sell the power back to the utility. There are federal and state rebates available to help pay for them.
Solar Thermal panels are used to preheat water before it goes into your hot water heater, or heat air to supplement your heating system. In areas where winters are long, these can generate greater savings than photovoltaic panels and be cheaper to install.

Become Carbon-Neutral, Buy Renewable Energy Credits (or Greentags).
If you can’t install a solar system of your own, you can still power your house with solar electricity by contributing to some else’s solar system. This can often be done through your utility or through one of several certified clearing houses. This is similar to buying ‘carbon credits’ only better because it is specifically geared to solar energy.

Buying renewable energy credits can be compared to sponsoring an NPR radio program. Your sponsorship helps cover the cost and does entitle you to claim that you are responsible for the presentation of the show. When you ‘sponsor’ someone’s solar system, you are legally and morally entitled to claim that you are responsible for the production of that solar energy.

If your state has required that your utility get 5% of its power from solar energy, your utility can either install solar panels themselves, or ‘sponsor’ solar panels installed elsewhere. The increasing number of states that require utilities to do this drive up the costs of these ‘greentags’ and make more money available, through sponsorships’ to people who want to install panels on their homes and businesses.

Some of these tips will save huge amounts of energy; a drafty window can be as bad as leaving the outside door open in the winter (“Were you raised in a barn?”) Others, like shutting TV’s completely off only save a small amount of energy, but with virtually no inconvenience and significant national impact when multiplied by 20 million homes.

… and don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave the room.

(1) NOAA Heat Index Calculator:

(2) Energy Star Ratings for Televisions and other Electronics:

US Department of Energy Home Energy Efficiency:

Purchase Greentags at

Vent Air Flow Re-directors at:

electricity use in your home

Note: These figures are based on an electric price of 8.14¢ per kWh

Household Cost/Period
Auto engine heater (500 watt) 4.7¢ / hour
Aquarium 30 gallon $4.17 / month
Clock 18¢ / month
Curling Iron 1.5¢ / hour
Battery Charger (car) 5.1¢ / hour
Bug Zapper $7.57 / month
Computer w/Monitor, Printer 88.2¢ / week
Electric Blanket (125 watt) 9.2¢ / 8 hours
Garage Door Opener 2.8¢ / month
Hair Dryer (hand held) 11.3¢ / hour
Heat Lamp 2.4¢ / hour
Jacuzzi (maintain temperature) $1.20 / day
Lighting (incandescent) 75 watt 7.0¢ / 10 hours
Lighting (compact fluorescent) 18 watt 1.6¢ / 10 hours
Lighting (fluorescent) 4’40 watt 3.8¢ / 10 hours
Lighting (outdoor flood) 125 watt 11.6¢ / 10 hours
Motor (1 HP) 9.20¢ / hour
Power Tools (circular saw) 16.7¢ / hour
Radio 12.5¢ / 10 hours
Satellite Dish (incl. receiver) $6.09 / month
Stereo 18.9¢ / 10 hours
Television (color, solid state) 26.0¢ / 10 hours
DVD/VCR 2.6¢ / hour
Waterbed Heater (300 watt) $10.00 / month

Laundry Cost/Period
Clothes Dryer 47¢ / load
Clothes Washer (cold/cold) 2.8¢ / load
Clothes Washer (warm/cold) 12.8¢ / load
Clothes Washer (hot/warm) 34.2¢ / load
Iron 9.2¢ / hour
Space Conditioning Space/Period
Air Conditioner (12,000 BTU, window) 8 SEER $28.25 / month
Air Conditioner (36,000 BTU, central) 13 SEER $51.25 / month
AC Dehumidifier (20 pints, summer) $14.99 / month
Heater (portable) 1500 watt 14.0¢ / hour
Heating System (blower) $8.32 / month
Heat tape (30 ft., 6 watts per foot) $11.93 / month
Humidifier (winter) $2.66 / month
Fan (attic) $2.64 / month
Fan (ceiling, lights off) 9.2¢ / 10 hours

Kitchen Cost/Period
Bread Machine 7.2¢ / loaf
Coffee Maker (auto drip) 2.6¢ / brew
Convection Oven 9.2¢ / hour
Dishwasher 22.8¢ / load
Freezer (man. defrost, 15 cu. ft.) 1975 $5.55 / month
Freezer (man. defrost, 15 cu. ft.) 2003 $2.75 / month
Fry Pan 10.0¢ / hour
Microwave Oven 14.3¢ / hour
Range (oven) 12.8¢ / hours
Range (self cleaning cycle) 57¢ / cleaning
Refrigerator (frost-free, 21.5 cu. ft.) 1975 $13.86 / month
Refrigerator (frost-free, 21.5 cu. ft.) 2006 $3.55 / month

*"Energy Savers" book from the Department of Energy (DOE)




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