energy consumption

Have you ever wondered, “Which rooms are consuming the most electricity, and how can I save more money on my next electric bill?” I know that I have, which is why I did a little research to find out the answers!

To use myself as an example, my current electric provider charged 9 cents per kilowatt per hour last summer. Last winter, in 2014, they charged me almost 16 cents, and that was during the multiple snow storms that graced New England’s presence last year. Snow is great for sledding, building snowmen, and having snowball fights, but not for saving money on the electric bill.

Last winter’s bill was an unpleasant electric bill, definitely the worst that I’ve ever seen. It got me thinking about where the electricity was going, and what could I do to save money. Was it going out the window? Probably, but nonetheless, I started to measure each item in my household that uses electricity, which is measured in watts, so that I could understand if and where I could save the most money.

If you just want to know how you can save money on your electric bill, then please go to my other article How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill.

The Science Behind Electricity

In case you are wondering and you would like a quick science lesson, a watt (w) is described as the International System of Units (SI) unit of electrical power, which is equivalent to 1 joule per meter per second. A joule is a measurement of how much energy it takes when a force of one newton (F=ma) acts through a distance of one meter (3.3 feet). A newton is defined as the force necessary to provide a mass of one kilogram to be accelerated one meter per second each second.

What this means for you is that the electric companies bill you based on how much energy (measured in watts) you consume from them. However, they usually bill you based on how many kilowatts you use per month. A kilowatt (kWh) is equal to 1,000 watts. You can see which rooms bite the most out of your electric bill below (Each room’s energy consumption, measured in watts, is based on someone leaving on each item in that room for one hour before turning it off).

Which Rooms Consume the Most Electricity?

I did a little research to find out how much electricity each item consumes in my apartment. You can do this by checking user manuals, packaging labels, and product numbers to find what their power consumption is. If you can’t find the above mentioned items, then try searching the product online. You might have to convert from volts and amps to watts on some items. You can go to rapidtables.com for a conversion calculator.

*Results will vary depending upon which items and models you have, and how old they are. This chart excludes washers, dryers, and home heating. It also assumes that you have non-energy efficient light bulbs (2 in the bedroom, and 1 in the bathroom).

ENERGY CONSUMPTION PER ROOM (WATTS)

energy consumption

Referring back to my lovely pie chart, you can easily see that the kitchen loves to both freeze and fry your electric bill! This all includes what’s in my kitchen: a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, microwave, blender, coffee machine, toaster, and two lights. Total energy consumption totaled nearly 5,000 watts, or 5 kWh, per hour. That equals .45 cents (.09 cents x 5 kWh)per hour in the summer and 80 cents (.16 x 5) per hour in the winter! Darned my outdated kitchen!

The second most energy consuming room was my living room. I included my television, modem and separate router, cable box, Xbox 360, Blu-ray player, two lights.  My relaxing living room consumed about 700 watts per hour. My calculator suggests that it costs about 6 cents (.09 x .700 kWh) per hour in the summer and 11 cents (.16 x .700) per hour in the winter. That doesn’t include air conditions, heaters, drafty windows, and poorly built doors. FYI, a typical air conditioner consumes about 1000 watts per hour.

My office space included a custom built desktop, monitor, printer, and two lights. That totaled 900 watts per hour for me. If not for my custom built PC, then it would be more like 560 watts per hour. If you have a gaming rig, you will probably see at least 1,200 watts per hour, which is like keeping the AC on. The 560 watts that most people consume came out to be 5 cents (.09 x .560 kWh) per hour in the summer and 9 cents (.16 x 560) per hour in the winter. Not too bad.

Assuming that you don’t have more than the basic one light in your bathroom and two lights in your bedrooms including the bedroom closets, you will only see a 60 to 120 watt usage per hour per room if you’re using a non energy efficient light bulb, which would cost you at most 1 cent per hour.

Electric Heating, Washer, & Dryer

If you want to include electric water heaters, washers, and dryers, be prepared to cry! My water heater consumes 4,000 watts per hour. If you’re taking a hot shower, running your dishwasher, or washing your clothes on the hot cycle, you’re going to pay at least 36 cents (.09 x 4 kWh) per hour in the summer and 64 cents (.16 x 4 kWh) per hour in the winter, and that’s just heating the water! Now, add the 1,800 watt washer (120 volts x 15 amps) and a 6,000 watt dryer (220 volts x 30 amps) running for an hour, and you get slammed harder than a steroid consuming football player. Combined, doing one load of laundry will cost $1.06 (.09 x 11.8) per hour in the summer and $1.90 (.16 x 11.8) per hour in the winter. This makes you want to throw out your laundry and go commando.

The total cost of powering your home in the summer will cost $1.69 per hour or $40 per day and $2.61 per hour or $62.64 per day in the winter. That will add up to $2,000 per month! Don’t forget to add 30% to your electric bill for heating your home, which will add around $1 per hour and $700 per month (rounded up).

Which Months are the Most Expensive?

If you live in any of the northern states, then you probably noticed a spike in the electric bill in the winter months. If you, however, are living in Always Sunny, California, then book us northerners some flights down to you! Otherwise, check out the graph below to see how power consumption fluctuates in New England throughout the year.

February is usually the most expensive and coldest month out of the year. We consume around 850 kWh, compared to the warmest month of July (800 kWh). The extra consumption is due to heating in winter and air conditioning during the summer.

The lowest consumption rates were between May and November (400 kWh). As you can imagine, weather plays a huge role in the electric bill, especially over here in New England, so plan your bill accordingly. Expect to pay more than twice as much in winter than in summer. I remember one week when it snowed, rained, and was sunny with temperatures ranging from 30 F to 70 F, which felt like 100 degrees after the snow storm. You just got to love New England weather.

Let’s Hear From You!

Does your energy consumption relate to mine? Are you surprised about which rooms and which months were most expensive? Which rooms do you think consume the most energy for you? Did you move to a different location to avoid heating or cooling costs?

I remember researching this. It wasn’t something I did for this blog, but it was something that came up when my fiance asked me, “Why is our electric bill so high? I didn’t use a lot of hot water last month. Figure it out!” Since there was no arguing with her, and the fact that I was really curious about the math, I decided to look into it a bit more. Since then, I’ve heard a lot of people ask the same thing, and that’s why I decided to add it to my blog. I hope that it helps!