Between the middle of July and the middle of August, we installed a few dozen new compact fluorescent bulbs in our house. We’ve been more diligent than ever about turning off lights. As the middle of the month approached, I was getting excited about seeing our energy bill because I thought we’d see a nice noticeable dip in our electricity usage. Then the bill arrived. And here you see it. For our July bill, we used 880 KWH (kilowatt hours), for August it was up to 1040 KWH. That’s an 18% increase. Why, oh, why???
Thinking about the differences between the two months, I can only think of two things. First, we spent a few days during the July billing cycle out of town, so usage was very low on those days. Second, for a week during the August billing cycle, our greenhouse was being built. This required the use of equipment that drew electricity, primarily an air compressor and various saws. Aside from these two differences, our usage patterns were pretty much the same or better in August — except we installed all those compact fluorescent bulbs, which should have helped. Since we’ve also started using the clothesline, I am hoping we see better results in our next bill. We might also buy a Kill A Watt product to be able to measure the usage of our various appliances. And I have to say a real-time home electricity monitoring system is starting to look tempting as well.
On a positive note, our greenhouse was finished on Monday. I’m going to take and post pictures this weekend. Also, we’re going to build the chicken coop on Monday. So, even though our electricity reduction program isn’t going as well as planned, we’re making real progress on the suburban homesteading front.
It’s easy to get frustrated looking at one month against another. You can put it in greater perspective by comparing it against last years August numbers. Looking at your billing image that you posted it looks like you were right about even. Most billing online will allow you to look back at last years KWh numbers for the last year. That will give you a better idea of where you stand. My numbers went up for august too (they’re on my blog) but went down in comparison to last year.
Stick with it, you’ll get there!
I thought of that too. Last year, our usage was exactly the same at 1040 KWH. I didn’t write about that because we used to have a gas water heater and switched to a Marathon electric last year, but I can’t remember exactly when. If we switched after last August, our numbers would be OK because 1040 this year would include the use of the water heater, which means other electricity usage would have gone down.
I agree it is important to take the long view on this. Thanks for the guidance.