How much is too much! That all depends on you. I personally feel that $150 dollars is too much. But I live in a cheap state for electricity. (Indiana) If I lived in California, $150 may sound like nothing.

What are the major users of electricity in my home? I have gas heat, gas fireplace, gas dryer, and a gas water heater. Gas runs most big appliances. (Now my gas bill is another story, that was $200 last month.) If you have electric heat, not a heat pump, than that is your answer. Electric heat is the worst way to heat your home. You should investigate alternatives ASAP if you wish to reduce your electric bill. Air conditioning is also a major user. Try running the air at the highest setting you are comfortable with. Electric water heaters use a good amount of electricity. You can reduce the temperature setting on the tank. You can also wrap your tank with a water heater blanket. Both of these will reduce the energy your water heater uses.
If gas is available in your area, it may save you money if you switch appliances over to gas. (Electricity is soooo cheap for me, it actually costs more to use gas then electric.)

Now lets talk Base Load. For me, Base load is how much electricity one uses during the non-heating and cooling season. In my household, that is number is about 750kWhrs. This is for a 2200 square foot home with a full finished basement. Knowing this can help you determine how much energy you are using for space conditioning. My usage basically doubles in summer and winter.

The last issue I think people over look is, Phantom Loads. Phantom loads are “stuff” that runs on electricity and you did not even really think about it. Good examples are;
Any wall adapter that you leave in all the time. Think cell phone charger, cordless phone, laptop charger. Clocks, TV, DVD and VCRs, automatic coffee pot. Do you leave your computer on all the time? One of these nights I am going to go out and watch my electric meter and calculate my phantom loads. By my best guess, I would think it could be as high as 150kWhrs a month.

Tools to help figure out what is going on.

Kill-A-Watt

This has been blogged about before. This will allow you to connect items with a normal wall plug. Leave it plugged in for a few days and find ou your average daily usage.

The Energy Detective

This is my favorite. One will be arriving at my house soon. I will be purchasing the PC monitoring software also. Yes, I am a green geek. The TED will allow real time energy feedback. I can already see  myself analyzing the data everyday.

My household goal is to reduce my base load to below 500kWhrs. Since I have done the easiest thing. (All lights are CFLs) This may not be that easy anymore. With the help of TED, I can target items like the dishwasher. I have a feeling that thing uses more then a typical dishwasher. Since it is getting older I want to replace it before it breaks. This may just push me over the edge.

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