So, the electricity bill for March was only $27. On average, the electricity bill is $65/month. A difference of $38. It is worth noting that we have four people living here now. In the past there’s usually only been 3 people living here. Being able to increase the population while reducing consumption is a significant feat.
Part of taking a house off the grid is changing your behavior first and then changing the structure of the house. If we were to switch to our own small solar system tomorrow, we’d be extremely hard pressed to maintain this level of comfort which we are accustomed to. By taking the time to make changes incrementally we will be able to make this transition smoothly and successfully.
The fridge and dryer are the biggest uses of electricity in our household. So, we concentrated on reducing or eliminating those appliances in the previous months.
The previous post told of how we switched our fridge to a mildly converted chest freezer thus saving us $180 over the course of the year. The amount of coal that saves is approximately 1100lbs!
Next was the dryer which was the easiest thing to get rid of. During my travels in Europe, I noticed that a lot of people still didn’t use dryers even though they were able to afford it. So, with that in mind I unplugged it and then set up an open area in a spare room to allow clothes to dry during the winter. Now that it’s spring, we’ll be able to dry the clothes in the sun. For us, the dryer costs roughly 4kWh or 4 lbs of coal or $0.10 to run for 1 hour. (You can get general power consumption numbers from here. Here‘s the formula to convert Watts to kWh.)
When I look at the dryer only costing a dime to run I think, ‘Who cares! It’s a dime!’ But when I think of it in terms of 4 lbs of coal to run that thing, then it is an entirely different animal for me: 2 Loads of Laundry/Week x 52 Weeks/Year x 4lbs of Coal/Load of Laundry = 416lbs of coal required to dry one person’s clothes every year. Now that four of us have kicked the habit that’s 1664lbs of coal that we ain’t using.
We’re also a little more mindful about leaving lights on when not in the room. Finally, there’s a lot of appliances which still draw current when they’re not turned on. (It’s called a ‘vampire draw’!) Take my cell phone and laptop chargers for example. They draw just as much power whether or not they’re charging anything. So, I try to remember to unplug them when they’re not in use.
I hope you enjoyed reading this! It’s been a fun adventure as we figure out different ways of doing things.