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Here are some numbers you might find interesting, if not habit-changing:
- An electric oven at 350 degrees will use around 2 kilowatt hours in an hour of use.
- A microwave oven on high running for a comparable cooking time, which is 15 minutes, uses 0.36 kilowatt hour.
- A slow cooker at 200 degrees running for seven hours draws 0.70 kilowatt hour.
If we apply an electric cost of 12 cents per kilowatt hour (around the national average), the big oven costs 24 cents, the microwave costs a little more than four cents (17 percent of the big oven), and the slow cooker costs a little over eight cents (33 percent of the big oven).
With these numbers in mind, the next time you need to reheat leftovers, you might want to go with the microwave or you may want to jump on the Internet and find slow cooker recipes to replace dishes you use the oven for. You might consider investing in a small counter top convection oven so that you can leave the big oven off more often.
With the price of electricity being what it is, and the need to lower electric bills a high priority for many of us, looking at the numbers might help us make better decisions about how we use our electricity.
Here are some more numbers that may affect how you manage your household power. Electronics account for approximately 15 percent of average household power consumption, and 75 percent of that power is used by devices that are plugged in but not in use (e.g., phone chargers, video game units, DVD players). This means that $11.25 out of every $100 on an electric bill covers wasted power.
Do these numbers prompt you to look at your home electronics differently? The best way to avoid paying money for nothing is to unplug devices and units when they are not in use, including items like microwave ovens and coffee makers with digital read outs.
Here are more numbers:
- If you've kept an old refrigerator (early 90s vintage or before) around to serve as a drink cooler, it could be costing you $10 or more per month on your electric bill. (Solution: Ditch the fridge and get a new unit if you still want cold drinks storage.)
- If the HVAC system air filters and condenser in the main unit are dirty, the system becomes less efficient and can increase power consumption by 10% or more. (The solution: Change air filters monthly during period of high system use and clean the condenser at least every two years).
- Between one-quarter and one-half of hot and cold air in a home's HVAC system escapes through gaps, seams, and joints. (Solution: Seal joints with mastic and patch holes with aluminum tape.)
- Each degree you increase (in winter) or decrease (in summer) your thermostat setting , you put an additional two percent onto your electricity usage (and bill). (Solution: Be conservative with your thermostat. Put in an programmable or "smart" thermostat. Some electric service providers offer free thermostats to customers, so call your provider to see if they have such a program).
Pay attention to the numbers, make some changes in your habits and home, and that number at the bottom of your electric bill may make a significant downward turn.