I am on a mission. The goal? To get our power bill under $100. Our average bill now is over $200! That is a ridiculous amount of money, and I’m tired of paying it! But how can we possibly get the bill down so far?
Well, there are many ways to reduce our electricity usage. But today I’m going to talk about the first thing I am working on to bring down our bill.
We’ve always been good about turning a light off when leaving a room. Even the kids are in the habit of flipping that switch back down. But it never occurred to me, until recently, that perhaps we don’t need to have so many light bulbs on per room. Have you ever gone through your house and counted exactly how many light bulbs you have? You might be surprised.
As I went through our home the other day, I counted 60 light bulbs! Do we really need nine bulbs in one bathroom? Or nine in the kitchen? So, I set to work unscrewing all but 15; one bulb for each room- three for the kitchen.
Lets do some math. Your power bill is based on how many kilowatts per hour you use in a month (KWH). What you are charged per hour depends on where you live. You can figure this out by looking at your power bill and dividing your payment due by the total KWH used. Mine comes to 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
The average light bulb is 60 watts, right? If you left that light on for one hour, you would have used 60 watt hours, or .06 kilowatt hours. So, according to what I get charged per KWH, I would have to pay .006 cents for that one hour. Doesn’t sound like much does it?
But multiply that by the 60 bulbs I have in my home and by about 5 hours of usage per day (just guessing on that one), and my cost would be around $2 per day. Multiply that by the days in the month… you see where I’m going with this. We are paying somewhere around $50-$60 per month for our lights.
If I’m going to try to reduce my monthly power bill, turning out the lights is a great place to start!
So, I went through the house unscrewing bulbs in every room. All of the bedrooms have an overhead fan/light, as well as a lamp on a dresser. I unscrewed all of the overhead lights, and left the one bulb in the lamp as the main light source. I also replaced the lamp bulbs with the new 13 watt compact florescent bulbs.
I did the same in every other room in the house- leaving only one bulb on, and replacing the 60 watt bulb with a compact florescent one, except for the kitchen- I left three lights on in there, one was the bulb over the stove.
I knew that if I didn’t totally unscrew the bulbs, that out of habit we would walk into the room and flip the light on. And it would be hard to stop doing that. Sure enough, later that evening when the kids went to their rooms there was mass confusion! “Mommy!! My light doesn’t work!” I showed them both how to turn their lamps on, and explained that we don’t really need to have four lights come on when we enter the room, and that we’d be doing our best to save money on the power bill.
Even I have found myself walking into a room and flipping the light switch on. And when nothing happens I remember to use the lamp. We’ve been doing this for five days now, and you know, it’s amazing how little light you really need! One bulb in the bathroom is plenty. And a single lamp as the main source of light in a room is surprisingly sufficient.
We are so spoiled as Americans. Nine light bulbs in a bathroom… seriously? It it truly necessary? And it’s so funny to me that I never questioned that! I simply filled the fixtures with bulbs, and dutifully replaced the burnt out ones.
Well, now I am seeing things in a whole new light! (Ha ha) I’m anxious to see how our power bill is effected over the next few months.
(As a side note, please read this warning about using compact florescent light bulbs. They do contain mercury, so be very careful not to break one!!)
So what do you think? How many bulbs do you have in your home? Do you think you could live with half that amount of light?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.