Monday, November 22, 2010

What a revelation

Well, if you read my previous post, then you know I'm on the warpath with my electric vampires.

I'm putting on my 'Electric Detective Badge' and taking charge!

I spent a little over an hour on the phone today with one of our electric companies energy conservationist discussing my bill. He explained a few things to me and we talked together about how to reduce my electrical usage and to possibly find out which or where my electrical vampires are hiding.

So here goes, the plan of attack:
For the next 30 days:
At 5pm I need to write down the reading on the meter (this will occur everyday from this day on)
Keep a 24 hour diary noting what I am doing each hour, and the electrical appliances being used.
At 5pm the next day, again write down the reading on the meter.
When I see a spike in the reading, call him up. He will check each hour of that previous day and tell me which hour my usage was at it's highest.
I can then compare it with my 24 hr. diary and we should be able to pinpoint within a week or so what may be our electric vampire.

Good enough for me, so begins this adventure:
BUT here are some things you might not know.

Did you know you're supposed to service your water heater yearly, just like you do your air/heat unit? Yep, you are supposed to drain your water heater yearly, check the element, clean it or replace it if needed, clean the bottom of your tank, then reassemble and refill with water.

(not I)

He also informed me (because I asked) that even though companies spew 'energy efficient' it does not necessarily make it so.
Specifically talking dishwashers here. Yes..that specific dishwasher you are using or getting ready to purchase may 'use less water'..may use less electricity and very well may be energy efficient for what it is or compared to 'model xxx', but it causes other items in your house to use energy which they DON'T calculate into their 'energy efficient ratings'.
Most people don't realize it, but dishwashers pull water from your hot water tank, which causes your hot water tank to empty and need to refill and heat up all that water. That is electrical usage.
Then (depending on your model) the dishwasher itself may heat that already heated water again to a specific temperature (another heating element to contend with and according to the electric man, anything that has a 'heating element' is an energy drain), then the dishwasher will run for appx 60-80 mins on regular or short cycle and fill up one more time to 'rinse' your dishes again, using your hot water from the water tank. (causing the viscous cycle to start again with your water heater having to start over again!)
Not only that, many people choose to use the 'heated drying cycle' on their dishwashers which again we deal with a heating element.
All told, he informed me that running a dishwasher pulls 7x's more electricity to use then doing dishes by hand when you consider all the other things it uses to complete it's cycle.

soooo what does this mean?? It's off with the dishwasher's head!!
Will I get rid of it? No, it's a great drainer for my hand washed dishes.
There are some keys to keeping the bills lower when washing dishes by hand.
1. Scrape food off dishes instead of rinsing off
2. Fill one sink with hot water and soap and rinse with cold water.
3. DO NOT let the water simply run as you wash.

Some hints and tips to hand washing the dishes:
Start with a clean sink.
Fill one side with hot water and soap
Wash cleanest to dirtiest in that order (ex; glasses first, silverware, plates, serving bowls then pots and pans)
Wash all the dishes you can filling the rinse sink then rinse all the dishes at the same time. (this keeps you from turning on your water on 50x's!)
If you feel that your dishes are not 'sanitized' properly think of two things:
Your mother probably did not have a dishwasher, and I can bet your grandmother did not have one, and you're still here! Secondly, adding bleach to your wash water (1/2 cup or less) will help you feel better about your sanitation efforts. (and make the sink white if you have an enamel one!)
*Hint: If you don't fill your wash sink up all the way then 1/2 way through your washing when the water begins to cool, you can add more hot water. :)

I stack the dishes on one side, in the order I'm going to wash them in. Rinse after the silverware and glasses, the rinse again after the plates and serving bowls, then finally all the pots and pans (I do this because I have SMALL sinks darnit! (not too much will fit all at once!)

**NEVER EVER put a SHARP knife in your dishwater! If you have good bubbles, you cannot see the bottom of the sink and the possibility of cutting yourself is VERY REAL! Keep knifes on the counter and wash one at a time!

Besides, look at the "GOOD" thing washing dishes by hand will do...get your nails good and clean!! (I guess that means, after garden time is dish washing time huh?)
See ya at the sink come washin' up time!!

See ya next time......down on the farm!Sage

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