Many customers don’t realize how fast their everyday appliances can add to the cost of their monthly utility bill. Water heaters and portable space heaters are two of the most surprising culprits of energy usage. Heating and cooling make up most of the year’s power costs.
Other factors that may cause high electricity bills can include poor insulation, broken thermostats on water heaters, and poor ventilation. This link to the federal Energy.Gov website can show you ways you can do a home energy audit and seek ways to reduce your energy consumption.
The PUD gives out free LED light bulbs and low-flow showerheads at our annual Customer Appreciation Event in late September, as well as Public Power Week in early October. Stop by and get yours!
We often get questions asking if there are any gadgets to help customers learn more about their energy usage and to save money on their bill. To find out where you might save energy, here are gadgets that we have learned about from employees and customers. (The PUD does not endorse any of the following products.)
Bye Bye Standby Energy-Saving Kit – A smart device that completely cuts power to electronics when they’re not in use. Simply plug the items into the adapter to start saving energy.
Kill A Watt Meter– These devices help you assess where you’re wasting energy. Just plug in the appliance or electronics item into the meter to get a read on actual energy use by hour, day, month or year.
PowerCost Monitor – Get real-time info on your electrical usage by installing this device on your electrical meter. Information is transmitted wirelessly to in-home receiver/display. Track actual energy use, measure energy use changes and estimate future energy use. You must contact PUD 1 to make arrangements for this to be installed onto your meter. If you damage the PUD-owned meter, the repair or replacement costs will be billed to your account.
Smart Strip – An easy way to automatically power down peripheral electronic devices in your home when you turn off the main unit, such as your computer CPU. Many people leave printers or DVD players on even when they’re not in use, unnecessarily wasting electricity.
Infrared Temperature Gauge – This device helps you increase the efficiency of your home’s insulation by identifying problem areas around drafty windows and doors and other soft spots around your home. A thermal reference light indicates hot and cold spots.
Smoke Pencil – This non-toxic tool generates a small amount of smoke to help you identify drafts or air leaks in your home. Pull the trigger on the smoke pencil near the area that you suspect a draft and see how the smoke moves to show the air movement. The light on the end of the smoke pencil illuminates the smoke and the area you are testing for easy air movement detection. Use it to see if your fireplace chimney will draft properly or test if your damper is sealing tightly. See if your windows and doors are weatherstripped well and seal tight. Test to see if you need to tape or mastic the HVAC ducts in your basement or attic.
The Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason & Thurston Counties has a weatherization program for qualifying low-income customers who need an energy inspection and improvements made, such as insulation, incidental repairs, air sealing, etc.