So far, on our journey toward the reduction of unnecessary energy use, we have dealt with three of our ten energy guzzlers: the refrigerator, the flat-screen TV, and the air conditioner. This blog deals with an energy guzzler that, to me, came out of left field: the notorious swimming pool and hot tub filter pumps. No kidding. How often do you stop and consider just how much energy it takes to keep your pool and hot tub clean?
My answer? Never. That’s because we hardly use them, yet pay the same amount as if we were using them 7 days a week! Here’s how it breaks down for me:
• Swimming pool filter pump: Runs approximately 8 hours a day and costs me an average monthly cost of $37.00
• Hot Tub filter/pump: This is an older unit (115 volt) which is set at 100 degrees, and found that it is costing me $43.00 a month, even with an insulated cover. That’s in a warm climate.
So both units are running me around $77.00 a month. In the summer months we use the pool on a daily basis and rarely use the hot tub. In the winter months (gets down into the 40’s) we often use the hot tub but rarely use the pool. When we considered the “ROI” (return on investment) for these appliances, based on their usage, we decided to make some changes.
First of all, the hot tub. How can something so much smaller than the pool cost more to run?? I have a buddy who used an infra-red gun and showed me that heat is leaking out from my tub onto the deck. In other words, the deck lit-up. I’m unintentionally heating my outside deck. Upon inspection, we found that the Mickey-mouse insulation that originally came with the tub was mouse-fodder. He helped me take two-inch foam block and glued it to the insides of the tub housing, which made a huge difference in keeping the heat in. No more heating the deck.
We also decided to just shut-off the hot tub during the summer months. Finally, we were told when we did use the tub, to not leave the jets on unless we were using the tub. It seems that the jets like to inject COLD water into the tub which, in turn, needs to be heated. We think that we can shave around 50% off our hot tub energy bill.
Next, the pool. I found that running the pump 8 hours a day doesn’t significantly improve the cleanliness of my pool, but it does significantly increase my energy bill! I set my pump to run no more than 4 hours a day during the summer and we’re still trying to decide if we want to shut it off completely, or run it for only a couple of hours in the winter. Also, I have an older model, power-hungry, single-speed pump and am considering moving to one of the newer variable speed ones. I have found that the cost of the new pump would be well worth the investment, and along with shutting the pool down in the winter months, will save me around 40-50% of my annual pool bill.
So…if I can reduce this energy use by 40%, that’s a $30 monthly savings. I’d rather spend that on lunch after church one Sunday than give it to PG&E! Come to think of it…the money I will be able to save by reducing the energy usage of all 10 of these energy guzzlers could be enough to buy us lunch every Sunday!
$256.86 a month. That’s my average electricity bill. That’s not counting my gas bill. And, like most people, I had little clue as to where it was really going. That was until I took the advice of a colleague and made a list of every major appliance in my house, made a trip down to my utility company and, through that discussion, got a dose of reality. I discovered that I had a number of ‘energy-guzzlers’ in my house that, unknown to me, were costing me more than I would have imagined. They were hidden ‘energy-guzzlers.’
I listed 10 major appliances and estimated the average number of hours each one was run on a monthly basis. I was able, through my energy company, to determine what each appliance was costing me, and received some great tips on how I could significantly reduce my monthly electricity bill.
The average ‘cost per kilowatt’ in my area runs $0.17 per KWH (kilowatt hour), which doesn’t seem like much, until you start adding-up all the kilowatt hours generated by all your appliances. In this and subsequent blogs, I’ll share what I discovered and what I’m doing about cutting my costs.
The first ‘energy-guzzler’ I discovered was my refrigerator. I found that, running 30 days a month, this beloved appliance was costing me around $30.00 a month. That’s a dollar a day. It’s about 7 years old and seems to do the job. When I was asked how often I moved the beast out and cleaned the ‘coils,’ I had to think about it. I think the last time was when we put in new flooring, which was…3 years ago. I was told that not cleaning the coils, especially during the summer, was causing it to work harder and burn more electricity. Something I didn’t know. I was next asked if the ‘seals’ on both the refrigerator and
freezer compartment were airtight. Again, I wasn’t sure. He told me to take a dollar bill, put it in the door of each compartment, and close it. If I was able to pull the bill out easily, I had a ‘seal’ problem and might need a door adjustment or have to replace the seals.
As soon as I got home I pulled-out the refrigerator from the wall and found that the coils were completely covered with lint, which had attracted a fair amount of dust, and that a dish cloth had somehow fallen behind the refrigerator and was covering part of the coils. I still am wondering how a kid can lose one of his toys back there. Next, I tried the dollar-bill trick in both the cooler and freezer unit. Guess what? The bills didn’t even stay in the same spot, but just slid down the edge of the seal. Not even close to being airtight. It was leaking cold air out the seals, and we are in the process of getting new seals.
So…I have discovered the first of 10 energy-guzzlers in my house, and am now on a mission to search and destroy these ‘energy-guzzlers’ and reduce my electricity costs.