So on with the show. Most will have about 3 days worth of readings now. Here is how my calc table looks (click to enlarge)
I have been at work the last two days, and in my absence and to my surprise our total kWh per day has gone up, not down like I expected! WTF? 20.7 kWh in the last 24 hours! I have been unable to figure it out for two whole days, and thought someone was stealing our electricity or that one of the meters was wrong.
After questioning Kim, it suddenly dawned on me. About a year ago we refurbished the kitchen and purchased a duel fuel oven. We can cook with natural gas or electricity. I was hedging my bets come energy descent and wanted to get the most out of the oven. Also, I can cook with gas even when there is no grid connection.
Kim had been cooking in our duel fuel oven using the electric oven setting which uses at least 3000 watts, and she had it on for 45 minutes on Tuesday, and over an hour today! We normally use the oven on natural gas, however she finds the electric bakes muffins, bread, and biscuits better. It uses a massive amount of what I thought was our humble daily energy requirements.
So it was time for my very own family meeting tonight, and we discussed when the best time to cook with electricity was (after sunset to maximise export and the feed-in tariff), and to cook as many things as she could during the same time. In other words, fill the oven up when using electricity! We discussed the pros and cons of using electricity vs natural gas. She also agreed to do laundry at night and hang it outside in the morning. This conversation reminded me of a few tips that I can share today.
- Think about energy usage by room. Do a mental audit of all electrical items in the room. If needs be, right down the items for future reference.
- Look for waste and educate others as we go along.
- Don’t spend any money until you assess your/family behaviours. Try simple efficiency first of all.
- Remember, it is easier and cheaper to save electricity than to generate.
- Use a microwave for cooking, they’re more energy efficient than conventional ovens
- Stir or turn food in the microwave often to ensure the heat spreads evenly – speeding up the heating process.
- When cooking on the range make sure you use the lids on your pots. You don’t need to use as much energy to get the same result.
- Make sure the seals in your oven fit properly. The seals should hold a piece of paper in place when the oven door is closed. We replaced ours about 2 months ago because the manufacturer found a fault with the design and sent us a free replacement.
- Use small appliances for small tasks e.g. use the toaster not the oven for toasting.
- Use the correct size pot for the element or burner, it is more efficient and you don’t waste heat.
- Avoid cooking food that is still frozen. Defrost it in the fridge or use the microwave.
- Avoid opening oven doors when cooking – each time you do the internal temperature drops by at least 15°C.
- Use appropriate cooking temperatures
- Cook several dishes at once in the oven.
- Electric ovens are usually rated between 2400 – 3200 watts, so an hour of cooking you would use 2.4 – 3.2 kWh.
- An electric stove element is rated between 150 watts for the low setting up to 1500 watts for the high setting.
- A Microwave (1000W) actually uses about 1600 watts on the high setting.
- An electric grill is rated at 2200 watts.
- An electric jug is rated between 2000-2400 watts
- A toaster can be rated between 1800 – 2200 watts.