The Solar Power Expert Blog

How to Quickly and Easily Calculate Average Household Electricity Consumption

by Chris - October 25th, 2011.
Filed under: Projects, Solar Education.

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One of the first steps in justifying the cost of a new solar system is to perform an electricity audit to determine your average household electricity consumption. This article shows you a couple easy ways to go about performing your own home energy survey.

Once you’ve completed an electricity audit, you’ll be able to put the numbers into an electricity consumption calculator and see just how much money each appliance costs you per month. This can be a real eye opener.

Two ways for calculating average household energy consumption

There are two ways to approach your home electricity audit. The first is a top-down approach by looking at your historical electric bills. This will give you a ‘whole household’ view of your average household power consumption. The second, bottom-up approach, is to use energy audit equipment to measure the energy consumption of individual appliances. Both methods of conducting a home energy survey compliment the other.

Calculating average household electricity consumption through power bills

The quickest and easiest method to determine your average household energy consumption is to pull data from your historical electricity bills. Your local utility company can probably provide these to you upon request. It’s best to get three years of data, if possible.

Calculate average household electricity consumption with this book.
From here, it would be a good idea to check your local library for a copy of Solar Power Your Home for Dummies. The author has a whole chapter devoted to properly analyzing average household power consumption. For starters though, take the average of each month. You can use this spreadsheet as an energy consumption calculator to do this with the information on your energy bills.

Kill A Watt Meter – Energy Audit Equipment

A Kill A Watt meter is an inexpensive power monitor. It plugs into the wall and displays the power going into whatever appliance you plug into it. For appliances that come on periodically, like refrigerators, it’s best to leave the meter plugged in for at least 24 hours to get an accurate reading of average refrigerator power consumption.

By using a top-level approach (the spreadsheet and utility bills) and a bottom-up approach (monitoring individual appliances) you can quickly and accurately perform an electricity audit of your average household electricity consumption.

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