What Does It Cost To Run A Home-Electricity

The King Team

What Does It Cost To Run A Home-Electricity


King Team BLOG - What Does It Cost To Run A Home


This document is part of a series designed to help you understand how it works and what you can do to save money or make your home run more efficiently.


          EMPTY                    Full of Breakers          With Cover On

First lets start with electricity in north America.  ALL homes have 220/240 volts coming into the home.  They are broken down to 3 wires into your home; Two HOT wires with 110/120 volts per wire and one Common Wire that does not have electricity running through it, but connects to the pole and the town/city.  In your electrical box are two BARS (as they call them), each bar has one charge of 110/120 volts to it.  So when you look at your electrical box you will see some breakers with just one switch and some with 2. The 2 are all 220/240 volts for items like dryers, stoves, AC, Heat, etc.  All the single switches are for standard plugs, lights, and items in your home that only use a single plug to run them. 

These are the two types of electric meters you should see on your home or business.  The one on the left is the standard older version, mechanical, and the one on the right is the new digital meters.  The newer meters communicate with the power company and have intelligence built-in so they can talk to the power company and give them statistics on your power usage.

Electricity is all MATH – yes sorry but no surprise here, you can calculate the cost of anything if you know the following:

Watts          Amps          Volts


All electric costs are based on WATTS used.  Now the bills are a little confusing because you see a cost of the actual electricity at, lets say, $.12 per kw.  This means that for every 1000 watts per hour you use, you pay $.12.  What you must read farther into your bills is the other costs, like delivery, taxes, etc.  In Massachusetts today the rates range from $.21 to over $.38 with all the fees in the final number (for our examples we will use National Grid at $.27).  In Alabama with Cullman Electric the total delivered cost is $.1257 (12.5¢).  Based on these numbers if you have a 100 watt light bulb (the old incandescent ones) and you turn it on at 9 pm at night and in the morning you turn it off at 7am (10 hours), you have used up 1000 watts also known as 1 kW.

So lets do a little simple math:                          

100 watt light bulb on your back porch running every night from dusk (say 9pm) to dawn (say 7am) this is 10 hours at 100 watts.  This is 1000 watts – or 1.0 kW per day, times 31 days for a total of 31,000 watts or 31 kW.  Here are the costs for just that one old light bulb:

Mass    31 x $.27 = $8.37 per month for just one old light bulb

AL       31 x $.1257 = $3.90 per month for just 1 light bulb

Now lets look at the Security light on the garage, assuming you have a halogen light, that you put on at dusk and turn off at dawn.  These type of lights are typically between 150 and 500 watts.

                        Light Size                            MASS                       ALABAMA

                        150 watts (45kW)          $12.55 per month            $5.65 per month           
                        300 watts (90kW)          $24.30 per month          $11.31 per month
                        500 watts (155kW)        $41.85 per month          $19.48 per month

As you can see, the cost for just one 500 watt halogen security light if replaced would pay for itself in 2-4 months with a new LED light.

LED lights are rated in watts but this is to show you the equivalent output of a LED bulb vs a incandescent bulb.  So the package might way 100 watt bulb LED, but the actual watts used is about 17 watts.  Meaning you can use a LED bulb 590% more for the same money as an incandescent bulb of the same watts. 

Since I am on the topic of LED, it is much more common with LED to have a rating called Kelvin and/or Lumens.  Kelvin is the temperature of the bulb what I call scale of light and Lumens is the intensity of the light.  Warm light is 2000-2700K, Neutral (soft) light is 3000-4000K and daylight is typically 5000K.  Most kitchens and bathrooms are daylight where living and dining rooms are more of a warm light.  This is all based on your taste, and has nothing to do with watts or power consumption.  The Lumens is how bright the light is, not the temperature.  So you can have a warm light that is equal to a 40 watt bulb or a 100 watt bulb.  You will know 5000k bulbs because this it what most of the new cars have for headlights!

Here are some of the appliances in your home today, assuming new and energy star (if possible).

Dryer – 1.5 kW up to 5 kW per hour

Stove Top – 1 kW to 3 kW per hour

Oven – 2 kW to 5 kW per hour

Fridge 100 to 400 watts per hour or 72 kW to 308 kW per month

Freezer 100 to 300 watts per hour or 72 kW to 216 kW per month

Dishwasher – 1200 to 2400 watts per hour

Wash Machine – 400 to 1400 watts per hour

Well Pump – 1400 watts per hour

Hot Water Tank – 1125-4000 watts per hour

AC Heat Pump – 900 to 9000 watts per hour (9000 for the heat coil backup), 1500-3000 watts for AC

Keep in mind most appliances you only use for a short time frame.  Things like Fridge, Freezer, Lights, Portable Heaters, etc. that you might leave on all day or 24 hours a day, are items you need to look at.  Items like hot water tanks, AC units, Heating Units, Dryers, Well Pumps, tend to use a lot of power, but only when they need it.  Most of these do not run all day long.

If you have an old fridge in your garage or basement that is keeping your beer and soda cold, you might want to consider getting a new smaller fridge as the old fridges typically use up 1,700 watts per hour or 1,224 kW per month = that is $330 per month in MA or $153 per month in AL.  Are you sure your cold beer is worth that?  You can pay for a new fridge in less than a year.

If the house you want to purchase has electric heat baseboard the electricity used is as follows:

225 watts per linear foot.  The most common sizes are 4’ at $35 each, and 6’ at $60 each.  The reason you find these in homes is the cost to purchase and install them is so much less then hot water baseboard.  Plus you can install them just about anywhere you have power.  Now keep in mind they need a dedicated circuit as they draw a lot of power!  And most of them use 220 volts.

So you have an old house with 4 rooms with electric heat, you can expect that for every 10 sq. ft. you will use approx. 10 watts per hour.  So a 10’ x 12’ bedroom that has an 7’ ceiling and the insulation is OK, could use approx. 400 watts per hour, and if heated every hour in the winter you can expect to pay about $2.00 per day or $62 per month, so 4 rooms would cost approx. $248 per month.

One more note – Home inspections are looking for failures in the home, a working electric heating system will not raise a red flag, but it will raise your blood pressure when you get your bill in January!

If you do not know what your devices are drawing for power in your home, you can purchase a Power Flow Meter from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, that you can plug in your device to one side of the meter, and the other side into the wall and the meter will tell you how much power the device is using.  Only works for 110 volt standard plug units.

We hope you have enjoyed this BLOG, please keep coming back for more helpful information.

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