Take a look at that headline. Seems sorta wacky. How much electrical power do I need for my home? It’s not like there’s a chance that we might run out of electricity, right? Well, no. That’s not why most people think to ask this question, which, yes, does sound a bit wacky at first.
But think about it for a second.
We all pay attention to our electric bills, right? Why? Because that’s money out of our pockets. Every dishwashing cycle, every light left burning … these amount to dollars and cents trickling away.
The last thing we should want is to waste energy. We want to use only as much as we need — not a watt more.
But how much do we need? There’s that question again!
We try to conserve energy if and when we can. It keeps those utility bills low, and conservation is important in and of itself. If we’re facing a future in which energy demands have increased while the supply has not … well, you can imagine what a nightmare scenario that would be.
So there are two reasons to ask the question, “How much electrical power do I need?” To make sure we aren’t wasting it. And to make sure that we have enough juice to power and sustain the activities we do at home.
(Note: There’s also a third consideration when it comes to this question. Some people search for an answer to this question when they plan to power their home with a portable generator or solar power. We’ll discuss these topics in future Prairie Electric blog posts.)
A lot of people are curious about how much electrical power they need for their homes. People partake in all kinds of hobbies and activities that make demands on home electrical systems.
Even common, everyday, run-of-the-mill chores consume large amounts of energy, as we know. When family visits and the washer and dryer are in use more than usual, don’t we notice a spike in our electrical bill for that month?
Saving Money and Budgeting
For most of us, calculating the amount of power we need really depends on our budget.
We can read the labels on our household appliances and perform some arithmetic: 120 volt this and 240 volt that; kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity here, hours per day using the appliance there.
We can get a rough estimate of the kWh cost of our electric heating, our air conditioners, and our water heater. We can keep an eye on our electric meter.
But the real insight comes from using our appliances as needed and then determining whether the cost of our electric bill is worth the energy consumption that produced it.
If our bill is too high for our budget, we can adjust our power consumption accordingly. Perhaps we can take shorter showers or do fewer loads of laundry per week. There are plenty of ways to save energy.
With this method, we adjust our behavior until we get an electric bill we can handle each month.
Voila! That’s how much power we need.
Now for some folks, they need to know their electrical needs because they simply use more power than what is typically consumed by a household.
Think of gamers, garage mechanics, carpenters, electric and electronic musicians and recording artists, computer and tech hobbyists, welders and woodworkers.
Even families who watch a lot of television on more than one screen, artists who use pottery kilns, and people with large and frequently used saunas may require more energy than the average homeowner.
For this batch of hobbyists, they’ll notice their electric bills will skyrocket above the average. In some cases, the electric company will contact the resident to ask about energy usage. (Occasionally a malfunctioning electric meter will send faulty data to the power company leading to an increase in reported energy usage.)
For these folks, it may be prudent to arrange for an electrician or a representative from their local power company to come by and offer tips on remaining adequately powered. There are safety considerations to take into account as well, such as when a homeowner sets up a mechanic’s shop for personal use on their property.
Prairie Electric: Your Award-Winning Vancouver and Portland Electricians
If you need expert advice on powering your home through any and all hobbies, then contact Prairie Electric. We’re staffed by an enormous number of electricians, and we’re happy to discuss your projects with you.
For close to four decades now, we’ve been helping people just like you make the most of their electrical installation projects. We provide residential, commercial, and industrial electrical contracting services.
So if you’re ever in the need for advice or a clear path toward your electrical service goals, then there’s no one better than Prairie.
Get in touch with us today!