The Member Services staff receives phone calls many times per week from consumer members with questions about their energy consumption. Most of the time, the questions revolve around an increase in kilowatt usage shown on the meter of a member’s home or business. A sudden increase in electricity usage leaves some people puzzled.
Is the meter broken or defective? More than likely, the meter is functioning properly. Therefore, it becomes a question of what is causing an increased kilowatt “load” on the system which translates to a higher than expected electricity usage bill for the Cooperative consumer member.
We have created this free Energy Savings Guide (PDF) to help you reduce your energy usage and save money on your electric bill. You can also visit the Appliance Calculator to take a deeper dive into your usage.
Ask Yourself These 7 Questions
- Are you using electric space heaters that you don’t normally use year-round?
- Are you using window air conditioners that you don’t normally use year-round?
- Have you recently added an electrical item such as an engine block heater, a hot tub, a dehumidifier, or a car battery charger?
- Are there noticeable air drafts around windows or doors, causing warm air or cool air to escape?
- Have you increased the size of your living space (ie: added a room or addition)?
- Have you added more appliances to your load, such as additional freezers, or refrigerators?
- Have you added more people living in the residence, which would increase water heater usage, etc?
Most questions about energy usage can be answered by looking at daily or hourly usage data on “Smart Hub” which is available for free to each member. You can look at your usage data at anytime and also pay your bill online with Smart Hub. Visit our Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative (WWCEC) homepage to log into Smart Hub.
If you have answered the questions above, and you still cannot determine the reason for your energy usage increase, WWCEC offers assistance in our office. A representative can look at your usage by the day and the hour along with outside temperatures overlayed, to try and help you see how you are using your electricity. If the questions can’t be answered by looking at “Smart Hub” usage data, we can come out to your home or business and examine your meter and take outside load measurements with a hand-held Fluke meter. We can also check your distribution box inside your structure to see if anything is unusual. If there is a problem with the Cooperative equipment or system, we certainly want to take care of it as promptly as possible. However, our experience has shown us that most of the time, an increase in electricity usage is directly associated with changes in lifestyle, changes in weather, or reasons outlined in the questions above.
You can also do your own energy audit by visiting the Home Energy Saver website.
Blower Door Tests
How Air Tight Is Your Home? Get a Blower Door Test
If you want to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you need to reduce your air infiltration. Your energy bill could be much higher than necessary if your house is too drafty. Call Wayne-White Electric Cooperative and ask for a Blower Door Test to determine the leaks in your home’s building envelope. At a cost of just $25, members can find out exactly where their air leaks are located and take the necessary steps to correct the problem areas before the winter winds begin to blow and your heating bills go up. The air leaks are measured by 2 criteria. One is cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air loss. Another measurement we provide is the air changes per hour (ACH). Ideally, your CFM reading will be at or below the amount of square footage in your home. (ie: 2400 square feet = 2400 CFM or less) Your goal for the ACH should be 5 or less (air changes per hour).
The Blower Door Test is a special scientific piece of equipment connected to your door that changes the building pressure in your home with a special fan. It forces the air to blow through the leaks you may have in the envelope of your home in a very noticeable manner, making it easy to identify the problem areas in your home. When you learn where the leaks are located, you can add insulation, caulking, spray foam, etc. to keep out the winter chill and save money on your heating bills. The results will also save you money on your air-conditioning bill in the summer time. A Blower Door Test only takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete, which includes a written data report, list of leak points in your home and suggestions for correcting your problem areas. If you are a Wayne-White member/customer, you can sign-up for a Blower Door Test simply by calling the Cooperative office at (618) 842-2196. A small fee of $25 will be assessed for each test, but if we come back to your home for a repeat test after you make the necessary corrections to tighten your home, the follow-up test is free.
Where Air Leaks Occur
|Floors, walls, and ceiling
|Fan and Vents
Source: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network – U.S. Department of Energy
Wayne-White Electric Cooperative can help you find your air leaks with a Blower Door test. It is only $25 and it will show you how you can save money on your energy bill.