Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time to purchase a new CLOTHES WASHER and save big on electricity usage.

Time to purchase a new CLOTHES WASHER and save big on electricity usage.

Back in 1993 the guide on the left shows a typical top load WASHER on an electric water heater with an electric rate of 8.24 cents per kilowatt hour. At that time yearly electric operating costs would have been $ 91.

The Energy Guide on the right shows an ENERGY STAR rated front load WASHER on an electric water heater with an electric rate of 12 cents per kilowatt hour. Yearly electric operating cost should run $ 17.

These ratings are based on 6 loads of laundry per week which might be typical for a 2 to 3 person household. This doesn't account for additional savings from using less detergent and less water in the wash cycle or using a cold water wash. This also doesn't account for the fact that the new WASHER has a much faster spin cycle and clothes come out a lot dryer, thus taking less time to dry in the dryer or on the clothesline.

A new front load WASHER will also use from 1/3 to 1/2 as much water per load as a new top load WASHER even if  both have the ENERGY STAR rating. New WASHERS use around 76 gals per load compared to 160+ gals per load on older top load units.

In fairness the old Maytag did run 22 years. Will the new Whirlpool have as long a life?

You should strongly consider purchasing a front load WASHER for the best performance and savings. If your WASHER is 20 years old its time for a replacement. Contact your local utility for available incentives and rebates on all appliances.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Tough WINTER HEATING Season is behind us!

Savings from Thermostat Operation
You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill -- a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. You can do this automatically by using a programmable thermostat and scheduling the times you turn on the heating. Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting.
Portable Electric Space Heaters
Portable electric heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion heaters. They can also pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution. Portable electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet and never run off an extension cord.
Heating Fuel Comparison

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Energy use data

Evaluating energy performance requires good information on how, when, and where energy is being used. Collecting and tracking this information is necessary for establishing baselines and managing energy use.

Collect data

The data must be complete and accurate because it will be used for analysis and goal setting. Inventory all energy purchased and generated on-site (electricity, gas, steam, waste fuels) in physical units (kWh, mMBtu, Mcf, lbs of steam, etc.) and on a cost basis. Assemble energy bills, meter readings, and other use data.

Use a Tracking System

A system for tracking performance can range from a simple spreadsheet to detailed databases and IT systems. The following website offers a lot of great advice as well as a "Free Utility Bill Tracking Spreadsheet" for tracking your energy data.


Once you have your yearly data totals it is recommended that you divide the units by 365 to get your average daily usages. This will be very helpful in setting daily targets for energy reductions. The next step is to install real-time energy monitors so that you can track and monitor on a daily basis.

Good Luck!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Energy savings could pay for a new Refrigerator or Freezer!

In with the new...but did you go out with the old?

In the past few years many consumers got federal rebates for new appliances. About 1.7 million rebates were redeemed, and the U.S. Department of Energy estimates these appliances will cut $65 million from electric bills every year.

Great news, right? Sure, if people really follow the adage, "Out with the old, in with the new." But for one in five households, that's not the case. A national survey by the Cooperative Research Network, an arm of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, found 19% of homes have two refrigerators; 2% own three or more.

The problem with keeping an old refrigerator is simple: You're not saving money. By sending these "energy hogs" to the basement or garage you jack up electric bills even more.

Appliances already use 13% of your home's electricity, and older appliances drain even more. A refrigerator from 1970s cost $200 more to operate every year than a current model; a 1980 fridge isn't much better, wasting $100 in energy dollars annually.

If you're in the market for a new refrigerator or freezer you should make sure it is Energy Star rated or check the Energy Guide to compare units to make sure you choose an efficient unit. Replacement of older units also offers the opportunity to downsize if your family has downsized over the years.

A newer refrigerator or freezer will use between 1/4 to 1/2 the electricity of an older unit. If you downsize the unit you can save an additional 10-25% on the annual electricity use.

For more information and to calculate energy savings visit the EnergyStar website:

In this example run, upgrading a 19-21 cu.ft. chest freezer will save around $125/year. If you downsize to an 8.8 cu.ft. unit listed in the energy guide above you can save an additional $18/year. A new 8.8 cu.ft. freezer can be purchased for under $300 with rebates, giving you around a 2 year payback with applied energy savings.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Water Heating

Since water heating can range from 12% to 25% of household energy use lets begin our focus here. It is possible today to cut this cost by 2/3rds with the help of a heat pump water heater. If you are replacing an existing electric water heater you will see a substational savings in your electric usage.  GE claims $320/year.

Currently there are a couple of options:
#1 Installing a GE Hybrid water heater.
This unit uses both resistence elements and a heat-pump to achieve maximum efficiency and better overall performance.

#2 Installing an add-on heat pump to your existing water heater.
While sold as a retrofit...This unit can be difficult to install for the average do-it-yourself person. The retrofit also disables the electric elements so there is a total reliance on the heat-pump for fast recovery and/or problems of placement in an unheated room. It however does a nice job of dehumidification. This manufacture also offers a hybrid unit.

We have one of the air tap units installed in our two person home and have enjoyed the energy savings. It is installed in our basement and has performed beautifully. I did however leave the electric elements hooked up and I connected them to a room thermostat so that if the temperature in the room got below 50 degrees they would be used to speed recovery of  hot water without depleting the space of heat. Not difficult to do but it further discourages a DIY project.

We have also been involved with the installation of the GE unit in a two person home and they have seen substantial energy savings.

- Dehumidification and cooling of room they are in
- Most efficient for 2 person households
- Low wattage requirement over 100% electric
- A must do if you are adding solar to your home and you have an electric water heater

- Savings are based on household size and usages
- Cooling of room they are in
- Long recovery time
- Compressor and fan noise
- High upfront cost
- Cannot be installed in small closed off room

Other ways to cut water heating costs:
- Cold water wash
- Low flow shower heads
- Water heater sizing
- Water heater & pipe insulation
- On demand water heater

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Categories of energy usage

The energy usage in a typical home falls into these eight categories. Space heating and or water heating energy might be from gas or electric. Reducing energy usage can be accomplished by targeting one or more of these areas for conservation and energy efficiency measures. To start with you should track and measure your energy usage.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ready set go...

This is the first blog posting for Farmers Electric Cooperative - Kalona Iowa

We have also moved our website over to Google sites. Please check us out at

Caution this blog could save you money!