Electricity and utility bills typically get overlooked. We tend to just make sure it’s paid for on time, and that we’re not getting overcharged. While that is usually the status quo – it shouldn’t be the only part of your routine.

Understanding what kWh (the kilowatt hour) means and how it correlates to your energy usage can lead to lasting benefits. For example, doing something as small as keeping your curtains closed during the day to block out the sun, can go a long way in keeping your home’s temperature cool. This not only keeps your home in a comfortable state, but it also proves to be cost-efficient while doing so.

The science behind the kWh

If math wasn’t you’re favorite subject, it’s ok, because we’re going to simplify the measurement for you. One kilowatt is equal to 1,000 thousand watts. The simplest way to visualize this conversion is with a light bulb. For example, a 100 watt light bulb uses 0.1 kilowatts per hour. Meaning it would take approximately ten hours of use to consume 1 kWh of energy.

A simple way to calculate the kWh usage of the appliances in your home is to find the kilowatts used, and divide that number by 1,000. Then you take that answer and multiply it by the amount of hours you used the appliance. Let’s look at a 65-inch curved Samsung TV, which outputs at 72 watts. If you wanted to see how much energy this TV used, you would divide the TV’s wattage by 1,000 (72/1000), which would come out to 0.072 – meaning your TV’s kWh is 0.072.

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The biggest culprit of energy use is usually your refrigerator. According to Save On Energy, “A refrigerator can use anywhere from 80-200 kWh per month, depending on the age of the unit.”

If you want to dig a little deeper into kWh usage, we can help you out with that. Check out our article, “Calculating your kilowatt hour usage at home,” to get an even more in-depth look at the common kWh usage for most of your household items. This article will really open your eyes and bring awareness so that moving forward, you can make the best decision possible with regards to your home’s energy usage.

A few tips to help lower your average cost per kWh of electricity

Investing in home solar is one obvious way to improve your average kWh usage, but sometimes this options simply isn’t feasible for one reason for another.

The first thing you can do is the obvious tip we mentioned before, which is to close your blinds on a hot sunny day. Once it starts getting cooler, then the opposite should be done – especially since there’s nothing like a nice cool breeze.

A second recommendation is to lower the use of most of your major appliances. Now obviously we’re not telling you to turn off your refrigerator while you’re not home – because that would clearly prove to be counterproductive. But what you can do is monitor the usage for each appliance.

Rather than having your fridge run through a defrost cycle during peak hours in the evening, schedule it for the early morning hours during the off-peak times. If you happen to live in a location where you can hang dry your clothes, take advantage.

These easy to follow tips have more than proven themselves. Making them a part of your daily routines will help you lower the average cost per kWh, meaning more money in your pocket – which can never hurt.