Tips for Using a Utilities Calculator

You can calculate how much it costs to leave your lights on when you are out of your house, do your laundry, or take those extra long showers.

Learning about the cost of your electrical devices can provide you with insight into how much energy you are using/wasting and give you the power to save money by adjusting your energy usage.

Here are some tips for effectively using a utilities calculator:

Learn about your appliance and electrical devices

While some utilities calculators can determine the requirements of devices using national averages, you will get more accurate results if you have specific information about your appliances and other electrical devices–for example, wattage of light bulbs, storage size of fridge or freezer, size of washer/dryer, and what setting you typically use—like cold or hot water.

This information will likely be available either on the device or in the user’s manual. Be sure to pay attention to the difference between normal usage and standby usage, as some devices use energy even while turned off and are deceptively expensive. For more information, check out our blog article on how to estimate energy consumption.

Track your usage

Now that you have information about your devices, it is equally important to know how much you use them. You can track by the day, week, or month—any reasonable amount of time that provides a realistic representation of your consumption patterns.

One tip for tracking your usage: if you have to estimate the usage of an item—for example, the amount of time you spend in the shower—you should overestimate instead of underestimating. When figuring out how to save money, it is much easier to cut usage from you routine than it is to add extra time.

Create a budget and goals

When using a utilities calculator, creating a budget and specific energy usage goals is necessary. Given the amount of raw data you will need in order to use a utilities calculator, it will become difficult to figure out how to save money if you don’t have a clear idea of what exactly that means for you.

Your goals will be unique to you and might include trimming a specific amount of money off of your utilities bill or simply determining where you are wasting energy.

Experiment with the utilities calculator to determine where you can save money

This is where most of your work will likely occur.

With all the information you’ve collected, you can now input all of the data into a utilities calculator. The calculator will determine how much your usage costs. Be sure to cross reference this with your utilities bill to make sure the information is accurate.

Now the benefit will truly show itself! You can experiment with different ways to save money by either adjusting your habits or investing in new technology. For example, you might find that shaving five minutes off of your showers will save you money, or by upgrading your light bulbs you use less electricity.

For more information about utilities calculators and using them to save money, check out this article.