Biggest Kitchen Table - Electricity and Water

7 July 2009

Today we'll be thinking about how to use less electricity and water. This part of the audit is another one where if you can reduce your consumption, you'll save money and be kinder to your environment at the same time. Many things in this simple life have the dual capacity of being frugal and green. I see it as a reward - and it doesn't matter what side of the fence you usually sit on, if you're out to save money, your reward if knowing you're also being greener, and if your focus is on saving resources and raising your environmental awareness, then your reward is to save money too.

Please read this older post first, it explains how to do your electric and water audits.

Here in Australia, we're being told the price of electricity will increase a lot in the future. Even in the past year it's gone up and is set to rise again. But these price rises aren't only here, they're all over, including the USA and Europe. And sure as eggs, when the price of electricity rises, so do all of the products produced, stored and transported using it.

It's not good news, is it. But we can do something about it. Doing an audit is a simple exercise that will show you how much you can save by changing the way you use electricity and water in your home. Get the kids to help, it will be a useful exercise for them too because they use these utilities, just as you do. And remember, your savings will be small over a 24 hour period, however, all those small savings on all those days add up and make a big difference.

Read this page. It's an excellent website for learning about how to reduce your electricity usage. You'll find strategies for saving water here and my post on water harvesting is here.

I wish you luck in reducing your electricity and water usage. It's one of those things that both easy and difficult to do but if you have the will, it can be done.


  1. This is a great thing you are doing! We have recently been working on a challenge/day for a year and we are about a month into the year. We are astonished at the super simple ways we can reduce our consumption. Thanks for bringing attention to the idea!

  2. Thank you so much for this series of posts! My DH and I are just starting out, and I'm looking for ways to save money on water and electricity. Thanks again!

  3. yikes half of this post just disappeared! Some of the links were bad.
    I am looking for the set up of the filtration device that goes onto the end of the gutter into the large water tank we are in the market to try to come up with the parts at a low cost.

  4. There are so many ways that waste occurs in an average day...just out of curiosity my husband and I started to do spotting at hourly checks over the weekend....most of the time things were good, but there were times when we found fans on when no one was in the room, or someone had the water running when brushing teeth, rinsing dishes, etc.
    The real culprits were the ones who stood with the refrigerator open, gazing in as if they were enjoying a movie!
    Calling attention to the events and repeatedly reminding will eventually break these habits...we hope!
    Leaving inside doors open (storm doors would be closed, but they are full glass) when the air conditioner is on was the most common type of waste.
    Husband will be reading this post after work...we are hoping to see a drop in or utilities this summer and in the winter as well.
    Thanks for all the information.

  5. Hi Rhonda,
    I have been reading through some posts that I missed while we were moving house & come across the one about your energy audit, where you pay $50 & they come to your house. I would love to get one done at our new home so I rang the NSW enviroment/climate number. I was told they are doing trials in western Sydney only and they are for low income families & pensioners. The rest of NSW should be able to get it done by the end of October. I was a bit annoyed as although I don't receive a health care card or pension I think that it should be available to everyone who would like to save energy & money. I was told that I would have to employ a private company to come & do an audit, which would probably be very expensive. We won't be able to afford it for quite some time.
    Thanks so much so your inspiring posts yet again. Since we have moved house I have changed alot of things. I have drawn up a budget, meal planner for the week, cooking from scratch, mapping out where our vegetable garden & chicken coop will go. I am so excited about our new simple life. We are now living in a 80 yr old federation house on 1.6 acres.
    I love it!!!
    Take care & God bless Rhonda.

  6. Since you conducted the electrical audit along with my DH's electrical class knowledge we did our own electrical audit. DH stood by meter as I unplugged everything one by one in house until we got meter to stop without actually pulling the main.
    What we learned is to unplug things when not in use, not just shut off, the reason is if something is plugged in, the power is running to the plug from meter to outlet waiting to be used.My DH discussed this with his instructor and instructor said yes it's true when something is plugged in the electric runs the wire until it's needed,it's called Ghost Usage.
    With that information our table lamps and small appliances and washer and dryer etc are all unplugged until used, and our consumption has dropped!

  7. I have a reminder for all parents with kids on school holidays at the moment. Don't leave the TV running all day. I just realised I did this today too.

    We put the TV on for our daugther in the morning, then went outside to do some work. When it warmed up some more, our daughter decided to come outside and join us.

    The TV had been on a few hours before we came inside again, to realise no-one was watching it. Seems like a silly oversight, but it's easy to forget. :)

  8. We did an electrical audit when you blogged obout it before and cut our use alot. I do have bad habits when cooking and don't aways use the oven efficently, something I will have to address.
    I have fallen down on the no spend week already and had to go out to buy milk. I did buy 12 pints on Friday but with two boys in the house it was all gone by today. I don't think a cow will fit in our garden.


  9. We just received our electric bill yesterday. We always discuss and compare the previous month and the previous year. We have saved and are looking forward to reducing even more. Thank you for the links!

  10. Well, you certainly have me thinking about plugged in items. My dentist wanted us to use electric toothbrushes but everyone has theirs plugged thus wasting electricity. Then we have a couple of computers plugged in that are so old that nobody uses--I better unplug those. So much wasted electricity that I'll be checking that out during the day today.

    Rhonda, I have NOT gone to the grocery store even though I didn't prepare enough groceries for this audit. I have been living off the pantry and freezer and still are going strong. We've not starved yet and the frig is full of yummy foods prepared from the freezer. I haven't told my family that I'm doing this and therefore am unable to get to the grocery store and they are none the wiser. I will need to replenish sometime this weekend but I really need to find a store that uses less packaging. I hate all the cardboard and plastic and stuff that puts products into their packaging. I'm in West Michigan for anyone who has an idea. I won't pay for a membership at those kinds of stores either.

  11. I love this blog, you are one very inspiring lady xx

  12. I added my daily blog post on electricity and water here:

    I also took the carbon footprint test (not fond of them at all) and put my results on my post.

    I agree with Alice about the cardboard packaging on some things we buy (cereal) and all of that waste drives me crazy!

  13. Thanks for this chance to think about our own consumption. Posted my own energy audit at my blog, as well! :)

  14. I did not do too well so I am thinking of doing the no spend this week. However I can never NOT spend on gas for my car during the week because I need it to go to work and if I fill it up my son manages to use most of it (that is another issue I have to work on)but I have tried to be frugal in other ways like making sure things are unplugged and being aware of my water usage and talking to my son about being frugal and not wasteful (he is a teenager so it is a bit hard which I know reflects on me as a mother but I am working on it). I do not use paper towels at home though I do other places so that I will try to stop. So many good ideas here. I know I will do better just from reading some of these ideas and from your blog Rhonda


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