Last month was both slightly warmer and slightly cooler than April last year. Electricity prices were slightly higher and both gas and water prices were slightly lower than the same month last year. So what caused the $33 increase in our utility bills?
WaterWe tend to think of water as being extremely cheap — and it was cheap a few years ago — but no longer. I used about 4,000 gallons of water pressure-washing our back deck last month, at a cost of around $10. We pay about $2 per hundred cubic feet (CCF). There are 750 gallons of water in a CCF. A one-gallon flush toilet can be flushed 750 times, and an old-fashioned three-gallon flush can be flushed 250 times, for one CCF or $2. Our typical 10-minute shower uses 50 gallons and costs 13 cents — not counting the cost of hot water.
ElectricityWe have five people living at home right now, most of whom seem to be watching TV or web-surfing or holding the refrigerator door open (or writing blog posts) whenever they are home and awake. I think our electricity use is up more than 25% year-over year simply because there are two more people in the house. Our two older daughters will be leaving home in June and I will be very interested to see what happens to the electric bill once they leave. We replaced most of the incandescent light bulbs a long time ago and our only real electricity vampires are the TIVO and the Internet router — which we plan on leaving on indefinitely. (Some costs are worthwhile.) So what else can we do to keep costs down?
Part of keeping electricity costs low is keeping the air conditioner off, of course, we have turned on, and adjusted, on all of our ceiling fans and set up pedestal fans for spot cooling. We also open up various windows and doors when the weather cooperates, now that the pollen has settled down to a level that is merely annoying.
Natural GasWe used just a little more natural gas last month than we did in April last year, and I am pretty sure this is due to the increased number of showers that we are taking, not due to the trivial increase in heating degree days (HDD).
April 2009 Data
|Electricity, in kWh||Cost / Unit||Gas, in Therms||Cost / Unit||Water, in CCF||Cost / Unit||BTUs / Ft2|
April is the cruelest month ...