We finally received our first electric bill that shows our electric usage with our limiting electricity to only the essential appliances (water heater, refrigerator, stove, and laundry as a backup for when I am unable to do it by hand) and for the computer & my sewing machine.
To give you a comparison, Our August bill was $250 for one month. The September bill came Friday and Joe was eager to see the difference. The bill was only $51 for the month! What a huge change! Soon, our electric bill will be going even lower as we continue to make adjustments in our lifestyle.
The following is a description of how we use the electricity now. The only thing using electricity full time is the refrigerator. For obvious reasons, we cannot unplug it for part of the time. The electric stove is in use only a twice a day. The greatest usage though is when I am baking. To help save energy, I plan my baking so that I am doing it only twice a week, on Monday & Thursday. On those days, I bake enough bread, cookies, and anything else that we will need until the next baking day. This also includes any orders that I have for baking bread or cookies for others. By limiting the number of days that I bake, I am not heating up the oven nearly as often.
The water heater is plugged in only when we will be needing it. It shares a 220 outlet with the clothes dryer. The outlet is placed high enough up on the wall that we can easily swith out the plugs as needed. The water heater takes 30 minutes to heat up the water so we plug it in 30 minutes before we need the water for baths or cleaning. The clothes dryer is used a bit more often than I would like, but it mainly for the laundry that doesn't fit on the clothesline or for days when I cannot hang things on the line to dry outdoors. The washing machine is also only used part time. I am working up to using it only for the large items like blankets and comforters. It is also used for now on days when my arthritis in my hands is flaring up too much to wash laundry on the washboard.
Once the weather is cool enough, I will be using the wood stove for all my cooking. I am also looking to find someone willing to trade a working wringer washer for our automatic one. The wringer washers use far less water, from my experiences with them, than the automatic ones. It will also be a blessing when I am unable to wash the laundry fully by hand.
Thank you to all who have written either as comments or in emails. Your ideas and thoughts are an inspiration and we are grateful to you.