Monday, September 17, 2007

Electricity Challenge - Update 2

Oh oh! Our electricity usage is heading in the WRONG direction!!!! Hmmmm...... The kids aren't back from Granny's yet but they're going to be a bit disappointed to find that our efforts are not paying off - YET.

This week we've used 133.1 units (I'm guessing they're kWh's).

Compare that to 109.8 units last week (with no one in the house for 2 of the days) and 129.2 in the first week I measured. Basically our average daily usage compared to our first "test" week has risen by around 0.5 of a unit. Not heaps but still a step in the wrong direction. I think I'll try and do a bit of an "audit" of sorts room by room this week and see what I can come up with.

Hot Water on the other hand HAS improved which is surprising considering we've had more overcast days. So I think we're doing better with our shower lengths. We've dropped from 26.6 units the first week to 23.7 units this week.

Speaking of shower lengths. My attempts to find a shower timer this week were met with some interesting responses. Some store people had never even HEARD of them. Most people looked at us as if we'd grown 2 heads. Like "what on earth do you want one of those for?" Isn't it sad in this day and age with all the publicity about water shortages that people aren't more aware of things like this?

With our lack of rainfall these past couple of months, we're facing the same dilemma of water shortages we were facing this time last year. Not enough to get us through the summer. So our shower length issues are now more about water than they are about electricity.

I have found some shower timers online. I'm just tossing up on what the best thing to do is. I do have a regular timer than I could put in the bathroom to use. Whether DS would remember to set it before he gets in the shower is debatable. Then I have the choice of a sand timer style for the shower or an electronic timer. The sand timer is 1/4 of the cost of the electronic timer and won't require batteries at any time. The electronic timer allows us to set in our times (rather than a set 4 minutes) and may be more appealing to DS and therefore he's more likely to use it. So I'm still undecided.

One thing I have been doing is trying to take note of how long I'm in the shower for. The other day it took me 3 minutes from when I left our room to when I returned. So that's 3 minutes to get the shower going, undress, shower and dry off (our room is right next door to the bathroom). I didn't have to wash my hair though and I was trying to be *quick*. I'm not sure how long I would *usually* stay in the shower for.

How many people know how long they shower for? What would you consider a quick shower length, a regular shower length and a luxury shower length to be?

I've added a poll to the blog about regular shower lengths. You'll find it on the right hand side of my blog - so everybody please add your shower lengths (I've not done a poll before but I'm assuming your response will be anonymous). It'll be interesting to see what results we come up with. :-)


Ali said...

I haven't timed myself in the shower but I know I take less than 3 minutes as our past week of recording water consumption has shown that the 3 of us average under 300l of total water consumption per!~ which pleasantly surprised me. All of the nagging about shower times seems to show something :)

If you have a mobile phone you could set the alarm for 3 mins. for your children and tell them that before the alarm goes off they need to have washed and turned the shower off..... just a thought.

Ali said...

woops, meant to say per DAY for average total water consumption :)

lightening said...

How does the total water consumption help you work it out Ali?

I don't have a water meter so have to work it out another way.

But our shower head uses a maximum of 9L per minute so a 3 minute shower uses 27 litres. I think that's right. My head is running in circles today (trying to read that Ergon site you recommended :-) to see if we can reduce our power usage somehow!).

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough I borrowed a timer from work tonight so we can run a competition - just afraid that the boys will not wash properly. My cousin in Victoria says they wash and lather up at the basin and only hop in the shower to rinse off and she lines the kids up so they dont waste shower water.
Just a query, doesn't the amount of water the shower head lets thorugh depend on water pressure and how high you have the taps turned up?

The mobile phone sounds a great idea as mine has a stopwatch on it somewhere. the boys know where it is!


Joy said...

We did an electricity experiment over the past few weeks, and the results were interesting. (see my blog, Frugal Friday post) I'm not really sure what amount of KWh to aim for really. But it is good to keep an eye on them and try to use less power.

Fancy people not having heard of a shower timer..!! Strange!

I'm enjoying your blog, particularly your grocery challenge :)



(newbie at frugalAussies)

lightening said...

LS - yes, it will depend on water pressure etc as to how much water you use. However, our shower has a water saver head on it that is supposed to use a MAXIMUM of 9 litres a minute. So that's the most water we should ever use per minute. Thanks for mentioning the word stopwatch. DS has his own stopwatch. Wonder if we can hang it on the bathroom door and see if he'll use it. He's usually in the shower before I wake up in the mornings so it's hard for me to organise him. In fact, most mornings the first thing I do is tell him to get out of the shower. LOL. The shower shares a wall with our bedroom.

lightening said...

Joy - I have just visited your blog and loved it. I've added it to my favourites! :-)

Precious_1 said...

When I was living on a farm (way back when lol) it was 5 minute showers and not a second more or someone would be banging on the door. I used to find it very difficult then being in my late teens and used to unlimited hot water or just water fullstop. I ended up buying two in one shampoo/conditioners to reduce the time it took to do my hair. Now a quick shower for me is 3/4 minutes, average would probably be 5/6 when doing my hair too.

I'm trying to introduce a timer with my kids. DS gets in there and plays cars in the "rain"

Good luck!

lightening said...

Oh precious - that is so cute of your DS. :-)

When we built our house we had an extra shower put over the bathtub. That way the younger 2 can have a shower with the plug in and when their time runs out, they can continue to play in the bath if they like. My 9 year old DS prefers to have a regular shower in the shower cubicle. We just need to get around to changing the shower head over the bath to a water saving one as well.

During summer everyone has to use the water saving shower head but my youngest DS will cover the plug hole with a facewasher so he can splash in the bottom of the shower for a bit. Kids have great imaginations don't they!

Thanks for sharing. :-)

Joy said...

Thanks for your visit to my blog and your kind comments :)
Yes, I think we are all a bit more aware of turning off lights and not leaving things on standby, so that is a good thing. I think it really is the small changes that make a difference....
Glad you liked the rug!No, I'm not clever,.... just enjoy sewing :)



Lisa said...

My average shower time is now about 4 minutes (yes I have a timer) although it can take up to 10 minutes when i wash my hair (I am still wroking on this one)!

lightening said...

Joy - you're welcome. Glad your electricity challenge has increased the general awareness for your family. Fingers crossed that's what we'll achieve too.

Lisa - we're all a work in progress in many areas. I think it's a great start even knowing how long we spend in the shower. It's amazing how time can fly when it's such a pleasant place to be. :-)

Anonymous said...

Back again! Confession time! Since my boys were babes the shower became my relax time at night when hubby would put the kids to bed. I can't face a day without a morning shower and now the night shower routine is hard to break! Am working on it! I dont really need to clean myself again but it has been my little escape for years! Sounds weird yes but the shower is a good place to shed tears when noone else knows and I love water trickling down my sore back! However i am on a mission to change this and find another place of relaxation. LS

lightening said...

LS - small changes can yield big results. :-) I remember one time we were staying in a cabin (that didn't have an ensuite) as a family and I took 20 minute showers morning and night as it was my only chance of "escape" from the rest of the family. Being stuck with 3 younger brothers in a cabin was rarely a lot of fun. LOL. I hope you can find another source of comfort - sore backs are no fun.

Kez said...

I still haven't completely broken my long shower habit - if I'm awake I can be in & out in 4-5 minutes, but otherwise I can 'zone out' in there (and plan my day) for 10+ minutes :( My timer has helped a lot - because it's a clock as well, even if I don't actually set the timer, I see the time and it gives me the guilts..