How Do You Use an Electric Usage Chart?


Quick Answer

Use an electric usage chart by selecting the appliances you use in your home, finding the average monthly cost of operating those appliances and adding all of those values together. An electric usage chart gives an estimate of a customer's monthly power costs, but actual costs can vary considerably from those found on a chart based on current energy prices, actual appliance usage and other factors.

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Full Answer

Energy usage charts list approximate wattage values for a wide range of household appliances. While actual values can vary somewhat among manufacturers, appliances of the same type typically use about the same amount of electricity. The chart also lists the number of hours per month that an average consumer uses that appliance to determine the average monthly number of kilowatt hours, the units by which power companies charge customers.

Some energy usage charts also list information about the amount of energy that customers consume through phantom loads. Phantom loads are the relatively small amounts of power that some devices use while plugged in but not in active operation. An example of a phantom load is the small amount of power a computer draws while plugged in but in sleep mode. Phantom loads were once a very minor contributor to a customer's energy bill, but as the number and diversity of electronic devices continues to grow, the amount that a customer spends each month on phantom loads increases.

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