Ever since we experienced several days of freezing weather just before Christmas, we've been thinking much more seriously and urgently about alternative power sources. Our one comfort is that we have a wood burning fireplace so at least we won't freeze to death. But I've been worried how I would boil water for my cup of tea.
We're trying to consider all the options: propane, solar, wind, wood, and any others we might discover along the way. Despite the fact that Guv'nor is very good at reading, researching, and analyzing data, he felt like he needed more help. We started by contacting a Generac (propane powered generators) distributor in the City and they sent out one of their engineers to our property. He spent a good part of a day talking with Guv'nor and trying to understand our needs and objectives. In the end we decided before we could do much we had to know how much power we were using. Our power company gives a daily usage, but we wanted to know specifically how much each piece of equipment or appliance used in kilowatts.
The engineer recommended installing a wireless power meter for us. He said it usually paid for itself ($100) within a few months just because people became more aware of how much power they used. So for the past couple of weeks we've been watching the numbers on the little portable display box as they jump up and down as various things click on and off. I made fun of Guv'nor that first day because he kept saying things like, "wow, now it's up to 23, must be the hot water tank." Then one day I set the display on the kitchen counter to watch the numbers while I was baking, just for "giggles" (as my former boss used to say). I was hooked. At one point I tried to see how low I could get the number to go by turning everything off. I couldn't get it below .61 kw. The highest reading is around 45 kw, usually in the morning when the heating and hot water is running.
After a few weeks of monitoring, Guv'nor has decided that the meter over-estimates the energy consumption, based on our daily usage. I guess it's better to over-estimate than under-estimate.