This Electric Life

What’s contributing to my home’s base load electricity use?

I figured out recently that my home’s base load electricity usage is approximately 17 kWh per day (See Blog post for July 8th).  I did this by taking the average usage over 6 days.   I have been very curious to figure out what is using that 17 kWh per day!

First, I made a simple table of the suspect appliances and electronics. Here I can record the usage as I measure it.

Second, I decided the first items I would measure would be the TV and the DVR.   I plugged in the Kill-a-Watt meter between each of their plugs and the wall outlet.  (See an example of how to use a Kill-a-Watt meter at )

The Kill-a-Watt meter will show immediately the wattage that the item is consuming.   At first, I decided to record what the TV and the DVR use when they are supposedly turned off.  The DRV is using approximately 22 watts and the TV is using 1 watt.  Have you heard of vampire energy or phantom loads? These are very good examples of that!  Over 20.72 hours the DVR consumed .43 kWh and the TV consumed .04kWh. I recorded this in my table below.

When in use the TV consumes approximately 187 – 222 watts.  The DVR consumes about the same as when not in use; 22 watts.    I decided to look at the consumption over a week of normal usage. The TV consumed approximately 5 kWh and the DVR consumed approximately 4 kWh.  Again, see the table below where I am recording the numbers.

The conclusion from this experiment is that the TV and DVR are not big culprits in the 17kWh per day that my house is consuming.  Next, I think I will look at my water heater.

Stay Tuned –

Item Total Time 


kWh Usage Cost @ .0758/kWh 


DVR (direct TV receiver) 20.72 .43 .03 The DVR turned “off”.
191 (7days 23hrs) 4.01 .30 A week of normal usage.
TV (47” LCD) 20.72 .04 .003 The TV  turned “off”.
191 (7days 23hrs) 5.33 .40 A week of normal usage
Water Heater
Wireless router
Ethernet switch(hub)
Hot water re-circulate pump
Water purification system
Septic system pump