Many things can cause your energy bills to fluctuate. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you've noticed an increase in your usage. You can also use our energy calculator to discover how much energy you're using and get money-saving tips tailored just for you.
A typical U.S. home uses about 44 cents out of every energy dollar for heating and cooling. Another 14 cents goes to water heating and 9 cents is used for refrigerators and freezers. The remaining 33 cents is used for appliances, electronics and lighting. View a chart that compares how energy is used.
There are many ways to measure energy. Some make sense for different kinds of fuels, and some make sense for different kinds of work. When you buy fuel, the bill might be expressed in terms of volume, like gallons or cubic feet, or in terms of content, like therms or Btus. Electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh. Gas is typically measured in therms or cubic feet. These are all measures of energy, but how do they compare?
1 kWh of electricity = 3,413 BTUs
1 therm of gas = 100,000 BTUs
1 gallon of oil = typically 138,690 BTUs
1 cu ft of water = 7.48 gallons
The BTU (British Thermal Unit) is useful for comparisons between fuels. One BTU is the amount of heat-energy required to raise 1 pound of water from 60°F to 61°F. It is also roughly the amount of energy released by burning a single wooden kitchen match.
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