Assessing your utility usage is easier than you might think.
When you start to get prepared you grab your last twelve electric bills, and if you use fuel oil, natural gas or propane, grab those bills too. What’s important is to figure out how much energy you use for heating, cooling and everyday use. For some climates, it might be difficult to figure out since you go right from heating to cooling and no real break in between. Or like here, back and forth between heating and cooling several times even in the same month. It is important to to understand your power usage, no matter which climate.
The information you need is:
- Highest usage in winter
- Lowest usage in winter
- Average usage in winter
- Highest usage in summer
- Lowest usage in summer
- Average usage in summer
- Annual average usage
The four forms of home energy have advantages and disadvantages. Fuel oil and propane require someone to deliver the product to your storage tanks. Electricity comes down the lines and natural gas is pumped down the pipes to your home and hooks up directly to your home. That’s why we love them so much. No work involved!
After TSHTF, if you want to continue to use the other forms of energy, you will need to store it in tanks. Tanks are expensive. Tanks will eventually rust away. Filling the tanks are expensive. And, if the situation remains for a long duration, the tanks will eventually be empty.
Only one energy source is renewable for free.
Electricity. You can store it indefinitely with little risk of explosion. You can use wind or solar energy to gather electricity and store in battery banks. Granted, getting set up is not free. But, once you get your system set up, you never have to pay for electricity again, and you can sell it to the power companies and they must buy it. Use all the energy you want, sell the rest. If you run short one month, you can still use theirs.
Some people elect to use their “normal” supply of energy now while stocking up on wood or other sources of energy to have on hand when TSHTF. This is certainly commendable and encouraged.
Now that you know what options are available to you, how much energy you need at peak times, and under which conditions you will want to use gas, fuel oil, or electricity, you can begin to plan accordingly. We will talk about how to set up energy systems and use less energy in another series.