The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Electricity bill

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Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Electricity bill

It's probably no coincidence that I got seriously into bread baking when my daughter went off to college. All those free hours and so much to learn; I was baking a test loaf just about every day. I expected the electricity bill to skyrocket.

Surprise: The electric bill actually went down—because my daughter went off to college. She always took such l-o-n-g showers, no matter how much we reminded her about saving energy and water. Now it's the dorm's problem, and I can bake as much as I like.

Janet

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

logged onto the power company, no that they have installed a new 'smart' meter and low and behold every time I bake a loaf of bread int the big old GE the electrical bill goes up that day, but not as much as smoking a pork shoulder for 17 hours - now baking and smoking on the same day.........makes for a huge spike in the bill that will get you in some serious hot water..... 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

So how much does it cost to bake a loaf of bread?(Or how much power was used?)

Antilope's picture
Antilope

I believe it was 3000 watts. That was just a standard 27-inch GE oven, nothing fancy. So that's 3 kw hours of electricity used per hour of baking. Some power companies have a tiered system. The first 500 kw hours are the cheapest, 500 kw to 1000 kw cost more and 1000 kw to 3000 kw cost even more per kwh.

I just checked our power rates from the local (city owned) power company

$0.955 per kWh for first 690 Kwh
$0.1771 per kWh above 690 kwh

So it can run from 29-cents to 53-cents an hour to run an electric oven of 3000 watts.

We have a gas oven now and I have no idea how much it costs to run it for an hour. But it may be a wash, because in the winter it also helps to heat the house and that takes a load off the forced air gas furnace.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

$.0995 per KW hour instead of $.995 ?

Antilope's picture
Antilope

bread and water without the bread. ;-) You are right. It should have been $.0995 per KW hour instead of $.995. 

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

I have an electric oven and although it is 3kWh, it doesn't use 3kWh per hour. While it is heating up it does, but once it has reached temperature maintaining it uses very little. I have a smart metre and watch it regularly, most of the time my bread is baking it is using just a small amount of power. I do get up early to take advantage of cheap electricity while the oven preheats. Those smart metres certainly make you very conscious of how much energy you are using.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

the electric oven cycles on and off. So it would only use 3 kwh in an hour if the door were open and it heated continuously. If it was normally cycled on 1/3 of the time it would use 1 kwh per hour.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

Sent my eldest off to college this past fall and our electricity bill fell as a result.  That wasn't as dramatic as the drop in our bandwidth usage though!  Now I can bake and stream Netflix all I like.  ;)

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Janet, I believe showers, especially power showers use more electric than just about any other household item. And of course there are all the lights they leave on, and hair styling stuff and computers and gadgets and tv! 

It is nice to have the time to learn something new. A loaf every day! That is the way to get good at it!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Janet, I bake breads for sale, from my home kitchen. In the beginning I was anxiously watching our electricity bill, too, anticipating a spike. It never came!

Happy baking,

Karin

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

don't you use gas to heat water?

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Interesting Mr TT, here in the UK all showers are electric (I think, I have never met anyone with a gas powered shower here. I didn't know you could, so Janet may have a gas powered shower and I am talking rubbish! This global chat can be so confusing at times!). Gas is very expensive here now, it used to be a lot cheaper than electric. After realising it cost £2 (sorry I don't know the dollar equivalent) to heat the water for one bath, I now heat my water by electric at night, when I benefit from electricity at a third of the price of day time rates. (Although to get that I have to pay more for my day time units, so you have to do the sums to work out how you will be best off).

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

it's the exact opposite - all water is heated by gas in smaller houses (like I'm living in) or comes by pipe from central heating plant, where either gas or some other solid fuel is burned.

What's funniest is that gas prices here are one of the highest in the EU! For example, I'm paying 0.53 euro for one cubic meter. But still it's much cheaper to heat by gas than by electricity since it is a much more effective fuel. Some people install two boilers for heating and water heating, one that takes natural gas and another that can be fueled by wood or some other solid fuel (but not coal -- it burns too hot) and use wood in the evenings and weekends when they're at home. I wished I had one :)

On the other hand, all ovens are electric, haven't seen a gas one since I was a child. I sometimes marvel at how different "common practices" can be from country to country so the global chat is indeed confusing, but you do learn a lot!

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Confusingly, we pay by the kWh for gas, although the metre counts in cubic metres or feet depending on the age of the metre! Gas is significantly cheaper per kWh than electric, ( except at night), but my central heating burns so many kWhs per hour, that I can no longer afford to heat my house at all. And I have a very efficient boiler. I have my thermostat set for 10c, and run it for a couple of hours a day. It doesn't actually heat anything, but I hope will stop the house completely freezing! A lot of times in winter we are just a couple of degrees above freezing. I wear an awful lot of clothes and exercise a lot!

I would love a wood burning stove, for many reasons, but it would be lovely to have one warm room! More and more people here are buying wood burning stoves as the fuel is both cheaper and greener. Unfortunately they are very expensive to buy and fit. It certainly is amazing the differences in what is common. It is so easy to assume that because something is done one way in one place that is how it must be everywhere. I am very grateful it is a fairly temperate climate as energy must be a far worse problem for those with greater extremes of temperature.

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

We do have gas service, but it is just for heating the house. Had to put the water heater in a place that wouldn't allow for a chimney or flue. 

I asked about those point-of-service heaters, but that wouldn't work, either. They've had them in Europe forever; over fifty years ago I was in a flat in France and there was a wall-mounted heater over the tub faucets. I could peer up and see the pilot light. So it's not a new idea that needs tweaking. I just can't remember why it wouldn't work in our home.

Janet

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Years ago we had a little gas heater over the sink that provided hot water. I haven't seen one since I was a child though. I think power showers are so expensive because they are pushing through a large volume of water which is being constantly heated.  You could probably run a bakery on the energy one teenage girl could use taking a shower!  Perhaps not quite, but it is nice to find you are still better off even in pursuit of your hobby!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

at max $.43 to bake a loaf of bread in Big Old Betsy for an hour and half - including preheat where it is running full bore for at leat half that time - regardless of the science, math and kWhs involved.   I told her the high cost is what makes it better - near artisan quality - like a Rolls Royce:-) 

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

In that case, it would be worth getting a smart metre just to prove your point! It is quite addictive watching the changes. You can tell if someone has switched on a light or a tv instantly.  The oven runs at about 60p per hour for the first 15 minutes, then drops to around 5p, just occasionally going back up to maintain temperature. The hob is very expensive to run. I was surprised, I expected it to be the other way around. But baking bread, even with good flour and counting the cost of baking, is still really good value.

mimi7107's picture
mimi7107

What an interesting thread I just came across here!  I live in South Florida so my only concern about electricity is being able to cool my place without running the a/c at too low a temperature.  Anyway I don't care, because I would never cut back on baking!  I'm very careful about turning off lights and taking short showers so that helps.  Even though the ingredients get more expensive all the time, the pleasure bread baking brings is more than worth it.  Happy baking! 

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

I have a story, not bread related, that I like to tell.  When I was a young married man and we had just moved into our first house my parents came for a visit.  We had been married a couple of years and had one daughter.  It was a weekday and I was still working -- coming home after work I found my father going around the house turning on every possible light.  I said "Dad what are you doing?"  His reply "Getting even."

I loved the man, he was a great father and we were rather close.  Miss him a lot, he has been gone since 2000.

deblacksmith

Heath's picture
Heath

I should do the same to my now adult daughter lol.

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

My folks were always reminding us kids to turn off the lights, and our reaction was always, "Gee, what's the big deal?" Now I'm doing the same with my daughter—and when did I turn into my parents?!

Janet

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

You turned into your parents when your daughter turned into you. [grin]

cheers,

gary

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

Just discovered this thread. Our electricity comes in at about 35 cents (AUD) a kWh (plus a standing charge). I have learned to love my gas stove and make some pretty good bread in it. Gas prices have risen here as well but not quite so much. I'm wishing for a wood fired oven but most are too small for the amount of bread I bake. At least our heating is wood fire and 'free' if you don't count the cost of a chainsaw, fuel and time.