Zap!  That’s the sound of something in my brain short-circuiting when I saw my December electric bill.  $540!  That’s not a bill, it’s a shiv in the ribs while someone pins your arms and empties your pockets. 


We just moved to a new house a few months ago but aside from two major appliances, are using all the same stuff we did at the old house, where bills would be a more mild $80-120 per month.  Yesterday I got the new bill: $330.  Guh…ungh…that shiv cuts me deep.  The two culprits at the new house:  pool pump and electric hot water heater, cackling and sparking with mischievous glee.


Po (my wife's nickname and heretoforward moniker) and I decide to do a little test last night to see which is more of an energy hog.  Our unscientific method involves one person holding a flashlight up to the electric meter and watching the wheel spin around while the other turned on either the hot water or the pool pump.


When I switched on the pump, the wheel leapt as if stung, and rotated easily twice as fast.  Okay, so that one appliance is using more than the total electric draw in the house at that time.  Not good.


The hot water, though, spun the wheel like a circular saw, the numbers a blur I couldn’t make out.  Holy sh#t.  So we’ve got two guilty appliances in the house, huge minocks chewing on our power cables.  I now feel silly for carefully switching off the lights in each room, biting my nails at the store over which low-wattage compact fluorescent bulb to buy.  Here I am fretting over a dripping crack in the dam while behind me a gaping maw of collapsed concrete is letting the river flow through.


Well no more, says I, Captain Conservation!  First step:  replace pool pump with a much more efficient two-speed system.  Next, we’ll replace the hot water with a gas tankless system.  Europeans bray with laughter at us Americans when we boast about our expensive tankless systems.  Even the smallest apartments there have them, and of course they would.  Why would you want to keep a huge tank of water hot all the time?  It’s like having a kettle whistling away on the stove all day just in case you might want a cup of tea.


Until we can get a Back to the Future trash-fueled reactor for the house though, I think we’ll need to be a bit more savvy with electricity usage.  Time to build Baby Harbat a huge hamster wheel generator.  Better run faster or the lights will go out!

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