# . Getting the time of day

Here’s what you can glean from the data:

Changes in energy usage: The shape of the curve is typical. The heater is on a lot in the winter, and the air conditioner in the summer. If you use an air conditioner, your potential graph should look similar in shape, unless you have unusual climate conditions.

Baseline usage: You can establish your baseline usage by looking at the months in which no heating or air-conditioning are used at all. May and September are the usual candidates. In the example, Bill Toomuch’s baseline usage is approximately 1,500 kWh. (Baseline usage is the energy consumption with both heating and air-conditioning factored out. This figure is of interest because it tells you how much you’re spending on heating and air conditioning, versus the rest of your requirements.)

^ Average kWh per day: Add up the total number of kilowatts you used that year and divide by 365 (or 366 in a leap year). The average American kWh per day is around 20, so see how your usage compares. Bill Toomuch uses over three times that. His house is bigger, with a lot of extra goodies, but he has plenty of room for improvement.

^ Seasonal rate changes: Check your bills to find out whether you have a rate increase in relation to the winter months when the same amount of total power was used. This jump is common; the power company charges more during peak seasons.