Vernon County Energy District to host Rural Recharge event Feb. 21

You expect an itemized receipt when you pay for dining out, buy groceries, and buy gas at the pump. But how do you know exactly how much you are spending each month to run your refrigerator, furnace, water heater, well pump, or dehumidifier?

Our household installed an energy monitor into our circuit panel in November of last year. It was a simple job, and we were able to install it ourselves in a couple of hours without an electrician. Since its installation, I have been shocked to see that my number one appliance in regards to energy consumption has been the standard electric hot water heater, at 19% of all the electricity consumed in our household.

What surprised me about this was we are also a small household that does not do daily loads of dishes or laundry, so our water consumption is minimal. We also have three chest freezers (7c u ft, 14.8 cu ft and 25 cu ft) and a vintage 1947 Crosley Shelvador refrigerator – and still, the standard electric hot water heater exceeds all other appliances in our household in energy consumption – by far.

Having this information has allowed us to realize it would make a lot of sense to prioritize replacing our electric hot water heater with a more efficient one, a heat pump water heater. We purchased one through the Vernon County Energy District group-buy in November, and are getting ready to have it installed. A board member at VCED, Toby Grotz, also installed a heat pump water heater, and saw his electric use for heating water drop by two-thirds.

If you’ve ever wondered why your electric bills are rising, and whether or not it’s due to a specific appliance in your home, or how to know which appliances to prioritize with higherenergy efficient options when you replace them, you would also benefit from having an energy monitor installed at your home or business.

Join Vernon County Energy District as they take a deep dive into all things energy monitor related – who might benefit from having one, what the installation process involves, and how to take advantage of the real-time data that a household will get from their energy monitor.

This event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Vernon County Historical Society/Museum at 410 S. Center Ave. in Viroqua. Both in-person and virtual options will be available for this event. Seating is limited, please register at

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