i'm taking down the tent.....
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  1. #1
    Registered User sabrelvssammy's Avatar
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    Default i'm taking down the tent.....

    yup...i don't think i will have to move into the tent after all...

    those of you who read my thread about moving into the tent with no utilities will remember my rants about the cost of my last electric bill when i sat in the dark cold all day.... well apparently it wasn't that dark or that cold...coz i still had a $366 utility bill (gas/electic/water/sewar)...i was ready to move to the tent in the backyard....

    so i got busy...started shutting this place down...unplugging it all....monitoring my usages on everything...and took up meter reading....

    my last bill was thru 1/22....and it was the $366 one...it also covered the x-mas season and the 'company'....
    my electric usage was 1286 kw.....

    my dec electric (before x-mas/company..nov usage) was 1208

    well then i got busy.....you know the story.... today the meter reader came by....read the meter/end of cycle....
    i read the meter....did my calculations from ending read of last bill to read of this bill....and.....drum roll please........ ***680 kw***

    THAT IS ALMOST 1/2 OF THE PREVIOUS MONTHS BILLS.....
    and all because i started unplugging/power stripping/turning off the breakers....and the list goes on.....

    and i know i can do even better next month because i have been learning all this as the month progresses and each time i impliment something it hasn't had a full month to show its progress.... WOW!

    as for the gas....i am down from 144 therms from last months bill to 108 (once again over the holidays bill)..but that is not all that good because dec's bill was only 109....
    i do attribute this to the gas fireplace that i was running all night (as i stated in another post when dh snored me out of the bed EVERY night and i went to the cold family room and was running the fireplace all night...) and we did have the week of the extreme cold and ice where we were all stuck in the house and the furnaces had to run a little more...(i have since drug my back-packing sleeping bag out of the closet and have been climbing in it late at night instead of turning on the fireplace (when dh snores me out from under my electric blanket)...my bag is rated to zero degress so i am nice and toasty in there...(my cats have even been climbing in with me)....hey..zero degrees...i'm thinking i can now turn the heat even lower...hahaha...as if 50 wasn't low enough.....

    so anyway...the gas part needs some more work....i will be trying to bring that number down thruout this month....

    as for water and sewar i can't read them (in the gound and i don't care THAT much)...they usually only avg around $22 each....they should be lower though coz i haven't been taking my long baths much (it's too damn cold in here...haha)....

    so to those of you who 'poopoo' phantom power....it's real.... the phantom 'demons' are out there....and they are eating up your power....and your money....you must STOP them.....let me be your leader....lol....

  2. #2
    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    Wow! That's really impressive. I see the demons running in fear down your driveway and out into the street!
    Donna

  3. #3
    Registered User Debbie-cat's Avatar
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    WOW!!! you did great!!! Good for you and I am glad you aren't going to be moving to the tent.
    Nov No Spend Days - 1 /20
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  4. #4
    Registered User sabrelvssammy's Avatar
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    dcompton- oh no....that was just dh.....haha....

  5. #5
    Registered User mom23boyz's Avatar
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    Can I borrow your tent??? LOL
    I am thinking I need to start making adjustments....this computer and all of its components should be OFF when not in use..huh? VCR/DVD players...phone chargers everything that is just plugged in....
    Oh you have me thinking

  6. #6
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    I know what you mean. We now unplug almost everything when not in use. I've really noticed a difference in our electricity bill.

  7. #7
    Registered User phoeny_moonstar's Avatar
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    Glad you aren't moving into the tent lol. But atleast you know how to combat those high water/gas/sewage bills now. Good luck in the future!!

  8. #8
    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    You have done REALLY good

    Would you make some kind of list either in this thread or another one, of all the things you have done ?

    I am keeping our kwh as low as possible, but wonder if I am still missing something. I have had days as low as 19 this winter, and some at 25-28. A few have hit 30. Average seems to be about 25.
    Will do better as soon as good weather gets here and I can line dry outside again. I take a reading normally every day.

    One thing I have not done yet is to get a power strip for the microwave so I can put that on off when not in use. That little clock on is drawing juice.

    I do have the computer on a power strip and when not in use, I put the whole system down, and then the off button on the power strip.
    If I walk away from it and know it will be like 5 minutes or more, I do shut the monitor off.
    --------My signature--------
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    Put the frog in pot, turn up the heat real slow, and the frog doesn't hop out. And by the time he realizes, he should , it's too late... think about it.

  9. #9
    Moderator IntlMom's Avatar
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    um....... you go girl ........ that's all I can say!

    You did amazing.....really, really great!

  10. #10
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    Congrats on your exorcism! I should get to work on my demons as well....

  11. #11
    Registered User sabrelvssammy's Avatar
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    lady- thanks! ***WARNING*** REALLY REALLY LONG POST.....

    i am still very early in on the learning stages of this but here's what and how i've done so far....

    little background first: my house is a 3 bed/2 bath brick tri-level built in 1988...its about 2600 s/f ...there is just dh and i here (and 2 cats)...

    i started by going around the entire perimeter of the house (inside of course) and looking at each and every outlet in each room to see what was plugged in of the 3 bedrooms because we only use one- i unplugged everything in the other two rooms (that includes lamps)...i shut the registers and closed the doors....

    MBR- has ceiling fan/lt combo which the fan ran on low all the time to move heat around but since i have turned the furnace practically off i turned the fan off...the lt kit has 5 bulbs that burn when turned on so for the most part we just turn on the closet light to see...(we don't hang out much in there anyway)...i unplugged the tv so the only thing left burning in there is a clock (i do intend to get a battery powered when i see one at the thrift store)...we do not have windows in there but a huge french door that goes out onto the deck....(i do intend to get heavy shades that i can install to keep the heat in in the winter and the hot sun out in the summer)....we just have a shear there now...we do have an electric blanket that runs about 8 hrs a night and it enables us to turn the furnace down as low as possible...it kicks on when i get up and we run it for about 45 mins to an hour to get ready for the day...

    moving to bath (i am moving around the house in my head)....have a battery clock on the wall in there...don't keep anything plugged in...showers are short and brief by both dh and myself (install a low-flow shower head if you don't have one)...when i do take a bath i've been keeping the water (for both moisture in the air and tossing it into the toilet tank) dh won't do that though... i do have a new water-saver toilet...uses very little water...if you have the old kind then put a soda bottle in the back of the tank to take up space...(do not put anything that breaks down over time...such as a brick..coz i know people that have done that and it messes things up...) we don't run much water in the sinks (turn off when brushing teeth, shaving, washing face) another thing is i have a pitcher and since this bath is on the 2nd level it takes a min for the heat to arrive so i 'catch' that water and throw it into the back of the toilet tank too...
    as for lighting i burn a votive candle in there at night (i do have a 4w night light that i will use if company is there coz it's a little brighter)..(i intend to replace the 3 lts in the light bar with CFL's but i am still breaking dh in slowly with those as we tried them once in our kitchen can lts and we hated how dark they were)... we also installed a heater/vent kit where the bath vent goes so that we can turn on heat in addition to venting the bath (you can get them at any hardware store and they go right into the vent space...only difference is they do both heat & vent) this way you have heat for a shower but don't have to run a space heater or turn up furnace ..(look for an efficient one if you do that though..some can use as much power as a space heater)...will also do the heavy shade for this room as i have a giant picture window over the tub....

    that's it for upper lever....next level down...

    moving to kitchen/dining room combo...this is one big room on this level which is the main level into the house from both the front & garage doors....this room also steps down to a large family room addition we built this past summer (20x30) --dining room...huge wall of windows(brand new this summer but i am going to do the 'shade' once again to hold in heat and keep out the afternoon sun in summer)...nothing plugged in (has chandalier..but that is seldom used)...7 can lts in the overall ceiling but are on different switches (3+2+2) so i do not have to have them all on at the same time...had under cabinet lights installed so i can use those more (once again on 3 different switches)
    (see i thought this all out as we were remodeling).... i am eventually going back to CFL's in all those lts but once again its a dh issue...

    there is nothing left plugged in in the kitchen unless it is being immediately used....the micro (built-in above stove) has been put on a power switch and its right above the micro in the cabinet and i just reach up and flip it on/off....the stove i shut off at the breaker...(i do not need all these applicance clocks going either...) have a battery operated mantel clock in the DR that works just fine...i have the fridge set on lowest setting and the fridge/freezer is kept full at all times to keep it from 'cycling'...when i don't have enough food to take up space i fill it with water jugs....the dishwasher is run only a couple times a week..( i am having an issue with the dishwasher right now as it 'supposably' takes very little energy but by my calculations (and meter readings before and after) it used 9kw last night (that's about how much i have been using thruout 1 entire day (i am doing an experiment and reading the meter as many times as possible thruout the day...sometimes every few hrs or so if i am home) will i GIVE up the dishwasher...no way! but i am re-thinking how i am using it...many times i will heat something up or barely use an item but i throw it in anyway....alot of times a quick rinse and the item is usable again...or i run out of lg plates or something (this may require buying a few more plates and glasses at st.vinney's so i don't run out)....we eat almost EVERY meal at home (well dh takes lunch to work) but we use alot of dishes....so the jury is out on that one...i'll let you know after more research...
    another 'shade' on the kitchen window.... i burn candles at night (one in the kitchen and one in DR)...i try to use 'other' appliances as my first choice for cooking (slow cooker/toaster oven) i am looking (once again at st.vinny's) for a electric skillet coz mine went capooey... when i do use the stove (after i have flipped the breaker of course) i cook with pans that fit or are larger than the burner-lids on....and after i have good temp sometimes i can turn the burner back off to finish cooking....i don't preheat the oven...throw it in...add time...(now that works for me but you 'good' cooks it might not work for your recipes...) (i'm not a 'good' cook...its edible...and the alternative is going out and paying alot more...so we are okay with it) ....i turn the stove back off on the breaker immediately after i am done with it (otherwise i will forget....) i am an 'immediate' kind of person...do it RIGHT now...or other things will probably get in the way....

    moving into family room...this is where the big-screen (dh's electric hog lives)... we have a cable box, dvd player and x-box hooked to it...the x-box & dvd stay unplugged unless being used....the tv is on a power strip with my wi-fi computer modem...i will flip this completely off at night or when we are not home...if i am just using the puter (like now) i unplug the tv from the power strip....if dh is watching tv and i am not using this puter..i unplug the modems... (keep in mind if you put your power-strip somewhere where it is handy to reach its no more trouble than flipping a lightswitch).i have just gotten the 'nerve' the other day to start unplugging dh's cable box...(if i forget to have it plugged back in so it can reset (takes 20 mins) before dh gets home-there could possibly be some blood shed...lol)..this is not on the power strip and is plugged directly into the wall....my puter i keep my battery plugged into it and i alternate between having it plugged in and when i get a full charge i unplug and use til i get the 'plug-in' warning and i plug it back in...(back and forth over and over...ugh...) there are 2 table lamps in here...both now on CFL's and i also burn candles in here at night (2) for the most part the lts are always off (we love the dark...guess its a good thing...)...

    keep in mind that you don't have to spend alot for candles ...(these aren't 'expensive designer' candles) right now i am going thru boxes that i bought that were for churches to light in their holders...i bought 30 boxes for $2 a box (qty 24 in each) at a clearance sale last yr.... i go thru about 5 candles every 2 days (i'm getting about 2 days worth out of each one) but when i don't have those i buy them from thrift/garage sales (some aren't pretty..but they are burning in the dark for heavens sake)...when i have nothing but stubs i melt them down and make a few more...(very interesting colors that way i must say)...

    anyway... in the fam rm we have 2 ceiling fans with 4 lts each...i will rarely use the overhead lts.... the fans i was keeping on low all the time (once again to move the heat) but i have since turned them off...we have a ventless gas fireplace in this room and we have found that it will heat us right out of here (so we do use the fans when the fireplace is on) so it will push the heat out of the room into the rest of the house...the opening in the addition is quite large so the house is benefiting from this fireplace and the furnace is not kicking on as much and it is pouring into the kitchen and then flowing up the stairs....the fireplace costs pennies to run so we are using it instead of turning up the furnace when we are awake.... i keep the furnace at 50-55 and that way late as night if it gets really cold it will kick on..(we could go lower being under the electric blanket but i have to worry about pipes freezing.)....i also turn it on first thing in the morning when the furnace kicks on so that the house will heat faster and the furnace will kick off sooner...i will once again do some 'shades' for this room as we have 4 lg windows and 2 sets of patio doors....

    moving to lower level.....
    this is the old family room (before dh got the re-modeling bug)...now its just the big catch-all area....we have x-tra set up of tv/couch down here and i have my weight room and my craft room....vents are closed off down here...nothing plugged in...and it's darn cold in the winter so i don't go down anymore than i have to...in the summer this is going to become our summer bedroom (dh doesn't know that yet)...it stays plenty cool in the summer and we won't have to burn up the A/C all summer upstairs...i'll break it to him after a few more utility bills...haha

    also down here is another bath, washer/dryer area and utility room (furnace, water/heater...) the washer/dryer stay off at breaker until needed....i've cut my laundry down to 4 loads a week...(2 lts /2 dks) as needed...i've been line-drying my clothes and just 'finishing-off' in the dryer...dryer runs probably about 1/2hr total all week... water heater is set on the lowest setting (i was turning up and down for the past few weeks...1/2 hr before needed-turn up.... then turn back down immediately after...did this EVERY morning)...but one morning forgot to turn up...DH took shower...didn't scream...i took shower after (still extremely hot)...so i am no longer moving it...it stays on lowest setting all the time now.... (now i do have a new high-eff water heater so this might not work on others... you can buy blankets and they are definately worth it to keep your tank warm...i contacted the company of mine the other day and they said don't blanket it you don't need it) obviously not...it stays really hot...YEA!!! make sure you check and change your furnace filter as least once a month (more if you have pets and lots of kids running around coz they stir up dust and have lots of hair...(the pets have the hair of course...not your kids...well...i don't know i haven't SEEN your kids...maybe they do have alot of hair...hahahaha)....

    well that's the inside of the house.... i rarely burn porch lts or outside lts...when we do our landscaping this summer i will probably put in landscape lighting...we'll see...

    dh is a smoker and i won't let him in the house with a cigarette so he has set up a 'man-cave' in the garage..got himself a comfy chair/ a tv and a space heater and a pad of carpeting... he sits out there all hours of the night and runs that tv (while he leaves the big-screen on inside...erghhhh...) and runs that space heater and sits in front of it...why he can't just go out there..smoke...be done with it and come back into the house i don't know...but he 'gets involved' and will be gone for sometimes an hour at a time....all the while burning it all up....i have finally convinced him to stop leaving the space heater plugged in when not on (i told him it was a PROVEN fire hazard and he could kill his cats...notice..i didn't say me...) well now he unplugs it...but the tv thing we go round and round about...i keep running out there and unplugging it...then i can hear him thru the wall grumbling and thumping coz the poor guy has to make an x-tra step....i am going to get him a power strip...at least he sits in the dark out there too and doesn't light the place up like an airport runway....

    so that's it....that's all i got at the moment...i'm still thinking and trying things out...if i get a 'good' one you guys will be the first to know.....

    good luck...lets 'exorcise' all those darn phantom demons......

  12. #12
    Registered User peanut's Avatar
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    Wow! You've done really well! We found power strips and unplugging did wonders for our electric bill too. Plus lowering our hot water temp and house temp overall. We've resisted putting in A/C because neighbors have done it and told us of horrendous summer power bills. We aren't going to give our electric utility that kind of satisfaction... we use strategically placed fans and more passive ways to control heat (opening and closing doors and windows and window treatments).

    I think you've done a marvelous job! Keep us posted how it works for you.

  13. #13
    Registered User my4littlebuffaloes's Avatar
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    Great job!
    Jennifer

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    My blog - www.gettingaheadblog.com


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  14. #14
    Registered User rainbowgc's Avatar
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    You did great - glad the tent is coming down LOL

  15. #15
    Registered User sabrelvssammy's Avatar
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    well..... i WILL sell the tent to the highest bidder of course....lol...

    But that better be NOBODY here in this village...coz we are all super-frugal and by the time we are all done noone HERE will be needing a tent...and the utility company will close up in disgust and just go away... off to the 'town of over-consumption' where they will make lots and lots of money and their CEO's will all fly around in jets....

    and we will all live happily ever after in the quiet of the non-existence of whirring appliances and humming gadgets.... just the sounds of chirping birds and long lazy waterfalls.....ah......

    welcome to our village......

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