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06-30-2010, 12:52 AM #1
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How to Reduce Your Summer Electric Bill
After opening our recent electric bill and nearly having a stroke, I thought I'd look for more ways to reduce our electric bill. I thought maybe some here might find this article useful.
Caulk around every window and entry door frame, inside and out. If you live in a home with a raised foundation, caulk around the baseboards as well. Use a clear painters caulk so there are no ugly white seams showing.
Place rolled towels or blankets in front of doors and in window sills that don't close tightly. If you're the crafty type, make custom draft stoppers that match your decor.
Install or replace weather stripping where necessary.
Unplug the garage refrigerator.
Apply a tinted film to your windows. This takes a little time, but it does reduce the amount of sunlight and heat coming in. Remove it in the winter to let the sun shine in.
Hang bamboo blinds or shade cloth outside. This prevents much of the sunlight from every reaching your windows. Bamboo blinds can be used indoors as well. They're inexpensive, come in a variety of colors, and can be attractive when hung behind sheers or curtains with a valance.
Add another layer of protection to your windows by insulating your curtains. Purchase quilted fabric, or old quilts from a thrift shop, cut them to the size of your window plus extra for hemming, and hang them on a tension rod inside the window frame.
Plant trees and shrubs as another line of defense that prevents sunlight from reaching your house. On the patio, potted plants and trees can produce the same results.
Cooking heats up your home, so do it early in the morning, later in the evening, cook outdoors or eat cold meals. Avoid turning the oven on.
Hang dry your clothes inside while your ceiling fans or floor fans are running. The dampness from the clothes cools the house, and the fans circulate the cool air.
Open the blinds, curtains and windows at night to let cool air in. Close them in the morning, before it heats up.
Close the fireplace flue.
Keep the lights out whenever possible. Even CFL bulbs produce heat. Unplug the electronics when not in use. They will produce heat even when turned off.
Check into having an attic fan installed. Many utility companies are offering rebates up to $200 for new installations.
Add another layer of insulation in the attic. It's inexpensive, not too difficult, and worth the hassle.
Keep yourself cool with cold drinks, and light and loose clothing.
06-30-2010, 01:15 AM #2
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06-30-2010, 03:27 AM #3
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These are all great ideas. It seems like all but #13 could be replaced by "don't use an air conditioner." Air conditioners are a very new invention and people survived without them for eons. Even here in Greece, where it is much hotter in the summer than 90% of the US, many people don't have or don't use air conditioners at all.
I'm not sure if this is still the case but when I was growing up in Virginia, electricity was more expensive in the summer. They justified it by referring to it as a winter discount (to help people who needed electric heaters to stay warm in the winter) but it amounted to an air conditioning fine. I remember we weren't allowed to turn on the AC unless we had guests. I'm staying at my husband's parents' house in Greece and they built their house 4 years ago, and there is no AC here. Most people here don't use AC in the car either because it reduces gas mileage (gas costs about $9/gallon here).
I think we need to change our way of thinking about AC. It's not good for our electricity bill or for the environment to think that we're entitled to a 68 degree environment in July. July is HOT. Wear lightweight clothing, drink plenty of fluids, follow the rules in the article above, and hopefully you shouldn't need to use your air conditioner at all.
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06-30-2010, 07:51 AM #4
We did some planning ahead years ago, thank goodness.
Twenty years ago, we bought our doublewide new. It has 6 inch walls and has been very good about being heated. It was 500 gallons a year for propane for heat and cooking.
We got the house paid off. About 4 yrs ago, we decided to do our upgrades to keep our electric costs down for heating and cooling. We added a room, and a long deck with roof on the sunny side of house. New roof, more insulation, and all new windows entire structure. Also all new siding entire structure, which is the thicker T-11. We never have had AC and rarely use a fan even before our deck. Our pine trees near the house give protection from the wind, but not from the sun. Two years ago, we got a second small home equity loan to get our outside wood boiler. Wood is cheaper for us to heat with, and in the winter, also does all our hot water. Our electric bills have been in the area of $ 100 to 110 a month, whether winter or summer. A hundred pound ( 22 gallons ) tank of propane for cooking lasts approx 7.5 months for cooking.
I read our meter every day and log it. So I know why or when we get a high reading, and what caused it. For example, this spring, we had a month that the electric was $ 138. But with 2 incubators for chicks, and 3 heat lamps running, it had a reason to be that high.
We keep the blinds and curtains closed on the side of house for the hours, where the sun shines the most. If a light is not being used, it gets shut off. Recently I cleaned the freezer on the frig and there was a ice build up. Now it is running less. Computer gets shut down completely at night and quite a few times during the day. Laundry out on the line. Bigger loads.
I think it boils down to just being consistent in habits to use less. Our bigger bills used to be in the winter. But balance now due to the OWB working out so good, and in the summer, the electric for the hot water heater kicks back on. I would love to burn wood in the summer to knock the hot water heater part of the bill down. But better to save our wood for the cold winters here.
06-30-2010, 09:09 AM #5
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Change/clean A/C filters regularly
Look into upgrading A/C. We just replaced our A/C and furnace. They were both old and inefficient. I got an $800 rebate from the state and will get a $1500 tax credit on our 2010 income tax because we installed a synced up high efficiency A/c and furnace.
The tax credit can be used for windows, a/c, insulation, etc. Look into it and make sure what you purchase qualifies.
More insulation in the attic will make a big difference and you can do it yourself.
07-01-2010, 12:36 AM #6
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Our Utility Company usually includes money saving tips with our utility bills...some work better than others...
They included some of the above mentioned tips, plus...
-wash and dry laundry during off peak times-usually before 9 am or after 8-9 pm
-run dishwasher during off peak times-usually before 9 am or after 8-9 pm
-use energy efficient ceiling fans
-keep A/C thermostat set at 75-(I think...)
-take early or late showers-if possible
-use slow cookers or roasters instead of cooking long periods of time in the oven-not only does the oven use more electricity, but it heats up your home.
-use use your oven early in the morning or late in the evening
-use rain barrels-if possible
-keep weeds/grass/bushes cleared from around outside vents on your central unit..this is also true for window units with brush and bushes/trees.
That's all I can remember right now...
07-01-2010, 10:42 AM #7
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My electric bill actually went down about $2 this month! ($36.52) I was very surprised because we've been using our ceiling fans at night. I have two window A/C units but they are still in the basement. I want to see how long I can go before my son and I melt!
I figure mid July-August I'll have to put them in.
And the temp has dropped the past two days here in CT, so its actually been a bit chilly sleeping at night. Love it!
07-02-2010, 10:29 AM #8
hii..for reduce light bill replace your incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. they drastically reduce your energy consumption (up to 75 percent) and they last much longer than regular bulbs.and Clean or vacuum the coils on your refrigerator at least twice a year.it also help for reduce bill
07-02-2010, 11:44 AM #9
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I have modified Step 16 from "loose clothing" to "no clothing". . .
07-02-2010, 11:54 AM #10
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07-05-2010, 09:36 AM #11
i feel like i am constantly turning off lights from my oldest dd who wakes up- gets ready to run out to work / with friends etc - etc and never stops to turn a light off .
i can talk till i am blue in the face too- no change
when i leave for work after her i can turn all off as i leave the house - when younger kids are home i get my 16 yo who babysits the youngest for me to follow up on her etc .
i wish sometimes i had lights and TVs and AC that went on only with movement in that room LOL so if theres no movement it turns itself off - i think i would save a fortune.
i think the only way oldest dd will get it is when she has her own electric bill to pay .
i try not to run the AC too much - high humidity weather i will turn it on - but it has to be 90s or higher out for me to turn it .
07-05-2010, 10:28 AM #12
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frugal is fun-Your electric bill is $36.52? Oh My Gosh!!!! I'm bleeding KWH's!!!!!
Here's an interesting breakdown of electric prices around the country. We are close to Philly and our electric bill was about $100 more then what's quoted, and I kept the air off on most days! Whoa! I just reread that page, this was for ALL, not just electric.
Last edited by pollypurebred39; 07-05-2010 at 10:53 AM.
07-05-2010, 11:16 AM #13
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I was curious, went and checked the Peco file with our old bills
Last August our electric was $171.53! That's with the sweltering heat and the air going! We hardly had it on at all last month. In fact this year we did things like replace all bulbs with the new energy bulbs. So what the heck is going on?
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