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clintswifeymomof4
06-19-2011, 01:02 AM
We're in the deep south and it is hot! Our power bill came in yesterday at a whopping $340! :scared1:

I am on total save mode now... I am now unplugging EVERYTHING before going to bed at night or when it isn't in use... the tvs, dvrs, modem, dvd players, microwave, lamps, cell phone chargers, and have even considered the washer and dryer if that would help.

We keep the overhead fans on to help circulate the air in the house and keep interior doors closed. We have bumped up the AC- even though it is sometimes uncomfortable- we'll manage.

I'm going to get my husband to lower the hot water heater temperature. We keep all lights off during the day and open the blinds.

How else can I shave $ off of our power bill???

rmom50
06-19-2011, 01:12 AM
I've heard that in some areas if you do laundry and run dishwasher, etc. at night they give you a break? Worth checking in to maybe? Sounds like you are really doing a good job! My husband put these horrible dim little light bulbs all over our house - I hate them. They're like a chandelier or night light bulb or something. We also have dimmer switches and that might help? I'll be watching to see what brilliant ideas the Dis folks come up with - they're usually so helpful! Good luck!

Disneyliscious
06-19-2011, 01:31 AM
I bought two 110 window unit air conditioners for $100 each to use instead of my central air. My electric bill was cut in half.

We put them in the windows of the rooms we use the most and one unit can cool 2 or 3 rooms if the doors are left open. The rooms we don't use on a daily basis dont get cooled. We only run one in the daytime for the living room, kitchen, dining and main bathroom. In the evening we turn on the one that cools the bedrooms.

If your house has an open floor plan and is one level, one 220 AC window unit would probably cool the entire floor.

My normal bills use to be in the $200 range. Now they run $90-$120 a month just because of that one change.

Window units are not as "pretty", but I don't really care about pretty when im saving that kind of money.

clintswifeymomof4
06-19-2011, 01:38 AM
Great suggestion! We bought a window unit that actually sits on the floor and has a vent tube that goes to the window for my daughter's room upstairs. Our house is a 1 1/2 story... the only rooms upstairs are their bedroom (very large- has 3 twin beds in it plus a sitting area and bathroom) and a small playroom adjacent. We have closed the central vents and just use that unit... it has a thermostat and since the girls play downstairs during the day... I bump it up as well after they wake up. Not sure we would benefit from it downstairs b/c our bedroom and the two other kid's bedrooms are split and our windows are only about a foot from the floor. Great suggestion though!


I hate to admit this but we usually run 3 dishwasher loads a day and at least 2 laundry loads a day... while the laundry has decreased since the kids are out of school now- the dishes have increased tremendously!

I'm not willing to stand at the sink and wash the mass amounts of dishes to save a few dollars a month and I don't have time chasing after the 2 babies and keeping my older 3 from tearing up the house... haha.

But- I will take the dishwasher off of the "heat dry" setting and hand dry them... this will prevent the kitchen from heating up. I just realized how much heat I must be putting into the house during the day!!! :scared1:

I've also been grilling a lot outdoors to prevent heating the oven up during the day. It's a start! I hope this bill is lower next month!

I reduced our cell phone plans and downgraded our uverse service to help offset some of the cost.

DisneyWalle
06-19-2011, 03:10 AM
We live in south Alabama about 10 minutes from Georgia and 30 minutes from Florida....so I understand hot. Our power bill runs about $159 a month, this is what I do.

Load dishwasher once and run it only at night.
Wash clothes in cold water - hang out to dry, if I have to use the dryer -its only at night
If its not being used, its unplugged

On the weekends we work 12 hour shifts so the house has to stay cooler cause we sleep during the day so - all lights stay off during the day - except for one low voltage light in living room -black-out curtains and blinds on all windows which stay closed - our air sits at 79 degrees no lower and we use fans if its feeling hot

Now, during the week, I am off and so is my husband - so we turn the air off - open all the blinds - tie back the curtains and open the windows - turn off all lights and place the fans in the windows.

We are lucky that we situated our house so that the morning and afternoon sun hit the sides of the house which doesn't cause the house to heat up as bad. Plus, the wind blows fairly aggressively across our property for most of the day which helps tremedously esp when the windows are open.

By doing these things, our power bill is reasonable. It has been an adjustment for my son but my husband and I grew up without air conditioning so we were ok with this.

starwood
06-19-2011, 06:03 AM
Actually it uses less water to run the dishwasher than to wash the dishes by hand. Have you replaced any of your light bulbs with compact fluorescents or LED bulbs? These will save a lot of energy. Also only run the dishwasher when it is full and only run the washing machine when it is full. If you can put your clothes on a clothes line instead of using the dryer that will also help.

herdtoDisney
06-19-2011, 06:15 AM
I would defenitely just air dry your dishes, rather than use the heat setting. I always use the air dry setting, and they dry pretty fast since they are warm from the washing. I just open the dishwasher (removing knives if you have little ones) and they dry by themselves. The heat dry cycle sucks up energy.

I also love saving money in the summer by line drying. With our elec cost here, I figure I save at least $1 a load by line drying. That adds up!

I don't know about adding window units to a house with AC. I have a window unit upstairs and down here, and I hate to run them-they run up the bill IMO. I don't have AC otherwise though so I don't know if they are cheaper than central air.

I also changed our bulbs to CFLs. That helped, and they are not expensive at Sams club.

As far as the water heater, it should be set at 120 degrees, that is hot enough to kill germs but not hot enough to quickly scald skin. Do you have an electric water heater? When I did, we put a timer on it-we had it set to come on early in the morning to heat up (for morning showers/dishes) then it went off during the day while we were gone, then back on again in the afternoon till bedtime. It paid for itself in a couple months!!! The heater does not need to be on 24/7 to have hot water, it only takes a little while to heat up.

MattMatts-Momma
06-19-2011, 06:42 AM
Your post makes me nervous to see what our next bill will be! We have Georgia Power and I heard last week that they increased the rates and bills have been doubling.

mom2d&b
06-19-2011, 07:10 AM
We are south of the mouse so I understand hot. A few things we have done are tint our windows, change the curtains to the insulated ones, and as bulbs need to be replaced, we put in the CFL ones. We habe almost always air dried the dishes in the dish washer. I am thinkig about hanging some of the laundry in the garage to dry. It is easier to hang on th egarage than out back. We also upped the temp couple of degrees during the day and use a ceiling fan in the rooms we are in. At night we love it cold to sleep so we still keep it in the mid 60's . Our bill is only about $150 a month. Our neighbor who has the same exact house pays about $360. We have shared all the things we have done but they just seem content complaining about the bill instead of making adjustments.
I am confident you will see a reduction if you do some of the things suggested on the DISboards.

ShiPooOwner
06-19-2011, 07:22 AM
I'm way up north but curious about what you set the temperature on your a/c at during the day and at night. When we've rented homes in FL the temp is usually set at 78 for both day and night and with ceiling fans on, it feels very comfortable. Up here if I set them on 78 with ceiling fans on, I broil! :confused3

MattMatts-Momma
06-19-2011, 07:44 AM
I usually have the temp for the AC set at 78 degrees. Sometimes when I am cleaning I turn it down to 77 degrees. It is sad that you can work up a sweat cleaning the house and get a callus from vacuuming! :eek:

Now with the kids home for the summer, it feels like we are using alot more electric. Lights on, tv's on, fans blowing, I am sure our bill has gone up...

3 MEN AND A BOAT
06-19-2011, 08:52 AM
These all sound like great suggestions.

But I wanted to ask if this is a drastic change from your typical monthly bill(as in $100-200) did you call to have it re-read. I've had mine read incorrectly 3 times in the past 5yrs. Just a Thought.

Paul

DawnM
06-19-2011, 08:57 AM
This past month ours was the highest it has EVER BEEN! :scared1:

We too are going to be cutting our bill.

All a/c units up to 77 for the rest of the summer.
All electrical items off unless in use.

I could confine everyone to the basement for the summer as we don't need a/c down there!

Dawn

mrsklamc
06-19-2011, 09:13 AM
Check for air leaks, under doors, around windows, caulk and buy one of those things that lays against the bottom of the door to stop airflow. If you're not sure, have DH go outside when it's dark and shine a flashlight around the doors and windows. Anywhere the light gets out the A/C is leaking out too.

If you are using an oven for any meals, use a toaster oven instead.

mrsklamc
06-19-2011, 09:17 AM
I don't know what our problem with CFLs is but they COST us money. They may use less energy but they don't last as long, for sure! We've tried different brands- don't know what to do!

jjsmom
06-19-2011, 09:53 AM
-In the summer months, I hang most of my laundry. I have a mental thing about running the dryer and the central air at the same time. It's been beastly hot here on the Eastern shore of MD, so I figure that heat is free.;)

Oh and here too, we just heard Delmarva Power is raising rates...:mad: UGGG!

-I wash most clothing in cold water (if you read clothing label, most of them suggest it anyway)
-I air dry dishes
-turn off your oven 10 minutes before items are finished. Your food will continue cook properly. I've pretty much stopped baking, period. I love homemade cookies and bread and otherwise it would be cheaper to bake from scratch, but not in the summer putting all that heat back in the house.
-For items you boil on the range top (pasta, potatoes, etc.), Bring water to boil. Add food. Bring to boil again. Cover. Turn off burner. This takes just a few minutes longer for food to cook, but saves electricity.
-Our thermostat is set at 77 deg. We also use ceiling fans to make it feel cooler. we turn off the ceiling fans when not at home or out of the room for a while.
Good luck!:laundy:

minnie1928
06-19-2011, 10:09 AM
-turn off your oven 10 minutes before items are finished. Your food will continue cook properly. I've pretty much stopped baking, period. I love homemade cookies and bread and otherwise it would be cheaper to bake from scratch, but not in the summer putting all that heat back in the house.


When I lived in NJ and PA I used a toaster oven during the summer. It was big enough for most of our meals and it didn't require preheating. And, when I was done using it I could carry it out to our deck to cool off. Compared to heating up the regular over (and subsequently heating up the kitchen) this worked much better.

Not to hijack the original thread, but we just moved into our new-to-us house in Seattle and I've replaced all the light bulbs with CFLs. What do I do with all the incandescent bulbs? I must have over 40 bulbs!

Jeff_G
06-19-2011, 11:27 AM
I don't know what our problem with CFLs is but they COST us money. They may use less energy but they don't last as long, for sure! We've tried different brands- don't know what to do!

Are they on dimmers or photocells? Are they hung upside down or in an enclosure? CFLs should not be used with a dimmer or photocell, and when you have them hung upside down they burn out faster because of heat issues. They were designed to dissipate their heat upwards away from the ballast in the base of the CFL. Same issue for using in an enclosed light, they heat has nowhere to go and causes the CFL to burn out quicker.

disneyandme
06-19-2011, 01:21 PM
A study just came out that DVR's are huge electricity drains. If you have one, maybe try unplugging it when it's not in use. We tend to have things recording over night, so it doens't really work for us.

mrsklamc
06-19-2011, 01:41 PM
Are they on dimmers or photocells? Are they hung upside down or in an enclosure? CFLs should not be used with a dimmer or photocell, and when you have them hung upside down they burn out faster because of heat issues. They were designed to dissipate their heat upwards away from the ballast in the base of the CFL. Same issue for using in an enclosed light, they heat has nowhere to go and causes the CFL to burn out quicker.

Yes- I think all of them are either upside down or enclosed. Thanks for solving the mystery!

mommy2_3
06-19-2011, 01:46 PM
one thing we did was get a new a/c unit. our electric bill last year was over $400 with our old unit. it was to small for our house. we got a new one put in and now our bill is just over $200. its an energy star. we also keep our a.c going at night so it gets really cold in here, then we up it temp. during the day. this way our a/c runs less during the day. we also keep our blinds half way closed. we get some light in but not alot. we also have all our lights off during the day, unless we need to use the restroom lol!

Malibustyle23
06-19-2011, 01:51 PM
-In the summer months, I hang most of my laundry. I have a mental thing about running the dryer and the central air at the same time. It's been beastly hot here on the Eastern shore of MD, so I figure that heat is free.;)

Oh and here too, we just heard Delmarva Power is raising rates...:mad

Just wanted to say Hi neighbor :wave:. So excited to see someone else from home here just wish you didn't come with power increase news. I hadn't hear that.

hannahdrewmom
06-19-2011, 02:18 PM
Our thermostat is set to 81 during the day! :scared1: We are out and about most, or playing in the backyard or at the pool so when we come in from the 97 degree heat the 80 degrees is like a little vacation! I try to grill out meals or have salads and things that don't require the oven. We run the overhead fans and just installed 2 more in the kitchen and office for the low cost at lowes of $60 each. I do turn the heat back at night to 77 :cheer2:.... again it feels super cool since we are used to it hotter during the day.

Really heat is all a perception. I don't get as many complaints in the summer from DH as I do in the winter when it's cold but that's easy cause I tell him to put on another layer! The other thing is if most of you are out during the day you can even get a programmable thermostat so that you can keep the temp higher during the day while you are gone and then turn it down right before you get home. This works really well for the winter too when you can lower it really low at night and then turn it on right before you get up to get a shower.

firstcruise
06-19-2011, 02:31 PM
I would say install a whole house fan if you can. We did that 8 years ago and rarely run the AC now, except when it gets extremely hot outside. I live in So. California.

What we do is open up the house at night and turn on the whole house fan to remove all the heat from the attic and house. We have one in each of the bedrooms up stairs and in no time the temp drops and we keep them running during the night to cool the house really good. Then in the morning turn them off and keep the windows and blinds closed. Turn on ceiling fans to circulate the air during the day and then do it all over again. Best money ever spent and I think we got back 60-70% from the electric company rebate program.

university
06-19-2011, 02:44 PM
Cook outside. Obviously, you can grill, but you can also plug in a crock pot or a toaster oven outside and it won't heat up your house a bit.

Do you have ceiling fans? If so, use them continuously so you can crank your central air temperature up a couple degrees and still feel comfortable.

I have almost everything unplugged all the time. If we need to use it, I plug it in beforehand and unplug when I'm done using it.

Definitely line dry your clothes. May as well put all that southern heat to good use! I use a retractable clothesline even in the winter (in my basement).

clintswifeymomof4
06-19-2011, 03:19 PM
You guys are amazing!!! These suggestions are incredible!

I am going out today and buy a retractable clothesline. We already have CFLs in all of the lights.

My husband said "no go" on the 77-78 degrees. I can live with it b/c I am always cold due to my hypothyroidism but he is like uh uh.

I am also going to start unplugging the washer and dryer when not in use and line drying everything. The dishwasher will go on air dry only or I will hand dry. I have a young baby who is a crawler so leaving the dishwasher open is a no go.

I'm going to check the settings on our fridge and water heater and look into the timer- that was an excellent idea.

My young kids often share a bath- easier for me and my older girls take quick showers.

We just moved into this home a year ago and the a/c unit is definitely too small. We cannot afford to replace it at this point in time but that is definitely on the top of the "to do" list within the next year... we will probably get 2 units- 1 for upstairs and 1 for downstairs. We will also check the insulation as I don't think some of the rooms are properly insulated.

Door sweeps and caulking are also on my to do list. I will pick these up today when I get my clothesline. We have 3 exterior doors and tons of windows... I know this is a problem.

We're in south Alabama and I know our rates were increased. Our bill was about $120 more than last month. I'm a sahm so we are here ALL DAY and my kids like to watch tv. We are usually in the same room so this cuts down on multiple tvs going at once- I've been unplugging the rest.

I appreciate the suggestions tremendously! I'm ready to head to Lowes with my "to do" list and get to work saving my family some money! The more I save- the more I'll have for our Disney trip...

I need to change my ticker b/c we're pushing it back until April as I'm not sure if I'll be without a job yet another year (I'm a special education teacher with a masters degree and I've been unemployed going on 3 years now- not by choice).

PS- the meter is accurate, unfortunately. :(

:laundy:

trip
06-19-2011, 04:23 PM
Are they on dimmers or photocells? Are they hung upside down or in an enclosure? CFLs should not be used with a dimmer or photocell, and when you have them hung upside down they burn out faster because of heat issues. They were designed to dissipate their heat upwards away from the ballast in the base of the CFL. Same issue for using in an enclosed light, they heat has nowhere to go and causes the CFL to burn out quicker.

There are some CFls that can be used with a dimmer. I have some. Here are some examples.

http://www.buylighting.com/Dimmable-Compact-Fluorescent-s/113.htm

rmom50
06-19-2011, 04:30 PM
Are they on dimmers or photocells? Are they hung upside down or in an enclosure? CFLs should not be used with a dimmer or photocell, and when you have them hung upside down they burn out faster because of heat issues. They were designed to dissipate their heat upwards away from the ballast in the base of the CFL. Same issue for using in an enclosed light, they heat has nowhere to go and causes the CFL to burn out quicker.

Wow - I didn't know that either - appreciate the info. We have pretty much all dimmers. :rolleyes:

rmom50
06-19-2011, 04:33 PM
There are some CFls that can be used with a dimmer. I have some. Here are some examples.

http://www.buylighting.com/Dimmable-Compact-Fluorescent-s/113.htm

oh..............ok......now that might be what is in there - those little 5 watt things look like what we're using. Thanks for link.

mjantz
06-19-2011, 04:35 PM
One thing to keep in mind is that if the temp is not dropping below 80 overnight & going to 100 or above during the day it doesn't do any good to set the thermostat below 80. It's just going to run all day & not get any cooler.
I'm a teacher too & when we're all home in the summer we wear less clothing. Normally I'm pretty modest but around the house I'll wear a spaghetti strap tank with shorts & so will my daughter. I'll let my son wear shorts with no shirt. We also turn down the a/c at night to help keep it cooler during the day.

Finally, not to be nosy but you might try to get down a dishwasher load or two. My kids get 1 cup per day. If they want water after the Kool-Aid they have to rinse it out. Also, my kids usually have pop-tarts or toast for breakfast. I have them use the same plates for lunch. Every little bit helps!

Bell30012
06-19-2011, 04:41 PM
I bought two new energy saving devices in the last year. The first was a WiFi programable thermostat. The non-WiFi version was $30 cheaper but the WiFi has proven essential to me. When my DD8 and I left for WDW we forgot to turn off the air. I pulled out the iPad and situation solved. Many times I find myself coming home a little earlier than planned. A couple of clicks on the iPhone before I leave work and my house is nice & cool before I arrive.

The second was a $30 timer for a water heater. My water heater only runs for three hours per day. Why heat water all day long when no one is home to use it?

Colleen27
06-19-2011, 05:06 PM
It seems counter-intuitive because it increases the need for lighting, but keeping the drapes closed reduces the heat gain from the sun. At the very least you should have thermal drapes in rooms that are mostly unused during the day, like bedrooms, and leave them closed to block out the summer sun.

GatorMama
06-19-2011, 05:40 PM
Have you had your air ducts cleaned lately? It could make a GIGANTIC diffference in your air circulation. Make sure you're cleaning or replacing your air filters as regularly as needed too!

And like another poster said, try to cut back on using so many dishes. Each person in our house gets ONE cup a day. If we have toast or a sandwich (dry stuff, nothing messy) we re-use that plate at the next meal.

We keep all of the blinds/curtains closed all day or crack the curtains just enough to let in a little light... EVERY day. The heat we're letting in is making the house warmer and needing more A/C than the few minutes of lightbulb that will be needed while we're in the room. There is literally not a room in the house that I need to turn on the lights on during the day and if the curtains and blinds are open, I can feel a huge difference in room temperature.

I also use the sun-machine to dry some of our things instead of the dryer. If you have to run the dryer inside, run it at night so it's not making as big a dent in the temperature of your home.

Avoid using your oven. Use a crockpot instead. It runs longer, but uses less electricity and doesn't heat up your entire kitchen. Grill outside. When you have to use the oven , kill two birds with one stone and also prepare another meal in there so that you can just re-heat it later.

ctinct
06-19-2011, 06:13 PM
I bought two new energy saving devices in the last year. The first was a WiFi programable thermostat. The non-WiFi version was $30 cheaper but the WiFi has proven essential to me. When my DD8 and I left for WDW we forgot to turn off the air. I pulled out the iPad and situation solved. Many times I find myself coming home a little earlier than planned. A couple of clicks on the iPhone before I leave work and my house is nice & cool before I arrive.

The second was a $30 timer for a water heater. My water heater only runs for three hours per day. Why heat water all day long when no one is home to use it?

Can you tell me how you hook the timer up to the water heater? Mine is electric---it would be great if I could just heat water in the evenings when I am home! Never thought of this before. It will be just me here soon, so I will not have to hear any complaints about there being no hot water in the middle of the day. I can see me doing all my laundry, etc. at night.

mrsklamc
06-19-2011, 06:55 PM
Make sure your drier vent is clear & also vacuum your refrigerator coils so neither is working harder than it has to.

disneyandme
06-19-2011, 07:03 PM
we put it a tankless hot water heatre a few years ago and it made a huge difference. When it's time to replace, it's worth the cost.

disneyandme
06-19-2011, 07:03 PM
Anyone use the attic fans? does it help with AC cooling costs?

Good Morning Dewdrop
06-19-2011, 08:56 PM
We were talking to my brother's MIL tonight and she has just gotten some kind of film (UV?) installed on the inside of her windows. She said it has made a significant difference in the temperature in the house.

I'm going to look into it for our house - we have a lot of south facing windows.

clintswifeymomof4
06-19-2011, 11:26 PM
We were talking to my brother's MIL tonight and she has just gotten some kind of film (UV?) installed on the inside of her windows. She said it has made a significant difference in the temperature in the house.

I'm going to look into it for our house - we have a lot of south facing windows.

My husband just mentioned today about getting the window film... I'm actually online researching it now (in between reading here! :rotfl:)

I'll vacuum/clean the fridge coils tomorrow- good call. We just replaced the air filters a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to keep the blinds closed during the day- I love the natural light but you guys are right- it is heating up the house needlessly.

As far as the dishes- Our baby is still using a bottle so that accounts for a lot of the dishes. I prepare all of our meals- hot breakfast of usually bacon/sausage, eggs, pancakes so they need a plate and it usually is too soild be to reused for lunch w/out washing... same for lunch and dinner dishes. We only use dishes that can be washed- not thrown away and we use cloth instead of paper towels. With 5 kids and 2 adults- it is just a lot of dishes.

I'm definitely going to implement some of these suggestions and hope to report back that our bill is much lower next month! :banana:

si-am
06-19-2011, 11:39 PM
A few months ago, we replaced our old A/C unit (27 years old) with a new one. I just got my power bill, and even though this June has been hotter than last June, and even though I've kept my thermostat set a little lower than normal... my energy consumption was HALF what it was 12 months ago. My bill was cut in half too!

I cannot believe what a difference it made. I hated spending the money on a new unit but it will pay for itself.

mrsklamc
06-20-2011, 12:10 AM
A reader tip on couponing to disney the other day was to use coffee filters for kids' snacks instead of paper plates, paper towels, or washing dishes. Much cheaper, they said.

clintswifeymomof4
06-20-2011, 12:18 AM
A few months ago, we replaced our old A/C unit (27 years old) with a new one. I just got my power bill, and even though this June has been hotter than last June, and even though I've kept my thermostat set a little lower than normal... my energy consumption was HALF what it was 12 months ago. My bill was cut in half too!

I cannot believe what a difference it made. I hated spending the money on a new unit but it will pay for itself.

A reader tip on couponing to disney the other day was to use coffee filters for kids' snacks instead of paper plates, paper towels, or washing dishes. Much cheaper, they said.


Great idea w/ the coffee filters... my kids have been eating a lot of ice cream cones lately as snacks... that way they can eat the "container" hahaha I'll use this for my kid's grapes and other snacks... awesome!

That is amazing the difference in your bill!!! I can't wait until we can replace ours!

NHWX
06-20-2011, 12:23 AM
Some appliances take way more electricity than you might think. Our library has several Kill A Watt devices to lend so you can figure out what's using all the power. Here's one: http://www.amazon.com/P3-International-P4400-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU

We live in an area where we're on well water. The pump takes quite a bit of power so I try to make sure that we save as much water as possible on days when I know we're going to have to water the garden. (Make sure you don't have any leaks in pipes leading to any sprinkler systems or drips in the bathroom, etc.) We always run a bit of water to start a shower - that water gets saved in a bucket or extra large salad bowl, etc. Undrunk water from lunch goes into the garden, etc.

Last year on one of the "it's so hot" threads here, someone mentioned the idea of using a waffle maker to cook muffin mixes. (wuffins!) It's a decent way of getting a break in the it's-July-and-I'm-only-grilling mindset. It might be one way to cut down on the electric usage from the ac and big oven.

NHWX

minnie1928
06-20-2011, 12:44 AM
I am also going to start unplugging the washer and dryer when not in use and line drying everything.

FWIW, I own one of those Kill-A-Watt things mentioned above and tested my washer & dryer. They don't pull any energy when they are not turned on. Yours may be different, but maybe not.:confused3

jodim
06-20-2011, 01:30 AM
If you have central air make sure you clean around the unit outside (leaves, debris) and get freon added regularly every few years....it makes a big difference.

MattMatts-Momma
06-20-2011, 07:24 AM
Your post makes me nervous to see what our next bill will be! We have Georgia Power and I heard last week that they increased the rates and bills have been doubling.

The power bill came over the weekend:
Last month: $167.95

This month: $261.24 :scared1:

1 Year ago: $218.70

I think this year we have already had 40+ consecutive days of temps above 90 degrees and summer hasn't even started!

I need to find some ways to trim the electric bill.

miralys
06-20-2011, 09:27 AM
I hate summer in Florida because all the savings we see from the mild weather months are eaten away so quickly.

Still working through these replies, but thought I would add in what I have found helps:

1. We planted fast growing shrubs to try to shade the house.
2. We have the actual AC unit shaded as well.
3. We installed radiant attic foil (can't remember what it's called) to try to cool down the attic (well, being in Florida it's actually a crawl space, but it still gets so hot in the summer).
4. Installed heavy drapes with heat barrier coating. So much heat comes in through the windows.

These things made a difference, but we're always looking to do more.

clintswifeymomof4
06-20-2011, 01:46 PM
FWIW, I own one of those Kill-A-Watt things mentioned above and tested my washer & dryer. They don't pull any energy when they are not turned on. Yours may be different, but maybe not.:confused3

:rotfl: Ok thanks for telling me that!!! So there goes that idea... lol You just saved me some time... what about the microwave? Does it pull phatom power? Anyone know? I'm not going to be unplugging and flipping breakers if it isn't going to make a difference... I need one of those kill a watt devices!

scrapquitler
06-20-2011, 01:48 PM
:rotfl: Ok thanks for telling me that!!! So there goes that idea... lol You just saved me some time... what about the microwave? Does it pull phatom power? Anyone know? I'm not going to be unplugging and flipping breakers if it isn't going to make a difference... I need one of those kill a watt devices!

I think the microwave does. The 'rule' I have heard is that if the appliance has a CLOCK or shows any lights when you are not using it, it's pulling electricity. Since the microwave almost always has a clock, then it would constantly be pulling electricity.

If your microwave is built in (above the stove), then its not so easy to unplug it since those are generally hard wired into the wall. I don't think that constantly flipping breakers is a great idea, either.

clintswifeymomof4
06-20-2011, 01:49 PM
If you have central air make sure you clean around the unit outside (leaves, debris) and get freon added regularly every few years....it makes a big difference.

Freon, eh? I think having it serviced might not be a bad idea... the unit is 10 years old and we've only lived here for a year- I doubt anything was done before then.

They added a bonus type room w/ attic space upstairs and the insulation up there is hit or miss. I know that is a part of the problem.

A lot of these things that need to be done/looked at/serviced cost $$ for a professional to come out and we just don't have it right now. :sad1:

clintswifeymomof4
06-20-2011, 01:51 PM
I think the microwave does. The 'rule' I have heard is that if the appliance has a CLOCK or shows any lights when you are not using it, it's pulling electricity. Since the microwave almost always has a clock, then it would constantly be pulling electricity.

If your microwave is built in (above the stove), then its not so easy to unplug it since those are generally hard wired into the wall. I don't think that constantly flipping breakers is a great idea, either.

I just flipped the breaker once last night to the washer b/c that was my husband's bright idea... :rotfl2:

I can reach up and unplug the microwave though b/c I'm kinda tall and it isn't that difficult to plug back in when needed (which isn't that often). Thanks for the reply!

mjantz
06-20-2011, 02:00 PM
As far as the dishes- Our baby is still using a bottle so that accounts for a lot of the dishes. I prepare all of our meals- hot breakfast of usually bacon/sausage, eggs, pancakes so they need a plate and it usually is too soild be to reused for lunch w/out washing... same for lunch and dinner dishes. We only use dishes that can be washed- not thrown away and we use cloth instead of paper towels. With 5 kids and 2 adults- it is just a lot of dishes.

I'm definitely going to implement some of these suggestions and hope to report back that our bill is much lower next month! :banana:

If you're cooking 3 hot meals per day thats definitely going to heat up your house. We try & do more cold meals during the summer so we don't heat up the house.

Any luck on finding that UV film? We could use some as the front of our house faces West. Gets warm in the evening.

clintswifeymomof4
06-20-2011, 02:11 PM
If you're cooking 3 hot meals per day thats definitely going to heat up your house. We try & do more cold meals during the summer so we don't heat up the house.

Any luck on finding that UV film? We could use some as the front of our house faces West. Gets warm in the evening.

Gila films are available at most Lowe's and Home Depot... trying to look for alternatives now.

kids getting pb&j and a green salad for lunch... lol

mom2princesss
06-20-2011, 04:48 PM
As far as the dishes- Our baby is still using a bottle so that accounts for a lot of the dishes. I prepare all of our meals- hot breakfast of usually bacon/sausage, eggs, pancakes so they need a plate and it usually is too soild be to reused for lunch w/out washing... same for lunch and dinner dishes. We only use dishes that can be washed- not thrown away and we use cloth instead of paper towels. With 5 kids and 2 adults- it is just a lot of dishes.

I'm definitely going to implement some of these suggestions and hope to report back that our bill is much lower next month! :banana:

I understand the bottles! My baby used Dr. Brown's and that is a lot of parts! Get a microwave sterilzer. Dr. Brown's makes one but I have a generic and it works fine too. Keep a bowl of soapy water in the kitchen. After using a bottle, disassemble and toss all parts into the water. At the end of the day, rinse everything and toss it in the sterilizer, microwave and viola, clean bottles. Uses much less time and energy then washing in the dishwasher.

3 hot meals a day is alot! We try to eat without using the stove or oven alot in the summer. Even with 3 hot meals a day, for your whole family that is 21 plates/bowls a day and should easily fit in one load for the dishwasher. I'd really try to cut down on the use of the oven/stove though. There are lots of no-cook breakfast and lunch items you can make.

Shelly F - Ohio
06-20-2011, 04:56 PM
don't forget to change the furnace filter. A dirty filter with make the A/C work harder.
Keeps windows and door shut. Limit the number of times you open a door this can let in a lot of heat. So make sure the kids are not running in an out.

Running the washer and dryer at the same time can drive up your billing rate. All it takes is one spike in your billing load and your electric company will bill you are the higher rate all month long.

Use insollated shades or curtains to block out the heat. I set our thermostat at 78 during the date and 76 at 5 p.m. I work part time and notice that during the day our A/C doesn't kick on until 5 p.m.

Invest in insultated windows and doors and your return on investment can be recooped in a short amount of time.

Use ceiling fans to move the cool air..BUT remember to make sure the ceiling fan is circulating in the right direction. In the summer you want the fan to pull air upward because cool air is lite and stays close to the floor. So make sure the switch on your fan is set to draw the air upward. And visa versa for winter.

I use a fan at the bottom of our basement stairs to blow the cool air from the basement up to the first level. As well as using the ceiling fan to circulate the air.

On cool mornings I open up the window and draw the cool air into the house using a box fan. Once the room feels cool I shut the window and the shades.

I make salads for dinner. Or use the grill. I don't use the oven in the summer months.
Never use the dishwasher because it heats up the kitchen and uses too much electric. I can handwash dishes faster than the dishwasher can.
Make sure register vents are not blocked.

Gina
06-20-2011, 05:14 PM
Freon, eh? I think having it serviced might not be a bad idea... the unit is 10 years old and we've only lived here for a year- I doubt anything was done before then.


An A/C unit is a sealed system... it should *never* need refrigerant. If it does, there is a leak somewhere -- large or small -- and that can really run your bill up (and kill said system.) As someone else mentioned, change your A/C filter every month. Unless you have allergy problems and need the special filters, just buy the cheapie ones and keep changing them. That will definitely help the airflow and make the A/C not have to work as hard.

Summer is something you survive here, not look forward to, and the biggest change I made that resulted in the biggest difference - both in my electric bill and in comfort - was to hang thermal curtain panels in every window in my living room. HUGE difference. I can stand to be in my living room again. I can do without tons of natural light in the summer -- heck, we don't even go grocery shopping until late late at night because otherwise you feel faint just going from the car to the door -- so daylight is not something we generally want any part of for a goodly chunk of the year. Especially *this* year. :faint:

If you don't have a smart meter, ask your electric provider if and when they have any plans to install them, or if you can pay to have one installed. Once installed and registered, you can actually go online and see when your power usage is peaking and find out what steps you can take to reduce usage if possible.



Use ceiling fans to move the cool air..BUT remember to make sure the ceiling fan is circulating in the right direction. In the summer you want the fan to pull air upward because cool air is lite and stays close to the floor. So make sure the switch on your fan is set to draw the air upward. And visa versa for winter.

Good tip!! The way I remember which way is the right way is by looking up at it directly and chanting "counter-clockwise keeps me cool!" :goodvibes

beansmom
06-20-2011, 09:05 PM
our house is one huge fishbowl with lots of windows that act as magnifying glasses. Even in the dead of winter, our living room can easily be 80 degrees and we live in Mass! Our vents are in the floor so I put box fans over the vents and have them pull the cold air up and out. It keeps the living room (which has 12 windows and 12 skylights --I kid you not) cool and liveable.

We keep the drapes closed when the sun shines in in the summer. We unplug everything that pulls power...toaster, coffeemaker, tv...we engage in a constant battle over that 'heat dry' thing on the dishwasher. :rotfl:

But I lived in Dallas for 30 years...i remember $400 electric bills regular in the summer. I don't miss it.

ugadog99
06-20-2011, 09:12 PM
I haven't read through the entire thread, but I have two very helpful solutions.

1. CLOSE your blinds! If you can get lined drapes/curtains or room darkening/black out curtains, get them AND use the blinds. It's amazing how much heat can come in through windows. (for that matter, heat during the winter that goes out)

2. Use your ceiling fans, but also get box/oscillating fans. They make a big difference, and you can bump the thermostat up some if you use the fans.

book_junkie
06-20-2011, 09:55 PM
Just be a little cautious about the smart meters... Our whole neighborhood got them installed at the same time, and everyone's bill pretty much doubled the next month and from then on out- and the response we got was "Oh, it's just because it's so much more accurate"... :confused3 Can't believe that their people were so off in their measurements from month to month on the meter readings...

The toaster/ convention over tip does work- we got one on sale for $79 the other day at Target and tried it this weekend- instead of the oven heating the house up over 80 we only went up two degrees! :banana:

jjsmom
06-20-2011, 10:06 PM
Just wanted to say Hi neighbor :wave:. So excited to see someone else from home here just wish you didn't come with power increase news. I hadn't hear that.

Hello to you:yay: !! So sorry about the news. I believe I read it on either WBOC.com or Delmarvanow.com. Can't remember:rolleyes1; it was a couple of weeks ago.

sylvenmaid
06-20-2011, 11:10 PM
Ours was $150 this past month which is actually very high for us. We usually never go above $120, but this year has been extremely hot already. Not getting any rain isn't helping. I feel like I'm melting some days. :scared1:

We just finished doing a bunch of remodeling inside the house. What has already helped tremendously is having caulked before we painted the rooms. I spent a lot of time caulking every nook & cranny, but I can already feel how much cooler the house has been. We also took out an old box fan out the attic that was letting in heat/moisture in the back hall. There was no insulation above it so we added a thick layer and closed it off plus put all new ceiling tile. I also spent the time caulking around all the inside window and door frames. I still need to invest in some thermal lined curtains for my living room. I keep my thermostat at 78 all day and night. I also run my ceiling fans to help circulate the air. I think we should see a drop next month and putting it down to 77 freezes me out now. Go figure?!! :cool1:

I plan on caulking all the outside window/door frames this fall. It's just too hot to be working outside in this heat. :eek:

minnie1928
06-21-2011, 12:37 AM
For those looking into window film, I have used Gila extensively. I filmed my entire house in NJ (partially for heat, partially for UV protection, partially for privacy). The Gila film works really well, but it does take time to install and you will need 2 people to do it right. It's not terribly difficult, but it is time consuming.

Having just moved to the Seattle area I've started to film these windows. Here I'm filming for the UV protection. I don't want to hang up any of my Disney art if the windows aren't UV protected. But, I don't want to hang up curtains because natural light is so important here most days.