My APARTMENTS Electric Bill was $400!! Advice??

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by sanapunk, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. sanapunk

    sanapunk <font color=blue>Kahtkateer<br><font color=red>Me

    May 1, 2004
    I'll be the first to admit I am NOT budget savvy. I generally see something I want and buy it. Now I'm the money nazi since we recieved our 400 dollar electric bill on our 1 bedroom apartment! I feel this is directly because our air unit stinks. It feels cool right now but it's still running and running. I had the maintenance guy come look at it today and he said it's running better than he expected! YEA RIGHT THEY JUST DON'T WANT TO BU US A NEW UNIT!!

    So here is my dilemma, I could either:

    -Go on the budget plan at 170 A MONTH!!
    or any suggestions you guys can give me on saving energy! I'm currently sitting with all the lights off!!
  2. DbleTheFun

    DbleTheFun DIS Veteran

    Jul 31, 2007
    WOW that is insane!!! I thought our Electric bill was high at $500.. but that is a 4200 sq/ft house... not a one bedroom apartment. Are you sure the meter read was correct?

    If so, and you can unplug your air unit, I would do so ASAP. I know it will be hot, but maybe a couple circulating fans for $20 would make it bearable? That would be my solution... since it is obvious that your AC is not going to get fixed anytime soon by the apartment manager!
    kid-at-heart and DoryGirl1963 like this.
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  4. Kathi OD

    Kathi OD <marquee><font color=blue>The first person to repl

    Aug 21, 2007
    I don't know, but maybe you need to run it less or increase the temperature, especially if it is an old unit.

    With the huge increases in energy bills, those are pretty much going to be your choices. We've decided that unless the humidity gets really bad (which, I know in Jersey is almost every day.......but not today) the air is off and we run a fan in the room where we are. Our bill last month was $269 for a 2100 sq. ft. home.
  5. califred

    califred DIS Veteran

    May 4, 2003
    I live in hot humid NC and my electric bill on a 2700 square foot house is less than 300 a month and we aren't very careful about turning stuff off and we run our air at 76 all day every day.

    Something is not right in your apartment.
  6. sanapunk

    sanapunk <font color=blue>Kahtkateer<br><font color=red>Me

    May 1, 2004
    Thanks everyone, I'm having the electric company come and look at our meter. I had the air off and it was still going at a good pace. I turned the air on and it was spinnnningggg!!!!! :eek:

    My only concern with fans is, do they use a lot of electricity to power? I know it sounds like a dumb question but I'm only 21 and until I told my parents how much I was paying, I didn't even know that 400 was a lot!
  7. rflorek

    rflorek DIS Veteran

    Oct 29, 2003
    We rent a 3 bedroom, 1-floor half a duplex with a full basement. We run 3 window units ACs almost constantly this summer, plus all of the regular appliances (2 old tube TVs, computer, kitchen stuff, washer, dryer...) and our last month's electric/gas bill was just about $185.

    Our window units are newer (last 5-7 years) Energy Star units that we supply (no built-ins), and we keep the ceiling fans running (because I read somewhere that ceiling fans help your AC run more efficiently). Maybe you should request a newer Energy Star unit from the landlord?
  8. LadyyRedd

    LadyyRedd <font color=red>Someone stole my toothpaste/Chapst

    Jan 6, 2004
    If you think the unit is crappy....could you maybe buy a new one and have it installed? I know it's supposed to be the landlord, but if you're spending $400 a month on electric, buying a new unit might drop that dramatically and be a better deal for you in the long run.

  9. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    Fans don't draw much electricity because they don't have any cooling or heating parts. We went to levelized billing a few years ago after getting hit with a huge bill like yours. I love knowing what my power bill is going to be every month.

    For now I'd suggest you turn your AC to 78 and put out some fans, or turn off the AC completely (how hot is it in NJ anyway?) When I was growing up in South Alabama we didn't have AC at all. I used to take a wet washcloth to bed with me--wipe your face and stomach with it and lay under the fan. Very nice :thumbsup2
  10. Princess April

    Princess April DIS Veteran

    Sep 4, 2007
    The only thing I can even consider telling you is bug the heck out of the landlord.... seriously, $400.00 :faint:
    And I can also say, good luck. I have never lived in an apartment that the a/c worked properly. We purchased a home and 2 years into it the a/c was on it's last legs (over 20 years old) and I said, forget it... we are getting a new one!!! Well, $6,000.00 later we are not only enjoying GREAT a/c but our electric bill dropped dramatically!
    A PP suggested that you pay for a replacement yourself, I don't think that's such a good idea. 1) that's what you pay rent for.... they should and must keep all the major systems operational and 2) save it for when it's your own place... not a rental!
  11. disney1990

    disney1990 <font color=royalblue>Wow, it make my heart skip a

    Aug 24, 1999
    If I were you, I would consider getting an inexpensive window unit. Then you can run it only when you need it.

    My DD (23) has her own apt. and that is what she does. She also has a window fan and another fan that she uses when she doesn't run the A/C.

    $400 is WWWWWAAAAAYYYY to much to spend.
  12. DMickey28

    DMickey28 <font color=blue>DIS Veteran<br>Comes from a very

    Mar 24, 2001
    I am sorry ... I feel for you. We had this happen last year. Two years ago we lived in a high rise 1277 sq. ft. two bedroom in S. Florida. We had two full walls of windows facing North and East. In the dead of summer our bill was never over $200. We moved last summer to a first floor 1400 sq. ft two bedroom with little natural light and had bills over $375 during the summer and NEVER below $200 in the winter. I had the electric company come out and the maintance guys come out. It was just the way it was.

    We moved this summer to a very similar apartment as the second one but 1350 sq. ft. with more natural light. Same builder, same age, same unit. Our first full month was July and our bill was $160. Kills me that we probably spent well over $1500 too much last year ...

    Do you know any one that would know about AC units that could come and look at it? Maybe if you can get a professional to say something about the inefficency of the unit the landlord would consider replacing it.

    Good Luck .. That killed my budget last summer when we were just adjusting to living on one income when I started staying home with my son.
  13. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

    Aug 25, 2001
    Check the AC air filter and replace that if it is all dusty which means clogged. Also gently scrape out dust from the fins behind the filter, using a wood toothpick or piece of cardboard.

    Are you sure something else is not wasting all that electricity?

    Like a refrigerator with a loose gasket (seal) around the door?

    Do you have an electric hot water heater? That kind is expensive enough to begin with but a leaky faucet will make the bill much higher.

    Try turning off different circuit breakers to observe what other circuits may be spinning your meter.

    Or heaven forbid, a neighbor is tapping into your electrical lines perhaps because there is an outlet or light socket outside your apartment.

    Home handyman hints:
    marcyleecorgan likes this.
  14. rebecca06261

    rebecca06261 DIS Pirate Wench

    Aug 23, 2007
    Holy moley something is wrong! I'd write a letter to the property manager, requiring that the unit be repaired, or replaced. I'm not sure which state you live in, but each state is clear on landlord/tenant law and what is required on how you go about requesting repairs and the landlord's responsibilities. Also, pull out your lease agreement! Your lease agreement may have specifics on how your landlord requires you deal with things. If worse comes to worse, I'd go budget plan until the end of my lease, then I'd move if there's no resolution. I live in the deep south - very hot/very humid (think Orlando on crack,) and my electric bill runs no more than $120 per month with the thermostat set on 71 for 1000 sf.
  15. roadtripper

    roadtripper DIS Veteran

    Mar 10, 2001
    Just a thought, but there could be something not kosher going on, too. We lived in an apartment and got a HUGE electric bill; turns out that two apartments were on the same meter. The electric company should come and check this out for free. 400 for a 1 BR would be really expensive even in winter with electric heat! Good luck!
    marcyleecorgan likes this.
  16. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

    Jan 12, 2001
    My house near Orlando is a little over 2,300 feet of air conditioned space on one level and fully electric. I have lived here about 3½ years and my electric bill has never been as high as $200. I keep the AC/heat set at 78 year round.

    Of course when it was built I paid extra for all themopane glass and extra insulation. I think it was worth it.
  17. pixiewings71

    pixiewings71 <marquee><font color=deeppink>Sweet!!! Totally!!!!

    Jun 8, 2007
    You know, I read this wondering how it could happen, that's way too high for an apartment, that's more than my 2400 sq ft house!! And we have 2 fish tanks (1 saltwater) and the a/c is on most of the time. We have to keep the house cool for the SW fish and corals, otherwise they die, anyway.....I'm thinking you need to check around for possible energy theives, it really sounds like you've got at least 2 units running off the same meter...or someone who is using an extention cord to steal your power.....seriously, I knew someone in a townhome style apt and their side neighbor was using an extention cord plugged into their backyard outlet and getting free power. I don't know if you've got an outside plug but something isn't right there.
  18. sanapunk

    sanapunk <font color=blue>Kahtkateer<br><font color=red>Me

    May 1, 2004
    Thanks everyone for even more help!! Unfortunately I can't do the window unit, we have the large side openeing windows! We have been keeping the ac on everyday, all day, at aound 75. I kept it on 78 today, it wasn't that hot outside. It's my darn boyfriend who keeps it running so crazy all day! Maybe he's the culprit this whole time!! :rotfl:

    But I seriously cannot wait for the electric company to come out, and hope they get to the bottom of this!! I recently changed my air filter too. But in the end, we might just end up on the budget plan til we hopefully move.
  19. proteus

    proteus DIS Veteran

    Jul 9, 2008
    what the? amazing! a two bedroom condo here with the AC running at a cool 70 all summer is barely $100 per month and that includes gas and electric

    something wrong with your picture.
  20. racetrack18kb

    racetrack18kb DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2008
    $400.00 a month :scared1: WOW!! We live in a 3 bedroom apartment, 2nd floor too and our electric bill is not even close to that. We live in PA which can get hot and humid too. We also have no AC. On the windows that get the afternoon, hot sun we use blinds and those "insulating curtains". We also stick a window fan in there on exhaust to blow the hot air out. For the rooms that never get direct sunlight, we also have window fans that blow the cooler air into the house. We also have one big circulating fan in the living room just to move the air around. Our electric bill in the summer only runs about 70.00. It can warm in here but not unbearable.
  21. WillCAD

    WillCAD Where there's a Will there's a way

    Nov 27, 2004
    Whether there is something wrong with your A/C unit or not (check the fridge, too! Defrost!), I can give you a few general tips to conserve in a 1br apartment:

    1) Get a programmable thermostadt and set it for consistent temps, day and night.

    2) Set it as high as you can stand it and add a few small fans; as long as the air is dry, fans are remarkably effective in making you feel cooler.

    3) Set it a few degrees higher during the day when you're not home. But DON'T fall for the temptation to set it way higher, or else you'll waste a lot of power cooling it back down to max comfort level when you get home. I set mine to 74 for sleeping (11:30pm-7am), 78 when I'm home (7-8am and 5-11:30pm), and 82 when I'm at work (8am-5pm).

    4) Keep blinds/drapes completely closed during the day. Yes, turning on lights in the daytime might seem more wasteful, but the sunlight coming through the windows and hitting the floor, walls, and furniture radiates heat throughout the room. Just keeping that light out can lower the temp in the apartment by 5 degrees!

    5) Turn off your computer, monitor, printer, scanner, and speakers off whenever you're not using them.

    6) Replace all of your light bulbs with low-consumption flourescents, especially floods. Get rid of any hallogen torch lamps - they not only use a lot of power, but generate heat, which makes your A/C work harder.

    7) Don't cook with the oven or stove in hot weather. Use the microwave for as much as you can. Yes, it uses electricity, but it also puts a lot less heat into the apartment that the costly A/C must then cool off. I also use my Foreman grill a lot; I get some great meals without heating up the kitchen much.

    8) Open the bedroom and bathroom doors and use fans to circulate the cool air throughout the apartment to eliminate hot spots, instead of just cranking the thermostadt to feel cooler. Consistency and even cooling will help you bear the heat better and reduce your need for cooling.

    9) Any time the temp and humidity outside drop to comfortable levels, turn the A/C completely off, open the windows, and run several fans to circulate the air through the apartment. Close the bathroom door so your hallway will promote smooth airflow, use the bedroom as the intake and the living room as the exhaust, and make all your fans push the air in one direction. Circulating the outside air through the apartment for just a few hours a night without the A/C can add up to significant savings over a week.[NOTE: In my area, this is possible only during the spring and fall months because of humidity, but it saves me tons of money during those months.]

    10) Turn stuff OFF when not using it - lights, stereo, computer equipment, video games, even the cable box. Just putting stuff in stand-by mode can reduce its consumption by 90%, which can add up if you do it to a lot of devices throughout the apartment. Put the computer in stand-by while cooking and eating dinner or watching TV.

    All of this stuff is just gap-filler, though. The largest consumer in your apartment is the A/C, followed by the fridge. The most effective ways to lower your bill will be those that address the A/C and fridge - either directly (i.e. use it less) or indirectly (don't make more heat for the A/C to get rid of).

    Good luck.
    Bete and marcyleecorgan like this.

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