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After a long period of changing our daily routines around electricity use, I finally got my monthly electric bill down to almost my target: I've been shooting for $80, and we got it down to $84, so I'm calling it a "win".

My house used 570 KWHs between 10/29 and 12/1, which is down by about half from that same period a year ago. In terms of cash savings, we were paying just under $180 per month an annualized budget last year, before going to month-by-month billing recently. This is a "peak" electricity use time for us, given the long nights and short days, so I estimate we're saving close to $100 per month over last year's annualized costs.

Biggest change: lights off when not in a room or not at home, and almost all appliances unplugged when we're away from the house, say for a long weekend at the relatives (I should mention we'd already ditched most of our TV watching, don't have cable or video games, and are overall pretty sparse in the electronic entertainment category).

Second biggest change: Compact flourescent bulbs throughout the house. I got a sh!tload of CFBs on sale at the Ace hardware, and replaced as many incandescent bulbs as possible with these (saving the incandescent ones for possible future use, of course).

Next up change: new fridge. I thing I could cut my annual electric bill by $100-200 per year by getting a more efficient fridge, and so soon will be pciking one up. This is the only electric appliance that runs continuously throughout the day, and so should yield pretty good savings. The washer and dryer are very recent and already pretty efficient, and also not used very often, so no need to replace those. The stove is electric but is also recent and pretty efficient. The hot water heater is gas, so can't really think of any other electric appliances that might be upgraded.

Anybody else working on saving electric? How many KWHs are you using, and how do you conserve? Please post suggestions, criticisms, etc.

Tom.
 

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I was having trouble with high electric bills for a while. I just put every appliance I have except for the frig on powerstrips and switch them off before I leave in the morning. That way Im not bleeding money while Im not at home and it cut my bill by almost half. I found out that computers and some Tvs are sucking electricity even when they are turned off.
 

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I have also wondered about putting a switch on the hot water heater, as it spends its days heating and then re-heating that tank of water till I get home for my shower. It also could be turned off during the day and turned on when we arrive back home in the evening.
 

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Green Eggs and Spam
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...
Biggest change: lights off when not in a room or not at home...

Second biggest change: Compact flourescent bulbs throughout the house. ...
I don't think it is the light bulbs. Lets apply a little math and find out.

Estimations of 9 hours away, and 8 hours asleep; leaves 24 -(9+8) = 7 hours. A KWH in Vermont is 13.54 cents. Having 10 x 100 watt light bulbs on the full time the lights are needed = 1kwh x 7 x 0.1354 = $0.9478 a day. At 30 days a month this equals $28.43 a month to leave 10 100W light bulbs on the entire time you are home and awake. Keep in mind, if most lamps use 60W bulbs instead, then the original cost could be only $17.06 per month.

It isn't a bad idea to try to save money by turning the lights off. However, I often wonder if the extra thermal cycles reduce the lifespan of the bulb. If this is true, then any cost savings on electricity is offset by purchasing more bulbs.

Unless your house looks like Clark Griswold's on Christmas, I'm skeptical that it's the lightbulbs that are responsible for the energy use.
 

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CFB actually flash 60 times a second and have been associated with seizures in children. Also if you break them they contain vaporous mercury which we all know is harmful.

I'll keep my standard bulbs.

Don't forget the triggering on migraines and eye strain...

I'm stocking up on the old ones.
 
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Green Eggs and Spam
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CFB actually flash 60 times a second and have been associated with seizures in children.
All AC bulbs "flash", or change intensity 120 times a second (unless you are in a region with 50 cycle AC (then it is 100 times a second).

The link did state, "Minimizing exposure to fluorescent lighting" reduces risk of seizure. They didn't state any technical reason why.

In the real world, when some flouresant bulbs start to fail they can put on quite the light show that can give even the most resiliant a major headache.

Some people may not like the color of CFBs. They are significantly bluer in color. To some people this make make objects look different or weird under this lighting.

Again, on the individual scale, the average filament lamp doesn't draw a huge amount of juice. However, if EVERYONE put in CFBs in EVERY socket, there would be some cities that wouldn't need to figure out a way to generate more power. I live, breathe, and drink the stuff of this planet, and being more energy effiecient is a good thing because it reduces the extra crap in the stuff I live off of.
 

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Liquid propane is our biggest expense.(or was) I installed a Bosch tankless water heater and couldn't be happier with it.Its really neat. The LP furnace will be next,though not right away. I burn wood to offset that.
 

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I went to the high efficiency bulbs several years ago and yes they save a lot of money on your electric bill.

The early ones weren't as good as the ones they make now. When I first got some, they would burn out quickly if they were in a socket mounted on a ceiling fan for instance because they didn't like the vibrations. The newer ones don't burn out at all, at least none of the ones Ive bought in the past 2 years have needed to be replaced.

My refrigerator is quite old and I'm sure it is the biggest energy hog but I have always had more urgent uses for my money so as long as it runs it will probably stay.


Two months ago my dryer started acting up on me and I ended up cleaning the "venturi" type pump housing in the back out. It is at least 10 years old, and the housing had never been cleaned out. I found a four pound ***** of lint back there, compacted so hard I had to bust it out with a chisel. I also found a 3.5 inch floppy disk and 3 ink pens. After removal the dryer uses about 1/3rd the watts it used to use (my best guesstimate) and clothes dry in almost half the time.

We have switched to a more selective style of heating over the years. I used to have a big furnace that ran on heating oil. Later I bought a vent less propane heater and still use that when it gets REALLY cold, maybe 20 days a year. I now have an oil filled electric heater that stays on most of the winter. Electric blankets at night make for a very comfortable nights sleep and cost a lot less to run than a larger heater.

Incidentally, my electric bill used to run about 200 a month when I was married. Now it runs about 85 a month. Im sure if i could get the kids to be more energy conscious and get a good refrigerator I could easily get that down to 50 a month.
 

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Can someone with the knowledge of explain if it really is cost effective to turn your thermostat up or down depending on the time of day or occupancy of the home? Some argue that turning it down at night saves cost, but my thought is that when you do that the cost to reheat everything would be more than just leaving it at the same temp. Over the course of a day all of your "stuff" in the house becomes the same temp (in theory i guess). So if you turn down the stat at night (or day) then everything cools down and then has to be reheated. I have a heat pump with heat strips as emergency backup. I set my thermostat to 67 in the winter and 78 in the summer, and just leave it. I've tried programming different temps for different times of day and it just seems like my system never really gets a rest. Sorry to ramble, hope I made my questions and thoughts clear.
 

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Also for those that wish to save energy something that you wouldnt think of is a front load washer they use alot less power and spin the clothes out alot better making it alot easier on your dryer dont forget if you have a electric water heater put a blanket on it or build a encloser around it. You can also put plastic on your windows will help some and check your insulation in your attic hope this helps someone
 

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I'm keeping the thermostat at 62 this winter, until I build a new house. The only change is stayin' under a blanket more when I'm typing on a laptop like now, and throwing on a sweatshirt when I'm home.
 

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i cut my bill by putting in a wind turbine that count? and we are pretty sparce on the electrical equipment but we do tend to leave the lights on even if not in a room
 

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That is a misconception that the furnace must work harder to bring the temp back up after you've set it back. The same amount of fuel is used to raise the temp to what it was before you lowered it, roughly. The saving part happens in the time frame that you keep it lowered-the longer the better. Think of it as a vacation house instead of your normal house; it's sitting there for days and days ,either running the heater or AC. Would you take someones advice that told you "just leave it running in the off season, it'll take the same amount of power when you come back and adjust the thermostat back up/down"? Of course you woudln't. In the winter, your home is continually shedding heat. The higher the temperature difference is between the inside and the outside, the faster this loss takes place. Your best bet is to turn it down as low as you can afford, for as long a period as you can. Here's what I *would* do, were I single:

wake-7am 68 degrees
leave-7:30 52 degrees
home 5:00 64 degrees
sleep 10:00 60 degrees

I know that's cold for some, but I'm cheap. Put on a sweater or hooded sweatshirt. Fleece caps are great, and don't get itchy.

For the water heater, yes timers are available. The only issue with those is if you have stay-at-homes, or if you are on a different schedule on the weekends. You can switch it to manual on friday and back to auto on monday if you wish. As far as the thermal blanket, check your manual to see if they tell you NOT to put a blanket on it. Some do.

CFLs, I'm not sold on. They are certainly more efficient, but this isn't a science experiment. How many people are going to take those to "proper disposal areas"? Thats a ton of mercury in the landfill. For areas that aren't on coal power, thats introducing unnecessary toxins. Sun tunnels and skylights are nice in the day.

Dryers are energy hogs for sure. Ours went down (I know how to fix it) and I told DW I wasn't going to fix it. Haven't used a dryer in over a year and clothes dry fine in winter weather. Clothes racks are nice in the winter and add a lot of moisture in the parched air. Piles of socks can be tossed on the register vent instead of hung separately. Clean, clean, clean your dryer vent. You are blowing money out and risking a fire.

Keep your refridgerator and freezer coils clean. The same goes for central AC and heat exchanger coils on your furnace. A thin layer of dust can wreak havoc on these systems, let alone a fuzz coating.

Leave hot bath water in the tub until it's cooled. There is a tremendous amount of energy contained in it. Picture how long it would take to fill your tub by putting pots of water on the stove-less efficient but you get the idea.
 

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Leave hot bath water in the tub until it's cooled. There is a tremendous amount of energy contained in it. Picture how long it would take to fill your tub by putting pots of water on the stove-less efficient but you get the idea.
Is this idea to keep the heat from the water in the bathroom?
 

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Bought an electric tankless water heater. Paid a ton of money to get it installed. It wouldn't get water up to temp even close to the unit much less across the entire house. Paid a ton of money to get it uninstalled and put back the old water heater.

The guy who made the changeover either stole the water heater blanket or threw it away so I need to buy another one.

Spent a lot of money to buy a house-full of early CFL's. Most of them burned out quickly and found out the wife refused to treat them carefully as if they contained mercury. She broke at least two of them that I know of.

I like the "keeping the hot water in the bathtub" plan but the wife hates it. I can only do it when she isn't home to object.

Tried putting a timer on the house thermostat but it was a complete waste of money because it didn't work right.

Bought a heat pump to replace my old, inefficient ac/heater but it increased my electric bill significantly and has trouble keeping the house comfortable. The only way it'll heat the house is to switch it to the "emergency heat" setting. I haven't been able to scrape up the money to replace it so we've been suffering with it for 5+ years.

Found that aluminum foil placed over the lower section of windows cut the incoming heat significantly without affecting the level of light very much.
 

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CFB actually flash 60 times a second and have been associated with seizures in children. Also if you break them they contain vaporous mercury which we all know is harmful.

I'll keep my standard bulbs.

Don't forget the triggering on migraines and eye strain...

I'm stocking up on the old ones.
I've been doing the same thing and secretly wondering if anyone else here was as well.
 
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