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We live in Central Mississippi and the weather is hot everyday, between 95 and 100. We are trying to keep our air conditioning costs down for the summer and save money, so the ceiling fans and box fans are getting used a lot. We have also just installed a clothesline in our yard and are hanging the clothes out to dry. If they are too stiff after coming in, then they are run through the dryer for 10 minutes at night. So far our electric bill is over $100 less than it was last year at this time. We are throwing our extra money toward our 15 year mortgage (we are in year 3) and will have it paid off in 4 1/2 years. Then the extra money is going toward a pool for our backyard. We have shared our goals with our children (7) and they are helping us meet our goals!
Great ideas! Here is a tip: if you add a half cup of distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle your clothes will be soft even when line dried. Vinegar removes all the soap left in clothing. It sure is cheaper than fabric softener and it doesn't damage dryers like softener sheets do.
Most air-conditioning controls have an option for making the fan in the system run on "automatic" (when the a/c is cooling only) or "on" for all the time. We find that if we run the fan in the "on" position it keeps the air in the house moving all the time which makes it feel much more comfortable and allows us to set the thermostat up a couple of degrees warmer. It also cools areas of the house that tend to be "warmer" feeling due to less airflow. Although it costs a little bit to run the fan all the time, we find it saves us money compared to keeping the air-conditioner set at a lower temperature.
I have hung my laundry either in the basement during the winter and outside in the nicer months since we bought our house back in 1991 and my electric bill (which is one of the highest in the country) was cut almost in half. I'll have to try the distilled water since I very rarely use my dryer. Think it is about 10 years old and if it has 2 days worth of use on it, that's a lot. I refuse to give the electric company any more than I have to.
GOOD FOR YOU!
After several years of combatting the same type of heat like yours (along with very high humidity each day in NC) I TOO "have had to" discover things that help our home whether heating or cooling (our home is all electric).
Switche the thermostat control off "auto" and just put it on, ON this makes the fan run 24/7 BUT the compressor only comes on when it is needed.
We have placed oscillating fans throughout the house along with this AND it keeps the air moving constantly which makes the air feel cooler or warmer,
We live in a 1216 square foot mobile home that faces the sun ALL DAY SO we invested in "window tinting" for our house windows.
We hired two young man to install it and it was the best $350 I think that we ever spent as it lasts for the life of the home! It is the same widow tinting that is put on automobiles...look in your phone book and see IF someone will come and do your windows also - YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY I PROMISE.
Our light bill is on a equal payment plan with the power company, our home is completley electric. We pay the power company $94 a month (or $100 for easier bidgeting for me)for the whole year and they pay us a balance back that we have built up over the 12 months OR you can carry the balance forward to the next year.
Living on Social Security, this is so much easier on us to know what to budget each month.
Having the windows tinted, fans oscillating and the thermostat swicth placed to "ON" and not auto 24/7 I truely beleive is what keeps the cost of our light bill down.
Good luck and try what I suggested.
Swamp Coolers -
They work in dry weather by blowing air through a thick straw filter that is continuously moistened by water.
Yes, they are a lot less expensive to run than air conditioning, but add a lot of humidity to the air.
So if you are in a location with humidity, rain... then no, it's not a good alternative.
In Phoenix, Az, a desert, we'd use the evaporative cooler until it became too hot, then DH would go up on the roof, and slide a 'cookie sheet' into the piggybacked unit which would prevent air from going out the evap. Then, we'd turn on the air cond. When it became cooler as the season progressed, the air cond would be turned off, the cookie sheet moved, and the evap cooler turned back on.
A minus to running the evap is that the pipes would frequently become plugged, the house would smell like a swamp when you got home and turned it on and windows had to be kept open when the evap was running. You also needed someone who can climb up and down ladders to the roof and knows how to unplug the pipes. Also, there was no thermostat. Just on and off. I hear this has since been invented for the evap cooler because it would easily become too cold during the less hot days and nights.
To minimize home invasion by undesirable elements, they invented boxes that went from the ceiling to the attic (like mini chimneys) with spring loaded tops. When the evap turned on, the air would blow out the boxes, enabling the windows to remain closed and minimizing the dust that would settle in the house.
I wonder if the boxes need to be locked when the air cond is on because the force of the blowing air is what flips them open. And if the springs wear out, oh boy!
Hope this helped.
Hi! Hey, I learned after I began to use the clothesline (well, ok, and I had a broken dryer and no money for detergent) that if you stop using store bought detergent, you will stop having stiff, cardboard-y clothes.
I pulled a recipe from this site and started making the homemade laundry detergent ( Borax, Zote and washing soda) and my clothes stopped feeling like something I should use to take finish off a table with. Seems the detergent manufacturers put stuff in there so you will have to buy the fabric softener, too!
It will take a few washings to get all the nasties out of your towels, but it will happen. And the homemade stuff is cheap ($10.00 for 18 gallons. Yes, gallons!) and it actually works better, anyway.
If you live in the Northern/Midwest states (or just about anywhere) and it's 70-75 degrees F outside at night, you can turn off your air conditioner at night. Your apartment/condo will stay cold until morning. I turn my A/C off after 10 PM and it is very cold in here until 10:30 AM.
By Kelly from Medina, OH
Everyone's worried about energy costs. Start planning now, so that you'll save on electricity all summer long.
Last summer, we replaced most of our light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, and noticed a lower bill the first month. We found 'free with rebate' coupons for most of them.
Afternoon sun was shining directly ON the outdoor AC unit, making it run constantly. We made a shade off to the side with a small tarp attached to some homemade framework. Now it turned off for long periods. Total cost, under $20.
The sun's heat built up between the window and blinds and rose into the rooms on the south side of our house. We bought a few roll-up 'matchstick type' blinds and hung them outside windows to block the sun from HITTING the glass, and now the rooms stayed much cooler. Easy to install, just two hooks above each window. Cost was about $4 per blind on sale... but our electric bill dropped about $50 that month from the previous year.
Did you know that many of your household appliances use electricity even when they are turned OFF? Some gadgets, especially those around the computer or TV with 'brick' style transformer plugs, stay a little warm all the time. We've added a power strip to areas with things rarely used during the daytime or after bedtime. I turn off one power switch every morning or night rather than unplug everything. A plain power strip can be found for as little as $4, often 50 cents at yard sales. (Don't forget, your computer's surge protector bar also has an 'off' switch!)
On TV recently, they stated that up to 40% of some appliances energy costs are from when it's turned off but still plugged in, so imagine that amount multiplied by maybe 10 or 20 items, wow...
All of these things we're still using and our bills have gone down with each addition.
There are nicer looking, more expensive solutions to all the problem areas I've mentioned, but these are quick and inexpensive things you can do easily and expect to see results your very first electric bill.
Stay cool AND frugal everybody!
Source: These ideas were from bits and pieces of things we'd learned over the years, and used when in desperation over high bills. You just do what you have to do!
By Mary from Mountain Pine, AR