Saving Money on Your Electric Bill

Finding ways to save money on your electric bill can really help the family budget. This is a guide about saving money on your electric bill.

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Tip: Unplug It And Save On Electric Bills

By Lynne Provost 1

In Florida, electric bills run high, particularly in the summer. I save on my electric bill in two ways:

First, I hang my clothes to dry, only using my dryer to de-wrinkle the clothes. In this way, the dryer is on for only 20 minutes vs. over an hour.

Second, I unplug everything that is not being used: the microwave, the toasters, the hair dryer, the cell phone chargers, the computers, the washer and dryer.

Although it is minimal, these items still use electricity even when dormant. We probably save around $20 or more a month just by unplugging everything.

By combining these two methods, along with having cooler weather and being able to turn off our A/C, last month we had our lowest electric bill since moving into our house (which has vaulted ceilings) from an apartment. Contact your local electric company for more ideas on how to use less and save more--they are glad to help.

By Lynne from Orlando, FL

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Tip: Frugal Tips For Electric Bill Savings

By lori macDonald 23 56

I just wanted to share my energy savings tips! Our electric bill kwh hour jumped almost double so I had to come up with something to help. It all sort of played out slowly.

Starting in January I decided consciously to stop leaving the lights on so much in the daytime (disabled homemaker), unless I was reading and that was big step one. I wanted to darken my bedroom one day and used an aluminum sunshade (for car windows) to darken my bedroom window. My husband works 2 weeks nights, then 2 weeks days, his schedule flops back and forth. Makes it crazy around here. That worked so well, I went out and purchased (had the first one already) 4 more, so spent about $8 bucks for the whole trailer.I cut them to fit about the top half of all the windows in the place taping them on with wide clear tape. (I know I have seen people using aluminum foil for years , with my kitties that wouldn't last 30 minutes!) It is sort of like you have put up awnings on your house, without the expense! I allowed for my critters needs to look out the windows in various window spots, so it is not a dungeon by any means. Boy, did this cut down on the heat tremendously.

Also by necessity (live by 2 major highways stones throw away and noisy), we run fans 24 hours a day. One of the fans had quit in the living room, goes along with a second fan plus the ceiling fan! Anyway, I went to Walmart and ended up buying an industrial type fan 20 inch high velocity fan (on high I call it our 747 fan, lol). Believe me it has it's benefits besides helping on the electric bill bunches, blocks out the highway noise, and the teenagers' too loud TV and/or music! It's a godsend.) Worth every penny of $35 plus tax. I also got one for the bedroom since I am a light sleeper. These are something we have to have no matter what. Anyway, when I started recently comparing electric bills to last year , say July's bill was almost $60 less, at about 22% savings. It's been every bit as hot, and I am very extremely hot natured. The a/c has been on most of the time since February! We hardly every touch the thermostat leaving it on 75-76 degrees continuously!

I hadn't realized how major a life adjustment we had made until comparing bills. Very importantly, by conscious choice, we only use the oven maybe 4 times a week, as compared to every day before. Yes, I still cook, but mostly do skillet or stovetop meals, or even the crockpot. I found a new skillet cookie recipe that is awesome, and we like to eat rice krispie bars a lot, lol. And of course ice cream! Anyway, seeing as how energy costs have continued to skyrocket I feel like I have done wonders for us and it didn't hurt us one bitty bit!

For us this didn't work, but some electric companies participate in off peak hours for electric usage. I checked with our company and it basically is only for people who are keeping property, but not living there. They told me yeah you can sign up, but if you use ANYTHING at all electric, you start paying 10 cents a kwh. That means not even an alarm clock, freezer , a/c or nothing. I thought how absurd. The only people it would benefit is people not living there at all! I figure they aren't all like that because I have read of people doing their laundry (my intent) during the PM hours. You might check it out to see if it would work in your case. Anyway, all this stuff works for us as a family and might work for yours' as well. Good luck!

By Lori from Marion, AR

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Question: Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Here are some ideas to help you save money on your electric bill. Post your ideas below!

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Most Recent Answer

By marion davidson 22 192 Flag

July 8, 2009

Keeping your freezer full to capacity is not always feasible but you can offset this by storing empty, but lidded, plastic containers in it.

I do all of the things suggested here but I always feel my electric bill is way too high. I get far more benefit from my gas, for which I pay just a little more eg gas central heating and gas hob. By the way, I don't have an electric drier!

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Tip: Tiny Changes To Save Electricity

By ayesha christmas 38 130

The recent essays on saving money on fuel bills in small ways got me thinking. I was getting annoyed with myself because I was wasting so much power boiling and reboiling my electric kettle. I kept forgetting to only heat as much water as I needed and left the coffee maker heating ring on all day. Realizing that there must be an answer to all this waste, I made these changes to my daily routines to save some electricity and some of my precious cash!

I found a 5 pint pump action vacuum flask on sale for $2, a fantastic bargain, but they can be picked up for around $10. I boil the electric kettle twice in the morning, fill the flask and have hot water for tea on tap all day. If there is anything left come the evening, I use it for cooking or dish washing.

The answer to the coffee problem was far more simple, I make the coffee, turn off the machine, then microwave it a cup at a time as I need it. It tastes better and saves me money too. Such tiny changes in our ways of doing things may seem insignificant on a daily basis, but they can add up to make a difference at the end of the month when we open the bills.

By Ayesha from Kranj

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Tip: Saving Money on Electricity

By Robin 5,893 29

An electric plug in an outlet.This week I thought I would share some ideas on how our family has saved money on our electric/gas bill. We have found that this particular bill has been one of our easiest to control. There are a several different things you can do to keep this bill under control.

We use budget billing with our electric company, so each month we know exactly how much our bill will be. They re-calculate our bill every 6 months, but it doesnt usually vary all that much. Our bill payment, at this time, is $113/mo. That is winter time in Iowa. Granted, we have had a mild winter, but it is still cold and our furnace does still run.

We set our thermostat at 60 degrees F during the day. At 5:00 pm, it goes to 65 and stays there until 10:00 pm, at which time it goes back to 60 overnight. If we get cold, we put on sweaters or a blanket. I know that not everyone can have it this cool in the house. If you have children, or for the elderly, I would suggest a setting of 65-68 degrees. The elderly may need to go even warmer. If you and your family are dressed warm, you will probably stay warm. By all means, be safe and dont compromise your health.

We turn off all lights when we leave a room. That is a hard thing, it seems, to teach kids, but they can learn and it will save a bundle. If you use a power strip, you can actually turn the strip off when its not in use and save even more.

I hang most of our clothing up to dry. The only things I put in my dryer are bedding and our bath towels. In the summer, I dont use the dryer at all, but make use of my clothesline. In the winter, I use drying racks.

When summer comes around, we dont turn on the air conditioning until its almost intolerably hot. We use fans, strategically placed throughout the house to pull air through. Having cold drinks in the refrigerator also helps so much. If you have kids, fill their pool outside and enjoy spending time with them and keeping cool at the same time. Wear loose, cotton clothing. Cotton breathes better than most other material and it helps keep you cooler.

When we do turn on the central air, we set our thermostat at 78-80 degrees F. We have ceiling fans in every room in our house except the bathroom. They are pretty inexpensive to run as well. Dont run heat-producing appliances. Eat fresh, cool meals and use your slow cooker, microwave or grill for meals. Again, at this time of year, do what you need to do to stay safe and not compromise your health.

Using your microwave or slow cooker is less expensive to use than your oven. I use my slow cooker on a regular basis. Unplug appliances you are not using, as they continue to draw a small amount of energy if they are plugged in, even if you are not using them. Also, concerning appliances, keep the coils on your refrigerator clean to help it run more efficiently and also last longer. Appliances are very expensive to fix and replace.

I do only full loads of laundry and only full loads in the dishwasher and I dont use the heated dry cycle on my dishwasher. I let the dishes air dry. Again, no sense in using the electricity. Washing clothes in cold water helps save on our gas bill as our water heater is gas. Sometimes I do wash in warm, but most times cold water will get things just as clean.

During the day, I open all my blinds and curtains in the house and take advantage of the sun light. Even if it is a cloudy day, there is usually plenty of light so that its not necessary to turn on any lights in the house.

None of these things are big or difficult things to do, but they have saved us an incredible amount on our utilities. Our bill is much lower than most of our friends bills. Hope these things are helpful!

By Robin from Washington, IA

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Tip: Check for Energy Draining Devices at Night

By Diana 91 30

Cutting back on your electrical usage can be easy IF you know where to look. This exercise must be done after dark, with the lights off, if possible.

Walk around each room and look for red or green lights on appliances and electrical devices. Your television, cable box and the DVD player, coffee maker and electric toothbrush charger, etc. probably all have the indicators, which mean your appliances are pulling electricity EVEN when not in use, adding dollars to your electric bill.

These phantom energy drains can be a large part of your annual energy bill. Evaluate how important each device is and consider unplugging. OR if that is too drastic, plug like devices into a power strip and turn the strip on when you are ready to use the television/DVD, for example. You may be pleasantly surprised when you receive your next bill. A little inconvenience can add up to BIG savings.

Source: LG and E PowerSource Customer letter, April 2009 edition

By skibum1910 from Prospect, KY

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Question: How Can You Save Money on Your Electric Bill?

By JennCopplin 1 1

I started recently saving money on my electric bill, and wanted to hear if anyone else had ideas, feedback, etc. I switched my energy provider to North American Power (www.napower.com/kdegross). I am literally saving about $20 a month in my small apartment. I didn't even see a difference on my electric bill, and CLandP still handles any problems.

Has anyone else had this success? Any other ideas? Gas is so high in CT, I figured that if I can save on my electric, I am ahead of the game!

By Jenn from CT

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Most Recent Answer

By Jesus Freak 2 Flag

June 2, 2011

A friend saves money and I've read of other who turn off their water heater or have their water heater on a light timer. I've started doing it this month and found that mine is on a hardwired light switch. (;

I live in Florida where, in the summer, the water is pretty warm right out of the tap because of the water tower storage and all day/night heat. With this said, I've found that I have boiling hot water showers (that's what we like round here!), baths and a dishwasher load w/ having it on for only about 30 minutes a day. The rest of the day, we have hot water from the reservoir for washing hands, small amounts for hand wash dishes, and other sundry tasks.

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Tip: Tips For Saving On Electricity

By abcs 4 14

First, swap out any incandescent lights with compact fluorescent, even your exterior lights. I discovered the latter when my outside light, an incandescent, kept burning out every few weeks.

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Article: The Electric Bill Battle

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

An electric plug in an outlet.Every month I open the electric bill and accept it with quiet discontent. However, this month the bill was too high to ignore. I stepped away from my desk and took a 360 degree look around my home. What did I see? A giant electric sucking vortex of wasted energy. I immediately blamed the seven-year-old light flicking, TV viewing, aquarium owning member of the family. However, he was not the only one to blame. With him in tow, I decided to single-handedly battle the unnecessary use of electric in our home.

Battling Standby Power

It didn't take long for us to adapt our power consumption. Only a quick talk to my son informed him of the problems with leaving lights on when not in the room, and he's now the Power Policeman of the house. However, the electric still continued to seep into my home, but from where?

Standby power is the culprit. When appliances are off but plugged in, many of them still drain power. While the consumption is much less than when the appliance is turned on, it still pulls a few watts at a time for nothing. Yet, I wasn't ready to turn into my grandmother who unplugs everything from her toaster to her lamps when they're not in use. Her electric consumption is admirable, but I'm not that devoted.

Indicators of standby power vampires are easy to spot. These features often pull electric even when the appliances are off:

  • a large box power adapter on the power cord or plug

  • an appliance or power cord that feels warm even when the product is turned off

  • anything cordless that has a recharging base (it pulls electric whether the battery is fully charged or not)

  • appliances that have a standby light on them
The only solution to completely eliminate this electric pull during down times is to unplug the items or to plug them into power strips and flick the power switch off.

Where Can I Save?

Unplugging some of these devices doesn't stop the electric seepage. There are other accessories that increase the usage of each appliance. Think about your surge protectors and power strips. Each one pulls a bit of electric when the red light is on. Consider shutting down your computer equipment at night and flicking off the surge protector. While the protector is made to protect electrical surges from ruining your equipment, the closed circuit created when the equipment is off protects it just as well. With the equipment turned off and the surge protector turned off, severe surges have a fraction of a chance to hurt your equipment.

Who Are the Main Culprits?

Types of electronics lend themselves to standby power usage more than others. It's safe to assume that all of these electronics pull some power whether on or off:
  • microwaves
  • video game consoles
  • flat screen and plasma televisions
  • audio and video equipment (look for the standby indicators)
  • cordless phones
  • laptop chargers (whether the laptop is plugged in to the cord or not)
  • light and motion sensing lamps
  • digital displays
  • surge adaptor strips and plugs

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Tip: Pull the Plug on Electrical Costs

One can never save enough electric. Yet, the growing concern over the cost of utilities coincides with the growing concern for the health of our planet. This enables a household to cut utility costs while "going green" in ways that are easier than ever before.

Power Strip With Many Cords Plugged In

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Tip: Save Electricity with Motion Detector Light Switches

By carla 25 42

A good way to save on electric bills, especially when you have someone in the home who forgets to turn out the lights, is to install motion detector switches. These are great.

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Tip: Keep Your Freezer Full To Save On Electricity

By Suzy in the West 1 3

Here is a way to be green and prepare for an emergency at the same time. I rinse out 2 liter soda and juice bottles and fill them 2/3 full with clean water. I then lay them almost on their sides (without the lids on tight), leaning against something, in our large freezer.

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Question: Saving Money on Your Power Bill

How do I lower my power bill?

Kent from Dalton, Ga.

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Most Recent Answer

By April 187 452 Flag

November 4, 2008

Insulate switch plates and outlets that are located on outside walls or above an unheated basement. A package of foam outlet insulation sheets cost less than $4 and does several outlets.

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Tip: Electricity Savings 101

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

There are more than a few ways to keep the electric meter from spinning at an alarming rate. Some require a little electrical inventory, such as turning off unused appliances or switching to Energy Star appliances. However, others take a bit more creativity and planning.

Electrical Plug

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Tip: Ways To Save On The Electric Bill

By Bobbie 166 11

I was absolutely shocked at my electric bill this month, so I sat down and made a list of things I will do to see if I can get it down, this list is now posted on the refrigerator, so I can see it every day. . .

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Question: Saving Money on Electricity

Tip for saving money on electricity. Post your ideas.

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Most Recent Answer

By UtilityBills2High 1 Flag

December 24, 2009

Addressing the sentence of turning off the hot water heater a night does not save on electricity cost. The statement is wrong; any amount of time the hot water heater is turned OFF by the breaker or other means helps reduce or lower the electric bill (laws of physics). If the bill still seems to go up, there are many other reasons or causes that contribute to the condition(s).

Energy audits are good, but may not uncover every source of electricity drain possible. For example, in a trailer park with outside pole lights, one or more pole light might be connected to a trailer and is not even lit at night, maybe the bulb is blown-out, but a night that pole light will still be feed electricity to the ballast which will turn that electricity into heat, without a working bulb.

Most energy audits are performed during the day time, so they may not even pick up on this situation. Insulating the hot and cold water pipes throughout the house is number one priority, and with the highest R-value pipe insulation available, e.g. R-4.9 rated for negative 70 degree F., that 70 degrees below 0 F. Check out www.UtilityBills2High.com for more info.

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Article: Electrical Savings 102

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Think you've mastered electrical savings? Take another look around your home and find even more places to pull the plug and keep the meter from spinning.

Wash It Well

Knowing that hot water demands large amounts of energy, try to use it less in the home. When doing laundry, use the cold/cold cycle rather than a warm/cold cycle. This will lessen the demand for hot water and save energy all while washing clothes to the same degree. Try soaking soiled clothes before washing for the same effect as hot water, and save the hot water cycles for extremely soiled clothes.

While drying clothes there are also ways to save electric. The most obvious is to hang the clothes to dry rather than use the dryer. If this option doesn't work, try a compromise. Remove clothing from the dryer a few minutes before the cycle is complete and hang the clothes immediately. This saves a few minutes from the drying cycle, saving electric, and it allows the clothes to dry practically wrinkle free. In practicality, many people prefer to use a clothes dryer for all of their laundry loads rather than hanging clothing to dry. Save electric while using the dryer by running it continuously. As soon as one load is dry, replace it with a wet load and start the dryer. This eliminates the cool down/warm up time that elapses between loads and thus uses less electric.

Fix It

A leaky faucet doesn't seem to warrant an expensive plumber; at least that's what most people believe. However, one leaking hot water faucet can add up. At the rate of one drop per second, a leaky faucet can waste 165 gallons of water a month. Imagine how much electric is used to heat 165 gallons. The water wasted adds up to the amount of eleven average showers.

While you're doing handy work around the house, check the furnace and have it cleaned as well. Vacuum baseboard heaters, thermostats, and other elements of heating devices. Built up dust and dirt prohibit them from working properly and allow them to eat up more electric. This includes the coils on the back of the refrigerator and water cooler. Clothes dryers which have clogged lint filters can use almost 30% more energy to dry a load of clothing than those with clean filters.

Keep a Lid On It

When cooking, try to trap energy whenever possible. Use the oven window and light to peek at dinner rather than opening the oven and allowing hot air (energy) to escape. Along those lines, when cooking with pots, cover the pot when possible. Water will boil faster and less energy will be wasted when heat is trapped in the pot. Align the pots to the properly sized burners as well. This eliminates heat from escaping needlessly around the sides of the pots; instead focus all of the energy on the item to be heated.

To see Kelly's article, "Electric Savings 101, click here

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Question: Energy Usage of a Dryer Not in Use

Does a laundry dryer that is turned off use a lot of energy with a 220 plug?

By Tonya from CO

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Best Answer

By weinerdog41 34 189 Flag

March 2, 2014

A dryer that's not running doesn't use any energy. The things that use energy are things with a continual light like electric clocks, anything with a timer. etc.

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Tip: Wait To Preheat Oven

By Donna 6 71

Almost every recipe I have for baked goods begins with "Preheat Oven." While this may be a time saver, it is not a money saver. Especially if the ten minutes it should take to prepare the recipe turns into thirty minutes.

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Tip: Clothes Washing Savings

By Caroline West 1 2

Wash clothes in cold water, and skip the dryer. A regular load of wash and wear can be hung on the shower curtain rod. Start slow, one load per week = 52 loads a year. Family members may catch on. Good luck.

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Tip: Use Timer on Bathroom Light

By kimsukie 5 35

We live in a two story home and the kids always manage to leave the upstairs bathroom or hallway lights on. I don't notice it until after they have left for school.

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Tip: Looking At Everyday Household Energy Usage

By Wyncia 2 8

I am such a creature of habit that I often do not think of the things I do that use expensive energy and climate changing fuels.

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Question: Saving Electricity in the Winter

Q: I would like a information on what I can do to save money on electricity during the winter. I live in a condo and face the south east. I get lots of sun, therefore heat during the day. I asked a contractor about wrapping my water, heater he said that my heater is so new it is already insulated enough. Does it really save to turn off the water heater? Won't it just have that much more work to do when i turn it back on?

Thank you,
Sandy

A: Sandy,

There are a lot of easy ways to save on electricity during the winter. Here are just a few related to hot water and hot water heaters:

Even if your hot water heater is new, insulating your water heater and pipes keeps heat from escaping and the project will easily pay for itself in less than a year.

Don't shut off your hot water heater. Turn down the temperature dial instead. You'll be surprised how low you can set the dial and still have plenty of hot water for your needs (try 115° to 125°).

Check "time of day rates" if your hot water heater is electric. This involves having your water heater come on only during "off-peak" times, but at a lower rate. Check with your utility company to see if they offer this plan.

Turn your water heater down to the lowest setting if you will be gone for a couple of days.

Use foam wrap to insulate hot water pipes throughout your house. Keep it three inches away from heater draft hoods and exhaust vents.

Install low flow aerators on faucets and install water saving showerheads. Fix leaky faucets.

Take showers instead of baths-they use less water.

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Most Recent Answer

By guest (Guest Post) Flag

November 17, 2005

Hello. This is a question related to saving on home heating bills. I live in a single family home with a basement and reside in Maryland. My new wife seems to believe that turning off our gas heating thermostat during the day while we are at work saves money. We'd come back and turn on the heat again but this takes time to reheat the whole home. And as the temp's get colder, is this a good idea to save money? Before I got married I have never turned off the heat during the winter days fearing this would freeze my pipes. Who is correct in this case? Thanks!

Editor's Note: We posted this as a new request:

http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf24650375.tip.html

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Question: Can Breaker Tripping Make Electric Bill Go Up?

If my breaker keeps tripping; would that make my electrical bill go up, since I had to turn it off, then turn it back on? Wouldn't that take up a lot more power? I'm trying to figure out why my bill is 3 times higher than the other month. The only thing I can think of is when my breaker kept tripping.

By Ti

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Best Answer

By Louise B. 6 2,509 Flag

February 21, 2014

No, breakers tripping would not make your power bill go up. Whatever is causing your breaker to trip repeatedly might be the issue. Have you figured out WHY the breaker continually trips? (They do wear out as well, and have to be replaced, if they continually trip. However that would not make your power bill go up.)

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Question: Saving on Electric Bill

Moldy, worn gasket.My electric bill was over 220 dollars for one month in a small 2 bed/1 bath apt in Ohio. My apartment has old appliances, stove, refrigerator, hot water heater, and AC unit from 1999. Whenever I say anything to the landlord, she gets mad! The seal around the refrigerator and oven are old, moldy, and don't fit well enough to seal properly. Now my utility bill is so high, but I can't afford to move!

By Marie H.

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Most Recent Answer

By Sandi/Poor But Proud 466 2,132 Flag

August 7, 2013

First off, the responsibility to fix the apt. is not yours. Here is a link to just one of the Ohio Landlord Tenant Laws but you can google more.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/5321

You can also go to the utility company and often they will do an energy audit, where they go in and make a list of things that are causing the problems.

Most counties also have energy assistance, so you can often look into that. In Oregon, you have to be one day overdue and low income. This is the time of the year when you probably wouldn't have to wait long for an appt.

In many cases, you can withhold your rent and it's legal, esp' when you present them with the bill, the energy report and the laws stating they have to fix things and can't retaliate against you.

Don't fix, fight. Good luck!

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Article: My Frugal Life: Focus On What's Important (Part 4)

By Elijah3 6 1

If you live in an all electric house it can get very expensive, even with new energy efficient appliances. So think a timer for your water heater. It will save you as much or more than a expensive solar panel on the roof. The timer just stops the water from rewarming all night or day long when your sleeping. I worked night shift, bathed the kids at night, bath morning and night my self. But setting the timer to stop at 11PM and restart every morning at 7AM (for my hours) saved me over $30.00 a month on a 30 gallon heater. If you live in a house with 220 and a washer room with a heater, it may even be wise to check into converting to a electric water heater, when the old gas heater goes out.

I haven't found much energy saving with the new more expensive light bulbs and they burn out faster than anticipated, but when my grandkids are coming over (most every day) I just unscrew all the bulbs and allow one for every room. It helps them learn to save on electricity and forces them to just use one light instead of twenty. Same with surge protectors. They allow savings on big appliances if you live in a area with electric surges, but also allow multiple plug ins for lamps, computers and other items that can all be switched off all at once and back on again when you want. Air purifiers, vaporizers, lights and computers can all be put into those long surge protectors and used as needed.

We live in a rural suburb in the mountains. Consequently snow storms and winter are a expensive time for heating with propane or electric. So, in 1980 with two small girls, I sold an old fixer upper house in town and had a energy efficient house built without all the interior finish work done. The girls and I painted, stained and trimmed windows later.

The best investment I made was putting a large wood stove in the main living room. That stove is now 30 years old. We learned how to cut and stack wood and, at the beginning, even learning to start the fires in the late afternoon. But, it was also a fun, frustrating and ultimately great learning experience for the girls in needing heat and being responsible for heating. The main thing was the savings. During 1982, one week of electric heat cost me $350.00 a month. something I didn't anticipate or have money for. After that, it was buy or cut 5 cords of firewood a winter at $100 a cord and heat the house for about $500 all winter. Now the house is propane and the heating bill can run just as high if I only use the furnace. With some wood stacked for the winter, I save quite a bit because wood is used as a supplemen. Best of all. it is still cheaper than the new pellets and gas stoves. Better yet, my wood stove can be used for water, coffee (alone with barby) and heat, when the electric goes out, something the pellets stoves don't do.

If it sounds like we were woodsy, earthy do it yourselfers, forget it! I worked in town and was driven by necessity, and the house is still modern, updated and convenient when reappraised over the years. Our old wood Shrader stove is dependable and cheap compared to every other type of modern furnace type. Worst case scenario, living in the country or the woods, as many people do, remember if you don't have any money one month for fuel (been there done that), you can cut your own wood. Our ancestors did it and so can we. In emergencies, even the courts and law enforcement look leniently on the poor or stranded who have to break ordinances and laws. Only the EPA seems to have become jealous of the air we breath and the status of our pocketbooks.

Now, windows. I have over the last 30 years, refinanced and borrowed and bought 3 sets of double pane windows and there is a slight difference in looks and heat savings. The mistake I made from the beginning, was choosing a aluminum black double pane that I never liked the color from the beginning. For the first 10 years with a 17% interest rate on the house, energy efficient or not, I could have cared less about color. The difference in heating after changing to a better window and color was negligible. Two years ago, I just put up big roll down, padded and insulated shades over these large passive solar windows that was part of the house design in the late 70's. The passive solar in winter is great and saved on heat all day. But, at night, they lose heat. In summer without air conditioner, the windows draw heat. So, the padded roll down shades have been the most or best investment over the windows. If I had though about it when we first moved in, I could have made them myself and saved some more in winter heat.

Regardless of the house you live in or if you rent or own, if you are trying to save money on heating, sometimes the old ideas are better or the best. Shutters, shades or just plain old blankets at windows and doors can save a room and cozy up the night. In the long run, it is cheaper than investing in a new set of windows that may or may not improve the insulation of your house. If you don't sew, they are easy to learn how or many sewers and seamstresses want to make extra money and could be cheaper or less expensive than commercial insulated shades. Think about it.

By Leslie from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Editor's Note: Because Leslie's essay is longer than our usual submissions, we are publishing it in 6 sections. We will post the next section soon. Here are the previously posted sections:

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here:

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Tip: Use Timer Light Switches for Easily Forgotten Lights

By kimsukie 5 35

Purchase timer light switches and install in the bathrooms, kids rooms or any room were lights may be forgotten on. The timers automatically shut the lights off after 15 to 60 minutes.

CommentWas this helpful? Yes

Tip: Save on Hot Water Bills

Judy - Louisville, KY

If you have an electric water heater, turn your hot water heater off when you go out of town, or even when you leave for the day. It will cut your electric bill!

CommentWas this helpful? Yes

Tip: Use a Coolbox Instead of a Fridge

By Verity Pink 43 17

If you live alone and have a freezer, you can use it to freeze cold cells for a coolbox, so that you don't need to use electricity running a fridge as well. My daily routine includes changing my cold cells when I get up, and when I go to bed.

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Tip: Borrow A "Kill A Watt" Monitor From Your Library

By it's.only.me 168 254

Our local library offers, to members, free usage of Kill A Watt monitor for three days. There is a waiting list but it is well worth the wait. Check your local library to see if they offer it. It was donated by the local power company.

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Question: Saving Money on Energy

How can we save $$ on our energy bill when my utility company increases our rates because we are using less energy?

By Ted

AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

Tip: Use Batteries Instead Of Electricity

By Sheila 65 55

To save on electricity during peak costs, use a battery operated radio. I also use a battery operated lamp in my bedroom. The batteries last a long time, saving money.

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Article: Can Saving Water Save Electricity?

Retrieving Jewelry Dropped in a Sink Drain, Water dripping in bathroom sinkAfter unplugging every gadget that wasn't being used, turning off every light that didn't need to burn, and replacing every appliance with an energy saving model, there still had to be an unseen way to save electricity. It wasn't until we played Monopoly that I made the connection between the utility companies. Saving water can save electricity as well.

Well Pumps Use Electricity

While my home taps into the public water lines, those that have well water use electricity to pump their water. The connection between saving water and saving electricity is an easy one for those with well pumps hundreds of feet below the ground, pumping water and pulling electricity at each turn of the spigot.

To save water and therefore electricity, consider saving extra water runoff from rinsing dishes, wetting washcloths, or rinsing vegetables. Plug the sink and allow it to catch extra runoff that can be used later for washing. If the runoff is dirty, let it slip down the drain. It's the extra water from overfilling sprinkling cans or dousing a dusty item with a spritz of water that can be reused.

Hot Water Is the Culprit

The larger connection between water and electricity is found in the hot water tap. If your water is heated by gas or oil, you're still saving money by using cold water. Water heating is one of the largest uses of energy in your home. While the water heater maintains the temperature of the water as a constant, it costs more to heat cold water than to maintain the temperature of already heated water.

One mistake that many people make is to turn the faucet to the middle when drawing water. We know that if we push it all the way to the right we have water that is quite cold and a turn all the way to the left produces hot water. This then leads to the assumption that midway is room temperature, when in fact midway is partially heated water.

Do you fill a pitcher of water with water drawn at the coldest temperature or water drawn halfway on the tap? Only the water that is coldest is completely drawn from your water supply without adding some of the heated and costlier water. Knowing this, it's actually cheaper to heat water on the stove or in the microwave than to pull already heated water from our faucet, according to one major electric company on the east coast.

Laundry is a large pull on the hot water supply. While hot water washing loosens dirt from fabrics best, it should only be used on the heavily soiled loads. Washing in cold water usually has the same effect as washing in warm or hot water. Try adjusting the wash temperature on a few loads a week and you'll see notable savings in your hot water usage.

Lastly, set the temperature on the hot water tank a few degrees lower. Like setting the thermostat for your house two degrees lower to save on heating fuel, setting the water heater's temperature lower not only prevents scalding, but will also save electricity.

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Tip: "Time Of Use" Electricity Plan

By anne 58 78

We are on a "Time-of-Use" plan for the electricity we use in our home. Our provider is Wisconsin Public Service. From 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. and 24 hours/day on Saturdays,Sundays, and holidays, we are charged $.0549/KWH.

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Archive: 10 Tips for Saving Money on Your Power Bill


As temperatures rise across the country, power bills rise across the country. By following some easy energy-saving tips, you can save money on your power bills to spend on summer fun.

1. Clean or change your air conditioner filters monthly. Dirty filters can increase operating costs for your air-conditioning unit by as much as 20 percent.

2. Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. Turn the thermostat up higher when you are more sedentary.

3. Use a ceiling or portable fan to supplement your cooling system. One fan can make you feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler and costs only half a cent per hour to operate.

4. Close your blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest parts of the day to keep the sun from heating your home.

5. Take advantage of cool mornings and evenings; turn your air conditioner off, open your windows and let the outside air cool your house. Don't forget to close the windows as the temperature gets warm.

6. Avoid generating large amounts of heat with cooking appliances, which work against your cooling system by adding extra heat to your house. Use a microwave oven or counter top appliances instead of your stove top or oven. Better yet, cook outside on a grill.

7. Hang your laundry outside to dry instead of using your gas or electric dryer. This saves you money two ways; you eliminate the cost of power needed to operate the dryer and reduce the heat you generate inside your home.

8. Use fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs in your home. Fluorescent use significantly less energy and produce much less heat.

9. Take advantage of the summer sun and use solar lighting in place of traditional electric lighting in your landscape.

10. Use smart landscaping to shade your house from the sun's rays. Plant trees on the east and west sides of your home and plant shrubbery close to the foundation.

Evaluate power usage around your home. There are changes you can make. You just have to be willing to make a small effort. Start now and reduce the amount of money you give to the power company every month!

Sherri Allen is the editor of an online publication featuring topics such as family, food, home, garden and money. For great tips, resources, articles, recipes, reviews and coloring pages, visit
http://www.SherriAllen.com/

Archive: Saving Money on Electricity


Answers:

Hot Water Heater

To save some on electricity I turn the breaker for my hot water heater off every day. Then a couple of hours before bath time I will turn it back on. Some nights I will even turn it off after kids baths. Most of the newer hot water heaters will hold the heat in there for many hours. I never realized how much it would cut down on our electric bill.

By Kat (01/31/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

To save money on your electric bill, call your local electric carrier and ask about their peak hours for usage. You can do a lot with electricity during those off hours and save a fortune!

By Sandi (01/31/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Hanging Clothes Instead of Using the Dryer

You can save bundles of money hanging your clothes out to dry instead of using a costly "dryer". In the winter when the weather is bad I hang my clothes on a line strung up in my basement.

If you hang your clothes out to dry to save money but hate the "crunchy " jeans, put them in the dryer for 10 minutes to soften. But watch the time or you will leave them in too long and waste your savings from hanging them out. I set a timer.

By Reta (01/31/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

I unplug the toaster, microwave and anything that I will not be using until later or another day. even when appliances are off, they still use a small amount. Unplug t.v.s and vcrs when you go away no use no cost. (01/31/2005)

By Susan from Hamilton

Energy Saving Tips

Use your small kitchen appliances whenever you can. Microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers can use 75% less energy than a large electric oven.

Use lids on all your pots and pans to reduce cooking times and don't put a small pan on a large burner.

Turn off and unplug any electrical items that are not being used. Many appliances, especially computers, televisions, and VCR/DVD players draw power even when they are turned off.

By Robin (03/17/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

Replace your old incandescent bulbs with new, energy efficient bulbs in new smaller sizes. Sell your old bulbs at a tag sale. www.smartlivingcatalog.com, or 800-527-4448. (03/17/2005)

By annielou

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

In the winter turn the furnace to go on about 68 or lower. We bundle up during the day and night and we save money on the electric that way.

Ziggee (03/17/2005)

By Ziggee

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

Don't drain your bathwater until it's cool. Prop open the oven door after you bake IF you don't have young ones in the house.

Open the dishwasher door immediately after the final rinse cycle to let dishes air dry and hot steamy air warm your kitchen.

While waiting for the water to run warm, use the cooler water to scrub out the sink or fill bottles (I use gallon milk jugs -- lets the children see how much they waste by running the faucet) to later water plants, rinse tubs, or dump into the washer.

Dry loads of clothing one after the other.

If your hot water tank allows it, schedule showers one after the other -- saves that lag waiting for hot water to run through the pipes and arrive at the faucet warmed.

Little things matter -- 50cents savings per day adds up to about $15 per month! (03/21/2005)

By gannon

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

All of these are really good tips, but they didn't seem to work for me. My husband & I moved to Kentucky and rented a 16 x 80 trailer that is total electric. We were told by the electric company that this address normally runs at $120 a month. Well to try and cut that down I did everything that everyone mentioned, throwing the breaker for the hot water heater at night to off, and for most of the day, unplug the tv and vcr, using energy efficient bulbs, etc and my electric bill went up $50, I couldn't believe it and had the electric company come back and read the meter again.

They claim its right. So except for the running the dryer for only 15 mins and only using cold water to wash clothes I don't do any of the other stuff because it didn't seem worth it. But maybe if we were not in a trailer right now, everything would work to help keep our electric down. So hopefully they work for everyone else. (03/22/2005)

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

Hi,
Your electricity seems very high and adding another $50 a month to it is even worse. I wrote to Helmut at Dear Webby who helps us with electrical questions to see if he had any suggestions for you. Here is his response. . .

"I am not familiar with the electricity prices for Kentucky, but that sounds rather high! I would recommend an energy audit to find out if there is some leakage or if a neighbor is plugging in or where all that electricity goes.

If they have a slate or tile floor and electric floor heating, they should most definitely get a programmable thermostat, and put thermal insoles into their slippers. That makes it a lot less tempting to nudge up the thermostat.

By the way, shutting down a water heater at night does not reduce electricity consumption one bit. You still have to heat as many gallons of water as you use. Tying a bunch of old quilts and bedspreads over and around a water heater does make a bit of difference.

For a major difference I would recommend pre-heaters. Just put one or more old water heaters, with all the insulation stripped, off in the warmest spot in the attic, and feed the icy cold incoming water through that first, so that the electric water heater only has to top off the pre-warmed water.

A 16 foot wide trailer would normally have a bit of a peaked roof, however, with flat-tops it's really easy to add all kinds of fun stuff on top, and then cover it with a stylish roof. In some trailer courts it's not just encouraged but required to put a peaked roof on to improve the looks of the court.


Even if the trailer has a very low peak, it's usually enough to crawl around up there. If there is not room enough for a water heater laid flat, there is plenty of room for a few 6 inch black plastic sewer pipes. Usually they are run in a "U" or "W" configuration, so that the connection to the ground water and the hot water tank can be made at the service end.

I would not want to do that work in summer. It gets brutally hot up there in those trailer attics.

I don't know the numbers in your quaint Imperial Loyalist measuring system, but in the metric system it takes ONE calory to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. A liter of water weighs one kilogram (1000 grams), so you need a kilocalorie to raise the temperature of a liter of water by ONE degree. If the water from the incoming pipe is 60 degrees colder than what you want to feel at the hot water tap, then you need 60 kilocalories per liter of water. If the water from the pre-heaters in the attic is 10 degrees below what you want at the tap, then the hot water heater only has to top it off with 10 kilocalories. 50 kilocalories are donated by waste heat and solar.

There is nothing, except for not paying your electricity bill for a few months, that will cut your electricity consumption as much as water pre-heaters.

However, the first step should always be a thorough energy audit to track down leaks and abuses.

Have FUN!
Helmut"


http://www.webby.com/humor/

Because you are living in a mobile home, I know there maybe no attic but getting an energy audit might really help, also putting insulation around your water heater.
Susan From ThriftyFun

(03/22/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Saving on the Dryer

To save electricity while drying clothes in the dryer, I toss in a bath towel to absorb extra moisture and make the clothes dry faster. I did notice the cost of our electric bill went down after doing this for a month.

By Kathleen (03/23/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Saving Money on Electricity

I have found that if I turn my air conditioner up by 5 degrees while I am at work or away that my electric bill has dropped. (09/06/2006)

By Mike

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