Saving On Electricity In The Summer

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!

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By Donna from Mississippi

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July 11, 20070 found this helpful
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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.

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July 11, 20070 found this helpful
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Hi Donna,

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.

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July 11, 20070 found this helpful
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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.

LI Roe

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July 12, 20070 found this helpful
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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.

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July 13, 20070 found this helpful
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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.

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July 26, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

Good luck!

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July 11, 20070 found this helpful

One of the greatest things you can do is double up your mortgage payment and make sure the extra $$$ is being applied to the principle!! We got our house in 1977 and had it paid off prior to 1986 sometime.

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July 11, 20070 found this helpful

Our central ac went out a few months ago, we bought 3 small window units, 1 mid size for a temp fix. we were shocked at how much our elec bill dropped. with the window units and ceiling fans our small 3 bdroom house stays cool even in this tx heat.

Not sure now that we will replace our central unit. fortunately the central heat unit still works so far. course we don't use heaters down here very often.

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July 12, 20070 found this helpful

I remember as a child living in Florida back in the 1960's "Swamp Coolers"... Does anyone remember these? How do they work? DO they save energy?

If I'm correct, they work by evaporation. Is it like taking ice & water & running a fan behind it? I really have no clue, but I'm interested to find out.

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---> Yeah, I hang up all of my clothes, Not only does it save massive amounts of energy, but it keeps them looking new longer (less wear & tear). I also hang the light colors outside to "Bleach" them. The UV rays also kill Germs & Viruses too!

* Another water & energy saving tip (especially if you have teenagers) is to set 2 kitchen timers when they are taking a shower for whatever amount of time you decide. Set one 5 minutes longer that the other. The first one is a reminder & they have to get out when the second one goes off.

OR: This works even better, I get my hair & body wet, then I turn off the water, then shave & condition my hair etc... when I'm through, I then turn the water back on... (You may have to do this twice.) You wouldn't believe just how much energy & water this method saves! And who needs to keep the water running when you don't need it!?

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*** One more thing: Ask you neighbors to all get together & decide to NOT water their grass during the summer. If everyone is not watering, then no one is trying to "keep up with the neighbors"... In fact, in my neighborhood, only one family waters their lawn... And, BOY, do they ever stand out as the "Water-Wasters"... When I look at their lawn, I don't think "Wow, what a pretty lawn" but, instead "boy, they sure are using a lot on unnecessary water!"

-- When the City made it "illegal" to water during past droughts, & people hadn't done it for a while, it made people think twice about watering their lawn & now almost no one in western Washington waters their lawn any more.

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July 12, 20070 found this helpful

We found that when we began to slowly but surely re-insullate our walls, attic floors, and keep the chimney to our fireplace closed at all times, we could save at least $100 on elec. bills years ago to the present. With an OLD thermostat I understand that

the "FAN ON" position runs continually at whatever temp you have it set at. But with "FAN AUTO" it cuts off when the temp is reached. We use the fan auto

MANUAL position, not the automatic position Fan auto.

Insulation can be ALMOST ANYTHING, in an attic, if you can get to it, but must be fairly thick and as solid as you can get it, to prevent air transfer. We found used doors all the time curbside, and placed them in our attic over the years. It not only gives this greater insulation, but provides crawlspace comfort when anyone needs to get up there. They can be taped/untaped as needed. Although heavier

and more awkward to get upstairs, it was SO-o-o

worth it once down. Also, we add any extra solid wider

scrap used lumber that was not aged from weather, to all odd places, multi-layers of cardboard to other

places, boxes of stored items to remaining places.

Eventually we have covered most of the floorspace up there and can truly tell the difference in all sorts of weather.

Adding weather-stripping to doors in a serious way keeps drafts from entering/leaving the perimeters of openings, AND cuts way down on bills. Instead of replacing our bad unsightly windows, we added SOLAR screens which made more difference than we ever imagined to the hottest side of our home, and

from the outside, the windows look new! Because it's

so hot in TX we NEVER open our windows anymore!

Watching the settings on our washer/dryer is very effecient, so that we are not drying perma-press too hotly, nor mixing them with heavy fabrics like denim

that, if dried inside, takes WAY too long to dry, not to mention the wear/tear on the seams! I'm hanging them inside on my freestanding clothes rack, along with comforters/matress covers, etc. that are big, bulky, heavy, wide!

I'm about to try a dog tie-down plastic wrapped rope

for an outside clothesline, now that Summer's here and the rains will surely stop soon. It's a jungle here, but too muddy to maintain things. Texas mosquitoes have mutated into bee sizes, it seems! lol. It keeps me jumping to dump water from everything that can catch it, to keep lights off, doors closed, exhaust fans to a min. time, and to ride herd on kids for the extra workload they can cause!

I'm very proud of all you who have the stamina and courage to withstand 100 degree weather. I tried it in high humidity, and got too sick. Medicine costs more than the A/C or fans would have, so I will only do that during cooler days.

Remember to replace INSIDE filters more often in the hottest months (every 6 wks.!) AND to use high

pressure rinsing of the A/C OUTSIDE compressor

COILS that look like pipes that usually run all around the inside of hundreds of thin metal "veins"

just INSIDE the compressor. WARNING; ALWAYS TURN OFF THE INSIDE MAIN A/C UNIT WHEN removing the OUTSIDE compressor cover/fan to rinse lint/pollin/dandelion and Cottonwood tree fuzz

off coil lines FROM THE INSIDE OUT, not from the outside in. And rinse ALL four sides! This needs to be done IMMEDIATELY if your A/C begins to get warm or not blowing cool. Don't even wait a single DAY! Stop everything you are doing and RINSE THOSE COILS, or you will likely have to replace the

EXPENSIVE A/C compressor. I have lost two in ten years because I was not alert to these facts, and I waited a few days until one burned itself up. Thank God the first one was still under the ONE year warranty !

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July 13, 20070 found this helpful

Wow ! What a bunch of great tips .. I am doing some of them.. and will add more pronto !

I am retired and needing to cut and control costs at every turn. These will help a lot. I, too, hate giving the power co all my $$.

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July 14, 20070 found this helpful

I have a couple of questions for those of you who line-dry their clothes- do any of you have allergies? And if so, does it bother you to line dry your clothes?

I have sinus & allergy problems all year long & more so since moving to hot,humid Oklahoma(came from AZ), where I have a real problem with the mold. I can't have the doors or windows open when my hubby mows the yard & he has to shower as soon as he comes in because the grass really sets me off.

I would really like to line-dry sometimes just to save on electricity, but am afraid of what would happen after my clothes spend the day in the pollen, etc.

Would ithelp to line-dry, then run stuff through the dryer for a few minutes when done? Any ideas? Thanks!

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July 14, 20070 found this helpful

I'm sorry to say, you probably shouldn't line-dry your clothes outside if you have allergies... At least not when it's allergy time... You'd have all that pollen sticking to your clothes & you'd be bring it in to your home. You can line dry them inside, though. I bought one of those Metal Tube things... (you have to put them together) & I simply hang my clothes on hangers while wet, then when they're dry, I simply transfer them to my closet (because they are already on hangers!) As far as my socks & underwear go, I use one of those folding dryer racks. I do this in the winter when I can hang outside.

* If you have an area where you can set these up. This is a great option for saving electricity, (Believe me, you'll save a bundle!) I only wash for 2 people. But, if you have a large family, I'd stick to using the dryer! You can buy the tube things & the folding racks at Walmart & other stores like that. If you live in a small space, you can get nicer ones that fold up. & I've bought them at Thrift stores too! They also have an indoor clothesline that rolls itself up. You simply install it, then give it a little pull on the rope & bring the end over to where you've installed the hook. This way, you're clothesline is rolled up when you don't need it. We also use the bathtub rod (that the shower curtain hangs on). This works great if you have an extra bathroom.

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July 26, 20090 found this helpful

All these ideas are good, but my all black wardrobe gets ruined in the sun!

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July 26, 20090 found this helpful

I also hang up my clothes on the clothes line, I only use the dryer to get wrinkles out of fabric (when I am too lazy to iron). In the winter I hang-up my clothes in the basement, we have 4 clothes lines in the basement, I add a little extra fabric softener and my clothes still turn-out soft. I hate wasting electricity by using the dryer. We own one, but rarely use it.

I have 2 air-conditioners, but only really use one of them, (the one in our bedroom). I only put it on for about 10 minutes before my hubby and I go to bed, and turn it off as soon as we hit the hey! During the day we only use our fans instead of the AC, it prevents our cats from getting colds, and we save so much money on our electricity bills!

My hubby calls me cheap, but I consider myself "thrifty". LOL!

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March 24, 20110 found this helpful

I bought clothesline and put hooks on the ends, and put eye hooks on my 4x4's on my covered back porch. When I want to hang out clothes, I just hook my line up, when they're dry, I take it down so it's not in the way. I've only been hanging out my permanent press right now, but if the pollen will ever stop in GA, I'm sure I'll hang out more. I figure hanging out just 1 load will help. My biggest problem during the summer is dodging lizards (I'm terrified of them) on my porch and steps.If I hang stuff up to dry inside, sometimes it'll sour.

My mother-in-law says that if you turn your hot water heater and your dryer off at the fuse box when you're done, that you'll save on your electric bill. I've not tried it yet, but will soon.

Lots of good ideas.

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