Dealing With High Energy Costs

How is everyone dealing with gas bills this winter as well as those other utilities? I work a part time job which is all I can find in my area this time of year. Any advice would be appreciated because I am drowning.

Karen from Port Clinton, OH

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

WE HAVE TURNED OUR THERMOSTAT BACK TO 65 AND WEAR A SWEATER OR SWEATSHIRT IF WE ARE TOO COOL

WE TRY TO USE OUR KEROSENE HEATER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

ah wish i knew. our electricity bill has doubled from this time last year. 200 bucks for electricity and 44 bucks for gas. its outrageous. thats even turning the heat off all together at night and having it set to 70 during the day. we even put in new energy efficient windows. i have no idea what else to do.

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

I wear long underwear in my house because we keep the thermostat turned down as low as we can. I also called the utility companies and asked to be put on the budget plan, you spread your payments out all year so that way you don't have to pay such high costs in the winter. My January natural gas bill was $486.00 and it said that I even used 13% less gas than I had last January! But, with my budget payment I only have to pay $288.00 so that helps out a little bit.

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

Our family of 4 have become very efficient. Here are a few things we are doing to save on our electricity and gas bills. We have a programmable thermostat and have set it to 68 for about an hour in the morning and then from 3 to 10 at night. During the day we have it set so low that it doesn't turn on since we are not home. We all have an extra blanket or even a sleeping bag unzipped on our bed to help keep us warm while sleeping. We also have a time of day meter so the electricity that we use after 8 PM and on the weekend is about 1/2 the price however electricity used during the day (peak time) is almost double. We do our laundry and run our dishwasher after 8 each night. On the weekend, we wash sheets and get all laundry caught up. I used to be really bad about leaving laundry in the dryer and fluffing a time or two before folding, not anymore. One cycle and they are folded when the dryer is finished. We make sure we turn off all of the lights when we leave a room or if they aren't "needed". We have also installed compact flourescent light bulbs in almost all of our lighting fixtures. At night when my husband and I go to bed, we set the sleep timer on our tv for 30 minutes when we used to set it for an hour or longer even though we were asleep long before it turned off. Our electric bill used to be between $105 to $120 a month. By working together as a family and being aware, our bill is now $40 to $60. We have been able to keep our gas bill about the same or a little less than last year. The one thing we do is show our 16 and 11 year old boys the bills. They think it is really neat to see the savings. Some months, we even treat them to something with the savings. Hope this helps.

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

We have been lucky to escape the high heat bills others are talking about this winter, but it doesn't really have anything to do with what we are currently doing. We live on a farm and use propane for heating purposes as well as the water heater, gas stove and gas dryer. Each year, we have the opportunity to purchase our estimated fuel usage well ahead of the season in what is called the "pre-buy season". That means that by the end of July, we have to buy and pay for the fuel for the coming winter, but it is at a less-than-winter-market price. We purchased 500 gallons of propane at $1.34.9 per gallon for a total (including tax) of $691.36. (This includes the supplier holding our pre-purchased fuel and delivering to our tank when and as needed at no extra cost.) Seems pretty cheap today considering that right now the market price is $1.69.9 through the same supplier. I try not to look at the paid pre-buy bill of 2003 where we purchased 600 gallons of propane at $.99.9 for a total bill (including tax) of $614.39. We are certainly not wasteful of the propane ~ we do keep the thermostat down as much as possible, layering on extra clothing when it gets too cool, and using blankets when watching tv or reading. Our electric bill is not out of line with previous years at this point in the winter, either.

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

I live in Ohio also and this is the first year that I have applied for the Home Energy Assistance Program. A family a four can make up to $29,025 to qualify. We received $365.00 toward our gas bill.

I think this included a little extra because my husband is on disability. I know this year they received a record number of applications so I dont know if they have any money left. I sent my app in

back in September! Something to remember for next year maybe. Good Luck

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

Karen, I fully feel your concern. I have a low paying job outside the home too. I wanted to make more money because you can only do without, to a certain degree.(no pun intended) I cover windows at night and when the sun is out and shining I open them to let this heat in. I fill all those air leakages that howling winds reveal. Add humidity to the house with water in pans on the heaters or keep a teapot full on a very low temp to allow moisture to make the room more comfortable. I found a work from home business with no sales. no deliveries, collections, or inventories. I am happy to say this extra income is residual and has been a blessing. Get in touch if this interests you. No longer freezing. cartonv2atjunodotcom

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

some times your city will offer year round billing so

you pay one set amount or its called level pay call

to see what they offer It helps when your bill is high

during winter not summer.

Also a tip I use. I have some hubby's long socks and fill with uncooked rice tie it up well, put in microwave for about 2 mins then place at foot of bed under covers it keeps toes warm. I use hubby's

feet as he is a hot sleeper and a knit cap helps keep

head warm too. Good luck

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February 11, 20060 found this helpful

I replaced all my light bulbs with electronic energy saving lamp bulbs.I bought them at Home Depot.There is usually a coupon to fill out and save 2 bucks at the register.I use oil for my heating and buy it for the year in July.I turn down the thermostate to 60 at night and when there is no one at home.I keep it at 66 during the day.I sealed cracks around the foundation and other locations with insulation foam.The wall are insulated as well the the attic.I have double pane windows and insulating blinds.I also have mats I put up against the bottom of the outside doors.

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February 11, 20060 found this helpful

Turn your thermostat down to a lower temperature. We turn ours down to 55 degrees at night.. and then up to 68 during the day in rooms we use the most.. Also, cut down on the use of hot water wherever you can... Any money you spend on insulation is money well spent.. it more than pays for itself.. so its like you get it free in the long run.. (smile)

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February 11, 20060 found this helpful

Actually I keep my thermostat down to 54 to 56 degrees and wear extra clothing in the house and use blankets to watch tv at night. We are used to the temp. being that low now and we are much more healthier. I have turned it up to 60 degrees a couple of times (in one month) to take the chill out of the house. By doing so, my gas bill was $293.94 for one month. The following month I kept the thermostat at 54 degrees and my gas bill was $174.78. I do sometimes use the keroscene heaters. They really work well. I put one in my living room with a ceiling fan going above and one in my front foyer which heat up the upstairs. This heats up the whole house and brings the temperature right up. It becomes very warm. But because we are a working family we are not home all day long so I am able to keep the heat down to 54-56 degrees. Going to bed at night with a down comfortor and a wool blanket really keeps us warm. I have been doing this for a few years now and am used to it. It sure doesn't stop the gas bill from going up tho. Our natural gas has gone up 22% just this winter. It will be going up another 17% next winter. Who can afford this? I'll just have to come up with a new idea for next year's heating.

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February 12, 20060 found this helpful

I live in an older house and it's a little drafty. I bought some of those outlet insulators. It is just a piece of foam that fits right behind the outlet cover. I put them in all of the outlets on outside walls. It made a huge difference.

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February 12, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks for all your ideas. We do many of them already.

Karen

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February 13, 20060 found this helpful

Every community, usually an association of counties, will have a heat assistance program. Also, check in the local Division of Workforce Services. They know about a ton of resources.

Also, make lowering the utilities a family affair. Teach the kids what they can do, keep a list they can write their initial on after they do certain tasks (like turning off the lights, turning the water off while they brush, etc.), and then show them the difference it makes when the bill comes. Reward them with a fun activity like have a movie night w/ a rented movie or going out for pizza.

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February 25, 20060 found this helpful

To lower your heating bill, smart choices are a programable thermostat and small portable electric heaters.

Purchase a thermostat that allows you to turn up and down at least four times daily. When buying portable electric heaters, look at Home Depot for the small cubes, typically 8 inches by 8 inches by 8 inches of which one brand is Pelonis and costs about $25, this heater is fan forced so a bit of noise you will notice. To sleep with, we bought a portable electric heater that looks like a satellite antenna. It is silver with a heating unit attached, a thermostat and a grill covering the front and no fan. We turn this to low in our bedroom while we sleep. Keep in mind that most heaters use 1500 watts, so buying a bigger heater that costs $70 - 80 and uses 1500 watts is going to put out the same amount of heat that a small heater using 1500 watts and costing $25. NO portable heater sold uses more than 1500 watts.

Set your programable thermostat so you are comfortable during times of need, but set it at 55 while sleeping. Using the portable electric heaters (1 per room) only when you are in that room allows you to lower the thermostat on your heating system...

Use a little common sense when using electric heaters.... Always keep 3 feet clear of anything and don't use them where they can come in contact with water. We do use them in our bathrooms and kitchen, but they are up off the floor and not near water.

The above are a sure way of lowering heating bills or if you believe like I do, saving on the earth's resources.

Best to you,

Jim in Jax

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March 17, 20060 found this helpful

We keep our thermostat at 60 degrees, both when we're here and when we're not. We also open all the window shades when it's sunny.

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March 17, 20060 found this helpful

We keep the theromostat at 65 and let the sun warm up the house during the day. It stays insulated enough to keep the house warm at night, especially when we close the blinds. everyone has blankets and the baby wears sleepers. THey are naturally warm, so daytime doesn't bother them. For my water (laundry) if I need warm water or hot, I initialy run a little for the soap while loading, then fill the rest with cold. That way it isn't running for the full load, just enough to warm the water. I never use lights during the day, but if there is no sun, only for reading, or cleaning.

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March 26, 20060 found this helpful

We bought a programmable thermostat. Our heat bill and electric dropped 40$ a month on both.

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