Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Saving Money on Your Electric Bill

I've been implementing some money-saving ideas this summer since the summer (actually, it was still spring) kicked off with some horrendous heat. Since it's going to be hot for a while and I'd like to be able to keep the house reasonably cool without running up the electric bill, I've gotten a little more serious with the penny-pinching ideas.

One thing I've done for over a month now is to use a clothesline. During that time, I've avoided using the dryer with two exceptions. (Oh, and I've unplugged the dryer since I'm rarely using it.) Even though it's a really short line (I think it's 17 feet long, and the space in between the two lines is really small), I can hang an entire load of laundry on it, with the exception of a load of whites since there are so many small items.

I've already mentioned here on my blog that I covered cardboard and posterboard with aluminum foil to reflect the sun and heat. Now you get to see a picture of it:

Very classy, I know. But, seriously, it works, and works very well! All summer long (and well into October), our bedroom tends to be stifling hot--but not after I put the aluminum foil up in the window. Even with only about half of the window covered, we have enjoyed noticeably cooler temperatures inside. This window faces our backyard so really y'all are the only ones to see it. Since it's on the other side of our blinds and hidden behind our room-darkening drapes, we don't see it unless we're in the backyard.

When I told my father about this idea, he said that if you use cardboard to make sure the pleats run horizontally so they don't trap any heat.

Something I've been doing for a few years now is to put a piece of tape along the side of the thermostat to prevent little fingers from setting the temperature lower than what Jason and I have set. This year, I also put a piece of tape above the "upper limit" of what is tolerable in the house. This makes it easier to raise the temperature on the thermostat without, shall we say, going too far. I like to prevent mutiny when possible.

I move the tape when we are going to be out of town for several days or when the seasons change--adjusting the temperature boundaries is very easy.

Have these changes saved us money? This is a highly mathematical analysis, but going from one month with slightly-above average temperatures to the next month with horrible, way above average temperatures, our electric bill increased by only $25. Everyone I've talked to about electric bills reported a significantly higher increase in their bill.

See? Highly mathematical.


What tips can you share about how to save money?


Anonymous said...

I love your ideas, a chip off the old block *

Kathleen said...

I LOVE that you began with that photo - I've been dying to see it in action! :) And your mathematical analysis? Sounds right to me - an increase of only $25?? That's great!

Jen @ BigBinder said...

WOW! You are awesome! I came over to find pictures of your clothesline - but this is really clever!

'Becca said...

I have a lot of tips for using less electricity for lighting, and if you have incandescent light bulbs they'll also help to keep your house cool!

We live in Pennsylvania and have no air conditioning at home, but I work in an office where the AC usually is somewhere between comfortable and way too cold. I put on a sweater the moment I get to work and don't take it off until I'm leaving; that helps me adjust to the outside temperature. At home, we close all windows and drapes after breakfast, except if you're in a room and need light you open the drapes just enough. After dinner, we open windows and set up a window fan blowing OUT; once the temp is cooler outside than in (around 8pm) we turn it around and have it blow IN until next morning.

With fans that are just in a room (not moving air between indoors and outdoors) it's important to realize that the cool feeling comes from the air moving on your skin. If nobody is there to feel it, there is no reason to leave the fan on!

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