January 1, 2014

Saving Money on Electric

I joined the 2014 Money Saving Challenge at Frugal Makes Cents Two.  So I thought I would expand on some of the ways we (I pretty much mean ME) try to save money on our energy bills.

Our house is all electric, no gas.  Lately our electric bill has averaged around $175 per month.  I joined some program with the electric company where part of our bill is based on a rolling average and the other part is based on actual usage. It's very complicated and I hate it, but I'm stuck in it for 2 years.  At one point our electric bill was up to $220 per month for our 930 square foot house.  Even though we've been able to save quite a bit in the last few years, the electric company is always sending us letters telling us that we use way, way more electricity than other similar all electric homes.  I haven't been able to figure out why and because we live in a condo, they won't come out to do an energy audit.

Besides just trying to keep the lights out when not in use (an ever lasting battle between me and the rest of my family), here are some other things we do to save money on our electric bill:

Heating -

  • Keep the thermostat turned down to around 66 degrees during the winter.  I normally wear shorts and a tank top around the house and can't stand slippers or anything on my feet.  I just really don't like to be hot.  But my girls and husband usually wear pants and long sleeve shirts and we always have blankets on the couch to cuddle up with.  
  • In the summer, I'm really bad though because I can't stand being hot so I usually have the a/c turned on to keep the temperature around 68 degrees.
  • There's a gap where our sliding glass door doesn't line up all the way when its closed and there is a definite cold draft coming in.  We bought some window sealing plastic and will be sealing the back door off for the winter.
  • When I bake, I leave the oven door open when I'm done so the left over heat will warm up the kitchen.
  • We buy energy star appliances whenever we replace anything.
  • Use locks on the refrigerator and freezer to keep the seal closed tight.  (The inexpensive child locks sold in most baby sections)
  • When our new hot water heater was installed (which I was told there weren't energy star water heaters at the time, not sure if that's true), I'm pretty sure the temperature was turned down a lot lower than before.  Whenever I take a shower though, I think I should figure out how to turn it up. I like Hot Hot water.
  • When baking, I try to combine the baking so I'm not heating the oven for just 1 item.  I use the crock pot a lot instead of the oven.  When cooking on the stove, I turn the stove off when the food's almost done and let the food finish cooking over the left over heat.
Energy Saving Devices - 
Motion Sensing Light Socket
  • Installed motion sensing light sockets in the play room so the lights aren't left on all day anymore.  I plan to buy 3 more of these with our tax return: 2 for the laundry room and 1 for the steps to the basement.  These aren't very expensive and easy to install (just screw into regular socket and then light bulb screws into this socket.)
  • Automatic Shut Off Power Strips - These are great.  I plug a main device like our computer into the main outlet on the power strip, then the speakers, printer, etc plug into the rest of the outlets on the power strip. When I turn the computer off, the rest of the peripherals automatically shut down too.  There's also one or two constant-on outlets for any device that needs to stay on constantly (like our wireless router).  We have 3 of these right now: 1 for our computer, 1 for our living room entertainment center and
       Automatic Shut Off Power Strips 
    1 in our bedroom for tv, dvd, vcr, etc. I plan to buy 1 more for the play room entertainment center when we get our tax return.
  • We also use a lot of CFL bulbs instead of the regular incandescent bulbs.  But I'm thinking of switching to L.E.D. bulbs as they need replaced. 
That's about all I can think of right now.  I'm always on the look out for new products that can help us cut our energy usage.  I just wish I could get the hubby and kids to join in my efforts, but it seems to be a lost cause.


  1. I don't have any advice for you. It sounds like you're doing everything right. We keep our house at 72 degrees almost all year.

  2. You are doing great. Have you thought about getting a special blanket that you insulate your electric hot water tank with? It wraps around it. The other thing we did when we had electric hot water in our house in AZ was put a timer on it. We would set it to turn off all night and turn on in the morning so that the tank wouldn't keep heating up to keep the water hot all night. We saved a fortune in electric costs.

    1. I never heard of a water heater blanket or timer. Thanks for the info. I'll check into both.