Author Topic: Doing it wrong...  (Read 6831 times)

Sebastian

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Doing it wrong...
« on: May 16, 2013, 07:28:12 AM »
Fellow Mustachians!

I need your advice. I've been trying to cut down on my electric bill big time. It's not really that expensive to begin with (generally in the 30-40$ range), but I'd like to lower it as much as I can.

I started last month by unplugging all unecessary appliances that I don't use all the time... microwave, printers, etc. I also have been a Nazi with turning off lights too.

Low and behold I got my electric bill today.. 42 dollars. WTF?!

My only guess is that maybe it stayed the same because I have been using my oven/stove more which is electric. Is there any suggestions you guys could give that would help lower the cost a bit more?

Thanks!

Rural

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 08:00:31 AM »
Keep your eye out in thrift stores for a countertop convection oven. That cuts both my bill and the excess heat in the house compared to a full size oven, which is usually bigger than I need anyway unless I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The electric cooktop doesn't take as much power as the oven.

And if you've increased your home cooking that much, don't let the $12 increase in electricity worry you too much. You probably saved that much in eating out costs in a single day.

Sebastian

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2013, 08:38:22 AM »
Keep your eye out in thrift stores for a countertop convection oven. That cuts both my bill and the excess heat in the house compared to a full size oven, which is usually bigger than I need anyway unless I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The electric cooktop doesn't take as much power as the oven.

And if you've increased your home cooking that much, don't let the $12 increase in electricity worry you too much. You probably saved that much in eating out costs in a single day.

Good points! Thanks. I guess it was just a bit disheartening after putting in the extra work to cut cost.

unpolloloco

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 10:56:03 AM »
Also, take a look at how your electric bill is structured.  My bet is that you're paying $X regardless and that your usage costs are not the primary component of your cost.

Ishmael

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 11:08:40 AM »
Do you have an electric clothes dryer? That's a killer. A freezer is not cheap either. A hot water heater can be expensive.

Basically, focus on the things that create heat from electricity.

Lighting by comparison, is nothing (assuming you're using CF or LED bulbs, and not incandescent). For example, if you run a 1500w space heater for 1 hr, that's the same as 185 hours of a CF light bulb. A clothes dryer is probably around 3000W, meaning 1 hour of that is the same as 370 hrs (or 4 months @ 3 hrs/day) of a light bulb!

kdms

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2013, 11:22:19 AM »
Figure out how to check the temperature setting on your hot water tank (assuming it's electric) and then turn it down.  We just dropped ours by over 30 degrees when we realized how high the factory setting was - and it's already cut our electricity usage noticeably in the week since we've done so.  (Also reduces the scald factor.)

Sebastian

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2013, 11:25:24 AM »
Sorry all I probably should have mentioned that I'm in a single bedroom apartment. Don't pay for heat, and have no washer/dryer.

I know I can get the bill lower.. I've had it down to the mid 20s before. I should probably change all the light bulbs to incandescent but just don't want to fork over the money :/

Jamesqf

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2013, 11:25:59 AM »
Might depend on how you're metered.  If you don't have a smart meter, the power company might just send a real meter reader around every few months, and pro-rate your monthly bill.

desrever

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 11:42:13 AM »
I went through a similar thing with our water bill a few years ago -- the breaking point was when we'd been on vacation for a month, and the water bill came to a new personal high. I went and shut off the water at the meter, and started Googling how to find a leak. Meanwhile my neighbor knocks on the door, asking if I knew why his water had been cut off. When I told the backstory about our high water bill, he was like, "what are you talking about? My house has twice as many people as yours, and our water bill is practically nothing."

Long story short: we'd been paying our neighbor's bill for three years while economizing like nobody's business; he'd been paying ours, while thinking that water was basically free.

Advice: learn to read your meter, make sure it's actually yours.

Lina

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 12:10:39 PM »
I wouldn't buy a countertop oven but I would recommend to make several dishes when heating the oven. I am often baking as well as cooking in the oven on same time or after another to save heating the oven several times. When I cook I prefer making several dishes with many portions (I am living alone) so I don't need to cook during the week. It saves me time during the week and money as I don't need to buy fast food as I almost always have something in the fridge. It also lowers my electricity use as I don't cook every day.

I have come to a point where there is no more things I can do to lower my bill. That is due the appliances installed in my apartment. Most of my bill is basic charges that I can't affect.

Ishmael

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2013, 12:18:12 PM »
Figure out how to check the temperature setting on your hot water tank (assuming it's electric) and then turn it down.  We just dropped ours by over 30 degrees when we realized how high the factory setting was - and it's already cut our electricity usage noticeably in the week since we've done so.  (Also reduces the scald factor.)
Be careful not to drop it too much though! A hot water tank can be a breeding ground for Legionnaire's Disease http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionellosis if the temperature is kept too low. Recommendation is to keep it at 60C (140F).
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094925/

mikefixac

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2013, 05:30:40 PM »
Well, I'm not one to reply since our bill averages just over $200/mo. We're getting solar and it's estimated our bill will drop to $38. Solar City, a company started by Elon Musk is doing the installation.

But here's my $.02: As a previous commenter stated you might not have a digital meter. I have a digital meter and I can see by the hour how much electricity I'm using. It's accurate too. I did a few things for a night and cut the electricity by 40%.

Electric stoves usually are on a 50 Amp circuit all by itself. That tells you what kind of current it's drawing. A microwave uses a lot less current. Older refrigerators also use more current than the newer ones. So I would use a newer and smaller refrigerator. Those and flat screeen TVs are the largest consumers of your electricity. And shut off the computer. And if I did all that, I wouldn't need solar. (But I'm married)

Done by Forty

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 12:07:42 AM »
I went through a similar thing with our water bill a few years ago -- the breaking point was when we'd been on vacation for a month, and the water bill came to a new personal high. I went and shut off the water at the meter, and started Googling how to find a leak. Meanwhile my neighbor knocks on the door, asking if I knew why his water had been cut off. When I told the backstory about our high water bill, he was like, "what are you talking about? My house has twice as many people as yours, and our water bill is practically nothing."

Long story short: we'd been paying our neighbor's bill for three years while economizing like nobody's business; he'd been paying ours, while thinking that water was basically free.

Advice: learn to read your meter, make sure it's actually yours.

Yikes.  What a story!

BlueMR2

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2013, 06:11:34 AM »
My only guess is that maybe it stayed the same because I have been using my oven/stove more which is electric. Is there any suggestions you guys could give that would help lower the cost a bit more?

Prefer the microwave over the oven when you have the choice.  Microwaves are more efficient overall as they heat the food directly instead of heating a bunch of air that then heats the food.  That said, some things just come out better made in the oven.  However, for things that taste fine either way, go microwave to save money.

GuitarStv

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2013, 06:39:08 AM »
Also, take a look at how your electric bill is structured.  My bet is that you're paying $X regardless and that your usage costs are not the primary component of your cost.

If your electricity bill is structured like our gas heating bill, the less you use, the more you pay more per liter of fuel.  I noticed this after we dropped our gas usage by 40% but the bill only went down 5%.

Spork

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Re: Doing it wrong...
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2013, 07:52:56 AM »

Long story short: we'd been paying our neighbor's bill for three years while economizing like nobody's business; he'd been paying ours, while thinking that water was basically free.

Advice: learn to read your meter, make sure it's actually yours.

This happened to me when I was in college (eons ago).  The water meter box flooded for some reason and the labels came off.  They put them back on wrong.  That one month I got billed for something like 500k gallons (the difference between my meter and his).  It took MONTHS of screaming at them to get it fixed, even though experimentation with turning off the water at the meter showed exactly what was going on.