Author Topic: Help with my electric bill  (Read 5888 times)

EastCoastMike

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Help with my electric bill
« on: November 13, 2014, 06:50:50 AM »
I just received my latest power bill.  I was looking forward to it because I took to heart a lot of the energy savings tips I've read about here.  I live in a 700 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment on the fourth floor (top floor) of the building.  The apartment faces east.  Electric is my only utility.

I have a ceiling fan constantly running, both because the place lacks air movement, and because I'm too short to reach the pull cord to shut it off (I don't have a ladder).  Apparently when it was connected, the maintenance guy only thought the light was important to connect to the wall switch.

I ran my a/c one day this billing cycle, and only for a few hours, when it got above 83 inside.  According to my latest bill, I consumed 889 kWh for a total bill of $109.05.  When I tallied the bill using the posted rates, I came up with $100.61, so I'll have to call the power company up and clarify the issue.  They're probably right, and my errors are likely due to rounding which is hidden in the bill, but I still need to make sure. 

So given my situation, what else can I do to save power?  I've checked the refrigerator and adjusted the temps for the cooler and freezer portions.  My freezer is pretty full.  My refrigerator is pretty empty.  Would I benefit from filling it with buckets of water? 

Other than that, I'm not sure what else I can do.  I don't have access to my water heater, so I have no idea what it's set at.  I'll put a call in to maintenance to check it and reset it lower.  Would 110 be too low or should I tell them 120?  At work, we leave domestic hot water at 120. 

Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.

nessness

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2014, 06:57:27 AM »
Do you have a washer and dryer? If so, line drying could make a big difference.

EastCoastMike

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2014, 07:10:16 AM »
Yeah, I have a washer and dryer.  I've considered installing an indoor clothesline, but I'm moving out in a month and don't want to punch holes in the wall for anchors.  I run 3 loads a week (clothes x 2 and bedsheets) and wash comforters and blankets (2 loads) monthly.

I plan to install an indoor clothesline in my new place.  I've gotten rid of my living room furniture to ensure I have plenty of room. 

slugline

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2014, 08:21:42 AM »
If you're moving soon in a month, then I can't think of anything more cost-effective than being aggressively low with your winter thermostat setting and unplugging as many appliances as possible.

You could also ask maintenance if they could add a longer chain for the ceiling fan switch. At least the next tenant will benefit from being able to reach it.

bacchi

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2014, 10:37:29 AM »
Wow, that is high. It's more than my 1000 square foot house during a hot summer with the AC always running.

What about one of these? http://www.amazon.com/Madison-Mills-Wooden-Drying-Clothes/dp/B0009XEH8O

I use one when it's raining outside.

Also, stand on something or call maintenance and turn off the ceiling fan. It's wasting energy when you're not there. Get a box fan that you can turn on/off.

EastCoastMike

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2014, 06:10:23 PM »
I called the power company and discovered they were still charging me the summer rate, so I have a refund coming against this bill and a credit against last month's bill, so that's something.  I thought all this stuff was automated to prevent just this type of error. 

Anyway, I stopped by Lowes on the way home and bought a longer chain for the fan.  Maintenance won't let me borrow a ladder (liability issue, which I understand), but Pablo was nice enough to come over and install it for me tonight.  He also turned down the water heater.  It was set to 145.  I wish they'd go away from water heaters and just use insta-hots. 

I will miss the maintenance staff when I move out.  Easily the best of any apartment complex I've lived in.

Hey Bacchi, how big is that thing?  How much stuff could I put on it?  I was planning on picking up some eye bolts and clothesline from Lowes and just sinking them into studs.  It'll look pretty ghetto, but it should get the job done.  The portable rack looks nicer, but man... $43/ea is a bit spendy for me.

guitar_stitch

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2014, 08:23:53 AM »
Yeah, I have a washer and dryer.  I've considered installing an indoor clothesline, but I'm moving out in a month and don't want to punch holes in the wall for anchors.  I run 3 loads a week (clothes x 2 and bedsheets) and wash comforters and blankets (2 loads) monthly.

I plan to install an indoor clothesline in my new place.  I've gotten rid of my living room furniture to ensure I have plenty of room.

I run 2 loads every 3 weeks.  I reuse a lot.  The tradeoff is that I shower more often.

bacchi

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2014, 10:24:40 AM »
Hey Bacchi, how big is that thing?  How much stuff could I put on it?  I was planning on picking up some eye bolts and clothesline from Lowes and just sinking them into studs.  It'll look pretty ghetto, but it should get the job done.  The portable rack looks nicer, but man... $43/ea is a bit spendy for me.

Yeah, it is expensive but there are cheaper ones out there. Mine was a gift bought from probably Walmart. It's pretty flimsy, and would collapse under a rug, but it can hold jeans, probably 5 shirts, and underwear. I definitely wouldn't pay over $30 for it.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2014, 02:00:46 PM »
1) Use LED light bulbs - they use 80-90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Get at least 800 lumen bulbs. Take them with you when you move.
2) Switched power strips - use a 'smart strip' for your video components - plug in your 'screen' to the master outlet, and DVD/game console/et. al. into the other outlets:  http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Strip-SCG5-Autoswitching-Technology/dp/B000L9FQUO/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1415998430&sr=1-3&keywords=smart+strip
3) Get one of those drying racks (aforementioned) - I got mine at Target for ~$30 - it's ~4 ft tall.

Thedudeabides

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2014, 07:04:32 AM »

1) Use LED light bulbs - they use 80-90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Get at least 800 lumen bulbs. Take them with you when you move.
2) Switched power strips - use a 'smart strip' for your video components - plug in your 'screen' to the master outlet, and DVD/game console/et. al. into the other outlets:  http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Strip-SCG5-Autoswitching-Technology/dp/B000L9FQUO/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1415998430&sr=1-3&keywords=smart+strip
3) Get one of those drying racks (aforementioned) - I got mine at Target for ~$30 - it's ~4 ft tall.

+1 to these suggestions.

If you have a programmable thermostat, then use it. It can help save a lot of energy.

Doing less laundry can help too. I typically wear clothes 2-3x before washing.

Turning off lights helps too. Installing motion sensors can help here.

MoneyCat

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2014, 04:38:35 PM »
Make sure you unplug stuff when not using them.  I was stunned by how much that lowered my electric bill.  Another trick I use is to charge up all battery powered electronics (cell phone, backup battery packs, laptop, ipad etc.) at work and use them on battery power at home.  If you find LED bulbs to be too expensive, you can get CFL bulbs for much cheaper at a warehouse store or Target.  My warehouse store sells CFLs in 8-packs for $6 and they last a really long time.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2014, 05:03:40 PM »
How old are your appliances? IIRC the newer fridges are quite a bit more efficient than the old units.

One Day

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2014, 05:04:46 PM »
Ikea has wonderful clothes drying racks, if you're near one.We have two of the $9 apiece Jall (we don't line dry all our clothes) and they have held up for several years.



chucklesmcgee

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2014, 08:42:16 PM »
You aren't racking up a bill that high because you have inefficient bulbs or vampire electronics. Something is going nutso that's heating or cooling your place or moving or the electric company isn't tallying your power right.

Culprits:

1. Water heater. How hot can your water get? If the hottest setting on your shower can scald you it's probably way too hot. Also it might have 0 insulation. You said you don't have access to it, get your maintenance guy on it asap.

Buy a 1.5 GPM showerhead:

http://www.amazon.com/Dual-Electronics-N2610CH-Niagara-showerhead/dp/B00846E0F8/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1416109234&sr=1-2&keywords=niagara+bi-max&pebp=1416109233983

Try and keep your showers reasonably short.

2. Turn off the damn fan.

3. Don't use hot water settings on your washer. Don't use any heated dry settings on your dishwasher.

Icecreamarsenal

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2014, 01:07:34 PM »

Do you have a washer and dryer? If so, line drying could make a big difference.

I cut 150-200/month by not using the clothes dryer. I purchased 2x line dryers.
I also use bubble wrap on my windows during the winter; I keep the blackout blinds open when there's sunlight, and close them when there isn't.

I wear more clothes at home. Recently I've been delaying retirement by keeping the heat at 72 for my baby daughter, but it don't mind as it's worth it for me.

Greg

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Re: Help with my electric bill
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2014, 09:57:46 PM »
The ceiling fan is a large consumer.  Borrow a tall person to turn it off, and leave it for a month or two, and see what that does.