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General Discussion => Throw Down the Gauntlet => Topic started by: dontwannaworkforever on December 12, 2015, 04:56:22 PM

Title: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 12, 2015, 04:56:22 PM
For some people this is a lot easier but I'm gonna set myself a lofty goal here. I live in a place right now (moving back to United States in 6 months) where electricity is fairly expensive. The climate is hot and humid year around. I don't know the exact Watts of things but I just got done reading around about how to reduce electricity on this blog. For those who accomplished this already good on ya! I am a family of 3 (spouse and son).

Our past 3 electricity bills:

9/30/2015: $186.77
10/30/2015: $205.62
11/29/2015: $254.53

I don't know exactly why it has been rising lately. I haven't tracked it honestly. When I get my next bill I can get into more detail. I'm looking to keep this thread alive until I reach my goal :) Some things I am doing now and what I plan on doing:

* I typically only use AC at night and just use fans on in the house.
* I just recently started using cold water on my washer instead of warm.
* I thought about cutting off the water heat? But I don't wanna take cold showers...I think I can just suck this up though. My wife already takes pretty cold showers dunno how she does this lol.
* Cutting out dryer use. I wanna start hanging clothes outside; this one is harder to get my spouse on board with.
* Our rented house mostly has the good flourescent lights; however, the bathrooms still have the old inefficient bulbs.

Can't think of anything else right now but this is a start.


Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: sol on December 12, 2015, 05:08:38 PM
Break out your usage.  Most utilities charge something like $10-15 for a "connection fee" just to have access to power, even if you don't use any.  Then actual consumption is typically between 8 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Around here, houses with electric heat typically use about twice the power as houses with gas heat, during the winter.  For a larger family, the dryer is usually at least 10% of power use all by itself so cutting that out will help.  LED bulbs will help a little, but generally much less per year than you will spend on them up front. 

My solution?  $32k of solar panels generated $9k in tax rebates, $30k in incentive payments over six years, and then reduced my power bill down to about negative $25 per month.  So they pay me $25/mo for the excess power I generate, which in practice just means my power is free and then they knock $25 off of my water bill since water and power are the same company here.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 12, 2015, 05:33:04 PM
Break out your usage.  Most utilities charge something like $10-15 for a "connection fee" just to have access to power, even if you don't use any.  Then actual consumption is typically between 8 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Around here, houses with electric heat typically use about twice the power as houses with as heat, during the winter.  For a larger family, the dryer is usually at least 10% of power use all by itself so cutting that out will help.  LED bulbs will help a little, but generally much less per year than you will spend on them up front. 

My solution?  $32k of solar panels generated $9k in tax rebates, $30k in incentive payments over six years, and then reduced my power bill down to about negative $25 per month.  So they pay me $25/mo for the excess power I generate, which in practice just means my power is free and then they knock $25 off of my water bill since water and power are the same company here.

Nice! Solar panels aren't an option for me but if I owned a home I would surely consider it. I'm moving to the United States in 6 months and looking for apartments.

When I get my next bill in, I will post a picture of it. I didn't keep a copy of my last bill and the bills are not kept online.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Money Badger on December 12, 2015, 09:22:17 PM
FWIW, I work in the utility industry and with those amounts, here's a few ideas:

- Get the furnace checked.   The September number for winter heating already seemed higher than it should.   Is a thermostat in a bad place or ducts not fully open and circulating properly?   Generally, closing vents in rooms backfires on heating bills as cold air is sucked into the static air intakes and costs more to cool as it hits the furnace.  If the HVAC was done right, let it breathe!

- air leaks!   Look everywhere in the attic area especially and door sills.    I buy cheap softer type of rope at Lowe's and use as weather stripping in the window jams in the winter.   Cuts drafts and costs a fraction of weather stripping they sell for $5-$10 a window.   A whole coil of rope is only $15 or so and does the window sashes on the whole house.

- How are the ovens used int he kitchen?   Can you use a small toaster oven more?   After air conditioning, ovens, clothes dryers and fridges are energy pigs.

- Is the dishwasher "heat dry" cycle used?   That sucks down kilowatts if used every time.   

- Is the water heater electric?   When was the last time it was checked to make sure all the heater elements are working?   Generally there are 2 elements and one may be dead, causing the other one to work overtime.   A simple voltmeter on the unit will tell usually.

- Check the fridge.   Check airflow and vacuum the heat coils underneath and clear any obstacles in front of vent holes on the front or back of the unit.   Can you improve airflow underneath by pulling out from the wall a couple of inches?

- Ask family for LED bulbs for Christmas/holiday presents instead of other junk.    Receive the gift of savings!

- If the house is electric for heat, water heater and/or stove/oven, check with your utility to receive an "all electric" discount.   Ours give those discounts if you don't use natural gas (or only 1 thing is gas maybe).

Hope at least one of these makes a difference for ya!
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: v8rx7guy on December 12, 2015, 09:58:08 PM
Our electric bill ranges from $60-$70/mo so we got this one covered :).
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 13, 2015, 02:38:09 AM
FWIW, I work in the utility industry and with those amounts, here's a few ideas:

- Get the furnace checked.   The September number for winter heating already seemed higher than it should.   Is a thermostat in a bad place or ducts not fully open and circulating properly?   Generally, closing vents in rooms backfires on heating bills as cold air is sucked into the static air intakes and costs more to cool as it hits the furnace.  If the HVAC was done right, let it breathe!

My rented house has no furnace. I live on a tropical island overseas so no need for heat here.

- air leaks!   Look everywhere in the attic area especially and door sills.    I buy cheap softer type of rope at Lowe's and use as weather stripping in the window jams in the winter.   Cuts drafts and costs a fraction of weather stripping they sell for $5-$10 a window.   A whole coil of rope is only $15 or so and does the window sashes on the whole house.

My rented house has no attics.

- How are the ovens used int he kitchen?   Can you use a small toaster oven more?   After air conditioning, ovens, clothes dryers and fridges are energy pigs.

Interesting. I never considered a toaster oven. We use the oven quite a bit. Perhaps it is worth the investment. I will look into this. I am moving to an apartment 6 months from now that may or may not have a toaster oven so I should consider this.

- Is the dishwasher "heat dry" cycle used?   That sucks down kilowatts if used every time.   

I do not have a dishwasher. I wish I did I hate doing dishes lol. so does my wife. Its our collectively lazy chore.

- Is the water heater electric?   When was the last time it was checked to make sure all the heater elements are working?   Generally there are 2 elements and one may be dead, causing the other one to work overtime.   A simple voltmeter on the unit will tell usually.

Thanks for this advice. Wife and I decided to turn off the water heater anyhow. I will be getting used to cold showers. We only going to turn it on temporarily when our son needs a bath.

- Check the fridge.   Check airflow and vacuum the heat coils underneath and clear any obstacles in front of vent holes on the front or back of the unit.   Can you improve airflow underneath by pulling out from the wall a couple of inches?

I have never cleaned under my fridge.... :/ I will need to do this. Never in the world would I have thought about it.

- Ask family for LED bulbs for Christmas/holiday presents instead of other junk.    Receive the gift of savings!

Perhaps I should be sending them LED bulbs...My house is good with bulbs actually.

- If the house is electric for heat, water heater and/or stove/oven, check with your utility to receive an "all electric" discount.   Ours give those discounts if you don't use natural gas (or only 1 thing is gas maybe).

Interesting....will have to check on this one.

Hope at least one of these makes a difference for ya!

Thank you for this post. I put my responses in bold. I'm gonna check out the fridge airflow in just a minute or so.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 13, 2015, 02:38:49 AM
Our electric bill ranges from $60-$70/mo so we got this one covered :).

Congrats. I hope to get to this point soon enough. I will be updating this thread with my next electrical bill when the day comes.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Kroaler on December 13, 2015, 04:09:17 AM
Building envelope!  My house was built in 2007 to code but a recent blower door test revealed I have leaks the equivalent of an open window!       Go after those air leaks,  my biggest hitters were on the ceiling at every 90 degree intersection of sheetrock.  I believe it's called topdeck?     Also on the baseboards around the perimeter of the home.      The ductwork tested good except at the return ( the most important place imo), wasn't sealed well.       I'm gonna get those things corrected + more insulation and see where that takes me.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on December 13, 2015, 06:51:25 PM
Hmm....

I'm averaging 220 kWh which is approximately $35/month here. I'm in a 600 sq ft apartment.

Barely use A/C. Heat and stove/oven are gas.


Have you run around your house with a Kill A Watt? Some public libraries have them to borrow.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: alsoknownasDean on December 13, 2015, 09:37:24 PM
I get billed quarterly. The service charge alone is about $100. My last bill was $270, which covered winter. Aiming for under $200 next bill.

Sent from my LG-D855 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Goldielocks on December 13, 2015, 10:28:26 PM
Probably doesn't apply to you, but if you have a home business or renovating, power tools, like electric saws draw a lot of power, enough to be noticeable on a monthly electric bill.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 14, 2015, 04:05:05 AM
Hmm....

I'm averaging 220 kWh which is approximately $35/month here. I'm in a 600 sq ft apartment.

Barely use A/C. Heat and stove/oven are gas.


Have you run around your house with a Kill A Watt? Some public libraries have them to borrow.


Had to google what "Kill A Watt" was. Very interesting....I will have to get a hold of one of these.

Edit: And Done! I'm getting this for Christmas and "The Primal Blueprint Cookbook". Thanks to my wife. 2016 is shaping up to be excellent. Very motivated lately.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on December 14, 2015, 04:14:15 PM
Hmm....

I'm averaging 220 kWh which is approximately $35/month here. I'm in a 600 sq ft apartment.

Barely use A/C. Heat and stove/oven are gas.


Have you run around your house with a Kill A Watt? Some public libraries have them to borrow.


Had to google what "Kill A Watt" was. Very interesting....I will have to get a hold of one of these.

Edit: And Done! I'm getting this for Christmas and "The Primal Blueprint Cookbook". Thanks to my wife. 2016 is shaping up to be excellent. Very motivated lately.

Nice.

Yeah it's hard to lower your electric bill when you don't know what your main power hogs are ;)


While I don't have any power hogs, I learned that one of my computer monitors draws 10W even when turned off. So I unplug it, not because 10W is going to make a huge difference but god dammit I'm annoyed that a device still draws power when off.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 24, 2015, 05:41:03 AM
Still waiting on my electricity bill to come in so I can see any improvements. I'm not sure what the kilowatt $ is in my area but it will tell me on my bill. My Kill-A-Watt came in from Amazon today and I did a running around on my house to check on some things that intrigued me. I found out that my computer/printer/and speakers hooked up to one of those multi-outlet boxes draws a constant 24.6 WATT. My TV/PS3/Gamecube, also hooked up to a multi-outlet box draws a constant 18.5 WATT even when not in use! Lastly, my house has 4 split AC Units and I found that each one draws 3.0 WATT even when not in use.

That is 55.1 today WATT. Realistically, I can turn off / unplug all of these at night and save ~20-25 WATT a day. how much money this saves me I'm not sure; I'll have to figure out the math when my utility bill comes in.

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 24, 2015, 06:05:42 AM
Done.

(http://i.imgur.com/NUsICdc.png)

Drafty all-electric apartment with washer/dryer, ~800 sqft, two adults. $15 connection fee. The "other charges" column is sales tax.

Spring and Fall are far cheaper as we get by with minimal AC/heating.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: zephyr911 on December 24, 2015, 09:36:53 AM
Averaging $60-80... less than $100 even before my small solar offset.
I've been thinking about adding some attic insulation to avoid the $180 average for last Jan/Feb, but the winter is running so mild that the time commitment hasn't seemed worth it. If you live farther north, that's usually the low-hanging fruit....
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: snogirl on December 24, 2015, 09:53:30 AM
My power company here in Vermont gives weekly summaries.
I average about $55 a month.

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 24, 2015, 09:23:02 PM
Some of you guys are on top!

Paul der Krake: Nice man. I can't wait to be there.

Okay so my electric bill came in and it looks like I got some more work to do. I dropped my bill from $254.53 to $219.78 (13.65% reduction). My bill came in at $219.78! :( So while I'm still quite a bit off from my goal, I did see some small improvement (and its important to note I started making my changes in the middle of a billing period and not right from the get-go.

Anyway. I wanted to post my bill so you guys can chime in and see some things....I really wanna know what a "fuel recovery charge" is because that is baffling.

(http://i.imgur.com/rhNZxd9.jpg)
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: v8rx7guy on December 24, 2015, 09:50:20 PM
You are getting killed on whatever that "fuel recovery" charge is! What is it.  Fyi, you mentioned 55W saved by unplugging those devices. That is 0.055 kW which means plugged in for 24 hours is 1.32 kW or about $0.10/day based on you $0.07/kW-hr rate on the bill. So while that might be helpful... thats definitely not the problem.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: david51 on December 24, 2015, 10:32:30 PM
Last electric bill was 15$
Gas was 12$
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: sol on December 24, 2015, 10:39:13 PM
Where do you live, OP?  One of your posts above mentions "tropical island" which may hep explain the "fuel recovery charge" on your bill.

Your regular power costs look about normal, 7 to 8 cents per killowatt-hour.  That's very similar to what we pay, though on our bill it's broken up about 50/50 between power costs and "transmission" costs which seems to be pretty meaningless.

But then you're getting charged an extra 10 cents per kWh on top of that for that fuel charge, which is killing you.  That's like Hawaii level pricing right there.  Lots of places like that really gouge you on power because their only local electricity source comes from burning oil that has to come in on oil tankers, so the price goes through the roof.  The "fuel charge" is just the cost of the oil they used to make your power, and they pass that cost straight through to customers so the fuel charge varies wildly with the current price of fuel, and they get to collect a more steady revenue stream for the actual power generation/transmission service they provide in the form of the "per kWh" charge you see on your bill.  In most places like this (islands), solar panels make a lot of sense.

How many people are you supporting for that 1100 kWh per month?  Before solar panels, my family of five never used that much power in a 1650 sqft house with all electric appliances.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: sol on December 24, 2015, 10:47:29 PM
You are getting killed on whatever that "fuel recovery" charge is! What is it.  Fyi, you mentioned 55W saved by unplugging those devices. That is 0.055 kW which means plugged in for 24 hours is 1.32 kW or about $0.10/day based on you $0.07/kW-hr rate on the bill. So while that might be helpful... thats definitely not the problem.

If I'm reading his bill right, he's paying more like 19 cents per kWh.  55W plugged in for 24 hours a day is about 40 kWh per month out of his total usage of 1100, which is saving him less than $10/month. 

That's why I can't figure out where he's getting 1100 kWh/mo from.  That's a huge amount of power, like 1500 watts running 24/7.  Unless he's running central air 24/7, I'm confused by that amount of draw. 
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 24, 2015, 11:02:36 PM
You are getting killed on whatever that "fuel recovery" charge is! What is it.  Fyi, you mentioned 55W saved by unplugging those devices. That is 0.055 kW which means plugged in for 24 hours is 1.32 kW or about $0.10/day based on you $0.07/kW-hr rate on the bill. So while that might be helpful... thats definitely not the problem.

If I'm reading his bill right, he's paying more like 19 cents per kWh.  55W plugged in for 24 hours a day is about 40 kWh per month out of his total usage of 1100, which is saving him less than $10/month. 

That's why I can't figure out where he's getting 1100 kWh/mo from.  That's a huge amount of power, like 1500 watts running 24/7.  Unless he's running central air 24/7, I'm confused by that amount of draw.

Hey Sol thanks for the response. I live in Guam but will be moving back to the United States next Summer. Your explanation of "fuel recovery charge" makes a lot of sense....if that is true then it seems like there isn't much I can do about that?

I am not running central air 24/7. I have split AC units and only use them at night or sometimes in the evening if I have guests coming over. So that is making me wonder where the power is coming from. I went room and room and did an analysis....only thing I can think of is my fridge, oven, or water heater is putting out a lot more power then it should. I'm determined to figure this out though.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Goldielocks on December 25, 2015, 12:50:53 AM

Hey Sol thanks for the response. I live in Guam but will be moving back to the United States next Summer. Your explanation of "fuel recovery charge" makes a lot of sense....if that is true then it seems like there isn't much I can do about that?

I am not running central air 24/7. I have split AC units and only use them at night or sometimes in the evening if I have guests coming over. So that is making me wonder where the power is coming from. I went room and room and did an analysis....only thing I can think of is my fridge, oven, or water heater is putting out a lot more power then it should. I'm determined to figure this out though.

Fuel recovery charge is for every kwh you use, so any reduction on kwh is dramatically reducing your costs.  19 cents per KWH will pay for a lot of conservation and solar panels....

Maybe try turning off your water heater for a month, and see if that makes a difference?  Kill the breaker for it at the panel.  in Guam, the water should not be too terribly cold out of the tap, anyway....  maybe you have a short in the tank system...
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on December 25, 2015, 04:58:39 AM

Hey Sol thanks for the response. I live in Guam but will be moving back to the United States next Summer. Your explanation of "fuel recovery charge" makes a lot of sense....if that is true then it seems like there isn't much I can do about that?

I am not running central air 24/7. I have split AC units and only use them at night or sometimes in the evening if I have guests coming over. So that is making me wonder where the power is coming from. I went room and room and did an analysis....only thing I can think of is my fridge, oven, or water heater is putting out a lot more power then it should. I'm determined to figure this out though.

Fuel recovery charge is for every kwh you use, so any reduction on kwh is dramatically reducing your costs.  19 cents per KWH will pay for a lot of conservation and solar panels....

Maybe try turning off your water heater for a month, and see if that makes a difference?  Kill the breaker for it at the panel.  in Guam, the water should not be too terribly cold out of the tap, anyway....  maybe you have a short in the tank system...

Done. I started doing this about 2 weeks ago. The water isn't too cold and even if it is there are some health benefits of a cold shower I have read about.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: MayDay on December 26, 2015, 08:57:22 AM
We battle this at our house. Our usage is below average for a US family. But we have one of the highest rates in the US. Our utility (AEP) is super expensive. And they just got approval to add another charge to our bill for a power plant that went bankrupt :(

Ours hovers around 100/month. No a/c in that number, and gas stove. Electric fridge, dishwasher, clothes dryer (we rarely use the dryer). All cfl and led bulbs.

One thing I want to tackle is better organization of computer and TV cords so we can flip off the whole power strip. Cleaning under/behind the fridge is also on my list.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: jim555 on December 28, 2015, 05:55:49 PM
I averaged $50 a month over the last year, including the summer.  Helps to be in a 1 br condo.  I get a $5.50 a month break on my rate due to low income.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: hoping2retire35 on December 29, 2015, 07:04:03 AM
Following for ideas. Ours is usually 125-150.
I shut off the central air last wednesday, but it has been in the 70s here so no hero.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on January 31, 2016, 01:55:01 AM
Some of you guys are on top!

Paul der Krake: Nice man. I can't wait to be there.

Okay so my electric bill came in and it looks like I got some more work to do. I dropped my bill from $254.53 to $219.78 (13.65% reduction). My bill came in at $219.78! :( So while I'm still quite a bit off from my goal, I did see some small improvement (and its important to note I started making my changes in the middle of a billing period and not right from the get-go.

Anyway. I wanted to post my bill so you guys can chime in and see some things....I really wanna know what a "fuel recovery charge" is because that is baffling.

(http://i.imgur.com/rhNZxd9.jpg)

Well thank you guys since making this thread. We have made vast improvements. I wanted to update this thread since my last electricity bill in this thread and I got her down pretty good! From $219.78 to $167.20!

The next level up for me is to stop dryer use and hang my clothes outside...but my spouse isn't necessarily on the board with "extremism" as she like to say. She is however much more motivated to make lifestyle changes as we have just proved it is possible even on a high cost of living island... So what I might do as a compromise is to simply use my dryer on a "low heat" setting for a while and see how that changes my bill. I think the biggest thing that dropped my bill was not using heat for washing clothes; I put it on "tap cold" and through in a dryer sheet to clean. I also bought some energy saving shower heads for $10 (turns out it was worth the investment).

(http://i.imgur.com/G3hZyJS.jpg)

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: zephyr911 on February 03, 2016, 11:27:25 AM
Mine has generally stayed under $100 except in peak heat/cold. But it was $117 last month even with 3kW of solar panels and us doing our best to minimize heating... so I had an energy audit done yesterday. Turns out our 30-yo house isn't terrible, but it's worse than I thought.
So, I'm going to suck it up and get a few light fixtures replaced, and DIY some more insulation... the windows may wait till fall, but I'll at least wrap/tape them for now.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Heckler on February 07, 2016, 07:54:56 AM
Are you sure your neighbour isnt running a grow-op off your meter?  If not, your electric co. may be.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Paul der Krake on February 07, 2016, 09:44:03 AM
So for the last billing period of 28 days, we've used 488 KWH ($61), which isn't bad at all considering how cold it's been in the Carolinas.

It looks like my methodical cramming of plastic bags around the windows has paid off some, the apartment feels less drafty than it did last year. We also got an electric bed cover from my MIL for Christmas, and my wife loves it. You sleep on it, as opposed to an electric blanket that rests on top you. I was skeptical at first, but now I credit it for allowing me to lower the apartment temperature at night without causing marital strife.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Larabeth on February 11, 2016, 04:36:25 AM
We're moving into a house next month, so I'm going to use this thread as inspiration to start out at less than $100/mo!!
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: HenryDavid on February 11, 2016, 08:09:17 AM
Done.
Most of our electricity bill is fixed charges ($35 Cdn.) Consumption averages 260 kwh/month which is about $21 Cdn. 8 cents/kwh at the moment.
In a 1400 sq foot house, 2 people, often COLD in winter (Calgary!) but no need for AC ever.
Most of this is the furnace fan in winter, I estimate. Modern EnergyStar fridge, CFC and LED bulbs, good insulation and windows, next to no clothes dryer use. No use of the dry cycle on the dishwasher (because, those dishes were just rinsed in boiling water. They dry in 2 minutes.) A TV that's about 32" (?) big, an old school hifi with a turntable. Coupla computers. A block heater on our one vehicle, some nights. A pond heater for the fish under the ice on a backyard pond. Electric guitars and keyboards. Seems like extravagant electricity use to me!
But we're signing up for renewably generated local power anyhow.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: JLee on February 11, 2016, 08:24:38 AM
I moved a few months ago and am renting my house to friends- we just finished moving all the utilities out of my name, so now my electric bill is gone. Does that count? :P
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: acroy on February 11, 2016, 08:52:14 AM
Here is mine - $77
2k sq ft house, 8 pople in the house.
Gas heat/water
This is winter, so elec is just lights/general use, not cooling.
We burn 23-24kw/day winter and double/triple that in summer.
In winter that's 1000W going 24/7, seems like a huge amount. I've done everything I reasonably can. Pretty high background load just from nightlights, water heater control panel, doorbell, fire alarms, internet, etc etc etc.
Big user is electric dryer.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on February 12, 2016, 04:36:18 AM
I moved a few months ago and am renting my house to friends- we just finished moving all the utilities out of my name, so now my electric bill is gone. Does that count? :P

Sure it can count! :)

Just recently I finally cleaned out under my fridge and I adjusted my water heater from 125 degrees to 90 degrees. Its cool because I know I am saving money and my shower is still warm enough. I am also using the dryer on the "low-heat" setting when drying clothes (I should start hanging them; just can't get spouse on board with this....) and I'm being more vigilant when unplugging things.

Soon I was be presented with a unique opportunity because my wife is taking a vacation for a whole month to her home country so I'm left alone for a month. I'm going to see just how far I can push it and get that sucker under $100. I'm hoping with such a loss electricity bill and a "lead by example" I can show my spouse it is possible and she'll be more motivated to go to more "extreme" measures. I put those in quotes because to me this isn't extreme or a sacrifice...I believe frugality is a honorable and intelligent trait to have.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on February 12, 2016, 08:33:04 AM
I moved a few months ago and am renting my house to friends- we just finished moving all the utilities out of my name, so now my electric bill is gone. Does that count? :P

Sure it can count! :)

Just recently I finally cleaned out under my fridge and I adjusted my water heater from 125 degrees to 90 degrees. Its cool because I know I am saving money and my shower is still warm enough. I am also using the dryer on the "low-heat" setting when drying clothes (I should start hanging them; just can't get spouse on board with this....) and I'm being more vigilant when unplugging things.

Soon I was be presented with a unique opportunity because my wife is taking a vacation for a whole month to her home country so I'm left alone for a month. I'm going to see just how far I can push it and get that sucker under $100. I'm hoping with such a loss electricity bill and a "lead by example" I can show my spouse it is possible and she'll be more motivated to go to more "extreme" measures. I put those in quotes because to me this isn't extreme or a sacrifice...I believe frugality is a honorable and intelligent trait to have.

That's a great idea! Let us know how it goes =)
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Bardo on February 12, 2016, 11:39:36 AM
In the two years I've been in my current house I've had one month with an electricity bill in excess of $100, and that was in August because of A/C.  A lot of little fixes, such as insulating blinds and turning off the TV/DVD power strip on weekdays, but mainly the big saver is keeping away from the thermostat as much as possible.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on February 22, 2016, 02:08:23 AM
Did it again guys. Another PR...this isn't even my final form. Its excellent to know that these things are achievable :) Now if I lived in the United States and didn't live on Guam then I know I could do it for sure! (its the fuel recovery charge that island residents get).

Really the only last things I can do are stop using power and maybe never watch so much TV (my tv draws 196 watt I think that is a lot?) or at least get a more energy efficient TV. But its a 55" that I got for $50....so I kinda like it.

(http://i.imgur.com/AeYauHx.jpg)
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on February 22, 2016, 08:15:19 AM
Did it again guys. Another PR...this isn't even my final form. Its excellent to know that these things are achievable :) Now if I lived in the United States and didn't live on Guam then I know I could do it for sure! (its the fuel recovery charge that island residents get).

Really the only last things I can do are stop using power and maybe never watch so much TV (my tv draws 196 watt I think that is a lot?) or at least get a more energy efficient TV. But its a 55" that I got for $50....so I kinda like it.

(http://i.imgur.com/AeYauHx.jpg)

HOLY CRAP your TV draws 196W???

Ok I'm calming down*. I looked up power consumption numbers on a couple of similarly sized TVs, and 196W isn't necessarily ridiculous. A 50" LED TV from Samsung is rated for a max power consumption of 143W. (But this is a maximum, and I don't know if your 196W is actually measured using a Kill A Watt or just the maximum from the spec).

Have you tried reducing the brightness and seeing how much less it draws? You're going to need a Kill A Watt to do that.
You could also try making the room in which your TV is in darker - close the curtains or something - to let you use a lower brightness.

*I don't own a TV, so my points of comparison are my computer monitors. My 23" LED monitor draws 16.1W at a reasonable brightness. Which if you assume perfect scaling, a 50" equivalent would draw 76W. But this is of course a monitor and not a TV, and perfect scaling never happens.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: JLee on February 22, 2016, 08:01:29 PM
Did it again guys. Another PR...this isn't even my final form. Its excellent to know that these things are achievable :) Now if I lived in the United States and didn't live on Guam then I know I could do it for sure! (its the fuel recovery charge that island residents get).

Really the only last things I can do are stop using power and maybe never watch so much TV (my tv draws 196 watt I think that is a lot?) or at least get a more energy efficient TV. But its a 55" that I got for $50....so I kinda like it.

(http://i.imgur.com/AeYauHx.jpg)

HOLY CRAP your TV draws 196W???

Ok I'm calming down*. I looked up power consumption numbers on a couple of similarly sized TVs, and 196W isn't necessarily ridiculous. A 50" LED TV from Samsung is rated for a max power consumption of 143W. (But this is a maximum, and I don't know if your 196W is actually measured using a Kill A Watt or just the maximum from the spec).

Have you tried reducing the brightness and seeing how much less it draws? You're going to need a Kill A Watt to do that.
You could also try making the room in which your TV is in darker - close the curtains or something - to let you use a lower brightness.

*I don't own a TV, so my points of comparison are my computer monitors. My 23" LED monitor draws 16.1W at a reasonable brightness. Which if you assume perfect scaling, a 50" equivalent would draw 76W. But this is of course a monitor and not a TV, and perfect scaling never happens.

A 55" TV for $50 almost certainly isn't LED (or LCD, for that matter).  I think my 60" LED TV pulls 75-90w.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Lski'stash on February 22, 2016, 08:12:59 PM
I got that- but we are in Michigan.

I do think the LED bulbs make a difference. Also- we bought a Nest thermostat to control the temperature. It paid for itself within the first three of our bills.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on February 22, 2016, 09:26:37 PM
HOLY CRAP your TV draws 196W???

Ok I'm calming down*. I looked up power consumption numbers on a couple of similarly sized TVs, and 196W isn't necessarily ridiculous. A 50" LED TV from Samsung is rated for a max power consumption of 143W. (But this is a maximum, and I don't know if your 196W is actually measured using a Kill A Watt or just the maximum from the spec).

Have you tried reducing the brightness and seeing how much less it draws? You're going to need a Kill A Watt to do that.
You could also try making the room in which your TV is in darker - close the curtains or something - to let you use a lower brightness.

*I don't own a TV, so my points of comparison are my computer monitors. My 23" LED monitor draws 16.1W at a reasonable brightness. Which if you assume perfect scaling, a 50" equivalent would draw 76W. But this is of course a monitor and not a TV, and perfect scaling never happens.

A 55" TV for $50 almost certainly isn't LED (or LCD, for that matter).  I think my 60" LED TV pulls 75-90w.

Haha whoops missed that part.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on February 28, 2016, 01:19:41 AM
Today my wife is visiting her home country for a month before we move back to the United States.

This has given me a unique opportunity to try to live my life a little differently and its been something I have planned on for a while...

1.) I turned off my oven. I am going to make the vast majority of my meals either on my outside grill or crock pot. I have actually lost weight from 196 to 185 pounds since November. I started "intermittent fasting" a few days ago and I am making excellent progress. I hope to surprise my wife with another 10 more pounds lost ;)

2.) I turned off my dryer. I live on a tropical island...I'm going to utilize the free heat. I made a line outside. This should be fun as I don't see this as a chore but more like free exercise and just being able to get up from this computer that I hook myself on all day.

3.) I turned off my water heater. I already had it set low enough to where there was hardly any heat generated and I'm used to cold showers. Surprisingly my wife doesn't complain about this but I'm sure its because she is used to it.

4.) I shut off my TV/PS3/Cable Box. Time for me to explore new things and I got some books I'm trying to read. I never really used these all that much anyhow.

So there you have it. THIS should get me below $100. I will find out around end of March when my wife comes back.

I plan on showing her the power of simple living and gonna lead this one by example.

Wish me luck I'll keep you all updated.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on February 28, 2016, 07:38:23 AM
Somebody may have mentioned this earlier but some devices still drain power even when off. Unless you have a kill a watt to measure it, the only way to be sure is to actually unplug it.

I've never tried to dry clothes outside in a humid environment but I wouldn't set your expectations too high for that one.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: RetiredAt63 on February 28, 2016, 07:52:58 AM
This was with me being gone for 2 weeks, hot water tank turned off for those two weeks.  I already have LED/CFL lighting, no dryer use except for flannelette sheets, etc.  Three bedroom house in Ontario in winter, a lot of the electricity is running the furnace fan.

Rural low density residential - the delivery charge is the killer.

Electricity: On-Peak: 94.3650 kWh @ 17.5000     $16.51
Electricity: Mid-Peak: 67.7688 kWh @ 12.8000      $8.67
Electricity: Off-Peak: 225.3654 kWh @ 8.3000     $18.71
Delivery                                                            $65.02
Regulatory Charges                                              $2.82
HST (87086-5821-RT0001)                                 $14.52

Total of your electricity charges                          $126.25
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Bardo on February 28, 2016, 09:27:40 AM
February electric bill:  $23.99. The highest it has been in the last year was $86 in August, because of air conditioning.

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: lithy on February 28, 2016, 11:22:56 AM
...this isn't even my final form.

lol, nerd alert.

Congrats on the reduction in use.

I've been working to get our combined gas and electric below 100/month, right now we're sitting around 110-120 on an annual average basis.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Tigerpine on February 28, 2016, 02:06:22 PM
Now that your wife is gone for a little while, why don't you try to spend a night without the AC?  It might not be as bad as you expect.

I keep my thermostat at 59 in the winter and in the 80's in the summer (when I have the AC on, that is).  My electric bill here in South Carolinian apartment is consistently $20-$25.  Maybe even just turning up the temperature a degree or two can give you noticeable results.

Also put things on a power strip so you can turn them off when you're not home/awake.  For example, I turn off my modem and router every night when I sleep or when I'm not home using them.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Bardo on February 28, 2016, 03:33:19 PM
Now that your wife is gone for a little while, why don't you try to spend a night without the AC?  It might not be as bad as you expect.

I keep my thermostat at 59 in the winter and in the 80's in the summer (when I have the AC on, that is).  My electric bill here in South Carolinian apartment is consistently $20-$25.  Maybe even just turning up the temperature a degree or two can give you noticeable results.

Also put things on a power strip so you can turn them off when you're not home/awake.  For example, I turn off my modem and router every night when I sleep or when I'm not home using them.

Good advice.  My television, DVD and roku are on a power strip that I turn off on weekdays, but I need to do so with the router as well.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: warmastoast on February 28, 2016, 05:15:11 PM
Well, my electricity bills have been shockers since moving to the US.... especially since buying our mid-eighties house...
Last January and February our bills were $475 and $375 respectively.  I turned down the thermostat to 68F and used the timed thermostat to heat only in the mornings and evening when kiddoes were home, I used a vornado space heater if I needed heat during the day.  I re-did the weather stripping around exterior doors and put a covering over the whole house extractor fan in the hallway ceiling.  I applied new weather stripping to the bottom of the garage doors.  Success!  January bill was $213 (as opposed to $475) and I really thought that February bill was going to be under $100 but it looks like it's going to be $120ish even so, I am happy with that!  I think the thing that made the biggest difference was the weatherstripping on the exterior doors, there is no longer any draught and overnight temp drops are about 3-4 degrees now as opposed to 15-20 before I did it.  I wouldn't have believed that properly done weather stripping would make such a difference.  The next things I am going to do are insert a chimney pillow into the fireplace,  add insulation to the garage doors and add aluminum foil to the rafters - checking that all the vents are open first.
I have a couple of months now in Austin before it heats up to get these done.  Oh yes and a new variable speed pump for the pool.  Biggest summer bill was $370 so I really need to get that one down.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: warmastoast on February 28, 2016, 05:17:50 PM
Well, my electricity bills have been shockers since moving to the US.... especially since buying our mid-eighties house...
Last January and February our bills were $475 and $375 respectively.  I turned down the thermostat to 68F and used the timed thermostat to heat only in the mornings and evening when kiddoes were home, I used a vornado space heater if I needed heat during the day.  I re-did the weather stripping around exterior doors and put a covering over the whole house extractor fan in the hallway ceiling.  I applied new weather stripping to the bottom of the garage doors.  Success!  January bill was $213 (as opposed to $475) and I really thought that February bill was going to be under $100 but it looks like it's going to be $120ish even so, I am happy with that!  I think the thing that made the biggest difference was the weatherstripping on the exterior doors, there is no longer any draught and overnight temp drops are about 3-4 degrees now as opposed to 15-20 before I did it.  I wouldn't have believed that properly done weather stripping would make such a difference.  The next things I am going to do are insert a chimney pillow into the fireplace,  add insulation to the garage doors and add aluminum foil to the rafters - checking that all the vents are open first.
I have a couple of months now in Austin before it heats up to get these done.  Oh yes and a new variable speed pump for the pool.  Biggest summer bill was $370 so I really need to get that one down.

Oh yes forgot to add for the OP - I stopped using my clothes dryer completely!!  As a European we really don't use the dryers much anyway and I still had the clothes stand to put everything on.  The Leifheit ones are really good with lots of space and they are small and inconspicuous.  My Italian neighbour came round last night and saw it - and laughingly said, oh yes I use mine and so do all the other (french) women at work.It's chic! 
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on March 02, 2016, 10:56:34 AM
Well, my electricity bills have been shockers since moving to the US.... especially since buying our mid-eighties house...
Last January and February our bills were $475 and $375 respectively.  I turned down the thermostat to 68F and used the timed thermostat to heat only in the mornings and evening when kiddoes were home, I used a vornado space heater if I needed heat during the day.  I re-did the weather stripping around exterior doors and put a covering over the whole house extractor fan in the hallway ceiling.  I applied new weather stripping to the bottom of the garage doors.  Success!  January bill was $213 (as opposed to $475) and I really thought that February bill was going to be under $100 but it looks like it's going to be $120ish even so, I am happy with that!  I think the thing that made the biggest difference was the weatherstripping on the exterior doors, there is no longer any draught and overnight temp drops are about 3-4 degrees now as opposed to 15-20 before I did it.  I wouldn't have believed that properly done weather stripping would make such a difference.  The next things I am going to do are insert a chimney pillow into the fireplace,  add insulation to the garage doors and add aluminum foil to the rafters - checking that all the vents are open first.
I have a couple of months now in Austin before it heats up to get these done.  Oh yes and a new variable speed pump for the pool.  Biggest summer bill was $370 so I really need to get that one down.

Oh yes forgot to add for the OP - I stopped using my clothes dryer completely!!  As a European we really don't use the dryers much anyway and I still had the clothes stand to put everything on.  The Leifheit ones are really good with lots of space and they are small and inconspicuous.  My Italian neighbour came round last night and saw it - and laughingly said, oh yes I use mine and so do all the other (french) women at work.It's chic!

Nice! I really admire how other people do things in other cultures sometimes. My wife is from the Philippines and they still things very "old school" by our standards here in the U.S....

Someone mentioned in this thread to try to go to bed without A/C. I did that last night and wasn't too bad at all.

Having fun with my challenge earlier in this thread; I have gotten used to hanging up clothes outside already (out of necessary my breaker for the dryer is off) but its funny when I walk by my oven to check the time and I'm like "oh" . I was so used to that. I have been making all my meals on my grill outside or in the slow cooker. I kinda want one of those portable stove/burners now.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Laserjet3051 on March 06, 2016, 09:05:01 AM
First post on the forums...ever.

Where I live we have SMART electric meters which have proved invaluable in figuring out exactly which our our behaviors consume the most electricity and how to dial that down. SMART meters transmit in near real time to the internet so we can turn things on and off to figure out where we can get savings and exactly how much savings per unit of "luxury."

Obviously, our central air conditioner for a 2000 ft2 2 story home with vaulted ceilings was the prime killer. Suffering through last summer w/o it for >90% of the heat waves dropped our bill tremendously.

Interestingly, our refrigerator draws almost no electricity. It is a new Energy Star compliant device bought by our landlord. Other than A/C, I figured out that our incandescent light bulbs were a major source of electricity consumption. I despise the light spectrum of CFLs, but even if new CFLs have more natural spectra, the upfront cost would never pay off for us since we are in a rental. The solution was just to dramatically reduce light use. For a family of 4, with 2 trainable kids, this was easy and our electric bill sunk like a rock when we stopped using them for the most part.

We now use about 9 kwh per day (total household electric consumption), which equates to about 270 kwh per month totalling about $50 per month, but with a few extra taxes it may come up to ~$55.

Our heating is gas, so the for the few cold winter nights we have here in sunny beach land, when we heat the home, it doesnt impact our bill.

Figured out that extended roasting/braising in the electric oven does add up, so we stopped that completely (except for Thanksgiving turkey). We only use our propane BBQ.

These SMART meters have really helped us drop our electric bill.

gizmonte
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on March 06, 2016, 09:23:52 AM
Interestingly, our refrigerator draws almost no electricity. It is a new Energy Star compliant device bought by our landlord.

I too was suprised by mine. I measured mine with a Kill a watt and it only averages 44W.

I despise the light spectrum of CFLs, but even if new CFLs have more natural spectra, the upfront cost would never pay off for us since we are in a rental.

This is only true if your next residence (or residences) use)s( CFLs or LEDs. Otherwise you just buy CFLs or LEDs (LEDs have a much wider variety of spectra that you can choose from) and put them in. Save the current incandescents in a box somewhere, and then put them bck when you move out.

These SMART meters have really helped us drop our electric bill.

Yea my power company has these, and it's pretty cool. I can compete against myself on a much shorter time scale (reduce energy consumption this week or this day as opposed to this month).
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: dontwannaworkforever on March 25, 2016, 04:31:30 AM
Hit the goal today fellas: $73.24

I had a total energy charge of 375.95 kwh. My bill was comprised of $24.94 for this and $32.30 for the "fuel recovery charge" mentioned in this thread before.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: human on March 25, 2016, 06:34:29 AM
Awesome! I started looking at our daily energy consumption and realized that the big draws were hot water in the morning for showers, every other day for the dishwasher, the dryer on weekends and fridge spiking during the day. Iwas able to reduce the bill by quite a bit just using these energy hogs during off peak hours and reducing dryer use to one load a week. Ordered a bricor water miser pc need to install that to reduce hot water use in the morning. Bill in december was 99$, january was 76$ but we were gone for two weeks. I realized that the dryer exhaust fan was on all the time turning it off dropped about half a kwh.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: warmastoast on April 03, 2016, 03:16:51 PM
OOOHHH! So close!  I really kept an eye on the electricity consumption this last month and even with having to start using the pool pump my consumption was my lowest ever in the USA.  The bill came to $107.  So close.  Maybe I'll manage to get it under $100 for April?  Traditionally this is a low month because we don't need heating or a/c. 

I keep noticing how much energy we use just for cooking dinner - I use our smaller oven and the cooktop and it always shows a spike on the energy consumption.  I'm beginning to think of buying a mini oven to use instead of the regular oven.

We still have overnight usage that I'd like to get down.  I switch off everything I can but we're still using .5kwH each hour during the night from 11pm until 7am.  There is a buzzing noise coming from the cooktop I think so perhaps that needs to be looked at?
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: human on April 03, 2016, 03:24:50 PM
Did you really mean half a kwh or .05? Half a kwh is a lot, my guess is a fan is going somewhere (central ac?) Or do you have a pc folding at home farm?

When away during they day 8-5 we are using .09 per hour, could probably reduce that by turning off breakers or something.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: warmastoast on April 03, 2016, 05:19:12 PM
I really mean half a kwH per hour.   There's an occasional spike between 3 and 4 am. 
As far as I know during the night we have:
refrigerator/freezer
water heater (electric)
the oven display
a/c and heat is switched to off so no fan on.
coffee machine comes on at 6.45am
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: ringer707 on April 21, 2016, 07:47:28 AM
Just got this month's electric bill- $77.01!! Very excited! We just moved into our house in November and this is our lowest bill to date. We were at $100.50 last month. Going to try to see if we can top it again this month. I had maybe 5 days of running the heat this last statement, and my husband turned the A/C on when we went to bed at night a couple times, though it certainly doesn't run all night since it's still pretty cool at night here. We just got our clothesline up this weekend too, so I've already started line drying clothes to further cut down on dryer use. Trying to remember to unplug items as often as possible as well.

How did everyone else do this past month?
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: johnny847 on April 21, 2016, 07:56:19 AM
How did everyone else do this past month?

These past couple months I've used 165, 182, and 167 kWh, which cost to $31.12, $32.96, and $31.33, respectively.

I'm in a 600 sq ft basement apartment in Atlanta. I use gas for cooking and heating, and my water is heated by the apartment complex.

This month so far I have used 113 kWh. This month's cycle is 4/02 - 5/02.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: spirotot on April 24, 2016, 06:52:42 AM
I really mean half a kwH per hour.   There's an occasional spike between 3 and 4 am. 
As far as I know during the night we have:
refrigerator/freezer
water heater (electric)
the oven display
a/c and heat is switched to off so no fan on.
coffee machine comes on at 6.45am

I'm in a similar boat, but no electric water heater, and no coffee machine auto-starting. I just bought/installed the Efergy home electric meter to help me troubleshoot...  We have like a 400W draw basically all the time (knew this from our electric supplier's online electric usage graph) -- occasionally drops down to ~340W, but not very often (learning this with the Efergy)! Also am pretty confident (thanks to the Efergy) that our fridge/freezer in the kitchen uses ~300W when running. Whoah! More than I expected. It came with the house, but I don't think it's super old...? Hm. :/

So far, I've figured out that our "computer corner" (WiFi router, two Intel NUCs, a Drobo, an additional 4-bay hard drive enclosure, and a Raspberry Pi or two) pulls 112W or so basically all the time. I'm OK with that -- those machines are all running services that we use regularly, and they were all chosen to be as cost efficient as possible.

So that leaves 225W of other "background" stuff to find. Pretty sure that ~20W of that is our printer, but I need to confirm with a Kill-A-Watt. 3W is our electrified furnace air filter. ~5W is our Roomba (5W all the time?? WTF is that thing doing? It says it's charged!).

So ~195-200W left...

At night we have an LED yard light that comes on. *Should* be drawing ~15W, but will confirm with the KaW.

~185W left....

Ahh, we have some other fluorescent flood lights outside that come on at night, too. Maybe another ~50-80W there? Will try to KaW that tonight along with the LED yard light.

And there's one breaker in our electric panel that, if shut off, immediately drops the draw by 70W. I have no idea what that is (conveniently labeled by the previous owner as "outlets outside room", with no indication of where/what "outside" or "room" is supposed to mean) -- need to poke around the house and figure out what that breaker controls.

Even if that 70W mystery breaker can be shut off/reduced to 0W, we're still left with ~20-50W of draw unaccounted for. Hm. Maybe I'll find out that those fluorescent flood lights are using way more electricity than I think they are... Hm... 10-15W might  be our powerline Ethernet adapters... Looking forward to doing some more sleuthing! :)
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Kapiira on April 26, 2016, 12:32:10 PM
I've been chipping away at my electricity bill for the last few years.  I've noticed big improvements with switching the recessed lights to LED and turning off my ice maker in the freezer when we're not using it.  I found this website to be very useful:
http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/

I also realized that there are problems with my ductwork and I'm losing heat that way.  In the winter, my largest electricity use is running the gas furnace.  I'm getting the ductwork fixed and I'm curious to see if it makes a big difference with my electricity bill next winter.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: CmFtns on April 26, 2016, 01:26:56 PM
Now that you got your usage under 100 now you have to keep it under 100... forever =)
Here's some inspiration... It is possible even in hot summer weather (Florida)

Old House (1700sqft)
2015
         KWH   Bill
Mar: 69       $11.62
Apr: 425     $53.88
May: 522    $62.42
Jun: 519      $62.15
Jul: 682       $78.86
Aug: 595     $69.95
Sep: 559     $65.96
Oct: 591     $69.21
Nov: 503     $60.22
Dec: 400     $49.74
2016
Jan: 335      $41.88
Feb: 276      $36.11


New House (2000sqft):
2016
Mar: 241     $30.19
Apr: 447     $48.20
May: 384    $42.60
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: beardsly on April 28, 2016, 03:21:59 PM
I live in the Chicago burbs.  We use ~370KWh per month in spring/fall.  About 15% higher in the winter, the summer really depends on how hot/humid it is.

I've recently lowered out bill from ~$70 per month to <$55 per month.  The main culprit was the fridge, it worked fine but was very old, probably from the 70's.  I purchased a basic 18 cu ft model manufactured in 2009 on Craigslist for $80.  We have a built in electric oven and an electric dryer.  It would take too long to recoup the cost of converting to gas so I'm not going to swap those.

I have a Killawatt meter and find it very useful for finding phantom loads especially electronics.  An easy way to calculate the monthly KWh's for a device that is "always on" is to multiply the wattage by 0.72.  So a 60Watt light bulb that is always on consumes 60 * 0.72 = 43.2KWh per month.  Then multiply that by your cost per KWh (add cost of electricity and delivery).  My KWh cost is ~0.12, so the cost to have 60Watt light bulb on all month is 43.2 *0.12 = $5.18 per month.  Now mot many folks will leave a light on all the time but consider the power usage of things light cable boxes, landscape lighting, computers etc and you might be surprised how much money you are needlessly wasting on electricity.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: ringer707 on May 26, 2016, 10:08:18 AM
Hello? Anyone out there?

I got down to $62.10 this month :) Had to run the dryer quite a bit for laundry because we actually got SO MUCH rain that I couldn't use the new clothesline and it was too humid to get clothes to dry on the covered porch. Not sure I can reach that again this month. For some reason my husband insist on turning on the AC when it's 81 degrees in the house before we go to bed at night.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: sol on May 26, 2016, 11:58:00 PM
Hello? Anyone out there?

Yes, but I'm a bad person to compare with.

My power bill for the past two month billing period was negative $45.81, as in they paid me that much money for the surplus power that my solar panels generated above and beyond what our household used.  (They also pay me about $400/mo in production incentives for the solar panels, but that's just part of the cost recovery for having the panels installed in the first place so I don't really count that as profit.)

And that's AFTER the $21/month we spend to charge our electric car to drive 900 miles per month, displacing about $150/month in foregone gasoline costs for our old SUV.  In our case, we'd actually much rather use more power to displace gasoline consumption, because there is no more efficient use of our (cheap) electricity than replacing gasoline used for transportation.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Paul der Krake on May 27, 2016, 04:53:15 AM
My power bill for the past two month billing period was negative $45.81, as in they paid me that much money for the surplus power that my solar panels generated above and beyond what our household used.
Is the production surplus payment considered taxable income? If so, where does it go on your 1040?
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: sol on May 27, 2016, 08:27:23 AM
Is the production surplus payment considered taxable income? If so, where does it go on your 1040?

No, it is not considered taxable income.  It's a renewable energy incentive program for which my utility company claims a federal tax credit and then routes to me, in exchange for helping them fulfill their renewable production target without any capital outlay of their own.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Rhoon on May 31, 2016, 08:14:24 PM
Below is a listing of my electric bill for the last 15 months. The second column is the number of kWh's used in that month. To figure out price very quickly, the first 1000 kWh is ~$100, anything above that is $0.13/kWh.

This house (in Florida) was built in 1998 time frame and I swear, had zero upgrades in that time frame. Water heater and pool pump were original, AC was circa 2008. Single pane windows.

In the last 3 months, I have replaced the water heater with an on-demand one ($1500); replaced the pool pump with a variable speed version ($1000) and added Solar Panels ($24K). Even after all of this I couldn't get this bill down. I finally had the AC guys come back out and rip the system apart (it had been starting and stopping randomly, even when I turned it off; would have to pop the breaker to get it fully off); cost $410 for the fix.

Turns out, someone had by-passed all the wiring on the internal heater/defrosting coils and those were running 24/7 unless I popped the breaker, which was the big cause of my power consumption. Figure 24A @ 240V, per hour.

For my 16 days in May I had the meter going, I used 1075 wKh (net; received 89 back from my solar panels which went live on May 12th). I didn't get the AC heater fixed until around May 19th, so I'm anxious to see how the power generation will net out next month. Since I had the heater fixed, my generation back onto the grid has shot up based on what I've read on my new meter. As far as I've been able to tell, I'm consuming around 20 kWh a day now and putting somewhere between 45 and 70 kWh back on the grid; netting somewhere between 25 kWh or more as credits. Compare this to generating between 45 and 70 kWh and then pulling another 50 off the grid because of that stupid AC heater.

Another bonus to the fix is I've been able to raise the thermostat from 75 to 79 in the house as the heater is no longer burning 24/7 and fighting with the AC unit.


4/4/16   1,249   4/4/16   32
3/3/16   1,352   3/3/16   30
2/2/16   1,293   2/2/16   29
1/4/16   1,733   1/4/16   32
12/3/15   1,661   12/3/15   30
11/3/15   1,752   11/3/15   32
10/2/15   2,335   10/2/15   30
9/2/15   2,793   9/2/15   30
8/3/15   2,610   8/3/15   32
7/2/15   2,247   7/2/15   29
6/3/15   2,458   6/3/15   30
5/4/15   2,008   5/4/15   32
4/2/15   1,403   4/2/15   29
3/4/15   1,344   3/4/15   30
2/2/15   1,457   2/2/15   31
1/2/15   1,537   1/2/15   28


We still have the single pane windows to deal with; but we'll get there; most likely next year.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Kroaler on June 02, 2016, 02:28:43 PM
Hello? Anyone out there?

Yes, but I'm a bad person to compare with.

My power bill for the past two month billing period was negative $45.81, as in they paid me that much money for the surplus power that my solar panels generated above and beyond what our household used.  (They also pay me about $400/mo in production incentives for the solar panels, but that's just part of the cost recovery for having the panels installed in the first place so I don't really count that as profit.)

And that's AFTER the $21/month we spend to charge our electric car to drive 900 miles per month, displacing about $150/month in foregone gasoline costs for our old SUV.  In our case, we'd actually much rather use more power to displace gasoline consumption, because there is no more efficient use of our (cheap) electricity than replacing gasoline used for transportation.

I want to grow up and be a bad ass like you some day.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: wintersun on September 05, 2016, 05:38:41 PM
Wow, Your bill really dropped!!!!  What did your wife say?

We also hang our clothes out to dry which has saved us a lot of money.  I am kind of addicted to it now.  At one point I used a Kill a Watt and I think it is time to use one again.  In the last two years we have added a new computer, a new printer and a new router and modem and  now the electrical company has raised its rates. (erghhhhh!)

My next foray into lowering our bill will include no oven use in summer, always putting three things in the oven when it is on, putting the router and modem on a switch to turn off at night, skimming the pool daily, more hand washing of dishes instead of dishwasher use and lowering the water heater temperature. 

I have read Michael Bluejay's electricity saving website and the only issue I have with it is that putting a water heater on a timer really does save some money which I think he says is not true.

Our oven is quite old and I cannot figure out how much it uses.  It is a 1995 wall oven. How can I future out how much electricity it uses?  I am debating whether to buy a small toaster oven in addition to save costs. 
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Heckler on September 05, 2016, 10:57:37 PM
Under a hundred?  Check.

Id like to get it under $75 constantly.   3 story townhouse, 2100 sqft.
 
Ive slowly been changing CFLs to LED, but just turning them off saves more.

Oh, this is $CAD, so like $50 in greenbacks.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: warmastoast on September 20, 2016, 07:38:33 AM
Wow, Your bill really dropped!!!!  What did your wife say?

We also hang our clothes out to dry which has saved us a lot of money.  I am kind of addicted to it now.  At one point I used a Kill a Watt and I think it is time to use one again.  In the last two years we have added a new computer, a new printer and a new router and modem and  now the electrical company has raised its rates. (erghhhhh!)

My next foray into lowering our bill will include no oven use in summer, always putting three things in the oven when it is on, putting the router and modem on a switch to turn off at night, skimming the pool daily, more hand washing of dishes instead of dishwasher use and lowering the water heater temperature. 

I have read Michael Bluejay's electricity saving website and the only issue I have with it is that putting a water heater on a timer really does save some money which I think he says is not true.

Our oven is quite old and I cannot figure out how much it uses.  It is a 1995 wall oven. How can I future out how much electricity it uses?  I am debating whether to buy a small toaster oven in addition to save costs.

My electricity bills have gone down by almost 50% since January!  My house is 1984 with some  decent upgrades already done by the previous owners - good quality windows, extra insulation in the attic. In May I replaced the upstairs a/c unit with a new indoor handler and a heat pump outside ($5k).  I added weather stripping to all the outside doors and during our texas summer with the kids home all day I kept the temperature setting at 78F during the day and 76F at night.  I also read up about pool maintenance and added bleach myself daily - this meant that my single speed pool pump only needed to run 4 hours a day to keep it clear. My largest summer bill has been $185 ($370 last year....)

Next items to do (still..... I had put this in my previous post!)
upgrade garage doors insulation
balloon in the fireplace
add/redistribute attic insulation
take out the whole house attic fan (only useful in TX for about a week a year and a complete pita to use)-  I've sealed around the edges of this fan but it's still a big hole in the insulation cover.
I've looked into replacing the pool pump for a variable speed one but since I use my current one for only 4 hours a day, the savings there are not big enough to justify the $700 for a replacement right now. 

A toaster oven!  yes.  I had one in the south of France and could place it outside to use in the hot summer months, helping to keep my non-air conditioned house cool.  They use at most 1800 watts whereas my kitchen oven uses 4100 for the "small" one and 5000 watts for the larger one.  So, double saving for me and Costco/Target have them on sale for about $40 right now. I really need to stop prevaricating about the size I need....
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: piethief on September 22, 2016, 09:48:48 PM
I ordered a Sense which should be arriving in a couple weeks.  :)  I already had a less-cool gadget for tracking electrical usage.  In the summer our bill is about $200 (beats the $500-$700 it was when we lived in TX) but in the winter it's < $100.  Average of $150 / month is about the lowest of any place we've ever lived, but I think we'll be able to fine tune it and get it down even lower once we know where the juice is going.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: warmastoast on September 22, 2016, 11:40:30 PM
oooh that sense app looks very nice indeed!  Would love your feedback when you get it.

It attaches to your main breaker board?   I have 2 of those - one for inside stuff and one for outside, so I suppose I will need 2 sense thingies?

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: OldFashionedGirlinOhio on September 28, 2016, 10:10:16 PM
We have an energy hog in the summer months-- the dehumidifier in the basement.  It's kind of like running your refrigerator with the door open.   BUT we are so far unwilling to let the basement get damp and musty, so we pay the electricity cost.   Has anyone got ideas for how to avoid damp musty basement without a dehumidifier?   I'd love to hear, thanks.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: wintersun on October 12, 2016, 06:18:56 PM
@warmastoast,

Did you get a toaster oven?  I am holding off for pre-Christmas sales. 

What I have done is to investigate replacing our track lights with LED ones which should drop our bill quite a lot.  I tried a week with almost nothing plugged in and that helped a lot but my husband is not on board for that.

Off to check out the Sense app.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Rhoon on October 26, 2016, 04:51:06 PM
4/4/16   1,249   4/4/16   32
3/3/16   1,352   3/3/16   30
2/2/16   1,293   2/2/16   29
1/4/16   1,733   1/4/16   32
12/3/15   1,661   12/3/15   30
11/3/15   1,752   11/3/15   32
10/2/15   2,335   10/2/15   30
9/2/15   2,793   9/2/15   30
8/3/15   2,610   8/3/15   32
7/2/15   2,247   7/2/15   29
6/3/15   2,458   6/3/15   30
5/4/15   2,008   5/4/15   32
4/2/15   1,403   4/2/15   29
3/4/15   1,344   3/4/15   30
2/2/15   1,457   2/2/15   31
1/2/15   1,537   1/2/15   28


So from my $200+ Electricity bills every month for the past few years, this has been what my bill looks like with my solar panels up and running; which will only get lower with the AC off here in Florida. Looking forward to banking some credits!

      10/24/2016   29   $8.76
   9/23/2016   30   $16.50
   8/24/2016   32   $40.14
   7/22/2016   30   $14.76
   6/23/2016   32   $19.71
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: aerofreaky` on November 05, 2016, 08:10:59 AM
I average around $25 to $30 a month for a 2 B/R apartment in Manhattan. This is only possible because of "net metering."  Basically, my building only pays one bill to Con Ed for delivery. So, the basic minimum charge is shared by all of the units making it negligible. After that, I'm charged for actual usage on a small meter in my unit that the management company reads and reports though a metering company. This company does charge a dollar or two a unit per month, but that's much better than paying a regular "Customer Charge."

My consumption is around 125 Kwh/ month. I've been able to keep it at this level though efficiency. I have a Kill A Watt and use it for monitoring. I have mostly LED light fixtures, recently replacing several year old "compact florescent efficient" can fixtures, and converting the vanity lights to LED from florescent tubes with simple rewiring.

Heat and AC is though a heat pump style HVAC unit, but LEED GOLD building standards, Low E windows, insulation, sealed living space, and blankets/fans allow for minimal usage.

A big part of conservation is avoiding the desire to run the AC in the summer to ridiculously cold temperatures. I always wonder why people want to sit in a 60 degree room in the summer and will complain if the same room is 70 in the winter.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: zygote on October 04, 2019, 11:28:17 AM
Reviving this thread due to my latest electricity bill, and assuming others might be interested in it too.

I live in a 1.5 bedroom apartment in NYC, and our power usage is out of control for how small the apartment is. Fees are only ~$4/month, but it's ~21 cents a kWh with the taxes, so the bill can balloon out of control pretty quickly.

One of the major difficulties is that our meter does not get read on a regular basis. That makes it hard to know exactly what our usage is month to month to make any changes, or to see whether any changes worked. For example, our meter wasn't read at all between March and yesterday. We just got "estimated" bills the whole time. Theoretically we are getting a smart meter soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

I do know that in the last year, we used 4270 kWh, which is about 356 kWh a month. We definitely use way more than that in the summer, when the bills (estimated or real) make my eyes pop. We have two window units for AC, and they aren't very effective at cooling things down despite being new-ish. We often have to blast them at 60 for a while just to get the room temperature to 75. That would probably be okay for me, but my wife is always hot and would prefer the actual temperature to be in the 60s (year round). We hooked our ACs up to a free smart system this year to allow remote control and monitoring, and the two ACs alone used 340 kWh in September.

We don't pay for heat, which is a blessing and a curse. Glad it's free, but it's a classic New York heating system that turns your apartment into a sauna. We keep all the radiators off year round, and the two steam pipes that run through our kitchen and bathroom often leave the apartment 80+, requiring open windows and the AC at night. (Our only bedroom window has the AC in it and doesn't open. The AC has to stay in year round because it's logistically difficult to take in and out due to our furniture, and we'd have nowhere to put it once it was out anyway).

We also pay the energy company $25/month for gas for cooking. The gas usage is low enough the $25 is all fees for access. Basically never any usage charges there.

Even though the AC is the biggest energy hog, it's also probably the hardest thing to cut. My wife is home all day and cares more about being comfortable than the high energy bill. So I want to focus on things I can do in the background without affecting her quality of life. I think I need to get a kill-a-watt and see what's going on. We definitely keep a lot of things plugged in all the time that are not on all the time. If I plug these infrequently used electronics into a power strip and turn off the power strip, is that the same as keeping them unplugged all the time? Time to experiment.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Boofinator on October 04, 2019, 12:40:47 PM
We often have to blast them at 60 for a while just to get the room temperature to 75. That would probably be okay for me, but my wife is always hot and would prefer the actual temperature to be in the 60s (year round). We hooked our ACs up to a free smart system this year to allow remote control and monitoring, and the two ACs alone used 340 kWh in September.

You may not want this kind of response, but here goes anyways. :)

Have you or your wife ever actually tried living at somewhat normal summer temperatures? These are the temperatures that pretty much all of humanity (Eskimos excluded) would have experienced for all of history prior to the last fifty years ago. I ask, because in my experience, most people who are, for lack of a better term, addicted to AC, have not.

As someone who grew up in Florida without AC, let me tell you my secret to acclimating. Every summer, after your body has acclimated to the cool winter weather, your body needs to reacclimate to the summer weather. This is not fun. At the beginning of summer, even modest heat waves with temperatures in the upper '70s will feel unpleasant. Here's the hard part: in order to acclimate, you need to accept the unpleasantness, the tossing and turning in the bed for a few hours each night, as part of the process. But after just a few short days of this, a temperature of 80F should feel just fine (in a well-insulated room; if there's a lot of radiant heat from the walls, you may need to go a little lower).

For my house, we set the thermostat at 84F in the summer and 64F in the winter. This is the edge of my wife's comfort level (I could go a little farther in both directions). In response to this thread's title, my electric bill is far lower than $100 per month, and my house is in the neighborhood of 3,500 square feet.

Ceiling fans also help.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: zygote on October 04, 2019, 01:31:58 PM
@Boofinator I don't think either of us mind a little discomfort, but where is the line? Heat makes me nauseated and gives her a headache. Plus, I'm already pretty bad at sleeping in general and temperature makes a difference. I've actually tried sleeping at higher temps when my wife is out of town and I wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.

I'd be open to trying it to see if acclimating more vigilantly would reduce the nausea and restless sleep, but I don't think my wife would be. I'm pretty sure if she had to choose me or the AC, she'd choose the AC. ;)

Maybe I will discuss the topic with her next spring as the issue becomes more relevant again, because you're not wrong. I'm sure we could get used to a higher temperature than we're living with now if we were committed to it.

But at least for now, I want to focus on the parts of the electricity bill that would not affect her and see if that starts to make a difference.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: M5 on October 04, 2019, 01:50:10 PM
Thanks @zygote for reviving this thread. I never saw this thread before and it's interesting to see other people's numbers.

We're lucky to have insanely cheap utilities here in NV, especially considering it's a monopoly owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

I the past 2 years we've lived here I think the highest I can remember our combined gas/electric being around $135-145. We do leave the AC & heat off during the day, but are pansies at night and usually keep it around 68 after we get home each day. So dirt cheap considering.

This month we've had our heat & AC off for at least the past 7-10 days and our projected bill is $66.

Even our water bill has never been over $36.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Boofinator on October 04, 2019, 01:53:53 PM
@Boofinator I don't think either of us mind a little discomfort, but where is the line? Heat makes me nauseated and gives her a headache. Plus, I'm already pretty bad at sleeping in general and temperature makes a difference. I've actually tried sleeping at higher temps when my wife is out of town and I wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.

I'd be open to trying it to see if acclimating more vigilantly would reduce the nausea and restless sleep, but I don't think my wife would be. I'm pretty sure if she had to choose me or the AC, she'd choose the AC. ;)

Maybe I will discuss the topic with her next spring as the issue becomes more relevant again, because you're not wrong. I'm sure we could get used to a higher temperature than we're living with now if we were committed to it.

But at least for now, I want to focus on the parts of the electricity bill that would not affect her and see if that starts to make a difference.

I understand where you're coming from, and a happy marriage is certainly priceless.

Here are some other suggestions:

1) Do you use fans? Preferably ceiling fans, but ground fans can work too if strategically placed. These should allow for bumping up the thermostat at least a couple of degrees during the summer without any apparent change in comfort.

2) Can you insulate the radiator pipes when your house is getting too warm (rather than turning on the AC)?

3) Do you have efficient lights (CFL or LED)? If not, you might be able to talk your landlord into getting them for you. If not, the return on investment should be swift (I'm guessing a year or two), especially given the amount of AC you use.

4) A kill-a-watt is a good learning tool (and can oftentimes be rented from a library), and shutting off power strips isn't a bad idea, but this falls into the small potatoes category. I only shut off power strips when I'm leaving the house for a week or two.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: TheStrenuousLife on October 04, 2019, 02:17:28 PM
Wooh!  I've already completed this challenge! I average about $40 CDN in my two-bedroom apartment from May-October, and maybe $65 from November to April due to the need to occasionally supplement my old radiators with an electric heater during the frigid Canadian winter. 

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: zygote on October 04, 2019, 03:16:30 PM
Here are some other suggestions:

1) Do you use fans? Preferably ceiling fans, but ground fans can work too if strategically placed. These should allow for bumping up the thermostat at least a couple of degrees during the summer without any apparent change in comfort.

2) Can you insulate the radiator pipes when your house is getting too warm (rather than turning on the AC)?

3) Do you have efficient lights (CFL or LED)? If not, you might be able to talk your landlord into getting them for you. If not, the return on investment should be swift (I'm guessing a year or two), especially given the amount of AC you use.

4) A kill-a-watt is a good learning tool (and can oftentimes be rented from a library), and shutting off power strips isn't a bad idea, but this falls into the small potatoes category. I only shut off power strips when I'm leaving the house for a week or two.

Thanks for these!

1) We don't have any ceiling fans, but we can definitely try using box fans more.

2) Great idea about insulating the pipes. I don't know why we've never done that.

3) I'll have to check. I know we use longer-lasting more environmentally friendly lightbulbs, not sure what they're called. I'll look into it.

4) I'll check the library for a kill-a-watt and see what the non-AC hogs really are.. We have a lot of electronics and I suspect the smaller potatoes are adding up to a big potato that might make a difference...

I will definitely give these a shot. Our old management company was terrible, but we just got a new one and maybe they will be more helpful with these sorts of small things. My wife is actually planning to call them about turning down the heat somehow - The outdoor temp finally got down to the fifties and it's still over 80 in our apartment due to the pipes. If they can do that, they'd save energy/cost and we wouldn't have to bother with insulation.
Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Frank_Deale on October 04, 2019, 06:07:04 PM
We have an energy hog in the summer months-- the dehumidifier in the basement.  It's kind of like running your refrigerator with the door open.   BUT we are so far unwilling to let the basement get damp and musty, so we pay the electricity cost.   Has anyone got ideas for how to avoid damp musty basement without a dehumidifier?   I'd love to hear, thanks.
You will need the dehumidifier but the key is what is the highest satisfactory level to keep the humidity. The lower you keep the humidity the more expensive costs for the dehumidifier.

Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Challenge: Get Your Electricity Bill Under $100
Post by: Goldielocks on October 30, 2019, 10:51:20 PM
Okay, for electricity I am well below $100 for a quite large home with two teenagers...  we have 1/3 of our annual electricity coming from solar panels....

As for temp control
1)  Go crazy and insulate those pipes that run through your kitchen!!!
2)  I use a hot water bottle in winter... and last summer, had a "frozen" water bottle.   Wow. What a difference.  I tried a few things, but actually just wrapping up one of those cooler freezer packs (the large one) in a towel and bringing it to bed did the trick so much better than a cool shower or a wet cloth. 

FWIW, we don't have AC here because the season is too short.  When I was in California, we kept the register at 80-84'f.  Whenever we felt hot, we just went out side for 30 minutes in the 100'F heat, and then back in.