How do you keep your electricity bill low?

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playtothebeat
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How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by playtothebeat » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:38 pm

I was looking through my electricity bill (Southern California Edison; I live in Irvine, CA), and my most recent monthly billing cycle ended up with a $312.91 charge for a 1600-sf house. Now, we have had a somewhat hot summer, and with a newborn in the house, I'm much more mindful of making sure that the temperature is appropriate, so we run the AC quite a bit. We actually even ran it while we were out of the house, and I realized that about a week ago so I have now reprogrammed my thermostat to keep the AC off during the work hours.

Our usage constantly puts us in "Tier 4" pricing with SCE, which is the highest tier they have. I think that even during the winter we are often in Tier 4 (although overall bill is closer to $100 during those months).

After purchasing a Chevy Volt about 3 weeks ago, I'm becoming really mindful of what my electricity usage is, so that I can take advantage of electric charging (with Tier 4 pricing for electricity, it's actually cheaper to just use gas than it is to charge the car on a "cost per mile" basis).

So my question to you all is how do you keep your bill low? Or do you struggle to do it just like I have been? Other than turning off the AC when we aren't home, what else should I consider that I might not be thinking of already?

bpp
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by bpp » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:46 pm

There are the obvious things: LED lights (and turn them off when not in a room), master power switch to shut off electronics when not in use (so they don't suck power in standby mode). Valuethinker will be along shortly to tell you to replace the fridge. :)

If AC is a big component, what kind of AC do you have? If central, can you switch to a zonal system, and only cool those parts of the house you are actually using? Can you block sunlight from coming in windows during the daytime somehow? Insulation?

You can also get an ammeter and go around and find out where the power is being used, and figure out what to do about each particular spot.

Then there are solar panels.

I'm still trying to get our bill lower. May be time to replace the fridge...
Last edited by bpp on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

technovelist
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by technovelist » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:46 pm

I installed a geothermal heat pump (and programmable thermostat), and my electric bill for a 2000 sq. ft. house without any special insulation, is usually about $150/mo. in the summer. And this is in Texas, where the summers are pretty hot, and we don't have particularly low rates (about 11 cents/KWh), and we keep it pretty cool (low 70's).

We also have replaced almost all of the incandescents in the house with CFL.
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davebarnes
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Easy

Post by davebarnes » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:49 pm

1. Live where electricity is cheap.
2. Don't run your AC. Use windows for cooling.
3. Hope that Al Gore is wrong.
A nerd living in Denver

The Wizard
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by The Wizard » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:50 pm

It's going to depend a lot on where folks live.
Here in New England, a/c is an occasional thing though I have them on right now.
I also have some LED interior lights I leave on all the time for security.
My electric bill is $55 to $60 a month, so no big sweat...
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technovelist
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Re: Easy

Post by technovelist » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:51 pm

davebarnes wrote:1. Live where electricity is cheap.
2. Don't run your AC. Use windows for cooling.
3. Hope that Al Gore is wrong.
1 is good.
I don't think #2 is appropriate in a place where it routinely gets over 100 degrees and stays at 90 or above for 24 hours at a time.
3 is good too, although I'm not sure how actionable it is. :mrgreen:
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

livesoft
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:15 pm

Our home is more than 20 years old. It is reasonably energy efficient. We are located in South Texas. Home is 3000 sq ft. Last 2 bills were about $180 each. Same two months last year when it was hotter were about $210 each. Monthly electric bill in the winter with natural gas heat are about $40-$50.

1. Good site plan. We have the front of the house face South where the sun is. We have trees shading the East, South, Southwest of the house. We don't use the rooms at the front of the house, but live in the back of the house. North of house is almost all windows, so we do not need lights on during the day. Direct sunlight into the north-facing windows only at sunrise and at sunset in the summer months. Western wall has 3 small windows and shrubbery to help shade it from the sun in the late afternoon.

2. Good insulation in walls, attic. And home is not spread out. It's a tight box with about 1500 sq ft per floor. So upper floor protects lower floor. Attic fans are electric not wind driven. These fans keep attic from heating up too much in summer, but do not run in the winter. Windows are tinted and window blinds are always closed in the front of the house.

3. Two A/C units, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. Outside units located in the shade on eastern side of house, not on hot western side. Thermostats set for 81 deg F upstairs during the day and 78 deg downstairs. They are set lower at night. Ceiling fans over every bed, in great room, and in den. We use washable A/C filters and keep them clean.

4. Clothes dryer is natural gas. Hot water heaters are natural gas. Our fridge is 20 years old, but not particularly big. It has freezer on top and refrigerator on bottom (not side-by-side).

Most of the above, I don't think folks can implement because it starts with a good site plan and home construction. You can do landscaping (trees, shrubs), but that takes a while and may not work if there a water problem.
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interplanetjanet
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by interplanetjanet » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:26 pm

technovelist wrote:I installed a geothermal heat pump (and programmable thermostat), and my electric bill for a 2000 sq. ft. house without any special insulation, is usually about $150/mo. in the summer. And this is in Texas, where the summers are pretty hot, and we don't have particularly low rates (about 11 cents/KWh), and we keep it pretty cool (low 70's).
For what it's worth, those rates are quite low compared to many areas - the OP is paying >30c/KWh at the margin.

The first step is to identify where the energy is going. Comparing KWh consumption (not just dollar figures, which can fluctuate) between summer and mid spring or fall will give a reasonable starting guess as to how much electricity is spent on cooling. If an electric clothes dryer is used frequently and natural gas is available, the cost of the energy spent to dry a load of clothing can be drastically cut by going to a gas dryer.

Old refrigerators and freezers can be horrible about electricity consumption. New ones can pay for themselves in just a few years when electricity prices are this high.

LED lights may not give a large reduction in energy consumption vs CFL bulbs, unless colored or directional light is needed (LEDs excel in replacing halogen spotlights for this reason, for example).

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Toons
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Toons » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:30 pm

1.We open the windows and use window fans unless it gets very hot and humid,in that case the air comes on(heat pump)
2,The last one out the room turns off the lights
3.During heating season we rely on our propane fed fireplaces(2).We also have a heat pump and use but they tend to lose efficiency around 35 degrees.
4.Use 13watt=60 spiral light bulbs in all fixtures. :happy

Average Bill 65 per month
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oxothuk
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by oxothuk » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:34 pm

We have a whole house fan and no A/C. Works great in a dry climate like ours (Colorado), but I expect would work well in SoCal as well. Another alternative would be to use a humidifier (aka "swamp cooler").

LongerPrimer
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by LongerPrimer » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:37 pm

We burn gas in the winter which is high efficiency condensing type. We have a heat pump but it is 30+ years old.
Your problem is that your locale has decommissioned nuclear power plants. Our problem in the PNW (12cents/kw) is that we are competing for power that is being generated here but you are buying on the western power grid. Every kilowatt generated by wind turbines (thousands) in the PNW, not one watt is used here - which is OK since you bought the turbines and rent the land.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/ ... northwest/
Last edited by LongerPrimer on Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

cherijoh
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by cherijoh » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:49 pm

bpp wrote:There are the obvious things: LED lights (and turn them off when not in a room), master power switch to shut off electronics when not in use (so they don't suck power in standby mode). Valuethinker will be along shortly to tell you to replace the fridge. :)

If AC is a big component, what kind of AC do you have? If central, can you switch to a zonal system, and only cool those parts of the house you are actually using? Can you block sunlight from coming in windows during the daytime somehow? Insulation?

You can also get an ammeter and go around and find out where the power is being used, and figure out what to do about each particular spot.

Then there are solar panels.

I'm still trying to get our bill lower. May be time to replace the fridge...
Actually pulling out the fridge and vacuuming the coils may help. :wink: Replace your furnace filter frequently as a dusty filter makes the fan motor work harder. Do you have good insulation in your attic? Do you have any rooms you don't use? Close the drapes and shut the door. Also, make good use of ceiling fans to keep the air circulating.

cherijoh
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by cherijoh » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:54 pm

oxothuk wrote:We have a whole house fan and no A/C. Works great in a dry climate like ours (Colorado), but I expect would work well in SoCal as well. Another alternative would be to use a humidifier (aka "swamp cooler").
that only works in dry climates. The last thing I'd want to do in NC is add more humidity to the air in the summer!

bpp
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by bpp » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:59 pm

cherijoh wrote:
bpp wrote: I'm still trying to get our bill lower. May be time to replace the fridge...
Actually pulling out the fridge and vacuuming the coils may help. :wink:
Hey, that's a good idea! Thanks.

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cheese_breath
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:38 pm

Follow my wife around the house and turn off all the lights and TVs she leaves on.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Teetlebaum
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Teetlebaum » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:49 pm

I've heard about a bunch of CA rebates/discounts to install energy efficient products, but I'm not sure how many of them are actually worth it. I also heard that some customers make agreements with the utilities to reduce their power usage at peak times. Or you could just turn off your air conditioner. 8-)

Investtoski
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Investtoski » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:56 pm

Contact your local electric company and see if they offer a free energy audit service. If they don't, check if your local government offers a similar service.

dgdevil
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by dgdevil » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:58 pm

1) If fridge is old, replace it and get a rebate from utility. This is usually prime suspect #1.
2) Any other fridges in the house? Throw them out.
3) Air-dry clothes. (Yes, may be less practical in winter and/or with baby)
4) Switch off wifi/modem if leaving house for extended period
5) Switch off computers: read a book instead (by candlelight, obviously)
6) Flat-screen TVs are guzzlers: ditto

livesoft
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:00 pm

You might check you ductwork (in the attic). I lived in a rental where it got so hot in the attic that the glue on the ductwork melted. This caused the ductwork to separate and led to the A/C simply sucking in attic air to be cooled instead of return air from the living quarters. Needless to say, the unit could not keep the home cool, but did a great job of heating it to the same temperature as the attic. It was so bad, we knew something was wrong. A trip to the attic made the situation evident.

In your home, it might just be a smaller leak in the ductwork or a few leaks. Maybe rats chewed some holes in things. A good visual inspection by yourself would be easy and cost you nothing.
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Watty
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Watty » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:01 pm

Look at how old is your A/C is what was its SEER rating was when it was new. (If it is old it is likely less efficient now)

Even if it is working OK but older then it could make sense to buy a new more efficient one now instead of waiting a few more years for it to die.

placeholder
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by placeholder » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:08 pm

I like AC so I'm willing to pay for reasonable amounts (but I keep it at around 78F in the summer) and my base electric use otherwise is <$50 per month so I don't obsess about that.

123
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by 123 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:09 pm

Look at your electric meter to see if you have a "Smart Meter". If you've got a "Smart Meter" most of them have digital displays that cycle through different readings (your utility probably has website instructions on how to read it). One of those readings is the current level of consumption in your house. You can monitor those readings to see what might be going on. It's helpful to know what your house "baseline" number is. That's the amount of power your house consumes when you think you have everything turned off. Check out what it says at 4 am. The background energy includes use of things like your refrigerator, cable box, and various things you've got plugged in around the house.

You can then turn various lights, appliances, etc on and see their impact. Turn on the lights in a few rooms, start up a plasma TV, run a dishwasher cycle, turn your air conditioning on, and you'll see where the power goes. I used a plug-in device called something like a "Watt Meter" but it could only do a single plugged-in device at a time. I found reading the house meter was much more helpful. When things are on hour-after-hour it all adds up. I have some recessed lights in my kitchen that suck 500 watts when they're on. Our plasma TV sucks about 250 watts. Seems like a good reason to migrate to a fancy new LED TV in my book.
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inbox788
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by inbox788 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:15 pm

Solar!

You're a prime candidate for solar with bills more than $200 and electric vehicle.

Talk your your neighbors who have solar systems. Walk around the neighborhood and you'll spot the signs or panels (some better ones hidden in the back). You'll save a lot of money and use more electricity.

yakers
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by yakers » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:32 pm

Contact your utility to change over to a TOU (Time of Use) meter sine you have a Volt. I have a Ford Focus Electric and added a 240 charger and the special meter, makes charging cheaper & faster. I am in Pasadena, CA which has somewhat better rates but still more than other parts of the country, I pay 10 cents KWH at peak hours, 9 cents at margin times and 8 cents from midnight to 8 AM, when the car charges. And I have taken to doing laundry and the like in the morning for the cheaper rates. Also consider solar.

Ron
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Ron » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:27 pm

cheese_breath wrote:Follow my wife around the house and turn off all the lights and TVs she leaves on.
:sharebeer

I feel your pain...

- Ron

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pennstater2005
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by pennstater2005 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:39 pm

We don't have central AC, just a couple small units in the kids room which only run when they're in their for naps and bedtime. We turn off lights when not in those rooms. I don't feel like we do anything special to keep our bills low. Average bill is $45 (1300 sq ft house).
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The Wizard
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by The Wizard » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:41 pm

123 wrote:Look at your electric meter to see if you have a "Smart Meter". If you've got a "Smart Meter" most of them have digital displays that cycle through different readings (your utility probably has website instructions on how to read it). One of those readings is the current level of consumption in your house. You can monitor those readings to see what might be going on. It's helpful to know what your house "baseline" number is. That's the amount of power your house consumes when you think you have everything turned off. Check out what it says at 4 am. The background energy includes use of things like your refrigerator, cable box, and various things you've got plugged in around the house.

You can then turn various lights, appliances, etc on and see their impact. Turn on the lights in a few rooms, start up a plasma TV, run a dishwasher cycle, turn your air conditioning on, and you'll see where the power goes. I used a plug-in device called something like a "Watt Meter" but it could only do a single plugged-in device at a time. I found reading the house meter was much more helpful. When things are on hour-after-hour it all adds up. I have some recessed lights in my kitchen that suck 500 watts when they're on. Our plasma TV sucks about 250 watts. Seems like a good reason to migrate to a fancy new LED TV in my book.
I use my plasma tv to help heat my house in winter. I'm happy with that...
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LeeMKE
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by LeeMKE » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:52 pm

+1 for most of the suggestions here.

How about a NEST thermostat? Mine pay for themselves in Wisconsin because they figure out that I've left and flip to the away settings. I can control them from my iPhone. With the rates you pay, a NEST should pay for itself faster than here. Mine shave 10 - 20% off the heating/cooling portion of my utility bill. When I had one thermostat for 2000 sq ft, the savings were pretty fast. Now I have 3 for 1600 sq. ft., and the extra cost of 3 devices, means the payback is 3 times larger but is paying back in about 22 months.

If you don't have a whole house fan, and it gets cool at night, those are really helpful. Open a few windows in the morning, run the fan a few minutes to fill the house with cool air, seal it up and leave. In Sacramento (seriously hot during the day, but sixties at night) we could avoid the A/C running until after 4 PM because the house was chilled in the AM.
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Toons
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Toons » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:53 pm

cheese_breath wrote:Follow my wife around the house and turn off all the lights and TVs she leaves on.

:sharebeer lol
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mw1739
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by mw1739 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:03 pm

I just bought a new 70" tv. The sticker on the front says it uses $25 of power each year. That might be the best $2 I spend every month.

BigJohn
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by BigJohn » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:18 pm

Biggest change I made was to add more insulation in the attic. I'm a do-it-yourself person and went to my local big box home store and bought rolls of R-30 foam glass (no vapor barrier, plastic encapsulated). Here's one example http://www.homedepot.com/p/Owens-Cornin ... /202585906. I purchased about 10 - 12 at a time (that's all the would fit in SUV) and then spent the day installing. Assuming that you already have insulation installed up to the ceiling beams, you lay these across the beams. About 70% goes quick with long straight runs, the other 30% takes a while because it has to be cut around ducts, rafters, etc. You probably can't get 100% coverage but I estimate I got about 80% coverage. AC is our biggest electricity expense and I saw a noticeable drop in electric bill from one summer to the next. Estimate it paid for itself in about 2 years.

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CyberBob
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by CyberBob » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:23 pm

mw1739 wrote:I just bought a new 70" tv. The sticker on the front says it uses $25 of power each year. That might be the best $2 I spend every month.
TV's are more energy efficient, but apparently not cable boxes. The Los Angeles Times recently had an article about cable boxes being the second biggest energy users in many homes, right behind air conditioning.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pow ... tml#page=1

sport
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by sport » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:24 pm

Install and use ceiling fans. For moderately hot weather, you can get by with just the fans. For hotter weather, using the fans will allow you to set the thermostat to a higher temperature and still maintain comfort. Fans do not use very much electricity, and certainly a lot less than the AC.
Jeff

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6miths
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by 6miths » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:32 pm

cheese_breath wrote:Follow my wife around the house and turn off all the lights and TVs she leaves on.
Insert 'and my 4 children'. Also, programmable thermostat to keep AC operation in off-peak hours. And I can access it over the internet to turn in back up when certain members of the family have set it to the 'High Arctic' setting. Oh yes, and ceiling fans and a timer on pool pump so only on during off-peak as well.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

mw1739
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by mw1739 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:44 pm

There's a lot of variables in play here. All electric house or are some appliances gas? How new is your house? I would guess that your Volt is about $100 a month of that total. Posting your usage (kWh) would probably be a better comparison.

FWIW my house is 6200 sf and my power bill last month was $250, but I'm in the midwest where power rates are cheaper.

playtothebeat
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by playtothebeat » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:18 pm

A lot of excellent responses here , thanks all!

A couple of items worth addressing:
- I just got the Volt about 2 weeks ago, so it is not yet part of the latest figure. In fact I've only charged it twice at home (the rest have been at work).
- My usage between May and August (4 months) has been between 820 kwh and 1191 kwh. During the winter it looks like I was at around 450-500 (and that was without paying much attention to making sure the lights are off, and such, so I'm sure i'll be able to get it down further)
- I like the idea of a thermostat that I can control remotely; I think that would be very valuable and is something I've actually wanted for a while. Is the Nest Thermostat the best way to go about that?
- I don't know much about Solar, although we get phone calls from salesmen all the time on it. Perhaps I should actually talk to one of them sometime..
- My house is about 20 years old.
- I've looked into TOU rates with our utility company, and need to do some math to see whether it makes sense. The "peak" rate is quite a bit higher than the current rate (but offpeak is cheaper), so I'd need to run the numbers based on my actual daily usage (on a bright note, I just found out that my utility company gives a very detailed daily/hourly breakdown of usage, so that's nice)..

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cheese_breath
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:18 pm

Move to MI and get old. DTE Energy has a senior discount program.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

hmw
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by hmw » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:27 pm

cheese_breath wrote:Move to MI and get old. DTE Energy has a senior discount program.
It's the location. :)

I just looked up my last month's bill and we used 1072kwh. The bill was $128.64. We live in Texas.

TareNeko
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by TareNeko » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:38 pm

playtothebeat wrote: - I like the idea of a thermostat that I can control remotely; I think that would be very valuable and is something I've actually wanted for a while. Is the Nest Thermostat the best way to go about that?
I have the cheapest wifi enabled Honeywell. I can connect to it via my iphone. I think I spent $100 vs the nest which is $250. I also don't like things that have a mind of their own like nest.

dolphinsaremammals
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:49 pm

LongerPrimer wrote: Your problem is that your locale has decommissioned nuclear power plants.
Losing nuclear power is going to hit utility bills in the neck any place it happens.

I don't use the heated dry feature on my dishwasher. At first it was odd having the door open as things dry, but now it seems normal. CFLs almost everywhere. Turn the lights and electronics off when not in use. Heat and AC minimal when I'm not at home. Shades down on the side of the house the sun hits in the summer. Energy efficient appliances.

+1 to the house orientation and vegetation suggestions posted by a previous poster, but often nowadays people are idiots about house design and siting.

I would enter into one of those leasing deals with solar companies but I'm getting too long in the tooth to want upheavals going on that I can avoid.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:54 pm

We don't run our AC all that much and it does get pretty hot in the town we live in on some days. We're in the Bay Area but far from the coast. We also have a newborn here and we want her to be comfortable. Our bill is roughly half of yours in the summer months. Here are some things you can do:

1) don't wear too many clothes around the house (sorry about the graphic nature of this suggestion but my intent is merely to give ideas which may help bring down your utility bill)
2) use windows/blinds
3) install ceiling fans in every room
4) purchase large oscillating tower fans for each room and put two such fans in large rooms such as the living room
5) drink cold beverages such as iced water and iced tea
6) use a sheet instead of blankets

Since the electric bill is largely driven by cooling costs in the summer, that should be a focus. I wouldn't go around unplugging cell phone chargers when they aren't being used. You won't get too much bang for your buck that way.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Easy

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:12 am

technovelist wrote:
davebarnes wrote: 2. Don't run your AC. Use windows for cooling.
I don't think #2 is appropriate in a place where it routinely gets over 100 degrees and stays at 90 or above for 24 hours at a time.
He lives in Irvine not Hades. Open the darn windows, at least most of the nights and a lot of the days. The average low in August is 61F. A decently insulated house with a whole house extraction fan on an appropriate timer will be down right chilly most of the time. Sure you'll want to run the AC sometimes but it doesn't have to be 24/7.

Edit to fix quote
Last edited by Epsilon Delta on Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

readZinn
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by readZinn » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:28 am

Great responses. I would also consider adding radiant barrier to the underside of the roof sheathing in the attic (http://www.homedepot.com/b/Building-Mat ... 5yc1vZbedf). I think it's required by code now on new construction or if you are replacing a roof. I'm in Southern California. Makes a huge difference!

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/radiant-barriers

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Re: Easy

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:08 am

Epsilon Delta wrote: He lives in Irvine not Hades. Open the darn windows, at least most of the nights and a lot of the days.
:D Do pay attention to security issues with those open windows, however.
Ron Ronnerson wrote: 1) don't wear too many clothes around the house (sorry about the graphic nature of this suggestion but my intent is merely to give ideas which may help bring down your utility bill)
6) use a sheet instead of blankets
I thought everyone did that in the summer...

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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by placeholder » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:09 am

jsl11 wrote:Install and use ceiling fans. For moderately hot weather, you can get by with just the fans.
Not around here where warm weather bring oppressive humidity with it so I USE the AC and don't try to tough it out with fans or anything like there because there are better places where I can squeeze a dime.

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steve roy
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by steve roy » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:13 am

A roof full of solar panels. Works like a charm. But you have to own the right exposure to old sol (house on the right axis, minimal shade trees, etc.)

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interplanetjanet
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by interplanetjanet » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:43 am

LongerPrimer wrote:We burn gas in the winter which is high efficiency condensing type. We have a heat pump but it is 30+ years old.
Your problem is that your locale has decommissioned nuclear power plants.
Well...maybe.

I think that the real issue is that during the electricity crisis in California in 2001, legislation was passed that froze the costs of lower usage tiers. As energy costs rose, all of the increase was borne by the higher users; the lower users were paying below market value for electricity (it was not uncommon to see rates at the highest tier be three times as high per kwh as the lowest). This legislation was finally repealed in 2013 and the PUC is once again able to set rates across the board.

The net impact is that the marginal rate for power for air conditioning users can be very high. What's more, it will vary, drastically, across utility boundaries - depending on the rate structure the utility had in 2001 and what was frozen at that point. It's a mess.

I consume about 1000Kw-h per month and consider that to be excessive, but I work from home full-time and do almost no driving, so I think there's at least justification for some of it.

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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by rixer » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:17 am

We live in Ca also. It gets hot during the day and it cools down about 30 degree;s or so at night. We have ceiling fans in every room, energy efficient windows and a whole house fan. Since CA is a dry climate, the whole house fan works great. We run the fan for about 30-45 minutes in the early morning when the outside air is cool. It exhausts all the hot air in the house and replaces it with fresh, cool air. Then we turn the whole house fan off and close up all the windows. It takes a long time for the heat to build back up so with just the ceiling fans running from then on, the house stays comfortable until around 4-5 PM. Then if needed, we run the A/C until about 9PM. This way, we stay comfortable all day and night and only run the A/C 4-5 hours max for the day. Sometimes, we don't even need the A/C with this method.

We have about the same size house as the OP. Highest electric bills run about $110.

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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by Buysider » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:22 am

After purchasing a Chevy Volt about 3 weeks ago, I'm becoming really mindful of what my electricity usage is, so that I can take advantage of electric charging (with Tier 4 pricing for electricity, it's actually cheaper to just use gas than it is to charge the car on a "cost per mile" basis).
Charge the car at work or the grocery store, etc.. If you're in CA, I'm sure there are a lot of free charging options available. Also, I thought CA cut electric car owners a break on electric car charging with time of day metering or something ...

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mhc
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Re: How do you keep your electricity bill low?

Post by mhc » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:34 am

Shade your house with trees.

I have planted deciduous trees on the west side of my house. It helps a lot.

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