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Old 02-11-2015, 11:11 PM
 
621 posts, read 788,138 times
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How can we truly save on using electricity? Like our home, its only 3 people living here but our Electricity bill, the company says we use a lot of it while the rest of the neighborhood hardly uses any of it. So now my family thinks we're going to get in trouble or something is going to happen because we use so much apparently. So how can we save on using Electricity so we aren't on a high level.
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Old 02-11-2015, 11:13 PM
 
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Get rid of the marijuana farm?

First thing to do is figure out where the power is going. I'm a heavy user, but it's because I work from home and have (had) a really energy inefficient house.
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Old 02-11-2015, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Ohio
14,268 posts, read 12,534,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneygogetter View Post
How can we truly save on using electricity? Like our home, its only 3 people living here but our Electricity bill, the company says we use a lot of it while the rest of the neighborhood hardly uses any of it. So now my family thinks we're going to get in trouble or something is going to happen because we use so much apparently. So how can we save on using Electricity so we aren't on a high level.
You mean you got a letter in the mail from the electric company?

I got a few of them too a while back.....they are BS in my opinion. Not sure what they were angling for.

They were comparing my electric usage, in an all electric home, to most of the homes in my neighborhood, homes that heat with gas, propane, oil, some have additional wood burners.

OF COURSE I use more than the majority of homes in my area.....I HEAT my home with electric, I heat my water with electric, I dry my clothes with electric and I cook my food with electric.

I thought about calling them and pointing that out, but why waste my time?

I only got about 4 letters and then they stopped coming. I ignored them all.

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:40 AM
 
621 posts, read 788,138 times
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I'm not worried but my family is worried about it.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:58 AM
 
Location: Ohio
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Here you go....show this to your family...........NOTHING to worry about.

Do you use more energy than your neighbors? - USATODAY.com
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:48 AM
 
1,344 posts, read 2,258,124 times
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If you're talking about those reports other posters have mentioned, check what they say you're using to your actual bill(s).

When I got my first one, I was stunned about how high they said my usage was. Then I looked at how much the report said I used and my actual statements and they doubled or tripled my usage amount. Total BS.
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:24 AM
 
Location: NC
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You can do alot of things to mitigate energy costs. Programmable thermostat, replacement windows from old wood windows, added insulation, wash only on cold water etc.....
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:39 AM
 
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Now, on the Other hand.... you may Really be using a lot of energy too and it IS worth investigating. 2 reasons for this really (the exact same 2 as when your car starts returning lower than normal fuel economy, you keep track of that don't you?) ~ the first is that it's a key indicator that something is wrong. You may have an appliance (fridge) that's drawing WAY more power than normal simply because it can't cool efficiently thanks to coils that are caked over with dust. Not only is this draining money from your pocket, but it's Also shortening the life of the fridge (usually by a fairly substantial amount). Or you may have an appliance that has an internal issue and is a ticking time-bomb for a fire hazard. The second main reason is simply not wasting money you could use for your own happiness.

If you're interested in just checking your use, then spend a little time and a little money. Simply pay attention to electrical use, do the easy stuff like turning lights off in rooms that are unoccupied, clean the fridge/freezer coils and dryer vent line (assuming it's electric). Replace the HVAC filter and if you have a heat-pump unit (electric), consider cleaning the outdoor unit coils. Then wait a month and see if it has an impact. Want to take it a step further? Then unplug anything not in use, there are a lot of things that are vampires (sucking electrical when not in use). Past that you're going to have to spend some money. Pick up one (or more) "Kill-A-Watt" type devices (P3 - Kill A Watt), they will tell you how much energy any device is actually using. Some things are shockingly low while other, usually unexpected things, are shockingly high. You can also make a lifestyle change, my in-laws installed a water-heater timer a few years back and shaved a noticeable chunk from their bill... they heat water from 4pm~7pm ONLY, and do all the shower taking and dish washing in that time. Watch that thermostat too, keeping it no higher than 68 in the winter and no lower than 78 in the summer is the "ideal", and adding a 10~15degree change (so 53~58 in the winter, 88~93 in the summer) variance over any 8-hour stretch will gain you even more savings. Basically, turn the temp down (or up) when you go to bed. This works Best on forced-air systems, but I've used it and seen the benefits with a boiler system too (just had to adjust the hours, had to go cold at about 7pm and come on at 4am to be warm by 6:30).

Past this you're getting into bigger money but also bigger potential decreases on power consumption, having an energy audit done on your home (my power company offers the service for free, but it's limited/incomplete IMHO). You see, heating/cooling your home and heating water account for the VAST majority of energy use:



from: Home Energy Audits | Department of Energy

Their chart is an average and a bit off for those of us in warm southern climates, I absolutely use more power in summer/cooling months than in winter/heating months.

Anyway, a home energy audit will give you an understanding of where you can improve a homes efficiency at retaining heating/cooling. Normally that's simple stuff like sealing up leaky/drafty windows and doors and adding more ceiling insulation. Get into an older home without wall insulation (my current home), then you're looking into more complicated and costly fixes. It's worth stating that if you have old single pane wooden windows, the #1 thing you can do is install storm windows ~ best bang for the buck over both the short and the long term (yes, FAR better than replacing the windows, Especially over the course of a couple decades). Wood windows last centuries, vinyl will be done by 20 if you get the best life possible, but the warranties tend to run out at 10 years (for the original owner only) and failures aren't far behind. Wood + storm also provide 90% of the efficiency of replacement "Low-E, Argon filled, triple pane" windows. Heck, my storm windows have a Low-E coating on them anyway and I'm up to a double-pane with them installed.


If you're Really serious, own your home and plan on staying for 20 years, then look into solar. Some states make it REALLY easy/cheap (you basically take out a long term loan with an energy reseller, they install an over-sized system on your property and take the over-run to sell while you pay that loan back monthly). Other states don't allow resellers and you end up footing 100% of the bill up-front for installation, but have little to no monthly electrical bill. Georgia is the 2nd kind, and as much as I'd love to have solar, it's a back-burner idea for me...


Anyway, good luck with your hunt for savings if that's what you decide. In most cases it's simply a little time, or a small adjustment in lifestyle, that can show some savings.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:17 AM
 
2,656 posts, read 2,757,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneygogetter View Post
How can we truly save on using electricity? Like our home, its only 3 people living here but our Electricity bill, the company says we use a lot of it while the rest of the neighborhood hardly uses any of it. So now my family thinks we're going to get in trouble or something is going to happen because we use so much apparently. So how can we save on using Electricity so we aren't on a high level.
We got similar letters last year. I talked to some neighbors that were on some town committees with me and all of us had gotten letters that said we were using more than the rest of the neighborhood! Since then I have occasionally asked others and I have not found anyone who wasn't in the upper half of users.
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:02 AM
 
624 posts, read 441,699 times
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We also get these letters, they compare me to my zipcode, and tell me I use too much gas. I have done all I can for the moment, new windows would help but that guilt letter doesnt come with a check for $20k.

You won't get in trouble unless you can't pay your bill. If your useage and bill have increased then you should investigate but if it has been the same just high, ignore the letter.
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