Monday, January 11, 2010

Experiment in climate control

Update: Jan. 10, 2010
I just got December's electric bill and it's only 117! That's the lowest ever. I have to enjoy it, since I know with this cold spell, it will be much higher for January!  However, there are some other new tricks this year that should help. For one, all my electronics are on surge protectors so I turn everything off with one switch for groups like computer/external drive/printer or TV/cable box/DVD player. Lights that were on timers are now on a remote system so I can still have light as I walk into a room, but now it doesn't have to be on for long stretches. I've also started doing all my laundry in cold water. Using white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser has really worked to make the clothes feel soft and smell nice! My gas bill has seen a drop from $80 to $50 per month on average.  Other things this year that weren't up last year are the weather stripping on the back door, and insulating drapes up on all windows and doors. I've still got the safe space heater which I carry from room to room.  It's made a huge difference. With the upstairs heat set  at 58, my room is around 64! It is a newer model that does have the auto shut off feature in case it is knocked over.  It also has what it calls its "eco" option which sets it to turn off automatically in three hours. These are good safety features and I can't stress this kind of thing enough when it comes to space heaters! They are a major cause of house fires in the cold months! But used with care, it sure helps save energy!

So the experiment continues! How are you coping with this rough winter? Any tips for saving electricity? Please share them!

Previous logs of my electric experiment!
June 5, 2009 - update:

The A/C guy fixed my downstairs unit - seems a transformer needed replacement. It was only $84, so pretty good there. But now that I'm used to the warmer temps, I'm setting my downstairs unit on 85, with the fan running continuously. My electric bill with only one unit running has gotten below the $180 per month mark. We'll see what it goes up to now. Usually I use the upstairs unit more in the summer - cold air drops, and my bedroom is where I need the most cooling comfort anyway. In the winter, I use the downstairs unit most, since the warm air rises and I use my space heater sparingly. This month's electric bill was $169. That's for 3700+ square feet! When I moved here the electric bill was hovering around the $500/month mark!
And the experiment continues!

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 10:18am
My mud room was 91.5 degrees yesterday! Outdoor temperature was around 94. The mud room is an add-on to the actual house. However, the interior of the actual main house downstairs is staying right around 80. My bedroom (upstairs) stays at 75.5 even though the upstairs unit is set at 83. My great experiment on being cheap and keeping comfortable without as much electricity continues! The downstairs unit still not working. (Over the winter my dining room came in at 38 one morning!) I get very hot direct sun in the front (East) up until about 2 PM at which time I start to get direct and HOT sun in the back (West) of the house. I have put up heavy triple-lined draperies on most windows and they make a huge difference in the main house. So as an experiment I put up (or I should say staple-gunned up) some insulated draperies bought on the cheap at a JCPenney's sale. And it made a big difference. The hottest the mud room is getting is right around 85-87. That's down from the 90+ mentioned at the top!
The A/C folks are coming week after next.

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