Winterizing...gas/electric bill shock!!!

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  1. Nope, it's not a myth! Unplugging things that normally go on standby can help save quite a bit over the long run (it costs electricity to keep that little power light on)! It's a PITA for things you use all the time (TVs, cable boxes, etc.) but I've been trying to do it with things like coffee makers, computers, shredders, etc. Things I don't use everyday!

    I wish you could unplug the fridge...that thing is an energy sucker!
  2. Yeah...I am still shaking my head in utter disbelief. I work from home but I don't use lights during the day as there is enough sunlight that comes in my office. I have the thermostat set to 69 during the day I believe and 71 when the kids are home and then back to 69 while asleep, I have to double check. Maybe I'll try to take it down a notch or two.

    I did find an article about the vents in your bathrooms and kitchens sucking heat right out of your house when left on. Now my husband and daughter are famous for turning them on and never going back to turn them off. Hours later I will go past the bathroom and the darn thing is still on.

    I think we are going to have to do something about the windows too. I can feel cold air at the base of them. But there is nothing that would cause such a spike I don't think. I may have to call BGE and see what they say.

    Today in Maryland it was around 15 degrees..I hate the cold but I did not turn the heat up I am just sitting here with 2 sweatshirts on.

    Errrr I am soooo upset...I think I will be in Home Depot at some point tomorrow.
  3. Ok, we are neighbors practically... have a home inspector check your insulation levels. This area they don't tend to do enough.

    And get better things for being able to keep it cooler and you all warmer. Buy insulated socks, wool sweaters, warm slippers and for your beds (so you can turn the heat lower) down blankets. We are sleeping in a room that is less than 55 degrees at night and we are toasty warm under our flannel sheets and down comforter. I even have one for the toddler bed.
  4. Living in Los Angeles that is not something I have to deal with. I have not turned on my heater in over 20 years
  5. The plastic on the windows doesn't seem to help much. Plus plastic on the windows makes you feel awful cooped up.

    I sewed insulating window quilts for all our big windows. It was a pretty big project. And a pricey one. I used upholstery fabric and special window quilt insulation. I bought all the materials slowly over the course of a year with individual 50 percent off coupons and during sales from the different fabric stores in the area. I saved about $1K on materials that way. But all the hassle was really worth it. The rooms with the window quilts are so much more comfortable now in the winter.

    You can walk around the house with a candle and tell where the drafts are coming from depending upon how the flame flickers.

    One area of common heat loss is electrical plugs and light switches on exterior walls. You can buy foam insulating pads that fit under the switch plate and keep out the draft.

    On This Old House they were demonstrating how to use spray-able insulation foam to spray around electrical boxes to block drafts. You can get an electrician to do this.

    We also installed extra insulated doors on all the outside doors.

    We were going to have additional insulation installed in the attic last fall but we had to have some venting and electrical work done up there first. Once we finally got that done, well, the insulation contractor just never showed up. And now with the temperatures below zero it's impossible to hire anyone to do that.
  6. I have a 3 level townhouse in the Seattle area and my (monthly, electric) bill ranges from about $30 in the summer to $200+ in the winter. I considered switching to natural gas a few years ago but then with the price of gas skyrocketing I hesitated...but I love my kickass convection oven and my (woodburning) fireplace is a big candle holder instead.

    Anyway, a few tips:

    I keep the thermostat at no higher than 68 degrees. Get a blanket, fleece or fun slippers...there truly is no need to have your thermostat at 70 or above. I have it on a weekday and weekend timer, so it goes on a lower temp during the work day when I'm not home as well as during the evening.

    On the top level of my home (3 bedrooms plus 2 1/2 baths) I keep the furnace vents nearly closed. Open enough to keep air circulating, but not so wide that all the heat from the main level below rises up to the top floor. There's nothing worse than the lower level of your house freezing and the upper level too hot - you might as well flush your money down the toilet. your laundry in cold water. Trust me, I don't notice any difference in cleanliness. And I do a LOT of laundry.
  7. OP, when's the last time you had your heater serviced?

  8. Its true!

    This past winter I didnt use any kind of heater.

    & during the summer not one day did i turn on the AC.

    Its pretty awesome.

  9. It sounds like you are doing everything right; however, remember, just because you haven't changed the heat the cold weather can have a dramatic impact. When it's really cold outside the furnace has to work harder and longer to keep the house warm.
    Last month my bill doubled just because of a slight increase in the # of cold days. I'm scared to see this month's because of the sub-zero temps.

    One thing we also did was shut all the vents in the basement. Even though it's a finished basement we never use it. We have also shut vents in rooms that we don't really use, or we'll shut one vent in a room that has multiple vents.
  10. I have found that the kits you can get for your windows work wonders. Just doing ONE window in my son's room made a considerable difference, his room is ALWAYS cold. It's clear plastic, and once its installed and heat sealed (with a blow dryer) you honestly cannot tell its there. It's also easy enough for you to do WITHOUT your DH if he is the type that isn't very helpful.
  11. #26 Jan 17, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
    I live now for the first time alone and little scared for the bill what comes in summer to show how much do I need to pay more.. I pay with the rent here my dorm some money every month for electricity and heating but I use wayy more in a month than I pay now. Luckily I use so little electricity so it covers a little bit of that heating..
    But I have saving,parents and grandparents who are ready to help if I can't pay it :smile:

    I was yesterday at my friend's appartment and they figured that if they cover some of the windows with sheets it's not so cold anymore :nuts:
  12. You are so going to hate me for this.

    To begin with, the stately several-square-foot TownHome that is Puff Palace is located in the Warm Lands, where the annual number of days that deserve the designation "winter" continue to decrease as global warming marches apace.

    While standard Temperature Regulation Elves are in residence, it is really Team AC that gets the most work, with Team Heat making only the occasional guest appearance.

    The elegant spaciousness and construction of the Palace itself is such that on those occasions where the temperature drops below freezing, and the little box on the wall used by the elves to inform us of the Official Interior Palace Temperature drops displays a number lower than 55 or so, we dry some clothes, or toast something in the oven, and that takes care of the two full floors of luxurious habitation that are graciously inhabited by Mr Puff, me, and of course, Princess Pet.**

    When the exterior temperature drops below freezing at some point for a few consecutive days, which rarely happens, or otherwise coincides with those elements of our admittedly meticulous respective personal hygiene regimens (or whimsy) that require one or both of us Get Wet, we go to the little box on the wall and push the button that requests the honor of the presence of Team Heat for one of those special guest appearances when the Official Interior Palace Temperature drops below 60, at which point they will scurry off the stage until the next Below 60 moment.

    Thus, our winter fuel bills are not the scary ones.

    This will make you hate me a little less

    Our water bill goes up, because when I wash my hands, I have to call in the hot water elves in the winter, because extremely cold water is not a good match for peripheral neuropathy, and I wash my hands a lot. Not obsessive-compulsive a lot, but a lot.

    This will make you not hate me at all any more

    Most of the year, Team AC is busy, as the impact of Global Warming on the already warm Warm Lands can only be described as melodramatic, and like lettuce, I must be kept refrigerated for best results, an inoperal congenital condition I have had even since the Olden Days, when air conditioning in homes was a cutting-edge rarity, if even invented.

    A few years ago, when the gift of The Liberation of Menopause was bestowed upon me, tucked into the box was a tastefully engraved announcement that Temperature Regulation Services had been discontinued.

    It is the custom in the Warm Lands for the companies to double the cost of electricity during the summer months, as this is the time that most residents will be summoning their Team AC elves, and the companies naturally wish to take advantage of this opportunity in order to maximize the generation of additional revenue, as NOT summoning the Team AC elves can result in the need for expensive medical industry products and services, as well as, in the Life of Modern Today, damage to computers.

    All these circumstances combine to form a Perfect Storm that results in our electric bills of the summer months to go as high as $150, which for Poor People is a really Big Deal.

    **Several months ago, Mr Puff and I were delighted to discover that, after a long and adventurous roller-coaster ride that spanned several continents, we had been adopted by the most fabulous of all possible plush bunny rabbits:


    Note: illustration is not the actual Princess Pet, but one of her (few) batchmates, so it might as well be she.
  13. My heat budget for the house is 78$ a month. It runs for 10 months, I have never had to pay anything different at the end. In fact I normally have 20-40$ credit. WE have old windows and doors so I put that plastic on my windows that you use the blow dryer with. You cant even notice we have it on our windows. With luck next yr we'll have the funds to put in all new windows and down and i'm going to be curious to see how much our gas bill drops. Normally our temp is set at 71 during the day and 66 at night.
  14. eek..I keep my house at 73-74!!!LMAO!
    Im allergic to wool and down bedding and i really need to reinsulate my house....its drafty in some rooms....
  15. #30 Jan 17, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009

    I have always done that ,you really cannot tell the difference, for real dirty stuff I may do a load on warm or hot but usually it is cold water washes.
    Plus this also keeps your clothes from shrinking and wearing out faster ,because the hot water tends to break down the fibers faster.