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There it is. Every month. Like clockwork. You pull it out of the mailbox and make that low guttural noise, knowing that you won’t like what’s inside. Slowly you open the stiff envelope and as you look it over, you feel dizzy. It’s like that moment in a horror flick when the audience is screaming “he’s right behind you,” but the victim can’t hear the warnings and stumbles unknowingly into his web. “Surely this can’t be for me,” you whisper. You look around at the other houses, wondering if anyone is watching you with a smirk – a sideways grin that says you’ve been duped. But you see no one. You wait for Ashton to jump out of the bushes and frantically search for a hidden camera. Nothing.

When you finally make your way back inside, the tears start flowing. The pain intensifies as you run around turning off the lights and heater. Frost fills the windows at the icy touch of the air that now seeps into your house. It’s here and there’s nothing you can do about it. Marking it return to sender won’t help, because they have no sense of humor and now you must pay the price. The electric bill has arrived.

Sound like you? Thought so. Take heart. I’m here to help. With a few modifications, we chopped our electric bill in half. That’s right. HALF. We did not replace windows or install a new furnace. We didn’t add insulation. We didn’t seduce the meter reader (although that’s not a bad idea). What we did was make a few small changes with little to no cost.

In this series, I’ll tell you how. In upcoming entries, we’ll talk about the main systems of your house, saving on laundry and in the kitchen, and discuss the windows and doors. Today we’ll start with managing the temperate in your home, by using the heat you already have (for the those of you who live in sunny San Diego and Hawaii – first of all, I hate you. Second of all, you can use some of these tips as well).

  • Set your thermostat to mid-60s during the day and turn it down to 60 at night and when you’re not home (or vice versa in the summer). Adjusting the temperate by a few degrees can make a big difference in your electric bill – one you will hardly even notice.
  • Dress the part. If it’s cold, put on a sweater, socks and heavier pants. Don’t run around in a t-shirt and bare feet if you’re cold. Put a blanket on the couch so you can snuggle up when watching TV. Adding an extra layer will warm you up faster and cost a lot less than turning up the heat.
  • Adding an extra layer to the floor can help too. Put down some throw rugs on bare floors to add a buffer between the cold basement or ground and the air you’re trying to keep comfortable.
  • Got some warm comfort food in the oven? Instead of closing the oven door after when dinner is done, wasting all the warm air, leave the oven door open allowing the heat to escape into the house. Just remember safety first and place a gate at the entrance to protect curious fingers and paws.
  • Adjust ceiling fans so they move clockwise (when looking up at them) to push warmer air down. In the summer, fans should move counterclockwise to create a cooling breeze.
  • Open the blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house. It’s a no brainer. But make sure you keep the blinds and curtains closed on the shaded side to … add a layer. It’s a simple barrier that keeps the warm air in and the cold air out.

Remember, a lot of small changes can add up to big savings. Just like cutting corners on your grocery bill or using light dressing instead of full flavor fat to lose a little weight – finding small ways to save energy can make a big difference in that dreaded monthly bill. Tune in next week to learn how to make your windows more energy efficient without replacing them.

As always, if you have any tips to add, please share the wealth with a comment.


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  1. I really like this entry! Thanks for the tips!

  2. good tips – Thanks!!!

  3. My kids’ school is having a contest to see which grade level could lower their electricity bill the most. It’s given my girls incentive to turn off the lights and television set when they’re not using it. 🙂

  4. Well, I live in Arizona so we have the opposite problem. We have huge electric bills in the summer. However, I’m cold in the winter here too…yeah wimpy. I would also add to the list to ask your electric company if they have a plan where electricity costs less to use during certain hours of the day. We do that and it saves a ton of money.Great tips!!

  5. Heather says:

    I’ve turned the ceiling fans to go the correct way in the winter months as you suggested. Thanks for that tip! I can never remember which way they are to go in the winter/summer!


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