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Utility bill woes

January 26, 2011

Seems like the average temperature everywhere this winter is um, cold and colder. If the frost on my car, persistent desire to put on another sweater, and futile attempts to convince my 17-year-old cat to go outside weren’t enough to remind me of this, my gas and power bills certainly are!

Wow. Apparently I can’t afford winter.

I don’t have the most energy-efficient home to start with (85 years old), but there must be something I can do to bring these bills out of jaw-dropping range.

First stop, the U.S. Department of Energy. They offer great information on everything from energy efficient appliances to low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy. This list includes some tried-and-true classics such as only washing a full load of laundry or dishes, using power strips for electronic equipment and switching them off, and lowering the temperature on your water heater. I’m on it.

This California realtor’s site claims, “space heating and cooling accounts for about 45 percent of your utility bill and offers the greatest opportunity to save on energy costs.” (Other sources put this at 50-70 percent, yikes!). It has an exhaustive amount of detail and suggestions and though I have to admit I’m skeptical about the viable impact of some items, I learned quite a bit! Check it out.

A top suggestion from all sites is to use a programmable thermostat. I had one in my last home and it really saved us money. Wondering why I’m not using one in my current home ? Me too. You can get a $40 model at most home improvement stores that does the trick.

Finally, I liked The Daily Green’s 19 Easy Home Winterization Projects. Personal takeaway: I need several draft snakes, stat. (As an aside, they also have a backyard beekeeping blog!)

So, turn down your thermostat, put on a sweater, brew some hot chocolate, and let me know how you plan to save energy this winter. I can use all the help I can get.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Laurie permalink
    January 27, 2011 4:53 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe 10 to 25 percent of central heat is lost through the windows. It is time for me to make some changes and save some change. Maybe I should put sweaters on my windows : ) I think I’ll refer to the tips in the above blog instead.

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