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With the rising costs of just living I was wondering how everyone keeps their electric bill down. We just got a whopper of a bill which we usually have, but I would like to hear if there is something more I can do to help lower the bill. Poor dh...I just hate that he works so hard, and so much has to go for electricity!

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I run the washer and dryer less. We turned the a/c temp up around here. Cut back on computer use and keep the computers off when possible. Keep lights off when possible. Make sure the doors and windows are kept shut when the a/c is running.

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I read once that ceiling fans cool people not air. Almost the entire time I lived in Florida, we left our fans on 24/7. After I read that, I started turning them off when I left the room. I was amazed that I saw a difference in our bill. My house was smaller then, so most of the time we were in the living area that had two fans on. That didn't give me a whole lot of time to keep those off - just the bedrooms. In my new house, we have a living room upstairs and a family room downstairs. I always turn off the fan if we are heading to the basement. The other thing I do is wash as much laundry as I can in cold water. I don't know how much it helps, but I do it. I will be waiting for more ideas.

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We have replaced all light bulbs with the compact fluorescent variety, we buy them at Ikea, they are much cheaper there We also have our computer and TV on power strips that I just switch off each night or when not in use. We use AC only at night, because for me sleep would not be possible if I were too hot. Keep the air circulating with fans, on low. Our last power bill was $15.20! Also, if you can replacing old appliances is huge. Good luck. :)

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In addition to the above mentioned

 

~hang dry clothes

~cook several items in an oven at the same time so that it only runs once. you can freeze the extra if need be.

~ I have heard of some that unplug things not in use (vcr, tv, etc)

~I know it sounds gross-take fewer baths or showers and just sponge bath, that hot water heater cost to run.

 

Last year we just suffered. Dh had not worked for about 5 mos. We were selling all we could sell of our personal belongings. We just turned the ac OFF most of the time. Can we say HOT! We live in a mobile home.

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I am so surprised at how much we have reduced our killowatt usage this year. First thing we did was have the a/c tuned up, charged and in good working condition. We are slowly pulling off the plastic plates that cover every light switch and plug and putting those little lightweight styrofoam insulating pads underneath cover and replacing (alot of heat comes in on those, especially on outside walls). We quit running the ceiling fan in rooms when we aren't in there. I have six dryer balls in my dryer and they have sped up my dryer time in half. (I bought mine off ebay). Call your electric provider and ask if certain hours have lower rates of usage (off peak), if they do, run your dishwasher, etc during those hours. Computers can be a big hog, so make sure you turn them off when not in use. And the biggest thing is buying power strips you can turn off and plugging everything you can into these (obviously not your fridge/freezer) and turning off these at night. Many people do not realize how many appliances that even when off drain energy. We are also keep the blinds/curtains shut in rooms we aren't using and this has helped also. We turn up the ac when we leave and have taken to keeping it a few degrees warmer than we usually do. My electric bill was $282 this month, for a 2800 sq foot home with a swimming pool pump to run also...this same time last year my electric bill was over $500 so some of these changes must be helping us.

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You could do what we did - move to a better-insulated house!!! I was amazed at how much cheaper our bigger house is and I know it's because of the insulation. Check yours and see if you need more added - or blown in.

 

Do you have those room darkening shades? I hear those can make a real difference too. I'd use them, but we're surrounded by trees and the sun never hits our house directly except for a couple hours in the morning.

 

We also switched over to the flourescent bulbs.

 

Dh put timers on the lights in our basement. The kids never remembered to turn them off and we just don't go down there much. So, they were left on a lot. We're also just careful with turning on lights in general.

 

We replaced windows with ones that were more energy efficient. They were our basement windows. We went with glass block and were pleasantly surprised with how cheap they were.

 

We turn down the AC (turn the temp higher) if we'll be out of the house for more than a couple hours. I'm still not sure if this works well as it has to work hard to decrease the temp again when we get back. We've also gotten used to a house that's a bit warmer - we keep it at 79 during the day. We do turn it to 75 or so at night because the upstairs is always warmer than the first floor.

 

I'm sure there are more!!

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Our last power bill was $15.20! Also, if you can replacing old appliances is huge. Good luck. :)

 

WHAT!!!?

If we turned off the main power breaker and had absolutely NO power running into our house our bill would be higher. You are blessed my dear!! Your must not have electric hwh or stove?

 

My cousin and his wife are hardly home, have gas (I feel sorry for them come winter) for stove and ac/heat, hardly run anything and their bill was $150.

 

We got our's down that low last year when we turned nearly everything off all the time and we are all electric. But there is no way it would get down to the double digits.

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Here are some things that we do, we live in a newly built energy efficient apartment though.

 

If you keep the blinds/curtains drawn during the day, it lets less light in which can heat up a room during the summer.

 

If you are using central air or a window unit, make sure to close the bathroom vents, or vents in any room that you are not using. And then close the door.

 

Some electric companies give night time off-peak hour rates, run your dish washer, dryer or washer before you go to bed.

 

We have energy efficient appliances-- that came with the unit.

 

As others have said, use the compact flourescent bulbs.

 

Drill into your children that Daddy has to work to keep the lights on-- that works with mine :)

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The compact flourescent lights have really helped us out with the electric bill. Also, last summer dh put new siding on the house and he added a layer of Tyvek insulation under it; and he put in new windows. Between those 3 items, our electric bill is dramatically cheaper than it used to be.

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Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm definitely going to make a few changes. I've done a few of the things mentioned already, but our bill is always at LEAST $600! I know! Dh crawled up in the attic and noticed there is no insulation at all. So he did the attic already, but still needs to do the dc's crawl space above their rooms. Our home was poorly built, dh says as a speck home 20 years ago. It's only 1900 square feet, but it's a 2 story. We've replaced windows, shut blinds, and turned down the ac. We do have a pool, but I set the pump to only run 6 hours in a 24 hour period. I'm going to try the power strips as well and the fluorescent bulbs. Thanks so much for the tips!

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We put one in 5 years ago and use it as much as we can. They are very simple, mechanically speaking, and require once a year do-it-yourself maintenance. We live in a very hot, over 100 degrees for weeks on end, climate and the evap. cooler will not work in that heat or in high humidity. We use it before it gets that hot in the early summer and in the mornings until it doesn't feel cool anymore. Then the a/c goes on because I refuse to suffer. We have saved a ton of $$ by using it as much as possible. Our electric bill is esp. high in summer because we irrigate and have a well (We live in the country) so in winter we don't irrigate and let our bermuda grass go dormate, again saving $$.

 

Laurie in CA

dd(14) TOG and other stuff

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Dh crawled up in the attic and noticed there is no insulation at all. So he did the attic already, but still needs to do the dc's crawl space above their rooms.

 

What kind of foundation do you have (crawlspace, slab or basement)? And how old is your AC unit? We got a huge (HUGE) difference out of insulating our crawlspace and replacing our AC unit. It was 20 years old and really REALLY inefficient. I can't say exactly how much difference was due to which fix, because we did them at the same time, but it was between like $450 and $150 for a summer month.

 

We still need to add some insulation to the attic (this summer.. any minute now...), and we need new windows. By then I hope we'll be under $100 (1600 sqft house in the shade -- shouldn't be that much!)

 

So is your bill still $600 after insulating the attic?? Yikes!

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What kind of foundation do you have (crawlspace, slab or basement)? And how old is your AC unit? We got a huge (HUGE) difference out of insulating our crawlspace and replacing our AC unit. It was 20 years old and really REALLY inefficient. I can't say exactly how much difference was due to which fix, because we did them at the same time, but it was between like $450 and $150 for a summer month.

 

We still need to add some insulation to the attic (this summer.. any minute now...), and we need new windows. By then I hope we'll be under $100 (1600 sqft house in the shade -- shouldn't be that much!)

 

So is your bill still $600 after insulating the attic?? Yikes!

 

Yes, $600 after insulating the attic. We still have to insulate throughout the house though. We have a slab for foundation. We are also looking into a new unit. We actually need 2 to help cool the upstairs. Lots of work to do...lots of money!

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WHAT!!!?

If we turned off the main power breaker and had absolutely NO power running into our house our bill would be higher. You are blessed my dear!! Your must not have electric hwh or stove?

 

My cousin and his wife are hardly home, have gas (I feel sorry for them come winter) for stove and ac/heat, hardly run anything and their bill was $150.

 

We got our's down that low last year when we turned nearly everything off all the time and we are all electric. But there is no way it would get down to the double digits.

 

It kind of depends on where you live, too. Our electric bill just went over $100 this summer. That doesn't seem like much, but if you figure it was about $50.00 last year, that's a big increase.

 

We also spend about $600 a year on propane -- at least we did. I'm so afraid to fill the tank up now, we may not have heat this winter.

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Yes, $600 after insulating the attic. We still have to insulate throughout the house though. We have a slab for foundation. We are also looking into a new unit. We actually need 2 to help cool the upstairs. Lots of work to do...lots of money!

What was it before insulating???

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What was it before insulating???

 

Not much different. We were looking at last years bills, and it was about $50/month. That's great and all, but it doesn't help much when it's a $600 bill,kwim? I did call our electric provider today to speak about some discrepancies in our readings on our bill. They are sending someone out to investigate. Whatever that means!?

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What are dryer balls? I try and hang a lot out on the line, but it's the rainy season here, and we can expect almost a daily heavy down pour. So lately I haven't been willing to risk it. I'd love to hear more about these and how they speed up the drying process. Being overseas, we couldn't bring our appliances, so the military gives you their appliances. While they aren't bad, they aren't necessarily brand new (but some are as they trade things out) and aren't always the most energy efficent.

 

I will say it is VERY frustrating living on base and seeing the waste that goes on. We don't have to pay any housing or utility costs (just phone and cable). Because of that people tend to leave lights burning and tv's on and things like that. Also they tend to run the a/c much colder than they would at home if they were paying for it. I have a feeling when people move off base it's some what of an eye opener to them to see how they've started to live and what it's costing once they have to start paying for it themselves.

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We are very lucky to have a massive old Oak tree shade our home. If the temp drops below 70 at night and it's not humid, we open the windows and run the window fans. We also use ceiling fans during the day, keeping the AC at a warm 78 degrees. I wash early in the AM and try to do one load a day instead of 3 or 4 every few days. We don't run a bunch of lights, use the blinds to keep the house cool on the south side, and drink lots of water! Our bill last month was ~120$ for a 2000 sq 2 story house. We have only one AC unit with a funny switch thing to cool each separately.

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Here are a few things that have really helped us (our avg summer bill is less than $150, it used to be well over $300)--we got a cover for our water heater--keeps the heat in, and keeps the room from getting hotter. Also, we do use ceiling fans, because we have a split level house (half floor down in back, half floor in front on middle, half floor in back on top) and 11-14 feet ceilings in middle--we had them hung pretty on middle floor which is pretty cool, and they blow cooler air onto third floor, which is hottest.

 

Also, our bedrooms are on the top floor, and we had to keep the a/c much cooler so that we could sleep at night. We just got a window unit, energy eff., to keep up their a couple of months ago, and run it for sleeping--we can turn the rest of the house much warmer, and we are saving A TON that way! And we are finally comfortable!!!!

 

An attic fan is supposed to help a ton, btw. And, insulating anything, attic, even crawl space if it is enclosed under your house (we did that more than 10 years ago) can make a big diff. Plus, I'm sure you know around doors and windows, sealing if you don't use them, etc.

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Ooh, almost forgot a huge one--most stoves, when the oven is on, have a back burner that heats up. I always run the vent, and put a large pan of cold water on it. It will absorb the heat, and as it heats up, I empty it into cold running water so not too much steam goes into the air, and refill. That really helps to keep the kitchen from getting hot. In the winter I do the opposite. Except, in the winter, I will sometimes keep the water there and let it get hot, to help with dry air--it gets so hot it will boil, given enough time.

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Someone else suggested hanging clothes to dry. We have some people wth seasonal allergies in our home, so this doesn't work this time of year for us... But, a friend of mind hung her clothes to dry while her dryer was being repaired and noticed a very big difference in their electric bill. I think this is a biggie if you can do it.

 

Along that line, someone else mentioned dryer balls. What are dryer balls, and how do they help?

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If you live where it is hot, an attic fan can do wonders.

 

In winter, I keep much of the house rather cold (I like sleeping in a cold room, thankfully) and just keep the rooms we are using warm. Honestly, if I'm cooking or doing laundry, I don't care if it is 50 degrees.

Hubby watches the Tube, and he put in a floor warmer under the sitting part of the den, and he has a down throw. I read, and heavy throws aren't so pleasant, nor is it practical if you have pencil work to do. I keep that room warmer. Halves our winter bills.

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Someone else suggested hanging clothes to dry. We have some people wth seasonal allergies in our home, so this doesn't work this time of year for us... But, a friend of mind hung her clothes to dry while her dryer was being repaired and noticed a very big difference in their electric bill. I think this is a biggie if you can do it.

 

Along that line, someone else mentioned dryer balls. What are dryer balls, and how do they help?

 

My oldest sister has clotheslines in her laundry room and hangs all her wash inside. If you have a large enough unused space, you could try that.

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Our bill is fairly cheap, $125, but our state utilities are lower generally. We have a gas oven, stove, and water heater. I did notice a drop since we had our A/C serviced. We have compact Flourescent in all lights, except ceiling fans. Most of our ceiling fans are 3 light ones, we only use 2 light bulbs.

 

We turn off lights when we leave a room, do not leave outside lights on at night, I dry most of my clothes. If I can't hang them outside I will hang them in the bathroom off the shower rod.

 

We keep our AC set between 78 and 80. I don't know why that keeps this house cool, maybe the trees, maybe the slab. both dh and I agree that we can set the AC where we want. My dad would never turn on the AC before late July or August and I grew up in humid Missouri summers. But I refuse to sit around a house and sweat.

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I've never thought much about hanging clothes out to dry. Maybe because there are so many of us, and my laundry room is so small. I do hang dry a few items so they won't shrink, but that's it. I'm a little concerned though b/c we live south of a paper mill,and the air tends to smell like....well, a big poot! Sorry to be so tacky, but it does. I live in Southeast Tx where it's hot and very humid so opening the windows right now isn't an option. I'm going to figure out some way to hang dry some of our clothes though. Even if I cut back a little it should help. Thanks so much for the ideas. I'm going to Lowe's today to get new bulbs, power strips, and dryer balls (whatever they are!)

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I've heard about dryer balls but kept forgetting to order them. Thanks to this thread I just ordered some off of e*ay. They are balls they you put in the dryer in place of fabric softner. They soften the clothes naturally and help with drying time.

 

This should be a link to dryer balls on As Seen on TV:

 

http://www.asseenontv.com/prod-pages/dryer_balls.html

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Someone else suggested hanging clothes to dry. We have some people wth seasonal allergies in our home, so this doesn't work this time of year for us...

Have you got the space, maybe in the basement, to put a retractable clothes line up and hang the clothes in the house instead of outside?

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Call your electric provider and ask if certain hours have lower rates of usage (off peak), if they do, run your dishwasher, etc during those hours. Computers can be a big hog, so make sure you turn them off when not in use. And the biggest thing is buying power strips you can turn off and plugging everything you can into these (obviously not your fridge/freezer) and turning off these at night. Many people do not realize how many appliances that even when off drain energy. We are also keep the blinds/curtains shut in rooms we aren't using and this has helped also. We turn up the ac when we leave and have taken to keeping it a few degrees warmer than we usually do. My electric bill was $282 this month, for a 2800 sq foot home with a swimming pool pump to run also...this same time last year my electric bill was over $500 so some of these changes must be helping us.

 

Wow, thanks for the tip about off-peak hours! I haven't found the rate yet, but I checked online and our electric provider DOES have off-peak hours--after 11 p.m.!! I'm going to do a load of laundry and run the dishwasher then. Great suggestion!

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I went to Lowe's and got our CFL bulbs,and looked for dryer balls, but couldn't find them. I'll have to order them online. Also, I hung dry all of our shirts and shorts, and then I threw the socks and undies in the dryer for just a little bit and took them out. Yippee! I think I've already started saving a little. !

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Yes, $600 after insulating the attic. We still have to insulate throughout the house though. We have a slab for foundation. We are also looking into a new unit. We actually need 2 to help cool the upstairs. Lots of work to do...lots of money!

 

Hey Steph, I definitely have you beat (and not in a good way!).

We built a house 5 1/2 years ago. It's 2900 sq.ft. which I realize is pretty large, but still...

We have an insulated crawlspace, energy-star appliances, I launder using cold water during off-hours only, we have dual-paned windows, extra insulation in the attic and exterior walls, gas stove, no pool, I hang the laundry out to dry, we have a fan to draw cooler air into the attic at night, fluorescent bulbs in most heavily-used rooms and low-voltage lighting in the rest, we bought a well-rated a/c unit and maintain it regularly, we try to keep lights off when not needed, and we keep our a/c no lower than 78*(which I realize is still a little low) BUT...

Our electric bill this month alone was..................{wait for it, I guarantee you'll be impressed!}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$1,050.17 :blink::eek:

Do you feel better yet? $600 is sounding better, huh? :001_huh:

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That was a tip from our electric company on our bill. :001_smile:

 

I was able to turn off the heated dry on my dishwasher. I tried turning off the hotter wash option and they didn't come clean. I did turn off the hot start button and I can't tell a difference.

 

Check the hot water heater temp and see if you can turn it down.

 

I've been trying to do more "summer" cooking. Cooking outside on the grill, just heating up for dinner, etc... Basically trying not to heat up the house with my cooking.

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Our electric company also has off-peak hours. We do laundry and take our showers then. I use cold water to wash our clothes. I don't use my oven at all during the summer. We use the barbeque grill a lot. We set our thermostat at 78-80 degrees. If we leave the house I turn it up to 82. We use fans and it does help. I also keep the curtains, blinds, and doors shut.

God bless,

Vicki

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We bought that window film from Home Depot that you apply to your windows to reduce heat and gives you a low "e".

 

Well, that reduced the heat of our upstairs by about 10 degrees. It is amazing. We thought we were needing a new system for the house, because we couldn't keep the upstairs comfortable. We are in the process of putting it in everywhere.

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I think this has all been mentioned.

 

Set your thermostat high in the summer (ours is at 80) and low in the winter (65 day, 55 overnight). Put the thermostat on a timer so it changes when you are regularly out of the house or asleep.

 

We got new windows a few years back. We have a storm door. All south facing windows have heavy (black out) shades that stay closed all day. Sometimes we open them after 4 pm or so. Yes, the rooms are dark, but the rooms heat up FAST with the shades open. In the winter, I do the opposite, shades are open as soon as the sun is shining and stay open until it starts getting dark.

 

Hyper vigilance for turning off things not in use. Unplug chargers.

 

I'm going to check these dryer balls another poster mentioned.

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Hey Steph, I definitely have you beat (and not in a good way!).

We built a house 5 1/2 years ago. It's 2900 sq.ft. which I realize is pretty large, but still...

We have an insulated crawlspace, energy-star appliances, I launder using cold water during off-hours only, we have dual-paned windows, extra insulation in the attic and exterior walls, gas stove, no pool, I hang the laundry out to dry, we have a fan to draw cooler air into the attic at night, fluorescent bulbs in most heavily-used rooms and low-voltage lighting in the rest, we bought a well-rated a/c unit and maintain it regularly, we try to keep lights off when not needed, and we keep our a/c no lower than 78*(which I realize is still a little low) BUT...

Our electric bill this month alone was..................{wait for it, I guarantee you'll be impressed!}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$1,050.17 :blink::eek:

Do you feel better yet? $600 is sounding better, huh? :001_huh:

 

 

My word!! That's scary! Are you sure you didn't miss a months payment?:D That definitely makes me appreciate my bill!

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My word!! That's scary! Are you sure you didn't miss a months payment?:D That definitely makes me appreciate my bill!

 

Nope, no missed payments. It is like this all summer, and has been every year since we moved into this house.

 

I'm still just amazed (and crazed) whenever I think about it!

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If you live where it is hot, an attic fan can do wonders.

 

We live quite near kalanamak, and up here in the northwest most of us do not have air conditioning at all. Still, for a couple weeks of the year (if we're lucky) it can be hot. We installed an exhaust fan in the attic that comes on automatically when the temperature reaches a certain point, and that has done wonders for us.

 

Jenny in Atl mentioned having a tree - on the south or west side of your house, this is a great idea. It can drastically reduce temps around and in your house.

 

Finally, I don't know that anyone has mentioned this yet, but we only wash our laundry with cold water. Sometimes that means we have to soak our whites over night in a borax solution to whiten them up more; otherwise stuff starts looking, uh, greyish, but we don't mind too much.

 

Please report back if you see some substantial savings.

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Nope, no missed payments. It is like this all summer, and has been every year since we moved into this house.

 

I'm still just amazed (and crazed) whenever I think about it!

 

I believe it. When we lived in FL, in the summer we ran a/c 24 hours, we had a pool which ran 8 hours a day, our computer was on all day and our bill was $350. Here in NorCal, we have no a/c, no pool and I've become the light Nazi and our bill was $350. Everything costs more in the golden state!

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Oh I forgot one big thing that reduced our electric bill, my mind got jogged by the poster who posted about applying a film screen to their windows. I didn't do that, but we did have solar screens put on the outside of our house, the difference is amazing. My house was built in 1949 so the insulation is not the best in the walls (actually there is no insulation between brick and sheetrock). The solar screens made a huge difference in the overall livability of the living room which used to just eek heat at us. We used a different company, and this is something you can do yourself, but we used a company similar to this one http://www.texassolarscreens.com/

Being in DFW we went with the highest rated heat resistant ones (their were lighter weight ones that reflected less).

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This summer, my dh decided to try something different when we turned the AC on in early June. Since the AC uses the most energy each time it comes on, he decided to turn it on in the evening when the outside temps begin to go down. We turn it to 70 and let it run for a while. It gets nice and cool. When we go up to bed, we turn it way up so that it WILL NOT come on until we tell it to. When we get up in the morning, IF we think we might need to cool the house temp down (we usually don't), we turn it on again for a bit. The key is to turn it on low enough that the AC unit will not cycle on and off. We just let it run until whenever we turn it on.

 

We keep the ceiling fans on in the rooms we are occupying. And we (almost) close the blinds to keep the heat of the light out.

 

The temps have been very comfortable inside and the thermostat hovers at 70/71 all the time until we do the evening cool down. (We only turn it on twice, at the most, per day.)

 

We are both so surprised at how cool the house stays. But best of all, we are surprised at the electric bill. I still use the dryer once/twice a week and I've done less oven-cooking this summer. Last summer our monthly summer bill averages $150. This summer, less than $75.

 

Money talks! The cooling system seems to be working!

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