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Were We Able to Reduce our Electric Bill?


Our electric bill for last month was a whopping $91. That was the highest bill we have ever had. First thought was that the price of our electricity raised, but that wasn’t the cause. It was our usage that had increased. I was not happy with that bill at all and we made some changes to try to get it reduced.

We spent $30 and installed CFL light bulbs in our home. I unplugged the freezer that we really do not use. I turn off my computer powerstrip when I am not working. I unplug the microwave when not in use (and I drive my husband crazy with doing it LOL). I did attempt to stop using our fans at night to sleep, but that didn’t work. I think I am going to try to buy some timers when they go on sale. All in all, the changes we made should have made our electric bill go down.

It didn’t 🙁

Our bill came the other day and it was $96! It is an actual reading too, so it’s not a matter of them estimating incorrectly. I am a little bummed.

Looking at the bill, we used about 100 KWH more than this period last year. Ouch. Thankfully my electric company gives a few more stats that are of interest.

Average daily temp this year: 5
Average daily temp last year: 25
Percent Colder: 44
Avg KWH/Day this year: 21.6
Avg KWH/Day last year: 18.4

So it has been quite a bit colder this year than last year. I’m not sure if that would equate to using almost 100 KWH more in energy, though. We have natural gas heat, but our blower uses electricity. Also, there was about a week of bitter cold temperatures where I used a small space heater sporadically in my office. My office does not have a heating vent so it was very cold in there. I tried to hold off as long as I could, but when you can’t type because your fingers are cold that’s not good.

I may try doing a few more things like getting a few more powerstrips if they go on sale (so we can turn everything off when not in use) and of course the timers for our fans. Other than that, I’m not sure there is much more we can do. I’m sure our computers are taking a bit of juice but my husband and I both need them for work and of course this blog.

I guess we will see what next month brings.


  • Reply Tom |

    I can guarantee the space heater is what killed you. My roommates once went out and bought two without telling me because our deadbeat landlord wouldn’t fix the heat in their rooms. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the $1200 electric bill!

    I kid you not!

  • Reply CreditShack |

    I don’t think your computers impact your electric bill as much as you think they do.

    Looking at *max* power consumption stats from my own computer:
    1 x Computer = 250W
    2 x LCD monitors = 50W x 2 = 100W

    Maximum power consumption is 350W in total. That’s equivalent to about 6 incandescent light bulbs.

    Assuming you’re paying 8¢ per KWh, it costs about 3¢ per hour to run your computer at maximum power consumption. Actual power consumption is usually lower when the processor is near idle (e.g. surfing the internet, using MS Office), hard drives spin down, or monitors go into sleep mode.

  • Reply Nerdy |

    I live in MI too, utility bills are always a thrill here aren’t they? The space heater and extremely cold weather killed your bill. March should be better but you may want to check to see if there are ways to better insulate your house, that will pay off quickly.

  • Reply Kelly |

    Darn those space heaters. I used one last year, thinking it would lower my electric bill. Eep – it doubled. Is there another way to direct heat into your office? How about a second pair of socks and a layer of thermal underwear?

    Spring will come soon!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Man, I really didn’t think the space heater would have killed our bill that badly. But it’s appearing to be the culprit. I was pretty warm in my office, except for my fingers. They were freezing and I type almost all day.

    The only way that room gets heat is from keeping the door open and letting the heat come in from the rest of the house. It always runs cooler but the cold spell we had really froze that room. We were thinking of trying to get heat run to that room for a couple years, but we haven’t had the funds. Perhaps that is something to look into doing this summer if we can. With how our house it laid out, it *shouldn’t* be a problem. But, that’s my unprofessional opinion LOL.

    I am very much looking forward to warmer weather 🙂

  • Reply Nathan |

    as far as saving electricity goes, try the kill-a-watt electricity usage monitor. I haven’t had an electric bill under $100 for years and I use it to see what things draw the most current in an attempt to keep the costs down. I think I paid about $30 for it somewhere online.

  • Reply Catherine Moore |

    One thought for you – how old is your space heater? I suspect, like most things, newer ones are more efficient. You might find the article at http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20000124_heater.htm tm useful reading.

  • Reply Bob |

    I wouldn’t bother unplugging your microwave oven. When not in use I think that the microwave oven draws almost no power at all and isn’t worth the hassle of unplugging and then replugging it back in.

  • Reply Colleen |

    I live in MA. My electric bill in the summer is about $20/month. I use a parabolic space heater in the winter for extra heat and my bill goes up to $50. I am glad to pay an extra $30/month to keep warm and toasty (the heater is awesome) but it’s shocking that it increases the bill over 100 percent!

    I’m a newcomer to your blog and I appreciate your posts, they are very interesting in terms of looking at a budget from all perspectives and with all the events that life throws at ya. Thanks for your writings.

  • Reply Nikki |

    I work at an electric company in Maryland, and they do tell us that space heaters can use alot of electric if you have the type that blows with a fan the entire time it is on. The kind with the thermostat on them though shouldn’t run it up too bad. A few tips they tell us at work that are supposed to help lower your electric bill is to buy an insulating blanket for your hot water heater (I just bought one for $17 at Lowe’s) and to buy foam insulation for pipes under the house if you have any (usually $2 to $3 each from Lowe’s).

  • Reply Jen |

    Yep – it was your space heater. Those things are killers on the electric bill.

    Do you have a down throw? My old apartment had a really cold bedroom that I used as an office. Instead of a space heater I wrapped a down throw around my shoulders so it covered my torso and legs, with my arms sticking out so I could type. That kept me warm enough that I could type at the computer and not have to use a space heater. I got my throws at Sears and Kohl’s two years ago. They may have them on clearance now.

  • Reply Melinda |

    I don’t have heat in my bedroom, so I use a heating pad (less than $20) plus a down comforter. It shuts off automatically after 1 hour, in case you forget to turn it off. I’m in CA, so it doesn’t get as cold here.

  • Reply Deby |

    I don’t know if your power company would have the same program, but several years ago my electric company was offering a free service where they would come out and evaluate your home for ways to save energy. I had them come out and check out the house I was renting at the time. They made sure the water heater was well insulated and at the right temperature, checked the windows for caulking, and gave me some insulators for the wall sockets, among other things. It did amount to a modest savings on my monthly bill, and best of all it was free! It would pay for you to call your power company and see what services they offer.
    Another thing my electric company does is offer free shade trees. They even dig the holes! Very much appreciated to protect us from our infamous “California Sunshine” 🙂

  • Reply Dave Lucas |

    $91 and you’re complaining? My electric & gas bill from National Grid which is due Thursday is $502.99 (that’s for 2 months).

  • Reply Sid |

    I cry when I see my electricity bill(Toronto hydro)I don’t know why they sent me bill too ‘much, my bill comes bimonthly which is $620.90 include tax, last five to six month I’m receiving almost same amount. I tried to call and explain what I’m using but every time they said well Toronto hydro job only reading check, maintenance, fix the metre that’s all they do and rest of the belling retailer company does you have to call and ask well again I call them they said our job fix rate plan blah blah blah…. back and fourth no one taking responsibility. Please any one here helps me out where I do and what I have to do…plz plz to much amount. I hope someone going to be help. Thanks

  • Reply Jeffrey |

    My electric bill in my upstairs two-bedroom, single-bath apartment here in the Raleigh/Durham area has averaged around $17.48 per month for the last eight months; that figure would be even less if my complex installed an Energy Star refrigerator, which my 25-year-old model sadly is not. I also make a habit of turning off all appliances via a power strip or at the junction box when I’m not using them; employ CFLs or AC LEDs, or even use diodes for the few incandescents I still have; and opt for navy showers in cooler water. I hardly ever use the apartment A/C and *never* power on the heat, choosing instead to dress more warmly indoors. (It helps significantly that I’m upstairs and so can catch the fleeting warmth generated by the downstairs tenants.) But perhaps the best practice I’ve learned is to observe my meter regularly so I can realize how many kilowatt-hours I’m using, which usually amounts from about 2 to 5 per day. Next year I hope to purchase a couple of solar panels and see if I can’t whittle down the tally a little more.

  • Reply Jem Enright |

    Hi Tricia,

    Hope your all well.. It’s my 2nd time emailing you and I would like to make a follow up in regards with my last email. Hope you could reply soon.


So, what do you think ?