So this past week has been really busy around here working on our biggest way to save money right now....our electric bill. Our bill has been going up this past year. I didn't really sweat it much because I knew that quite a bit of it was simply because I didn't feel good. When you don't feel good you get lazy. But when our power bill jumped an astronomical amount, I sat up and paid attention because we can't pay super high power bills. So, after checking all the appliances and having the power company come out to check that the meter is working properly we found that our two worst areas are the central heat in the den and the freezer door seal (at least we think it might be the seal). Our wood stove insert is in that room so why are we using that heater? Because maintaining a wood burning fire is hard work and some days I just don't feel like I have it in me. So yes, not feeling all that great leads to laziness. So here is what we have been doing and what we are implementing now that I have become the electricity Nazi.
1. We are heating only the room that we are in at the moment. We currently spend most of our time in the den, and I have discovered over the last couple of days that if I close the doors to that room that I can maintain a fire in the woodstove much more easily because it doesn't have to be a big roaring fire to keep just that room comfortable. A small blaze on a bed of hot coals keeps us comfortable. This allows us to turn off the electric heat in that room (it is a large room) and turn off the propane heaters in the rest of the house until we need them at night. Already we can see a difference in electricity useage on the meter. A big difference.
2. We have been doing some more caulking. This is an ongoing all year job on this old house. Just when we think we have all the caulking done the house moves or we just simply find more places. I am sure we aren't done yet, but we have gotten a lot more caulking done.
3. We have ordered a new seal for the freezer door, it is an old freezer and I am sure the seal doesn't work as well as it once did. Power company guy said it was pulling 10 kilowatts every time compressor came on. If it is cycling enough then that is a considerable amount of power. Meanwhile, it is cold enough that the freezer can be turned off at night and then turned back on again in the morning. We plan to replace the freezer at some point but simply can't do that right now.
4. The water heater is being turned off at night when we don't need it and then we turn it back on about mid day so that I can do any warm water laundry that needs doing and everyone can take showers. After the last shower of the evening it goes back off.
5. We had the refrigerator set at the factory recommended setting, but we turned it up a notch (warmer) so that the compressor cycles less. So far so good, everything is staying cold enough.
6. I have used the dryer much less. I have still had to use it because jeans just don't dry well in such cold temps and my husbands uniforms look better coming out of the dryer. But shirts and such have done just fine on the line with just a quick 10 minutes on air dry in the dryer.
7. I have been hanging window quilts made from old blankets and comforters for the past several years in the winter. I really have never gotten around to making them look decent. It really has been just a down and dirty quick thing. So, I have been not only making them look nice, but some are thin, so I am making them thicker, making them hang better ( like normal curtains), putting white on the outside so they can be used in the summer, and installing a rod and pulley system so they can be opened and closed like blinds. This way they will be able to stay up all year, will reflect the summer sun as well as keep the temp. in the house comfortable all year. The plus is that I won't have to dread putting them up anymore and trying to figure out which ones went over which windows. This should help on year round electricity useage now. The comforters and quilts I got for free from friends and family or very cheap at goodwill several years ago. And remember I said that I am always taking sheets that family members are going to throw away. Well, all those white sheets (some I got at yard sales) have come in handy for lining the curtains. The colored sheets have come in handy for the interior of the curtains. So, the fabric that I am using has cost next to nothing. Maybe 3.00 for the sheets that I bought at a yard sale.
8. I bought some boneless pork roasts on sale and brought them home and ground them up myself at less than half the cost of ground beef.
So, that has been our week of savings. Most of it centered around getting our electric useage under control again. Hope you have a great and frugal week. Kat