Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Here's How We Reduced Our Monthly Electric And Heating Bills

Last week I published a post highlighting how we drastically reduced our monthly expenses over the past few years. This was necessary for several reasons. Bodacious Biscuit Love. Our growing family that includes a special needs kid. Starting and expanding this blog. Being able to focus on creating homemade dog treat recipes and inexpensive, simple DIY Dog Mom Projects. By reducing our costs per month, we were able to do all of the above.

After publishing the post, an acquaintance of mine reached out and asked, "What about your electric and heating bill? Any tips and advice about those?"

My first reaction was the palm of my hand against my forehead.  

I never mentioned those two monthly expenses. Another one of my total dork moments.

I'll address our electric bill first. This is one area we still need to make improvements on, but it's difficult.

Personally, I could cut down the amount of time we use our air conditioner by 80%. The only problem is that we have to keep the biscuit room at a certain temperature and there can't be too much humidity in the house.

The reason for this is after the biscuits cool, they rest for 24-48 hours in the biscuit room to harden. If the temperature is too cold, too hot, or there's too much humidity, the biscuits don't harden.

When we have heatwaves, the air conditioners are on most of the time. During the winter months, we supplement with energy efficient space heaters. I'll touch on that in a few minutes.

Although I've cut down the amount of time we use the air conditioners, it's not nearly where I'd like it to be. It all depends on Mother Nature.

Our usage of the oven also contributes to our high electric bill. Over the past few years, I've eliminated some of that. During the summer months, I mostly bake on the overnights. It's cooler and I can put the fan in the window blowing out.

There's only so much I can do because we bake biscuit love and rely on homemade baked goods for snacks versus store bought. I also experiment when creating homemade dog treat recipes.

As for everything else that runs on electric, we could do better. On the overnight, I leave too many lights on. I'll turn on the TV (Netflix) and have a program or movie running just to have sound in the background. Sometimes we forget to shut the outside light off.

Bottom line?

We've made improvements. We could do better. Most of what contributes to our somewhat high electric bill is unavoidable.

On the heating bill end of things, we've done really well. Part of that is due to the oil prices dropping considerably since we moved here the summer of 2012. Back then, the oil prices skyrocketed at over $4 per gallon.

During the winter of 2012 into 2013, we forked out a ton of money on oil. In February of 2013, we spent over $500. Mind you, we never turned our heat higher than 65.

Needless to say, this house is not the most energy efficient. 

The following year, we made changes and fixed a few things that contributed to losing so much heat. The year after that, we made even more improvements.

Although our windows are fairly new, they're drafty. In late October, Lisa buys the window kits and puts plastic on all the windows. We also rely on thermal curtains during the cold weather months. That makes a big difference.

Big. Huge. Difference.

The heat is never higher than 65. During the cold weather months, if the temperature outside is above 35, we use our energy efficient space heaters to supplement our heat.

During the overnight hours, we turn the heat down to 62. Lisa overheats easily so this is comfortable for her. I get cold very easily so I use a space heater in the home office with the door closed.

The kids nestle under their assortment of 231 throw blankets.

Using the oven frequently to bake biscuit love and baked treats works towards our advantage as well. It heats up our home.

Last winter we spent $100 for oil in February. We didn't need oil until August.

This was largely due to the exceptionally winter we had, but still...huge improvements all the way around.

Reducing your monthly electric and heating bills largely relies on your home, your family, your needs, but there is always room for improvements.

Making small changes can reduce your monthly electric and heating costs. Baby steps. If you make one change and your bill is $10 or $20 less for one month, give yourself a pat on the back and keep going.

You can also turn this into a fun challenge. See how low you can go. Challenge yourself to reduce your monthly electric and heating bill every month. Whether it's a few dollars or many, it counts.

I hope this helps. In the months ahead, I'll be sharing more ways to reduce your monthly expenses especially around the holiday season.

Even though we've reduced all of our monthly bills drastically, we could do better. There's always room for improvement.

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