Friday, August 19, 2016

Utility Challenge

I am challenging myself for the next month to have the lowest utility bill that I have ever had for this same time period since we moved into our home. I don't know if it is possible because of the extreme heat that we continue to have. But I am sure going to try.

Reminding myself that even the littlest things add up, I did some things yesterday to prepare. I unplugged all clocks and night lights in the guest rooms. When no one is staying in them, there is no need to draw power. I made sure that the Wii was off. Shades and blinds are always drawn in those rooms to keep the sun out. I don't like to totally shut the rooms off with the A/C because it seems to unbalance the system and cost me more if I do that. I changed the filter in the furnace.

During this billing cycle, I will be doing the following:

- Laundry loads will be full before I use the HE washer. I have read the manufacturers manual so that I know what the maximum load is for my washer to make it the most energy efficient.  All laundry except towels will be hung to dry. They will be washed in cold water only on the shortest possible cycle.

- As soon as the heat and humidity leave, we will turn off the A/C and open the windows at night to cool the house down or leave them closed if the nights start to chill.  

- The dishwasher will be run only when it is full on the shortest possible cycle and they will be airdryed.

- I will be using the outside grill and small appliances for all of our meals. The stove top and oven will not be used for any cooking or baking.

- When we are going to be out of the house for the day, we will turn the A/C up to 80. When we are home it is set at 75.

- We will use the TV only when we are actually sitting in front of it giving our full attention to it. It will not be turned on for noise or while we are on our tablets. We will be very selective about what we watch. 

- Lights will be turned off during daylight hours unless it is a dark dreary day. When we do use a light it will be only one in the room we are actually in. 

- I will continue to follow the sun around the house with closing and opening curtains and shades. No sense letting the sun pour in the house with the A/C running. We have energy saving shades that keep the heat out but the light in.

- Navy showers will be used all month. No cheating and staying in the shower with the water running for a long period of time. 

- If the humidity leaves soon(hopefully), I will turn off the dehumidifier.

- Computer time will be limited and computers will be turned off when not being used.

- I will be caulking around windows and doors where it is needed.

- I don't wash my pots and pans in the dishwasher. They will be done in the sink with a small sink full of water. I won't let the hot water just continually run while I am washing them.

- We will get things out of the fridge and freezer in one trip and quickly as to not have the door open too long. We will do the same when putting things away. We will open freezers as little as possible.

- We will not stand talking to people with the front door wide open letting the cool air out. We will either invite them in or stand on the porch with them.

- If we stay home more, we will not be opening doors and letting the heat into our home.

- We will not be ironing our clothes. Wrinkles come out after a few minutes of wearing. 

- We will not wash clothes every time we wear them. Jeans can be worn more than once if they are not dirty.

- I will only blow dry my hair when I know I am going out that day. I will just let it air dry. I have an inverted bob so it looks pretty good even when it isn't blown dry. Hubby always just combs his hair and lets it air dry.

- When we cook, we will prepare enough for two meals so that we can just reheat the second in the microwave. This saves energy over making a meal every night. Many of our meals while it is still hot outside will be cold meals like salads.

- Hubby and I only have 1 cup of coffee in the morning. We only turn the Keurig on when we are going to make a cup. Otherwise it is turned off. No sense having those blue lights on all of the time.

- I cleaned my chest freezer recently so there is no ice build up and it runs efficiently. 

- Our heating and A/C company is coming for our yearly checks on our furnace and A/C next week. Our utility company has a natural gas tune up rebate program. I am going to make out the application and get the rebate form and make sure our technician does all of the things on the form so that we qualify to get the rebate.

- Hubby will be checking all of the ductwork which runs through the basement to make sure that all seams are still sealed.

- I always run cold water when using my garbage disposal, not hot.

- I will use my bathroom exhaust fans sparingly. In just one hour they can remove a houseful of warmed or cooled air.

- I always clean the lint screen on my dryer after I do my towels so that it is ready for the next time I use it. This simple task keeps your machine energy efficient.

- I have installed energy efficient showerheads in our bathrooms and flow restrictors on all of our faucets. This saves hot water.

I will be thinking about how I can be more energy efficient as I do things this month. If you would like to do this right along with me, feel free. It's a good habit to get into especially with heating season coming. Remember it only takes 30 days to form a habit. This habit can save you money. 

I will let you know the results when I get my September bill.