Sunday, July 17, 2011

Frugal Challenge-Lowering Your Electric Bill

Electricity here in Southern California aint' cheap!! To cool our home in the summer is very expensive. We decided to have one of the free energy audits of our home and here is what we learned. I want to share in case it can help any of you lower your electric bill.

Our bedroom is really warm. The one room in the house that doesn't seem to cool down. Afternoon sun all day, beating down on it, just warms it up. Of course a huge tree would help, and that will be planted in the fall, but the audit suggested an awning. To Amazon I went, and found one I thought was nice looking but reasonably priced. Also, I had 10 bucks in Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks so instant discount. Hubby installed it, and my gosh what a difference it did make. Without sun on that window, our room did not heat up like it normally does. We could leave the shutters open and let the afternoon breeze in.

We love the results so much we are going to put them along the entire back of the house. 

As part of the audit they let you know what are real energy suckers and our garage freezer was high on the list. She said next to a pool motor, which we don't have, keeping a refrigerator cold in the summer in a hot garage is a huge draw of power, so we ate through what was in there and I cleaned out my house fridge and
made room for what needed to come in the house. For the summer months I will not stockpile any meat. I would rather be cooler and run my air more than have an extra roast in the garage.
Now, I do not have a large fridge, so I have to be organized. We have two refrigerators and we keep waiting for one of them to die before we get a new one for the house. The waiting continues.

I know it looks empty. Was on my way to the store.

Another thing she said was an energy waster in the summer, and I was very surprised to hear this, were fans. Now, we always would leave ceiling fans and other fans running all day and she said that to only run them when you are in the room. Fans do not lower the temperature of the room but make you feel cooler with the breeze, so to switch them off when you leave a room.

Also, all those nasty video game consoles and chargers should be placed on a strip and turned off when not in use. I am on my girls about this all the time. The older girls' room has 50 things plugged in in there. I will be checking to see they are turned off.

I will see how our bill is next month after these changes and will give you an update.


  1. I unplug the tv in the bedroom before leaving for the day, I hang clothes out when I can and try to shut lights off as I leave a room. No air conditioners needed in the mountains.

  2. wow,, who knew awnings could make such a difference,, and thay look great too!

  3. Your awning looks great!
    Good idea about turning off the fans. I'll have to remember that. I always felt cooler with them on..maybe it is just from the breeze.
    Thanks for the tips!

  4. I love your awning! We live in AZ so I hear you about the summer elec bills. I feel like I have a full time job in window blind management in the summer - opening and closing them at just the right time! I have hear that about the fans before.

  5. I hate the heat! So I have and AC unit with an 'energy saver' button that will make the unit go off when it reaches a certain temp, then go back on when it heats up again. I DO wonder if this is really efficient though! AND: I LOVE your new awning!! I need to go on Amazon to check it out. I've always wanted a little one for our side door, as one gets SOAKED unlocking the door if it is raining out! Yours looks great. I can have my son install ours, if it was easy for your hubby to do yours.

  6. Your awning looks completely adorable--wonderful that it makes a temp. difference, too. Wow, I am going to have to take a look at my own house now. Do I really need that big freezer anymore? Maybe not. Thanks for the tips!

  7. My husband keeps telling me that fans don't lower the room temp, and I guess now I can tell him that I believe it! That awning looks so cute, and I bet it seems like it's always been there now!

  8. Thanks for the good tips. We have block-out shades on our windows and it really helps to close them on the west side of the house in the afternoon.
    Your awning looks great!

  9. Yay! I'm so glad you are doing this! The awning is great! My daughter spent part of last summer in West Virginia, learning about coal mining and energy and it's not a pretty picture. You may get a lot of your energy from hydroelectric out there in CA, but many of us across the country use eletricity that is coal powered. If we all did simple little things to conserve energy, the world would be a much better place. Thank you for learning about energy conservation and doing your part!

  10. How did I ever miss this post. I knew about the ceiling fans being a waste unless you were in the room and the freezer in the hot garage. However, I never would have thought of the awning and that is a very attractive one that you put up. Good job with it all.

  11. I bought energy efficient curtains for the entire house (on clearance at Bed BAth and Beyond...2 years ago). they were originally about $40 each. I paid an average of $5 each (clearance and coupons). It makes SO MUCH difference both in the summer and winter months! Following your blog!

  12. Appreciate the tips! Daniela I also bought thermal curtains for bedroom and dining room. BIG difference as those windows get the most sun...anyway...we are thrilled! :o)

  13. I can't believe I never commented on this post when you did it originally.
    But I will say, glad you posted it again. I remember the revelation I got after reading about the *fans being on in the room when your out...
    that changed me. I've been turning off fans ever since. I have always put our window units on auto shut off during the day...and I leave one fan on to help circulate to other rooms. But the other fans are turned off when we're not in there.
    Good-GOOD post!