Just ask the millions of Americans who struggle with their utility bills each year. Unexpected temperature extremes in summer and winter can pack a punch in the pocket book, and that means budgeting for the unknown.
It's no fun having your utilities shut off. Trust me.
Getting ready for my big move to Over-the-Rhine, I decided to call up the good folks at Duke Energy and prepare to have my utilities transferred from my Oakley apartment to the new digs near downtown. During the conversation, I asked the customer service rep. what my utility bill will average in OtR.
Her quote was an average $180 more than I'm currently shelling out.
This wasn't a big surprise; the new apartment is big and has two-story ceilings in some spaces. That means I'll be heating and cooling a bunch of space I won't even be using.
That, or I'll be sweating or freezing my ass off.
I decided to turn to my Facebook and Twitter brethren to ask for energy efficiency tips. Surely I'm not the first person to weather such gigantic utility bills, right?
It was very clear that I'm not.
The online peanut gallery was full of inventive and humorous suggestions. See for yourself:
- Insulating windows in winter can help a lot. Helps keep cold out/hold warmth in.
- Box fans are a life-saver in summer. They can down right freeze you out as early morning comes. In winter, well...you just freeze.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL's. Summer: Fans in windows. No AC unless having guests over. Line dry laundry if you have a balcony with sunlight. Dress less. Winter: insulate windows (plastic works good). Shorter hot showers. Hang dry laundry over heat vents inside. I can go on and on... When my fridge and computer aren't on, the electric meter is dead still. Duke energy doesn't like us much. :)
- I'm w/ XXXX... Gotta be less clothes!! lol
- Buy several fans. Embrace sweatiness. Sweaters in the winter.
- In the summer I'm a box fan in every window kinda girl. In the winter I put bubble wrap on the windows (cheap insulation)
- definitely take the time to cover the windows with plastic in the winter - HUGE money saver - http://bit.ly/d7G8da
- Fuck a sweater. Get a man.
- With house w 1/s being great room lots windows=solarium, we have oscillating fans on floors in each room, 3 in great room
- 4 cold weather invest in insulated drapes if U can 4drafts. Lots of throw blankets/turtlenecks. Try flannel sheets, too.
- eat frozen grapes in summer and get comfortable sitting around in your underwear! Winter = red wine and hot baths...
- programmable thermostats work wonders. energy-saving lightbulbs.
- thermostat you can program, if landlord allows. Fans, especially window fans. Lowes sells window films for winter & summer.
- If 4th and 5th are on the top floors it'll be good in the winter and bad in the summer (heat rises). I'm in the top floor of my building, and that's how it is. If the building is brick, make sure you keep the blinds drawn...seems like it holds heat or cold well....so once the apartment warms up for the summer, it's warm and you're stuck with it.
- if it's an old building, the windows were likely placed in such a way that there will be cross-ventilation. check that out and open windows that are opposite each other and keep closed the ones adjacent to those that are open. that's how they cooled back in the day before A/C.
- Unplug all appliances, chargers, etc (esp. the appliances with clocks/timers) because they are constantly sucking up power even when you are not using them. And turn off everything in the room when you leave the room!
- Shades closed, fuzzy slippers, spooning, a furry pet or two.
Please tell me you have something else up your sleeves!
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.