Sunday, May 17, 2009

Look At Your Utility Bills

I read a lot about saving money. Books, magazines, blogs. It's a subject I find interesting and of course, useful.

Ok, I'm going to admit something kind of embarrassing right now. I hardly ever, Ok, I never, look at all of the pages of the Gas & Electric Bill. I generally bitch inwardly about the large cost of it (especially in winter) and try and conserve where I can/when I can. This is hit and miss though. For instance, I have an energy and water efficient dishwasher-I still only run it when it's full. I'm sure that saves me money, I've just never figured out how much.

One tip I come across quite often is to run large appliances during "Off Peak" hours to take advantage of lower rates. I've never looked into this and have always assumed that the savings was minimal. Turns out, the savings is NOTHING AT ALL. (at least for my area-YMMV and I would strongly advise you to look at your bill)

While I was able to determine from their website, that there are "peak" and "off peak" hours (7:00 am-11:00Pm is peak) there is no difference in the price that I am charged for using energy depending on the time I am using it.

I also noted that electricity accounts for 30% of the bill, while natural gas accounts for 70%. So, while I've been walking around crabbing about all the lights being on and weighing the pros and cons of switching to florescent lights in all the lights now or when they actually burn out, I've been ignoring ways to save gas.

We currently have a (old) gas dryer, (new) stove, (old) hot water heater, and of course, we heat with natural gas. Almost anyone I know can tell you our house is chilly in the winter so I'm doing what I can with that one. (although more weatherproofing for next season would probably be a good start) My dryer use will go down drastically in the summer while I line dry our clothes) and I should probably focus on hot water and stove/oven use. We grill a lot in Summer. (Of course you need to buy propane for that.) but often, like this evening, my husband grilled the main dish along with the side dish. I've actually not given that much thought to cooking and hot water usage.

I can tell this is a whole new project for me! I'll share my findings as I go!

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