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Offline Matthew

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How to save on your electric bill
« on: January 04, 2008, 11:10:38 PM »
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  • I've studied this -- a lot. It's a hobby of mine. And I've tried all this advice PERSONALLY and can vouch for the fact that it works. Our electric bills are about 1/2 what our neighbors pay -- and we're a family of four with both parents at home all day (running a business from home as well!)

    1. Get those twisty "compact fluorescent" light bulbs if you haven't already. They use 1/4 the power, and even last much longer than regular bulbs! Replace the most popular lights in your house first (most bang for the buck). They are more expensive, but NOT IN THE LONG RUN. They pay for themselves, and quickly.

    Throw away any of the old-style light bulbs -- sell them at a garage sale or something. They cost so much to run them that they aren't a good deal EVEN IF YOU GOT THEM FOR FREE.

    2. Buy a surge protector/strip (even a cheap one) and put your computer router, DSL/Cable modem, your entertainment center, etc. on it. That way you can press the toggle switch and turn off everything COMPLETELY -- many items use electricity even when they're off. This provides a convenient way to save electricity that costs you NO INCONVENIENCE aside from hitting a switch before you go to bed, etc.

    3. If you have any air leaks into your home, you need to fix them. Air conditioning/heating is the NUMBER ONE factor in your electric bill. Compared to that, all other items are a sloppy 2nd, 3rd, etc. So if you're losing A/C or heat through a leaky door, you need to buy a door sweep (simply screw it onto the bottom of your door -- I've done it twice, and I'm not even a handyman) or a roll of that sticky foam insulation to put around the door. Plastic on the windows can also be a good idea in northern climates in the wintertime.

    4. Set your computer to use Power Management -- and keep the settings decently strict. Turn off monitor after 5 min, turn off hard drives after 10 min., standby mode after 20 min., etc. The first two only take 2 seconds to recover from after you return to your PC, and you've saved a lot of electricity in the meantime.
    Also, turn off your PC if you're going to be away from it for more than 1 1/2 hours. NEVER leave it on 24/7. Computers don't need it (I'm a PC tech, so I am an authority on the matter) and their operating cost is NOT negligible.

    5. Get an LCD monitor if you can afford it. Not just because they "look better", but because they are better for your eyes, and they use 1/3 as much electricity as a CRT (big fat picture tube) monitor. They also have no electromagnetic radiation -- unlike a CRT.

    6. Practice mortification when it comes to A/C and heating. During the summer, try to keep the A/C set at 82 (or higher, if you dare).  82 feels quite comfortable when it's 90+ and humid outside. You might not be able to wear a sweater -- but should you be wearing a sweater when God made the temperature to be 95 with high humidity? Exactly.

    For heat, anything above 62 is plenty warm in the winter. You might not be able to run around in your underwear, or in shorts, but shouldn't your house be a bit cooler in the winter than it is during the summer? God made the seasons to have different temperatures. We should be a little on the hot side in June, and dress a bit more warmly in December (assuming northern hemisphere -- Aussies just flip those months around!)

    7. Dry your laundry on a laundry line. It's fresh air, exercise, better for the clothes, and they smell great. You don't have to buy fabric sheets, either. It's a win-win-win. You might have to use your dryer for real small items -- they can be a pain. And you need to use your dryer when it's raining, or during the winter in northern climates.
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    Offline Dawn

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #1 on: January 10, 2008, 11:29:04 AM »
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  • Thank you. I was intested especially in this new thing they speak of, Electricity being "stolen" at night when you have turned off all televisions,etc.


    Offline Matthew

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #2 on: January 10, 2008, 12:22:06 PM »
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  • I have proof of how much electricity we're saving :)

    In our neighborhood, the electric meters are all in the back alley. I can easily read the neighbors' meters when I read my own. I read them on the last day of every month, so I can calculate how we're doing.

    My neighbors all have the same kind of house -- we all have electric heat, hot water, and stove (none of us have a gas bill), and these houses are all the same size/style/construction. None of these houses have a greater "population" than us, either. Quite the contrary -- one of them is a retired lady living alone, another is a woman and (sometimes) her grown son. Another is a (renting) thirtysomething couple with no kids and 5 dogs.

    Remember, there are FOUR of us here 24/7. Both my jobs I do from home, and my wife is a stay-at-home mom. So we should have HIGHER bills than the neighbors, not lower!


    Electric Bill -- December 2007
    ==============================
    House #1 : $133.80   
    OUR HOUSE: $56.94   
    House #3 : $89.61   
    House #4 : $184.11   
    House #5 : $138.39   
    House #6 : $92.67
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    Offline Matthew

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008, 03:26:32 PM »
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  • The fluorescent bulbs do give of a different kind of light, but you're right that there are many kinds of CFL bulbs out there. You can get some that look like sunlight, some that are more bluish white light, some that are softer, etc.

    The regular ones are fine though -- especially since they cost about 1/4 as much electricity to produce the same amount of light!

    What's harsh to ME is wasting tons of money on electricity for house lighting that you don't need to.

    Matthew
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    Offline Matthew

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 03:39:30 PM »
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  • I would like to mention WHY I'm so much into saving electricity.

    A) I'm passionately against waste in all forms, including food, money, gas, time, and energy. Wasting is NOT Catholic. Wasting is necessary in a consumption-driven economy like ours -- but that doesn't make it Catholic or a good thing.

    B) I am VERY ANGRY (the virtuous kind -- more properly called righteous indignation) when someone starts talking about the need for population control, or how big families (which they define as more than 1 child) hurt "mother earth".

    When those enviromentalist whackos start talking about how the earth has exceeded its load capacity, etc. and start whipping out statistics that were gleaned from countless Protestant families living a suburban way-of-life, I want to be able to laugh in their face and tell them they're full of it!

    (By suburban way of life, I mean the materialist, worldly culture that surrounds us -- that believes shopping is a hobby, vacations should be taken at least once a year, each child should have his/her own room with a TV and DVD player, PC, cell phone, iPod, and all kinds of other material things. Suburbanites tend to have WAY more car than necessary as well.)

    To those enviro. whackos, I can say:

    "I have a family of 4, and my electric/water/gasoline/food bill is less than your average worldly man living by himself. So there!"

    It's hard for them to honestly come back from that one.

    Matthew
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    Offline Catholic Samurai

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #5 on: January 12, 2008, 06:12:00 PM »
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  • I dont think getting fluorescent light bulbs is such a good idea. I've read that those things have mercury in them and that the light they give off is artificial and can lead to depression in some people. Personally I just think the light from fluorescents is nasty.

    Im also wondering Chant, what do you think of LED lights? I know those are expensive ($90 and up) but they last up to 10 years! They take up less electricity than regular light bulbs and I hear that the lighting is pretty good.
    "Louvada Siesa O' Sanctisimo Sacramento!"~warcry of the Amakusa/Shimabara rebels

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    TEJANO AND PROUD!

    Offline JoanScholastica

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #6 on: January 15, 2008, 12:15:37 AM »
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  • Quote from: ChantCd

    That way you can press the toggle switch and turn off everything COMPLETELY -- many items use electricity even when they're off.


    I've heard that a dozen times but I still won't believe. Can anyone give me some source in the web where I can verify this?

    Offline John Steven

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #7 on: January 15, 2008, 06:04:58 AM »
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  • Quote from: ChantCd


    (By suburban way of life, I mean the materialist, worldly culture that surrounds us -- that believes shopping is a hobby, vacations should be taken at least once a year, each child should have his/her own room with a TV and DVD player, PC, cell phone, iPod, and all kinds of other material things. Suburbanites tend to have WAY more car than necessary as well.)




    I agree with all you say except the part about taking a vacation once a year. I think this is a good and healthy thing for a family to do. It was even recently recommended to me by a good traditional priest that I should make sure I take my future wife away on vacation for a weekend at least once a year while someone watches the children, save for a young nursing baby.


    Offline Matthew

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #8 on: January 15, 2008, 07:37:43 AM »
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  • Would you believe I had a feeling that someone would call me on the "vacation" item? I just knew it wasn't clear enough -- turns out I was right.

    To clarify --

    There are Catholic vacations, meant for recreation, whose cost is (easily) measured in twenty dollar bills. Packing up the kids in the van, loading up a cooler with sandwiches, etc., staying with family/putting up tents/staying in inexpensive motels, going to do something actually relaxing, educational, or somewhat edifying -- THAT is a Catholic vacation.

    If you couldn't picture a seminary going on a vacation like the one in question (Las Vegas? Hawaii?) then it's probably not good for a Catholic. I can tell you that seminarians DO go on vacation -- but there is some good in them (culture, relaxation, education, edification) not just a worldly desire for "fun" and "letting loose".

    People's yearly recreation often parallels their DAILY recreation -- TV. TV is NOT a good choice for 90% of one's recreation because it doesn't give part of your brain a rest, it's entirely passive, and can actually take a lot out of you if you're not watching something "boring".

    So many worldly vacations are A) occasions of sin B) extremely dissipating/distracting to the point that meditation and/or THOUGHT is impossible, C) expensive, D) wasteful (of oil, gas, money), E) stressful -- with strict touring schedules, etc.

    Vacations do not need to have any of these bad traits. That is not what vacations are meant to be -- it's not even what they USED to be.

    In Christ,

    Matthew
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    Offline Matthew

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    How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #9 on: January 15, 2008, 07:47:31 AM »
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  • Quote from: JoanScholastica
    Quote from: ChantCd

    That way you can press the toggle switch and turn off everything COMPLETELY -- many items use electricity even when they're off.


    I've heard that a dozen times but I still won't believe. Can anyone give me some source in the web where I can verify this?


    I know about electronics, Joan. If you don't have a mechanical (piece of metal inside) switch there to cut the flow of electricity -- such as a toggle switch (a light switch) -- but instead have a flat button that doesn't press in much to turn the device "on", then some electronics inside the device (a "circuit") is switching the power on/off. This circuit has to be drawing power all the time, or how can it decide whether or not the device should be on?

    Also, feel the heavy, black cube -- the "adapter" that plugs into the wall on one of your devices. Is it warm/hot? If so, you need to think "how did this item get hot?"

    There is no fire burning underneath it, or inside it.
    Everything else in the immediate area is cool to the touch.
    How could this item be warm?

    Well, I'll tell you: It's the same principle behind an electric stove, heater, etc.: electricity can become heat when it passes through a substance of high resistance. Where there's heat, there's used-up electricity. If your stove burner was warm or hot, you'd KNOW that some electricity was used up to get it to that point. Same for the adapters in your house.

    Now we're not talking a lot of electricity here, but I don't like to waste ANY. And it's true that if you had 50 devices drawing SOMETHING at all times, it would add up to quite a bit. And people have a lot of rechargers around these days (iPod, video game, cell phone, rechargeable batteries, cordless phone, cordless vacuum, and dozens of others)

    Matthew
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    Offline Viva Cristo Rey

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    Re: How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #10 on: September 11, 2018, 10:06:30 PM »
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  • And there peak times?
    To live with the Saints in Heaven is all bliss and glory....To live with the saints on Earth is just another story!  (unknown)


    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #11 on: September 12, 2018, 09:54:22 AM »
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  • I would use LED bulbs now rather than the CFLs.  You can buy them cheap in bulk and don't have the mercury in them that CFLs do.  Plus you can get better light ranges.

    Offline Matthew

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    Re: How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #12 on: September 12, 2018, 10:30:30 AM »
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  • Talk about a Necro-Bump!

    Not exactly an important post to contribute either (I'm talking about the original necro-bumper, not the person who responded once the thread was "current" again).
    To answer this important question that was 10 years in the making: "No", there are no peak times where I live, or I could take additional measures to save energy like running my washing machine/dishwasher at night and stuff like that.

    And responding to Ladislaus: yes, after TEN YEARS a few things have changed!

    I haven't purchased a CFL in years, since I'm completely switching over to LED bulbs now. But since I'm still not into waste, I'm letting my remaining CFL bulbs die a natural death. It takes a while, since they are supposed to last 7 years, and that assumes frequent use. As they die, they get thrown out (Home Depot's special CFL disposal bin) and replaced with LED bulbs.

    The light is much better with LED bulbs, and they don't cause a mercury release hazard when broken. So a few years ago, once the price came down from the stratosphere, I began the switchover.
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    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #13 on: September 12, 2018, 11:48:02 AM »
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  •  :laugh1: ... how does a person even FIND a thread like this in order to bump it.  Perhaps a Google search result?

    We're talking about a thread that died 10 years and 8 months ago ... on a completely secular topic.  Must be some kind of a record.

    Offline Geremia

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    Re: How to save on your electric bill
    « Reply #14 on: September 12, 2018, 01:09:11 PM »
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  • 1. Get those twisty "compact fluorescent" light bulbs if you haven't already. They use 1/4 the power, and even last much longer than regular bulbs! Replace the most popular lights in your house first (most bang for the buck). They are more expensive, but NOT IN THE LONG RUN. They pay for themselves, and quickly.
    LED bulbs are even better and last longer because they don't need transformers in them (which is what limit the lifespan of fluorescent bulbs). Dollar stores sell 9W, 800 lumen LED bulbs for $1 each. I think 800 lumen fluorescent ones require about 13W.
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