Bills suck

  • August 16, 2017
  • By Kathy@MoreCoffeeLessTalky

There are 3 things that are certain in life:  taxes, bills and death.  We can't do much about taxes or death but we can certainly do something to control what we spend on monthly bills.

Programmable thermostat.  We have a Honeywell digital thermostat that's part of an Ontario government energy reduction program (read: it was free) and if it ever breaks, they come to repair it for free as well #fistpump.

This allows us to check/program our thermostat online, read our energy consumption levels and a bunch of other shit I recently discovered (even though I've had this thermo for years).

What helps me reduce my energy bill is programming the temperature - in the summer, even on the hottest days, I keep my house at 24C and use a fan to distribute the cooler air downstairs, upstairs.  In the winter, my house is a steady 21C, dropping to 18C at night and we use warm, down comforters to sleep.

Even a small 2 degree reduction can reduce your energy bill by nearly 30%.

Use the weather to your advantage.  On cooler days/nights, open the windows and use a fan to circulate the air.  If you have windows that face the sun, pull the drapes shut to keep the heat out and open the back windows (if shaded) and place the fan by the window; it will help push the cooler air throughout the house.

Use heat-blocking drapes/shutters or window film.  We have huge 20' ceilings that get morning sun which can heat up my house fast and drive up my AC costs.  No thank you.  To reduce heat coming into my home, we installed sun-control window films that let light in but blocks heat and UV rays.

Check your windows and doors.  Weather stripping along doors and windows need to be redone every few years or so otherwise unwanted warm or cool air leaks into/out of your house, causing your (programmable) thermo to kick in and waste energy. Ain't nobody got time for that.

In the next coming weeks, we're finally changing our front door and I can't wait. We have this house (and door) for 11 years and it's time that we got rid of our builder front door and put something more energy efficient and better looking.

Reduce your hydro consumption.  Water and electricity consumption can often kill your monthly budget if you're not careful.  One bill a few months ago was over $400 and I flipped out on everyone and turned into the light and water nazi:

-- Clothes are worn more than once to reduce laundry.  If it wasn't hot that day (and no sweating), we hang up worn clothes to air out to be reworn later in the week.  Kayla is the exception since kids are filthy little things.

-- Wash clothes on weekends only or if necessary during the week, after 7pm (during non-peak [and cheaper] hours).

-- Not sure if this is a chinese thing but I rarely use my dishwasher; I only use it if we have guests or once a month to ensure that the seals don't crack.  We hand wash our dishes.

-- No more baths for Kayla.  This actually stopped when she was 5.

-- Install energy-efficient (low/reduced flow) shower heads.

-- Install dimmer light switches and LED lights if possible.

-- I found this toilet hack that will convert any toilet into a low-flush toilet - you basically fill a bottle with sand or coins and place it in the toilet. This will reduce the volume of the tank itself and therefore require less water to fill it.

What are some ways you reduce your monthly bills?

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  1. We need that energy reduction program in Orlando! And I always wash clothes on the weekends, and am mind boggled that it's cheaper then as I've assumed most people do it on the weekends when we actually have time for it. I hand wash a lot of dishes as well, and only run the dishwasher about once a week if that.

  2. Its my favorite time of year when I can open the windows & now run the AC or heat... makes SUCH a difference in the electric bill.

  3. Great tips Kathy! I have an indoor cat so windows open arent a present reality but Im hoping in the new house I can do this at least a bit in some rooms.

  4. These are really good ideas. We already primarily just do laundry on weekends, though that's mostly because we HATE laundry lol. Glad to know it's probably helping with our bills though.

  5. Ugh bills suck!!!! We have a honeywell thermostat, though our government sure as hell doesn't help us with that stuff. Rude. I am very guilty of running the dishwasher about every other day. I dont have time to wash the million bottle parts that come with Zoe's bottles. I try to run the dryer in the evenings and wear my clothes multiple times if I can.

  6. My husband has been talking about getting a programmable thermostat ever since we bought our house last year & we have yet to get one! I think it's a good investment & maybe we need to do that this year finally. I never knew it was cheaper to wash clothes on the weekend? I'm glad because that's when we do most of our laundry!

  7. I'm trying to figure out if it's more energy efficient to run the AC at a steady temperature all day or to schedule it for higher when we are away and then back down when we get home. I've heard arguments both ways. During Charleston summers, the AC pretty much runs constantly, no matter what temp we set it on (generally 24°C). I also put the upstairs a degree or 2 (in F) cooler than downstairs.

    We have a programmable thermostat, but I've considered getting a Nest after hearing others say they saw a drop in their power bill after installing.

  8. Never thought about putting things on the actual window. smart.

  9. Bills are indeed the worst. We're getting the new Nest thermostat, it's cool. It has an app so I can program it from bed, which is my main win. But it also 'learns' your patterns and auto adjusts when it knows you're not home. It's $200, but our electric company is offering $100 back AND the gas company is offering $50, and you can combine them. Makes it only $50, how cool is that?

  10. My favorite time of year is any time I am not using heat or AC. That being said I won't suffer through sweat or freezing in my own home.

    I don't wash something every time I wear it, but more because it doesn't need to be over saving money. I do two loads of personal laundry every week and a half.

  11. These are great tips! It can be tough to keep up with some of these things, but if you focus it is really not so bad. I've been wanting to try the toilet one for a long time. LOL XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  12. no more baths? i would cry. i need to get over it and stop having baths though. i totally need a programmable thermostat.