Since we are on this talk of being diligent this week, I thought, “what are some ways that I am diligent in helping our family cut back on our power bills?”
We live in the south. When you live in the south, there really isn’t a whole lot that you can do to avoid a higher electric bill because air conditioning is a necessity. Our electric bill through the spring and fall is relatively low. For the most part you can have your windows open all that time. We only have a couple of months that we need to have the heat on so that helps a lot. But come summer time, we see how long we can go before we put in the air conditioners. I think that if I had central air I would probably run it more as it would just be built into the home and it is easier to just set the thermostat at a certain temperature and leave it. But this home that we live in has window air conditioners. We just put them in last week as it was getting to the point of children being too lazy because it was just hot. That is when we put them in.
Get a family swim pool.
At our old home, we had a large quick set above ground pool. When we moved to the mountains, we do not have any flat land so an above ground pool would not work here. I was thankful for the lake right down the road that we can drive to and swim in everyday that was nice for last year. But when you get home it was still a short car ride and then you are still hot. We got the 120 x 72 inch Intex pool from Amazon. It fits all the children and they have a great time splashing in it. We fill it up and usually don’t have to empty it but every three days. This has been a huge cool down for the children (and myself). We set it up on the deck, have a large umbrella over top of it, and they can swim when it is 100 degrees out and enjoy it. This helps them cool down and when they go inside without the air, they stay cool for awhile. Who doesn’t enjoy a late night swim when it is dark outside? The children love it!
Install a clothesline and hang your laundry outdoors.
I start my laundry for the day early in the morning. I usually do a load of towels and then one load of clothing. I hang out the towels and most of the heavier pants and skirts. I put all of the hang up shirts on hangers and hang them on the line as well. I put a small load of underwear, socks, and shorts that go in the dryer. I do all of this before I turn the air on in the morning. At one time when I had less children, I would hang this all on a drying rack. We just have so much of it now, that it is easier to just put one load in the dryer each day.
Do your cooking early in the morning.
When I first get up in the morning, I start my dinner meal. I try and cook things out on the grill, but that isn’t always feasible. When I need to cook something in the oven, I do it early on when it isn’t so hot. I then am able to just keep the oven on low or keep the food covered and heat it up slightly before dinner time. If I know what type of meals I am having I try and economize and cook a couple of meals in the oven to avoid having to use it too much. Today I made bacon in the oven while I was cooking some oven fries for dinner. This we will eat for tomorrow on sandwiches with our soup. Look for ways to utilize and be more efficient in cooking.
I also plan a day for baking and leave off the air. I might do this late at night when I can have all the windows open to cool the house or early in the morning when it won’t be so warm. I had a day where it was 100 degrees outside but the children swam in the pool all day and I baked a LOT of banana bread, pumpkin muffins, and chocolate zucchini cake. I stuck them in my freezer and I always have one on hand. This works great, it was hard, it was hot and sweaty, but I was diligent and just got it done.
Get a mini refrigerator.
In our household, my children can open the door to the refrigerator a bunch of times per day to get out their water bottles. I know if you have a smaller family, it probably is not an issue. In our home we have 8 people going to the refrigerator multiples times per day. I saw an episode of Jon and Kate once and she had a mini refrigerator installed in her new kitchen and I thought that was genius. I had been on the lookout for one and found it at our Goodwill for about $50. I keep all of our drinks in it. As well as milk and my coffee drinks. There is no need for anyone to open our big refrigerator during the day unless they are preparing a meal for someone. This helps cut down a lot in cooling costs.
The practical tips
Shutting off the lights in your home, especially when leaving a room. I try and teach my children that after reading some study done in a large corporation and how they saved thousands of dollars per month by having their employees turn off the lights in the room when they weren’t occupying them. Every bit helps.
Close the blinds and curtains to help cut down on cooling costs in your home.
Keep the door shut to avoid cool air from escaping and hot air from entering.
Run the dryer early in the morning or late at night. Same goes for vacuuming. Do it early on or later at night.
Shut off TV’s, DVDs, Wii’s, printers, and any “not normally used” computers when finished.
Keep your freezers full as it uses less energy to cool a full freezer than an empty one. Remember to keep your freezers defrosted to avoid having it work overtime in staying cool.
Unplug stuff you rarely use like treadmills, etc. They still draw power as they need to be remotely active. It takes just a minute to plug them in when you use them.
Shut your air conditioners off
Let’s not get crazy, as I KNOW It is hot! What I am saying is, instead of running them nonstop on energy efficient, set them on the timer and let them shut off after an hour throughout the day. Turn on some fans and let the air blow throughout the home. If you are going to be away from the home there is no sense in cooling it. I set our timers to have the air come back on right before we are to arrive at home. If you have central air, set your thermostat a little higher. It is okay to wear less clothing and have a “little sweat” on your body. Use a fan that helps hugely, especially if you are not going to be doing much but sitting around reading books, or playing with children. I get that if you have have little ones they need to be cool. But if their skin is cold and you need to put clothing on them to be warmer, it is time to raise the temperature.
Hope this helps encourage a mom to help cut back on their families power bill. If you have any other ideas, please add them in the comments. Have a blessed day, as you think about shutting off the lights when you leave the room!