Match the light bulbs you use to your actual lighting needs. 100-watt lights just aren't necessary in a hallway. Use CFLs even then to save 80% on your lighting bill while providing the exact same amount of light.
My wife has recently reached a certain age, as we used to put it oh-so delicately, and is now peri-menopausal. This means that she is having hot flashes and wakes up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Peri-menopause also causes mood changes and insomnia, so my wife is not a happy camper. - Fred DeArmond
I want to help her but what can I do? (After all, I'm just a man.) So I took a very typically male approach and decided to adjust her sleep environment. To do this, I bought a 10000-BTU portable air conditioning unit at Home Depot for about $400, similar to this one. The idea is to cool her bedroom to 70°F so she can sleep more comfortably.
As you can see from this picture, there is a tube coming out of the back of the unit that goes to the window and you can actually feel the hot air being sucked out of the room.
The good news is that it works really well, as long as we keep the doors closed. My wife has been sleeping much better and her bedroom is by far the coolest room in the house. The kids sneak in there to enjoy the coolness and whine about how hot the rest of the house is (78°F) when we kick them out.
The bad news is that the unit uses one kilowatt per hour. I figure that our electric bills will go up by about $75 per month. Our average cost per kilowatt-hour is 10¢, so the unit will cost about $2.40 per day.
If you need something like this, you should know that these "portable" air conditioners are on wheels and can be moved from room to room. (I put the word "portable" in quotes because the unit is heavy.) Portable units are a reasonable alternative when your Home Owner's Association (HOA) won't let you have window-mounted air conditioners, like ours. This particular model claims to evaporate all of the water that it sucks out of the air, and in fact does get rid of most of the water. We have only had one spill and we caught it before it got too bad. The other thing you need to know is that it needs to have its coils cleaned once a season or else it won't work properly.
A man who truly wants to make the world better should start by improving himself and his attitudes.
- Fred DeArmond
If you don't have attic fans, the temperature in your attic may reach 160°F this summer. Before it gets that hot, install one or more thermostat-controlled attic fans to lower the temperature in the attic, and therefore the whole house.
Your air conditioner — and your electric bill — will thank you.
The May utility bill is the lowest since I started keeping records, down $31 from last month's record $141! What happened?
Heating & CoolingFirst of all, May was one of the most temperate months since I started keeping records. This means that the combined heating degree days (HDD) and cooling degree days (CDD) for May was 167 and the fewer degree days there are in a month, the cheaper it is for me to keep my house comfortable. I ran the furnace hardly at all and, in fact, didn't turn on the A/C until after Memorial Day.
WaterOur water usage is up slightly, for no good reason that I can tell. We aren't watering anything and the number of people in the house hasn't changed.
Raw DataJust to let you know, I have decided to limit the data block at the bottom of this blog to just the last 13 months. This will let you see the current month, the current year, and the same month last year. All averages at the bottom of the data block are weighted averages for the past 13 months.
May 2008 Data
|Electricity, in kWh||Cost / Unit||Gas, in Therms||Cost / Unit||Water, in CCF||Cost / Unit|
If you are still using incandescent lights this summer, turn them off to help keep your house cooler and take some of the burden off your air conditioning. Up to 90% of the energy an incandescent bulb uses is released as heat. Try compact fluorescent bulbs instead — they are much cooler, use much less power, and last much longer.
Use ceiling fans during the summer to create a wind chill effect that will make your home more comfortable. If all rooms in your home have ceiling fans, you can raise the thermostat about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. (Make sure the fans blow downward!)