Home Energy Savings For Energy Watchers: August 2008 Archive

Taking Cold Showers Helps

Take brief, cool showers in the summer. Keeping showers brief keeps humidity out of the air; much of the energy consumed by your A/C is used to remove humidity from the air. Keeping showers cool also avoids using hot water, which saves you money first because you don't have to heat that water and second because the waste heat from your shower does not have to be removed by your air conditioner.

As a pleasant side effect, of course, you will cool yourself off, too!

Tip: Take Your Home's Temperature

Buy yourself a stand-alone, waterproof digital thermometer that you can use to find out what the temperatures in your home really are:

  • Keep your refrigerator at 38°F.

  • Keep your refrigerator freezer at 5°F.

  • Keep your chest freezer at 0°F.

  • Check your thermostat to make sure it is reporting the correct temperature.

Tip: Replace Your Porch Light

The front porch light is one of the brightest, most-used lights in the house. Go ahead and spend some money and get the most efficient light bulb you can. This will probably be a compact fluorescent light, but may something else. If your porch light is connected to a timer or photocell, make sure your new light bulb is compatible.

Tip: Designate a Laundry Day

If you dry your clothes in a dryer, dry one load right after another. The dryer will work more efficiently if it is still hot from the previous load. (Remember to clean the lint screen between each load!) Also, try to schedule your laundry for the weekends, when there isn't so much demand on the utilities, either early in the morning or late at night.

Tip: Stop Washing Clothes So Often

It is not necessary to wash every article of clothing after each use. Use common sense: if it's dirty or smelly or stained, then wash it; otherwise, it can be worn again.

You will save water both washing and drying your clothes, and your clothes will last longer, as well.

July 2008 Utility Bill

OK, July was hot, the second hottest month in the past 13 months, with 466 CDD, although it was nothing compared to last August with 646 CDD. The utility bill is up about $70, from $340 to $408, for no good reason that I can see. The average cost of electricity went up a fraction of a cent, the average cost of gas went down 3 cents, and the average cost of water went down 31 cents. All I can say is that we must have used a lot more of everything last month.


I replaced the attic fans last week, so I am hoping for some real savings next month. Our thermostat is still set at 78°F, except in my wife's bedroom. Last month we used an additional megawatt, compared to last year, and I can attribute that to my wife's portable air conditioner. This month, however, we used an additional half-a-megawatt, and I don't know why.

I just asked my wife and she reminded me that we did use the self-cleaning feature to clean the oven once last month. I wonder how much power it takes to clean the oven?

Hot Water

My middle daughter came home from a year abroad in Spain last month and — guess what? — our water usage went up by 1/3. Our gas usage was up slightly as well. We have had words about her showers, she and I.

July 2008 Data

Electricity, in kWh Cost / Unit Gas, in Therms Cost / Unit Water, in CCF Cost / Unit
3,546 $.102 13 $2.41 9 $1.76

Use Your Barbeque

If possible, plan summer meals using the BBQ grill instead of the oven. Cooking with the oven during the summer costs you twice, once to heat up the oven and again to remove that heat using your air conditioner.