Friday, 8 February 2013

FP - The Utility Bill

Those of you who’ve been following for a while you’ll know that I’ve had a bit of difficulty predicting and budgeting for my monthly utility bill.  First the city took forever to send me the first bill.  Then the first will was over $350.  This was partially due to when I took position of my house, which resulted in my first bill covering the 8th of November to the 15th of December instead of the usual 15th – to 15th schedule.  I wanted to be plan what future utility bills would be so I divided 350 by the number of days it covered (350/37=9.46) and then multiplied that by the number of days in the typical month and came up with about $300 a month for utilities (9.46*30=284).  Not as bad as the first month but still difficult to fit into my budget. 

Well folks I got my second utility bill this week, and lets just say I did a happy dance in my front entry.  The grand total for my utilities last month was $208.  Let’s just say that that is a number that I can fit into my budget.  Why the big drop?  I’m not sure I can give you one reason.  I have a number of strategies I’ve used some were being used during the first month some weren’t.  Here they are:

1)   Turn off lights that aren’t being used.  Yes, I know this is what your mom was always nagging you to do.  It turns out there was a reason. 
2)   Turn down the heat.  I have a programmable thermostat, which makes this easy.  It is set at 18 Celsius during the workday and 19-20 Celsius in the morning and evening when I am at home.  At night it drops to 15 Celsius and I pile on the blankets.  I know that this sounds uncomfortable to most but the trick is to wean yourself down slowly.  I do this when the season changes.  My heating stays off until it reaches 18-19 Celsius in side the house at which point I turn the heat on to keep it at 20.  Needless to say I own several sweaters and many long sleeve shirts. 
3)   Know what your energy rates are.  My city charges different amounts for electricity depending what time of day it is.  The lowest rate starts at 7:00 pm so power hogs like my dishwasher and washing machine stay off until then. 
4)   Reduce your water usage with low flow toilets.  Toilets use up a lot more water then is necessary.  I was lucky and my house came with efficient toilets, if your home doesn’t have them theirs no need to rush out and buy one.  Simply put a brick or a pop bottle with water in it into the tank.  Less water in the tank means less water per flush. 
5)   Insulate your water heater.  I haven’t done this yet, but from what I read it saves a lot of electricity and it is cheap and easy to do.  Next chance I get I’m heading to the hardware store to grab some insulation. 
6)   Turn down the temperature on your water heater.  It is safe to keep it as low as 120 Celsius, any lower and you risk bacteria growth. 

The only other idea I have (at the moment) for saving on my utility bill is to take shorter showers.  But I’m a relist and the reality is that that is never going to happen.  A long hot shower is how I wake up in the morning and it is simply not going to be sacrificed. 

How do you save on utilities?  

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