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Reduce Utility Bills

December 19, 2008

Know Where Water Turn Off Is

Filed under: Water, Helpful Hints — Jan @ 5:19 am

Do you know how to turn off the water to the house? It is best to know and locate the valve during nicer weather, but it needs to be done if you haven’t already done it.

A frozen pipe can burst and you can have water leaks in the house. Not only is the water bill going to rise drastically with a leak, water can cause a lot of damage fast. It is a problem any time it happens, but in the winter, nothing will dry out fast and mildew will start to grow right away. A burst pipe outside may not be noticeable until the weather warms. That can be in the afternoon in southern states or months in the northern states.

To avoid burst pipes, do the unthinkable…allow your faucet to drip. Moving water is less likely to freeze. Yes it will affect the water bill, but it is less expensive than burst pipes. Some pipes freeze, but never burst. No water for a shower in the morning while waiting for pipes to unfreeze can be bothersome and may be worth the cost of a dripping faucet.

If you can’t find the water turn off ask a neighbor or research online. It is usually on a main pipe into the home and also at the water meter. Each room that has water should have its own indvidual turn off. Know where these are in case of plumbing problems in just the bathroom or kitchen.

Knowing where you water turn off is should be something everyone in the house knows.

December 17, 2008

Gas Bill is Reduced by Half!

Filed under: Electricity, Natural Gas, Savings Results — Jan @ 5:19 am

I got my gas bill and it was 1/2 of what it was last year! I do live in southern AZ and don’t have as severe cold to deal with as many parts of the country do. To us, we do  think it gets cold here! We get spoiled with our warm weather but pay for it in the summer when it feels like we are being cooked alive in the heat that is not always a “dry heat”.

Two things contributed to my reduced gas utility bill:

  1. I don’t use my dryer (I did get lazy and was using my dryer more, but when it broke several months ago I decided not to fix it)
  2. I put off turning on my gas furnace.

We used area heaters as needed. With gas heating in my home, the gas bill went up in the winter along with the electric bill due to the electricity needed to run the furnace. The same is true of the gas dryer, it uses electricity and gas to run. The electric bill was up a little with the area heater use, but it more than paid for itself with the reduced gas bill.

GAS FURNACE
I did turn on the furnace last week. The nights were getting cold and it was hard to leave my room and enter the cold zone in the morning. I use the furnace at night to take the chill out of the house but not to really warm it. The space heaters are used during the night still. We keep the furnace off during the day and use the space heaters.

I just learned that the pilot light can be adjusted on the furnace and will be tuning it down to where it will stay lit and ignite the furnace, but not burn any more gas than is needed. I will wait until I have time to really monitor it through a couple cycles. I don’t want the pilot to go out and just the gas be released and I don’t want the furnace to keep trying to turn on but not be able to fire up. Neither is good or safe.

AREA HEATERS

With area heaters, use ones that pull the least electricity so you don’t end up blowing the circuits. Plugging in a heavy duty extension cord to the outlet that the heater is plugged into can help. It will probably take 1-2 months for the heaters to pay for themselves, but they should last a few years. When using space heaters, close off rooms that aren’t in use so the heater is just warming the rooms you are using.  Before bed time, put the space heater in the room and close the door. You will be able to go to bed in a cozy warm room.

I have the radiator looking type of space heater for the living room. It puts out a surprising amount of heat. I have a couple smaller ones with fans that are moved around for bedrooms, the bathroom, and the kitchen. I will warm up a bathroom with a heater but I always remove it before I begin to shower.

We used the area heaters in the rooms we were in. One of the space heaters I was most happy with was a small $12 heater with a fan. It kept a small room surprisingly warm. The fan and heater would turn on and off automatically to maintain a comfortable room temperature.

With space heaters and gas furnaces, be sure you understand AND follow all safety guidelines and please use common sense. A fire or loss of life is not worth a reduced gas bill!

December 8, 2008

Clean Spouts

Filed under: Water, Electricity, Natural Gas — Jan @ 9:14 pm

A few weeks ago,  my son changed my very old water saving shower head. Not only was it easier and faster to rinse my thick curly hair with full pressure, I found out that it didn’t take as long to heat up the shower water.

So since the change of the shower head we have saved on our water and gas bill because of the follwoing:

  • Increased pressure of water
  • Less time running water to heat it up
  • Quicker showers
  • Hot water faucet only on part way with added hot water pressure

Checking other water spouts like in the kitchen sink and the bathrooms, I found the pressure wasn’t lessened due to the little screens being partially clogged on the water spouts. Allowing the water to flow freely also reduces pressure on the pipes. I live in an older home and I sure don’t need old pipes leaking.

Before buying new water spouts, clean them. For shower heads, soak in vinigar to remove deposits inexpensively and safely.  This will reduce your water bill and gas or electric bill (depending which is used to heat your hot water).

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