As I sit here on this coldest day so far this winter in Wichita wrapped in my TV watching blanket with the heat up and still freezing I am pondering how I can save money on my electric bill knowing that my gas bill is going to be high for this month. I recently bought this older condo unit thinking I was getting a great buy but it is drafty and I can’t do anything about it right now except cover the doors and windows until I can insulate it better later this year when I have more money. Never buy a cheap place just before winter sets in unless you have the money up front to do all the repairs before it gets cold. The upstairs gets super warm but the main floor is drafty. I spend a lot of time upstairs but right now that is where the kids are and it is quieter down on the main floor. I chose trading warmth for quiet.
Ok, back to the subject at hand. Recently I have been leaving the TV off during the day and most evenings and have found that by doing so I’m actually beginning to get some of my creative writing skills back. So I was wondering if I was actually saving any money. I found this calculator on Westar Energy’s website and while turning the TV off for 8 hours a day isn’t saving much when you play with the numbers here and there you can see where doing little things can save a pretty decent chunk of change.
Since I am a work from home mom I usually have the TV on all day for background noise. By turning it off not only do I get my brain back I also save over $3 a month just with that one little step. Now you may be thinking that $3 a month isn’t much but when you start turning off lights when they aren’t being used and making sure you are running a full load of laundry versus just half a load the savings can begin to add up.
Another trick is unplugging appliances when not being used. Those little lights that stay on after you turn things off, like your computer, are using electricity. Albeit they aren’t using much but every little bit helps in today’s economy. If you don’t like unplugging everything you can use power strips and plug things that are close together like TV and VCR into the strip and just turn the strip off every night.
The last little tip I have for now is insulating your home real good. While I’m not a builder or contractor I did buy this place with remodeling it in mind. It came with no trim like floorboards or where the walls meet the ceiling, which is one of the reason there is a draft. I sprayed foam insulation into the floor cracks where the walls meet the floors for now and it helped cut down on the draft. Later this year I plan on redoing most of the walls and putting in new insulation. Now most people are not going to tear down and completely replace their walls – mine need it – but you can use spray-in insulation. Before you pay for someone else to do it check with the friendly people at Lowe’s. They have been very helpful in providing information for everything I have done so far like laying new tile in my kitchen. If I can do it you can to.
Westar Energy Calculator