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Reducing Our Electrical Usage, Update #1

Written by Nickel - 8 Comments

I wrote a week or so ago about trying to cut electrical usage in our new house, and I just wanted to give a quick update. I still haven’t gotten around to insulating the garage door, but the fixes that I’ve made in the bonus room (mainly just insulating and weatherstripping the attic access door) combined with putting up blinds over the garage windows to keep it from heating up when it gets hit by the morning sun have allowed us to get the upstairs temperature under control.

In fact, we’ve been able to bump the thermostat up by six degrees. The other thing that I’ve been working on has been switching over to compact fluorescent lightbulbs. I went out and bought contractor packs of the 60W equivalent bulbs at Home Depot, and have been working my way through the 74 bulbs distributed throughout the house (plus 16 more 65W spotlight bulbs in our recessed lights). The advantage here is twofold. First, these bulbs use less energy, which is a direct help to our electric bill. Second, they throw off far less heat, which helps maintain the upstairs/downstairs temperature balance, which results in the indirect benefit of letting us keep the AC set higher.

Update: I totally forgot to mention one of the biggest factors in our temperature control… I went through the house and adjusted the vents to keep the living room (where the thermostate resides) comparatively warmer, and to push more cool air upstairs. To be more specific about the temperature swing, the AC was running at 70° when we moved in, and the bonus room was basically a sweat box. We’ve now creeped up to 76° and the house is pretty comfortable throughout.

Update #2: I’m not sure what’s up with me today, but I also forgot to mention that our changes have been so effective that I went up into the bonus room to check on the boys the other day and it was really hot. I couldn’t figure out why, until our six year old spilled the beans. He had gotten cold and closed the air vent. That’s when we decided to bump the thermostat up from 74° to 76°.

Published on June 14th, 2006
Modified on August 27th, 2006 - 8 Comments
Filed under: Energy, House & Home

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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8 Responses to “Reducing Our Electrical Usage, Update #1”

  1. 1
    FMF Says:

    Six degrees? Wow! That’s a great return for what you’ve done.

  2. 2
    nickel Says:

    Yeah, the best part is that our house is now far more comfortable — when we first moved in it was really hot upstairs, and freezing cold downstairs.

  3. 3
    Blaine Moore Says:

    Nice work!

    I managed to get a ton of those light bulbs for 50 cents each not too long ago.

  4. 4
    nickel Says:

    Wow — $0.50/bulb would have been great. The only thing to watch out for on compact fluorescent bulbs is that some of thee cheaper ones flicker when they come on. The ones that we bought pop on just like an incandescent (although they’re a bit dimmer until they warm up completely).

  5. 5
    Daytonscott Says:

    Compact flourescents have come down in price significantly over the years, making them much more of a value. “Back in the day,” (the early ’90’s), I was paying $15 and up per bulb! At today’s prices, they are a bargain.

  6. 6
    FMF Says:

    “our house is now far more comfortable — when we first moved in it was really hot upstairs, and freezing cold downstairs.”

    Tell me about it. Our basement is freezing in the summer. I thinking of renting it out to a meat company for storage. ;-)

  7. 7
    Mycroft Says:

    Please check out my Fluorescent Bulb calculator at http://www.Applied-Genius.com. It’s an NPV analysis of bulb purchase, showing what an amazing deal these bulbs are (down to the penny.)

  8. 8
    Jonas VanDerLey Says:

    Does it cost more to leave a fluorescent on for 8 hours, thaln turnning it on and off all day long? Thank you in advance Jonas

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