Oct 22 2007

Fun with an energy calculator: Avoiding a $200+ heat bill

Oooh! I just discovered our electric company has an online savings calculator. It asks for square footage, how many people live here, even the floor and location of my apartment.

I can tweak settings, such as heat temperature, if my home is well-sealed or not, etc., to see how much my electric bill might be (and where it can be reduced).

I don’t know if you have to be registered with Duquesne Light in order to use this calculator, but here is a link. I can even view kilowatt hours used for each day–even before the bill comes out.

This calculator takes into account average temperatures here in Pittsburgh. Cool! Statistically, February is the coldest month here.

From my calculations, the single best way to cut heating costs is to seal all leaks and windows.

Lowering the thermostat will increase your savings even more.

If I do not seal my apartment and set my thermostat to a balmy 75 degrees, I can expect to pay $204 for heat in February (and $249 for my total bill). No thanks!

If I have my heat set at 70 degrees and do nothing to insulate my windows, I can expect the heat alone to cost $185, according to the calculator.

If air leaks are “tight” rather than “average,” according to that calculator, February heating will cost $138 at 70 degrees. Ok…definitely worth the investment of weather-proofing whatever!

Now, if I seal the windows and adjust my heat to 65 degrees, it becomes $125 for February. Since I plan to have it set at 65 during the days and 58 at night (I think those are the numbers I picked), that might be an average of 62 or so degrees. The heat portion now becomes $116 for February.

Add lights, the refrigerator, cooking, the water heater, and that sort of thing, and I can still expect an electric bill of around $160 for February. Phooey. You can only cut it down so much…but it’s good to know what I can expect now, so that when the bill comes it won’t give me a heart attack.

AND it’s good to see that by forcing myself to bundle up and keep the temperature lower, we really will save money. By sealing my apartment and lowering the heat, I could save at least $70 in February alone. That’s worth it!

Since the estimates for September and October are pretty close to my actual bill, I can safely assume that this calculator is a good guideline for future months.

Are you participating in the Freeze Your Buns challenge hosted by Crunchy Chicken?

4 Responses to “Fun with an energy calculator: Avoiding a $200+ heat bill”

  1. It’s a lot easier to put on clothes to keep warm than to take off clothes to stay cool.. I’d spend more on A/C and/or ceiling fans just to kill the heat, but with heat – I can tolerate quite a bit of cold before I get cranky LOL

    Plus I get to wear cute slippers and snuggle up to Husband, putting my cold feet on his warm back :P

  2. In our new house, we have oil instead of gas, and we got a great deal on oil for the year–about $400. I used to spend close to $400 every two months on my gas bill in the old house. Our challenge, though, is going to be with water, since we just hooked up to public water and we have baseboard heating that uses water. So we’re going to be heating up quite a bit of water this winter. I’m hoping the pre-paid oil will offset any water expenses. In the meantime, bring on the fuzzy sweaters and hot tea when you don’t want to raise the thermostat!!!

    Leah Ingram

  3. That does sound like a great deal for the oil. Best of luck keeping the water-heating portion of your bill low!

  4. Great advice. It really adds up as to how much you can save just by sealing off all leaks. I am going to try that in my apartment and see how well I do on my next energy bill.

    Pays to live green’s last blog post..This Week in News: July 31st

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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