Feb 01 2008

Mid-winter update: Are ya keepin’ warm? Without paying a fortune?


This morning, I went outside to scrape the windows on my car. I couldn’t. The ice was just too thick. Ugh. So, I’m staying home today!

Our apartment is all-electric, and our power company has a "winter deal" that states that once we hit 500 kwh, we’ll get a discounted rate for 501 kwh and up.

We haven’t had an electric bill higher than $84 (with tax). I’m hoping we can keep it at that rate or lower for the rest of the winter.

Our electric bill is affordable because we have a good rate on our bill, but also because we took measures to weatherproof our apartment.

  • We put weatherproofing strips around all windows. We taped over that, and then covered the windows with clear plastic.
  • We put insulation over our electrical outlets on the exterior wall.
  • We keep our thermostat set at around 65 during the day and 62 at night. It’s cooler than we’ve ever had our heat, but ya know what? We’re used to it now. We wear sweatshirts, slippers, and cozy up with blankets. It’s not bad at all.

So, our first winter in Pittsburgh is going well. We haven’t had heavy snow or terrible storms like they’ve had in parts of the country. The road crews here are efficient at plowing and salting the roads. But, it’s been cold.

I’m absolutely convinced that weatherproofing our apartment has helped us save a ton of money. For more ways to cut back on your energy usage right now, be sure to check out my  energy audit.

How have your electric/gas bills been this winter? Have you winterized your home? (P.S., if you haven’t, it’s not too late! Even if you keep it up for just two-three more months, it will be worthwhile).

Posted under Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Mid-winter update: Are ya keepin’ warm? Without paying a fortune?”

  1. We live in a 2200 sq. ft. bi-level (the worse designed house ever, IMHO, and very hard to heat). We are in a small town that has it’s own utility company. This means we pay way too much. Temps have been double digit below zero for the past 15 days, with wind chills -20 and -30. It can climb to 90 in the summer. Our thermostat is set at 65 during the day, I am home with kids, and 55 at night. During the summer the air gets set no lower than 78, mostly at 80. We pay $334 per month, year round, on the budget plan. Can you say ouch?

  2. That is for gas, electric, and water, BTW. However, it is still A LOT of money. I lived in NNY in an old farmhouse with 1000 more sq. ft. and paid less.

  3. BIG OUCH! That’s too much! Eeep. And, that’s way too cold. We haven’t dipped below zero much here. I can’t imagine double digits below. Hope you’re staying in as much as ya can!

    How is your insulation? And how tightly sealed are your windows and doors? Are your neighbors dealing with the same sort of prices?

    Hope it warms up for ya soon!

  4. We’ve got a 3-story, 84-year-old house. Definitely not energy efficient! We did the same stuff – sealing and weatherproofing and our bill dropped from $293 – $243/mo. all year. So that’s something, but it’s still way too expensive!

  5. While in a 900-sq-ft apartment, our highest bill was $90- and I attribute that to being on the top floor, with a couple apartments below us to help with heating. Since moving into a 100-year-old 1200 square foot house, our bills have shot up to $200, and that was kind of a shock- but one we should have expected, since we had the seller’s electric bill history. We’re keeping the heat at 62 and doing the best we can to conserve electricity. Winterizing our windows, or looking into a more efficient water heater & fridge are some of the things we haven’t done but have talked about.

  6. I wrote a post about this a few weeks back.



  7. If you live in an apartment I would tend to agree your bills would be less because of the warmth from other apartments surrounding you. Also, the higher up you are, heat rises, so it’s even better for that.

    I live in a modular (mobile) home and we also have heating elements under the home so in the winter pipes don’t freeze, etc. I think that is why our bill is so high in the winter because we cut back in so many other ways & we’re all-electric too.

  8. Yeah, I live in an apartment. It’s 900 square feet and on the top floor (sounds like your old place, Joanna!).

    We only have one exterior wall. The rest of them either touch someone else’s apartment, or the interior stairwell thing.

  9. Hi!! Thanks for your comment on my site (about LOST). I had set my TiVo to record it, so luckily I can watch it at any time– but thanks so much for the info on watching missed shows online. I had no idea that they do that- That’s so cool! (P.S. I actually considered watching it this morning but didn’t think it’d be too appropriate for my 18-month-old to see! LOL Can’t wait for naptime!)

  10. Great job! The last two months we’ve paid $230 each month to heat this house. We live in southeastern WI where it’s been cold, in a 2400 sq house. We also dropped $200 last fall adding insulation to the attic and we keep the house thermostat at 70 degrees. We have a baby and don’t want to set it any colder. Sometimes no matter how much insulation if it’s freezing outside it’s also cool inside.

  11. We’re paying too much. Actually, our useage has been less than last year, but our balanced payment plan is still far too high. It just adjusted (does that 4 times a year) and went up $3/month. Our windows are great and high-efficiency, our fridge and freezer and dryer are good. But our washer takes a decent amount of energy (old), and we have no insulation in the 2400 square foot house! But we’re slowly working on it. The windows were redone, and two rooms are fully insulated now. We’re working on the attic, but it’s a really huge job (made worse because there was 60 years worth of junk from my great grandparents up there!). Hopefully we’ll have it completed before summer so we don’t lose all our cool air!

  12. My fiancé and I, who live on the 6th floor apartment (out of 20+ floors), are actually doing pretty well, we think. We have only lived here since mid-February last year, so we don’t really have numbers from last year to measure against. We had the maintenance men by to turn the heater/A/C to heat and to tape down the windows to avoid drafts.

    We do not have a digital thermostat, so it’s anybody’s guess as to how cold I keep it. We also shut the doors and keep the heat off in the bedroom and bathroom during the day (sometimes, it’s off in the entire apartment). However, if I’ve recently completed an activity using heat – cooking in the oven or toaster oven, running the dishwasher, or bathing – I keep the door (yes, even the oven door) open to encourage natural heating.

    We recently received our heating bill for January and my fiancé and I guessed what the total would be based on December’s bill. It turns out January was much lower, roughly equal to what I spent last April. He was very impressed; I told him to stop complaining about how cold I keep it and make a cup of tea. :)

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. 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.

Keep in Touch!
Like me on Facebook Follow Me on Twitter RSS Feed

Subscribe to my email updates:
  • Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Web Statistics