Dear Home Ec 101,
Help! I just read your article on removing a broken lightbulb from the socket and thought perhaps you could answer this question. Our home was built in 2006, from a reputable builder and we are the 2nd owners. We have noticed that our electric bill is considerably higher than it should be and lightbulbs are often blowing in their sockets. We are on the time of use plan through our electric company and abide, very well, by the 3-6pm rule (power is 30% higher during these 3 hours). No a/c (up or downstairs), no fans upstairs, one downstairs, no lights on upstairs, our oven, heater and water heater are all gas, and yet our bill is still huge! We think it must have something to do with the wiring (a short perhaps), but we don’t know how to go about checking or having it checked. This is something we feel needs to be corrected before we have a pool installed, or before we go broke!
Do you have suggestions on what it could be, or how we ask for service?
By the way, we live in the Phoenix area and are not looking forward to another year sweating without saving!
First of all, there’s a simple way to figure out if you are actually conserving as much as you think during those peak energy hours. CHECK your meter. Compare the rate of consumption at several periods throughout the day, including those peak hours.
As far as finding a reputable electrician, I’m a big fan of asking on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Obviously you’ll need to ask people in your actual geographic location and generally I would discount any recommendations from accounts representing electricians. I know whenever I see a local asking about various service technicians that I happily recommend those I’ve had good experiences with. (I try to stay away from publicly bashing companies for poor customer service, but I’m sorely tempted to call out a specific franchise for a recent experience -it happens). On Twitter, many people use the airport code to search locally. For example: Charleston, SC is #CHS
Now as few tips to reduce your electric bill.
- Unplug chargers when they are not in use. (If you’re like me and have three or four cell chargers scattered throughout your home, this can help.)
- Don’t underestimate the power draw of small appliances like vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, avoid their use during peak times.
- Turn off your printer. How often do you print? Does it really need to be sitting there in standby at all times?
- Turn off your television when no one is watching. This is especially true if you have a large, flat screen, they use significantly more energy than older types.
- Clean the gasket on your refrigerator, your appliance isn’t designed to cool your kitchen.
- Vacuum your refrigerator coils
- Use solar shades on southern and western windows to reduce passive solar heating.
There are many more ways to conserve energy and I know the Home-Ec 101 community is full of ideas. Home-Eccers, feel free to share your favorite energy saving tips in the comments.
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