Unusual ways to save money on your energy/water bills - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#31 of 38 Old 04-12-2013, 01:10 PM
sunflower.mama's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston suburbs
Posts: 689
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

We put a tankless water heater in when we converted to gas last year.  The savings have been amazing.  We've had no issue with water being cold.  We are a busy family of 5 and we can't have three sources of hot water going at once - shower, washing machine and dishwasher for example (at least that's what we were told - I did it by accident the other day and it was fine.)  The tank holds about 4-5 gallons I'd say?  When you have a big old water heater, as we did before, the furnace is firing off all day and night to keep that water hot.  This way the furnace only works when we need the hot water (or heat).  We live in New England, and it's been a cold winter.  And our gas bills have been about $100 a month in the winter - which is awesome as far as I'm concerned.


It is very practical for whole house use as far as we're concerned!  Up front cost is another story.  We were converting to gas anyhow.  Although I will point out to anyone who is interested that when we put in the gas furnace, along with energy rebates, I sold our old furnace, water heater and oil tank on craigslist for a total of $2000.  So the whole entire conversion ran well under $4K AND the former boiler room is now a lovely home office with a gas furnace and tankless hot water heater both on the WALL.  Cheapest home addition ever!

pumabearclan likes this.

Katherine mother to DS 8/03 and DD1 9/06 and DD2 6/10
sunflower.mama is offline  
Sponsored Links
#32 of 38 Old 04-13-2013, 06:20 AM
worthy's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 954
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Originally Posted by bmcneal View Post


To clarify, I just hate spending money, and while I realize I have to pay my utilities, I would like to pay bare minimum, so things like only one light bulb per fixture or putting a jug of water in the tank, I like. shy.gif


Well, I have one of these things, too http://www.homedepot.com/p/BlueSource-HydroKit-Toilet-Repair-with-Dual-Flush-Converter-HYR451T/202762847#.UWlbBMrF8t0 and it works really, really well to save water.  Saves more water than I was able to with bricks/rocks/jugs in my toilet AND the flush system is adjustable, so if it doesn't go down, you just adjust it incrementally until you get a consistent result.  With ours, if the 1-drop flush doesn't do it, the 2-drop flush can be used immediately after and it will do the trick.


I felt the $$ was very well spent considering how much of a difference it's making in our water use (= bill).  It pays for itself.


I realize that is not an option for those whose budget won't allow it.  Just wanted to say it has made a significant difference for us.

- single homeschooling mom to 16, 15, 12, and 10
worthy is online now  
#33 of 38 Old 04-13-2013, 06:40 AM
worthy's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 954
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)

Put things that often get left "on" on power strips with lit switches.  We shut down the CD player when it's not being used.  We have some computer plugs that stay plugged in for convenience, so we turn off those power strips when people aren't using the computer.  Also things like chargers -- you can easily see if they are using power when not in use and shut off the power strip.  I zip-tied power strips onto lower parts of furniture so they're easy to reach and use, and also easy to see the red light so you know if they need to be turned off.  We try to always turn all power strips off at night unless something is charging.


I'm getting one of those "automatically shuts off in 15 minutes" lightbulb socket things for three of my kids' rooms.  They often leave the lights on and do not often spend very long in their rooms.  Also their rooms are bright with window light and don't really need an overhead for extended periods (except at night, when we use a small reading lamp with a low-watt bulb instead.) 


You can also get "automatically shuts off in 2 hours" ones.  And motion-sensor ones, but I don't think I have an application for those, except perhaps on my front porch (hmm...)


I try hard not to turn a light on if I don't need one on.  Natural light is pretty good in our house.  I try to remember to do my basement stuff (laundry, getting stuff out of the freezer, etc) during the day so I don't have to turn those lights on.  I also concur with the advice to unscrew multiple bulbs where one will do the trick.


Not having TV and not using many electronic devices for entertainment must make a difference, right?


I love vacuuming, but often I can sweep and/or carpet-sweep and save the electricity, so I try to do that.


Wash clothes on cold whenever possible (not diapers, of course).  I still use my electric dryer, but I'm planning to install a clothesline this spring or summer.


Cold bedrooms -- we don't heat the bedrooms in the winter, just the common areas of the house (living/dining/kitchen and one bathroom).  Bedroom temp is usually around 50 at night.


For water saving, every person in our family has ONE easily-identifiable special mug or cup that they use all day long, so we don't have abandoned cups of water lying around all day.  But at the end of the day or when we are cleaning up, or if there is really clean water left from rinsing lettuce or whatnot, we dump it in a special pitcher which I use to water plants with.


I'm looking at putting in some rain barrels to harvest rain that's falling off my roof anyway and use it for watering the garden.  I'm also planning to stick a bucket in the shower for collecting the water from when you turn it on and it's not hot enough yet (maybe today, now that I think of it).  Being on town water, every drop counts.  Some neighbors of ours keep a bucket in their shower to catch the excess shower water and use it to flush their toilet.  I think they also use leftover bath water that way.


When the kids were younger and we had no shower, we recycled bath water through two or more family members.  Now baths are a special 'treat' and we shower instead.  Hmm, a timer for my kids' showers would be a good thing!


Trying to train my kids and myself to shut the water off until they need to rinse when they're washing hands or brushing teeth.


Using a pressure-cooker saves time/fuel and water also, if you have or can get one.

- single homeschooling mom to 16, 15, 12, and 10
worthy is online now  
#34 of 38 Old 04-17-2013, 04:29 PM
JudiAU's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Where creepy facebook-featured threads can't find me
Posts: 3,616
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

I don't know if you anyone has posted yet but many appliance and almost all computers/tvs/electronics are vampires. You have to UNPLUG the device or UNPLUG the power strip to stop the energy use. They continue to use some energy when they are plugged in and off. If they are plugged into a strip the strip continues the flow. Small appliances too.

JudiAU is online now  
#35 of 38 Old 04-18-2013, 09:54 AM
Jackeke's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: La Jolla, CA
Posts: 48
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Fridges don't tend to use a lot of energy, I think the average one uses only 40-50 dollars a year in energy.


Switch out your bulbs to the spiral ones use half the energy and the bulbs last longer. You can capture water in a bucket during your shower and throw it all in at once in to the toilet and it manually flushes it.


I saw a girl on "extreme cheapskates" pee in to a jar and dump it outside rather than use the toilet...idk if you wan't to bring it that far though o_O

hug2.gif    goodvibes.gifstillheart.gif  

Jackeke is offline  
#36 of 38 Old 04-19-2013, 05:00 AM
Mrs Ripples's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

If its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down. smile.gif

Mother, wife, employee, housekeeper, cook, accountant, frugal shopper ... the usual mom stuff. Goals: Raise 2 amazing children, find low cost, healthy meals that my husband & children will eat, save money, spend less while enjoying life & traveling as much as I can. The Ripples Affect

Mrs Ripples is offline  
#37 of 38 Old 01-17-2014, 08:25 AM
Ommas's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm not sure where to post this, but after reading this thread I thought I would share something that happened last spring. My wife and I fell behind on our bills and suddenly we both lost our jobs. They came and turned off our gas early March. We didn't want to default on the house mortgage so we decided since spring was getting closer we would pay the mortgage. The electricity went of around the 20th of march. We have a ten year old daughter.

We asked a nieghbor to use an extent ion cord between 7-8 pm and they agreed.

1st we decided that washing ourselves was very important. After much discussion I decided we would not take baths. We would heat water, and store in 3-liters plastic bottles. We would each get 5 heated bottles for bathing which is plenty. After talking with some friends and relatives I convinced them to loan me their tea makers and coffee makers. I used 4 tea makers and 3 coffee makers to make 15 3-liter bottles of water that was 110 degrees. I used 3 smokeless oil lamp. The ones I used put off a lot of heat. I learned to put in the bath room for two hours with the door shut, to warm the air before bathing made a huge difference.

This took 15 minutes, we used the rest of the time to cook carrots, potatoes, and ramens in the microwave, charge our phones, and electric blankets to heat up our beds. the nieghbors said thet didn't see a change in their bill so didn't want any money. We also collected ice from water in some of our aluminium pans outside on below freezing mornings.

After the utilities were turned back on I tried to apply what I had learned. For those spring and fall months. I will try to keep the bills down. By using less heated water, going to bed early full of hot potatoes, without tv. The experience spurs me to try and make April and September no energy months.
This help me to understand what people do when the power goes out in the winter. I bought a power generator, but learned to use it as little as possible. We slept from 8pm to So when it got too cold, around 4am. We started our days at 4am, and going to a public place like a 24 fast food place that is heated free refill, and restrooms.
Luckily we both had better incomes coming in and we are doing fine.
Ommas is offline  
#38 of 38 Old 01-17-2014, 11:28 PM
crazyms's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: In a southern state of mind
Posts: 1,217
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)

Glad to see things improved for your family Ommas and WELCOME!!! We actually do lights out days and such on occasion as a test run of sorts to check our equipment and do emergency practice. Since we live in hurricane and tornado territory power outages, even long ones, are a reality here at times so we like to be prepared. We also go camping as often as we can to let the kids have the experience and once again practice since being without power and water for weeks is kinda like camping lol. And I'll leave that there before I have the big K flashbacks :rotflmao

Michelle mom to DD , DS , & lil DD and spending my days
crazyms is offline  

Frugality , Finances

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off