How to Keep Utilities Down

29 Jan

Use less KWH, obs.

Here’s some things we do to limit our consumption and avoid turning our whole paycheck into our monopoly-utility company:

Turn things off/use less

-when you’re not in a room, when 1 will do, or if there’s sun–>shut off the lights!

-shut off your computer/TV.

-unplug things that aren’t regularly in use

-use cold water to do things (when possible) & turn it off between tasks if possible.

-if you wanna be extreme–don’t flush pee.

We (OK, I) Winterize

-I put plastic over the (single-paned, drafty) sliding glass door and window.  This is a MAJOR pain, and I usually have vast amounts of frustration, tantrums, and melt-downs during the tedious, horrible process.  But, the temps stay substantially more regulated, and things maintain MUCH longer.

-And a note:  Remember to take the plastic/tape off while it’s still chilly outside in early spring.  It’s a real Bit(h to get dry, old tape off windows–which you inevitably have to tape over somewhere, (despite every effort not to) in order to seal it off.  I spent countless hours scraping old tape reminants off my renter’s glass with a blade = super-sucks!

-I also hang blankets over the front of the slider and window.  Except for a piece I can see from the treadmill and my study spot.  It would keep it even warmer, but I derive much joy from seeing my ducks/geese on the river.  Just don’t forget to take them down and wash them once or twice mid-winter, or else they will mold and destroy the only quilt your grandmother sewed specifically for you.  Major bummer.

-Put blankets (or old clothes in a pinch) on door thresholds.  Our sliding glass door is not installed properly, and we get a huge draft between the metal railing and the carpet.

We don’t use our apartment’s heater or AC (At all.  Ever.)

So how do we stay warm in winter, you ask?

-We dress in layers:  Sweats, socks, +/- beanie.  All the time.

-We have an electric blanket, goose-down comforter, and many blankets on the bed.

-We move around to increase metabolism (and heat).

-We warm up from the inside out:  Drink hot beverages, eat warm foods, ingest spicy food to rev up the metabolism.  I’d like to say we avoid cold foods, but we love ice cream, and Cool needs ice in most drinks.  That’s NOT a good way to stay warm.

-We huddle/snuggle.  With each other and the cats.

-Our electric throw blankets are cheaper then heating the entire apartment and keep us super-toasty!

-Ok, we do use space heaters.  BUT only in the room we are in at the time.  And set on a threshold of 60F.  So they only turn on when the temp drops below that level, then shut back off.  Also, we have the kind of space heaters that shut off if they fall over–for fire-safety with pets.  Also, between my day schedule and Cool’s night schedule one of us is home 24/7 to monitor for hazzards.  This is not so good for decreasing utility use.

-In the bathroom, we put in an infrared light–which is magical and awesome.  Instead of dreading chilly winter showers, I look forward to basking under the heated light.  And it’s only on when we’re IN bathroom–no more pre-heating a whole room before a shower.

-Also, to make showering warmer (and be aware of water consumption) we close the tub-drain.  The hot water puddling around the feet, keeps the ankles warm–and therefore you’re entire body warmer.  Also, it’s a good way to know if the shower is too long = deep water.

Stay Cool

-take a cold bath/shower

-soak your feet in cold water

-pour cold water over your wrists

-put a bag of frozen veg (or an ice pack if you’re fancy!) on your forehead/neck/wrists/feet/ or stomach if you can handle it.

-eat or drink something cold

-wear your skivvies.

-go to a lake or pool (or the mall or a theater)

-don’t use the oven.  Or the dryer, dishwasher, anything that uses electricity b/c it will create heat.  If you must–wait until early morning when the temps are at the lowest point.

-exercise in the early morning too.

-acclimate.

MMM, there’s probably some more tips we utilize, but it’s getting past my bedtime (and my 4×4 and I have to pick up Cool from work at midnight) so I’ll leave you to brainstorm more ways on your own.

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