Monday, November 22, 2010

The Electric Experiment

Some of our fall color. Sad to say, this shot does not show it up in the vibrant color that it was...ahh well.

We have a problem. Yep, a big problem.

The electricity. Either the actual cost here has gone sky high or we have something that is pulling way more then it's fair share around here.
I've checked with some of our local residents and their bill is not near as high and they are in bigger homes then we are!! So something is running amuck with electrical frenzy around here and we are determined to find out what it is!

Over the summer, while both the hubby and I worked we made sure that nothing extra was on in the house and that the air conditioner was turned up between 80 & 82 while we were gone.

When I would arrive home in the evening about 7pm. I would turn the thermostat back down to 75 where it would stay till the following morning. (appx a 12 hr. period). Our electric bill reached the $300 mark! OMG! Mind you, both of us working, a lot of laundry being done of course, showers for each of us every day, dryer use, dishwasher use. What I call average use for most people. We struggled with it, turning more and more things off (via putting things on a strip and clicking the strip before going to bed) etc, and NOTHING seemed to work.
Since our weather has cooled, and since I am no longer working we have started taking major steps in finding out what the problem is here.

For one month solid, we did not use the air conditioner, the heater or the dryer. Our electric bill still came in at the $160 mark. Which is MUCH lower, yes, BUT still way to high for 2 people, using 'nothing' extra in a 1400sq ft home, all one floor. Especially knowing that the bill here just 3 years ago only went to $150 in the SUMMER MONTHS and around $90 in the winter.

We became electric detectives yesterday. We checked how fast the meter was running with various things on. The air conditioner, the heater, the tv's, etc. You get my drift.

I do believe we have discovered our culprit. The water heater. What with two showers a day, and running the dishwasher (which pulls hot water and then heats it again!) then endless laundry we were doing, etc., the water heater seems to be almost on a constant run to keep the water at a constant temp. (this all while I was working mind you)
We don't have it set very high in temp, BUT since we are on well water, mineral deposits could possibly have coated the element and may be making it very difficult for the element to get the water to the temp we have set.
With well water, you get minerals and mineral deposits. I'm scrubbing shower heads every month to keep the deposits down in there and wow, I've never cleaned inside the water heater! (not that you can, but you get my drift)

So first things first. We are going to call the electric company this week and make arrangements for them to come check on a few things. Secondly, not only are we still hanging out all the clothes and still avoiding the heater at this point, we will be doing dishes by hand around here. All clothes but whites will be washed in cold/cold (I used to do hubby's work clothes in either hot or warm, it was the only way to get them clean!) AND I'm going to pull a trick my parents used to do. Every night before we go to bed, we are going to turn the hot water heater off at the electric panel.

For one month we'll see just how much that lowers the bill. We've got to do something. It's a shame for the electric company to take home that much of our salary!

(I can see it now, post it notes all over the house, big bold letters..."TURN OFF WATER HEATER" and "TURN ON WATER HEATER") Let's see..the turn on the water heater post it will have to be on the coffee pot, and the turn off water heater post it will have to be.........hmm on my pillow!!)

See ya next time......down on the farm!Sage

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