Last year I wrote about how we were switching to compact fluorescent bulbs in our Waco apartment. We replaced all the existing lightbulbs and stored the old regular ones until we moved back to KY. When we made the move, we meticulously packed our compact fluorescents to take with us. We had probably over $100 worth of bulbs and saw them as a long-term investment.
Some of the people helping us move to Missouri thought it was odd and somewhat annoying to see a light box marked "Fragile: Lightbulbs" in our truck. But, these are quite valuable. And we're more glad than ever that we kept them because I had this conversation with the electric company on Monday when I was getting the service switched to our name:
Operator: Have you already signed your papers on the house, like you're committed?
Me: Um, yes.
Operator: Sir, are you sitting down?
Me: Yes. How bad is it?
Operator: I'm showing that the average monthly electric bill at the house last year was $170. In the month of August it was $240. The deposit alone on the house is going to be $300 since the bills are so high.
Me: Wow. Guess we're going to have to figure something out.
Operator: Yeah, you probably just want to sit on a block of ice in August.
$240 for electricity is way out of our budget range and I don't get my first paycheck until mid-September. So, I immediately went to work replacing all the standard bulbs with our compacts. When you can replace a 60 watt bulb with an equivalent fluorescent that only uses 13 watts, you're going to save some energy. Our living room ceiling fan was doing a good job with just one standard 60 watt bulb. I replaced it with four 9 watt fluorescents (equivalent to a 40 watt bulb, but actually as bright as the 60 watt standard bulb) and get 36 watts in 4 bulbs, almost half the wattage of the one bulb.
We also got the plumber to turn the water heater down to 117 degrees, like a hospital or nursing home. The heater had been turned up way too high. We also shut off the hot area of the house from the rest to keep the a/c from running too much. So, we feel like we're doing a decent job of saving money now.
I talked to the landlord about it, she said the previous renters had 4 kids. So, hopefully they were running a lot more appliances and using more of the house than we will.