Slashing Electricity Costs
Mapgirl had a post recently about surging electricity costs, and why they are likely to get even worse in the near future.
I mentioned in a comment that I have been on a slash and burn mission to reduce our electricity bill here, so even while the rates are going up, our bill has been going down. Only slightly compared to all of the cuts I've made, though, as I mentioned, it's still better than a poke in the eye.
What have I done?
First: we don't use the dryer anymore. Maybe once a month, but I can't even remember the last time I've used it, so it's now even less than that. Andrew put up three retractable clotheslines for me on the deck, under the awning, so I don't have to worry about rain. If it's too humid outside, I use those folding accordion-style drying racks in the house. In fact, during the winter when the heat is on, I use those up in the bedroom at night to help raise the humidity while we're sleeping without having to power a humidifier.
Second: Minimizing heat and AC usage. I'm making judicious use of shades, windows, fans, turning the lights off, not using the oven as often [or using it first thing in the morning while it's still cool], and dressing appropriately. And shaving the dogs when it gets hot.
Third: I've become a light and appliance nazi. I used to keep lights on all over the house because I am skittish and paranoid and don't like walking into dark areas. And I like brightly lit rooms. But I've been slowly acclimating myself away from that. I've also been getting better at unplugging things that are not being used rather than keeping them in standby mode, but I could be better at this.
That's all the low hanging fruit, but so far it's really paid off for us. If the rates keep rising, I'll have to start doing the slightly more difficult stuff.