When You Only Use 500 kilowatt hours and under a month

I was recently asked for help from a friend at my church who is a widow and only uses 500 or less kilowatt hours a month. She wanted to save money by shopping each year for the cheapest electric rate. She didn’t mind the hassle of shopping each year in order to shave off a little from her energy bill.

I came over to her house and we went through the providers looking for one that would save her more money. Each provider would ask for a deposit even though she had good credit and had been paying her bill on time every month. It didn’t make much sense because she was an excellent customer, why is there a deposit?

The deposit requirements have more to do with trade secrets the electric companies keep close to the chest than whether you are a good honest paying customer. The finer details on why each provider asked for a deposit is something that I could not make clear because the providers are not clear on this either.

What she had going for her is that she had paid her electric bill on time each month and was in good standing with her current electric company. The rates to renew with her current provider weren’t too bad in comparison with the providers we looked at when shopping. I told her if she renews with her current provider she will not be asked for a deposit because she is in good standing with them.

My friend only had $600 in savings in her bank and so taking $200 out of that account to pay an electric deposit just didn’t make sense for her situation. By renewing with her current provider she kept a good buffer in her savings account and still saved money. The renewal rate was not enough difference in cost to make much difference compared to going with someone different.

For those in a low income situation just starting out, you may have to initially pay a deposit with a traditional electric company. Keep in mind though after 6 months to a year the electric company will no longer ask you for a deposit if you renew with them. Showing you are a good paying customer with an electric company will help guarantee that provider will be more lenient in not asking you for a deposit in the future.

There are also “no deposit electric companies” but these companies aren’t always the cheapest. It pays to consider what it means for someone in a low income situation to sign up with a regular electric company that checks credit. They initially will ask for a deposit, but future years provided you are a good customer will show that they will waive future deposits.

Electric Bill at House Over $100 a Month But Why?

My electric bill at my home was over a $125 a month. I could not figure it out until I purchased this device called the Watts Up Pro Electricity Consumption Meter.

Apparently, my 22 year old refrigerator was operating great, but was freezing up over $50.00 a month on electricity.  After I used this device, I went out to Best Buy and got a new modern refrigerator that only uses $13.00 a month. This little gadget will help you narrow down what exactly is causing you to use all that electricity and will help you avoid an awkward conversation with your pole and wire company where you may likely decide to blame everything on them had you not had this device.

You can learn more about this product here

I decided to take this little gadget throughout my house and measure the electric usage and cost analysis for almost everything in my house. Throughout the process I began to see how by plugging certain things into power supplies, unplugging other things and simply getting rid of old appliances I could save over $1,000 a year.

The beauty of this gadget is that it makes a complicated task very simple as the report for each device appears on the gadget and it does all the tabulation and analysis for you.

What you end up with is a nice consumer friendly read out of what the contraption you hooked it up to is costing you. If you went in together with a few family members on this device you could help out multiple people and it won’t cost you all that much.

Energy is a huge part of many families budgets in Texas because air conditioning is so high. If you have a run away refrigerator or something like that you are really kicking yourself double time while you try to stay cool in the summer.

You have enough cost as it is keeping your family cool in the summer and warm in the winter so if you notice your electric bill approaching $150 and above on most months I would definitely invest in this gadget and give it a whirl on all your appliances and make adjustments as necessary.

8 Simple Projects For Instant Electricity Power Savings

Buying a mattress heat pad is the number one way to cut the kilowatt-hour usage at your home. Here is one I found on Amazon that looks pretty good and made for a Queen mattress. You can typically save about 3,000 kilowatt-hours a year or the equivalent in natural gas savings if you turn your heat all the way off and stay warm in your bed via a mattress heat pad. If you have kids like I do I would keep the kids room heated in some way conventionally and use the mattress heat pad for adults only. When it comes to electric appliances you are sleeping on top of you can never be too careful especially when it comes to children. There aren’t a lot of safety concerns with these but perhaps your kids curious one night and starts using his scissors on the electric heat mattress pad, not a good combo in my opinion. For the kids room I would pay your heating and air conditioning company to come in and direct all heat for the house to come in children’s rooms and places where you still want it and have it bypass rooms that are now using the mattress pad electric heater. Rerouting some duct work that is already in place is a simple job and should only cost $100 or less. Using 3,000 kilowatt hours less each year in heating is about $267 in savings a year and probably about $175 savings a year if you use natural gas to heat your home.

For windows you are not using this winter and don’t typically look through I would cut out some bubble wrap like you get at the packaging store and spray water mist on these windows and then apply that bubble wrap. The wrap will stay up all winter season and will drastically increase the R factor and energy efficiency of those windows. We are planning to do this in the laundry room, bathrooms, and guest bedroom that is at the back of our house. Light will still be able to get in and it doesn’t look bad from the outside looking in like when you see those houses with a bunch of foil taped to their windows. You will save about $40 or more a year with this simple project.
Buy some mastic paint and a brush at your local air conditioning and heating supply store. Go up into your attic and start at the central control area where all the ducts come out from. Many times at this location you will find that all the joints have got air leaking from these cracks. Simply dip your brush into the mastic paint and  pant over these cracks. Once the mastic has dried you can wrap insulation around the ducts and joints and use a staple gun or foil tape to connect the insulation around the duct work. Your yearly savings will likely be around 1,000 kilowatt-hours saved per year or about $87 a year.

Create an attic superficial door to go inside your attic that sits above and around your existing wood attic door. You can buy really cheap Styrofoam boards and radiant barrier at a local hardware store for this. You will also need a box cutter and some metal tape and some spray foam in a can. Simply go into your attic and measure the dimensions surrounding your attic door. You want to make the Styrofoam box slightly bigger than the attic door so it will sit flat on the floor.  Cut out pieces of the Styrofoam to make your box using the box cutter. tape it all together using the metal tape. Bring this box into your attic and set it on the floor of your attic over the attic door. Now use the spray foam to spray around the bottom of the box where the box meets the floor of the attic. Let the foam dry so the box will stick to the floor and completely seal off the attic. Once dry go back into the attic and use the box cutter to cut our an opening door at the top. Bring down the piece you cut out and tape or glue a larger piece of Styrofoam over the door. Now when you g back up to put the door back the door will lay perfectly over the box and come to a perfect seam to meet the rest of the box. If you have a leaky attic that causes your attic hallway, closet, etc to get cold in the winter and hot in the summer you can expect to save about $100 – $200 a year in heating costs from this project.

Buy a bunch of surge protectors for your home and plug all your appliances into them. By doing this you can turn all appliances you are not using off in one stroke. There are phantom loads that continue to use electricity even when you are not using an appliance so by doing this you will be saving about $60 a year on average.

Replace all your light bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs. You can expect to save about $80 – $100 a year by using these more energy-efficient lights than the standard light bulb. The light from a standard light bulb is much nicer so you could compromise by installing the fluorescent bulbs in rooms you do not use as often and splurge  with standard bulbs in your reading room and dining room.

Tighten up your house a bit with some indoor storm windows that can be installed from inside the house fairly easily or for much less you can install some V-shaped weather-stripping on doors and completely seal all gaps on the sides and top and bottoms of your door. For windows I would get some weatherstrip foam for windows because it is dirt cheap and works for almost any window no matter how crooked or old it may be. Sealing out these typical drafty door and window problems on average can save you an additional 1,500 kilowatt-hours in electric usage a year or $130. You can also install these really cheap but extremely useful electric outlet insulators. These are cut out to fit around your electric outlets wants you take the cover off. You simply place the rubber insulator over and around the electric outlets and once in place screw the plastic outlet cover back on. This insulator closes off this hole in the wall that has been proven to create huge inefficiencies in a homes energy usage because of air leakage.

Install a thermostat that self learns based on your habits of when you adjust your thermostat. The Nest thermostat can self learn and keep your home running at peak efficiency by not letting your home run super cool or super hot when it knows you are not utilizing this energy because you inadvertently forgot to adjust it back to where you wanted it to be at. Nest knows your heating and cooling habits and will do this adjusting and modification of your thermostat for you as it learns how you live in your home. You will average about $173 a year in energy savings by using a self programmable thermostat. Learn more about the Nest Thermostat here

Your total savings in dollars from all of these very easy energy savings projects is $1007 a year. That would be some nice Christmas money when you come to think about it. These are all cheap affordable things you can do without having to be a construction expert.

Essential Services in Huntsville, TX

One of the first things you will need to do when moving into a new place in Huntsville is to get your water, gas, and electricity turned on as well as getting garbage pick up service started.

We have provided all of these services and more available below to make the process of relocating simple and efficient. Our service on this website is to assist you in comparing electric rates and ordering this service online.

Please use the compare chart by entering your zip code to get started. You will be done in a coupe of minutes. I hope the below services are useful to you and if you provide a service you feel is deserving to be in this list please let us know.

Water Utilities
Phone: (936) 291-5431
Online Bill Payment and Member Registration

Solid Waste Garbage Pick Up
Fee Schedule
Phone: 936-294-5743
Fax: 936-291-1021
email: jdean@huntsvilletx.gov

Natural Gas
Atmos Energy
Phone: (888) 286-6700

Affordable Plumbing Company
Phone: (936) 291-7886
Fax: (936) 438-8259
8 Frank Cloud Rd, Huntsville, TX 77320

Heating and Air Conditioning
All-Temp Heating and Air
3000 Old Houston Road
Huntsville, TX
(936) 291-7836

McCaffety Electric
1711 Sycamore Avenue
Huntsville, TX
(936) 295-2831
Website Google Plus Page

Wiley’s Painting
201 Elmwood Street
(936) 291-2014
Google Plus Page

Accountant and Tax Preparation
Kenneth C Davis & Co
1300 11th St # 400
Huntsville, TX
(936) 291-3020

Auto Repair
Tune Up Plus
1506 11th Street
Huntsville, TX
(936) 295-8981
Google Plus Page

Home Cleaning Service
Laura’s House Cleaning Services
Green Briar Drive Huntsville, TX 77340
Phone: (936) 874-2110
Website Google Plus Page

Lawn Care, Mowing, Landscaping and Maintenance
Liles Lawn Service
1841 Hwy 75N
(936) 581-6969

Scott A. Logan
3205 Robinson Creek Parkway
Huntsville, TX
(936) 291-6589

Pest Control
Precision Pest Control
130 FM 2821 Rd W
Huntsville, TX
(936) 291-9473
Google Plus Page

First Fully Solar Powered Country, Tokelau, a Small Country in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean

I am not one of these people that is sold out on turning the whole world solar because it just does not make economical sense just yet. There have been some truly remarkable breakthroughs that may make the solar concept a much more viable option as they are now becoming cheaper to produce and batteries to store their energy is also heading into break through territory.

Having said this the country of Tokelau now being 100 % solar powered is truly remarkable. This is an entire country completely off the grid, who can beat that! The country is on what is known as an atoll island that sits somewhere in between New Zealand and Hawaii. The New Zealand government administers the country of Tokelau and invested 7 million dollars in the countries solar endeavor. This beautiful country no longer has to rely on extremely dirty diesel generators to generate the electricity they need for their inhabitants.

Here is a truly worthwhile solar project. If you only have diesel generators to rely on for generating your countries electricity you are facing ridiculously high electricity service costs that are roughly 6 times higher prices than what we pay in the U.S. In this situation the country would easily recoup their investment in 100 % solar and would be protecting the fragile island eco-system at the same time.

With diesel generators you not only get dirty energy but that electricity service ain’t cheap either. Consisting of 4,032 photovoltaic panels and 1,344 battery packs with generation devices operating on biofuel derived from coconuts, the $7.5 million Tokelau Sustainable Energy Project is recognized as among the world’s largest off-grid photovoltaic systems.

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