I’ve been on a mission to reduce my home energy usage lately. This was inspired by a book about the effects of global warming being currently studied as well as predicted, possible effects. Living in FL, well, let’s just say I think it’s plenty hot enough, TYVM. Well, actually, the *idea* to do this was inspired by the book. The kick in the butt that made me spring into action carrying out the plan was my last power bill which was 15% higher than my highest bill *ever* during a month when we were gone 8 days and the remaining days I’d been hyper-vigilant about turning stuff off (or, as appropriate, nagging the husband / children to do so).
So, I started with lights and went about replacing some bulbs with CFLs. During this home lighting survey, I realized the boys bath has two fixtures which have between them, count them, *sixteen* 60 watt bulbs. To make matters worse, the bath is in the back corner of the house and used by the small people who are also least likely to return the switch to the off position on their way out.
So, I go over to lowes.com and order 2 new fixtures with only 4 bulbs each. $200. When I pick them up I get 2 6 pks of CFL bulbs to put in them. They are on sale so this only sets me back $20. Then I call up my friend’s electrician husband to come swap them out. Before he gets here I realize that a motion sensing switch would be a good energy saver, also, since this light is frequently left on in the morning mad-rush to get out of the house on time. When that happens, it is entirely likely to stay on for 8 hours or more, unnoticed. So, I run by Lowes before heading home to meet the electrician. 2 switches. $64. (yes, I was a bit astonished at that price. It’s a freakin’ light switch, people!) The electrician is doing his thing and comes to ask me for bulbs. At that point I learn that these fixtures take those little candle flame bulbs. Off to google to see if they even make those in CFLs. Turns out they do. And I can get some for the small price of $6-8 each, plus shipping. $56. Now, most people would probably pay attention to that sort of thing before actually buying the fixture and putting it up. Sadly, when I get on these rampages I’m not prone to pay attention to that level of detail. I don’t tend to pay attention to details even when not on a rampage.
The electrician is done. I pay him $150. All together – more efficient bathroom lights: $470. It’s a good thing I feel good about reducing my carbon footprint because even my most creative justifications will never lead me to the conclusion that this mission of mine was cost-effective.
I should probably try not to think about the fact that there are 2 more such fixtures – only 6 bulbs each – in my master bath burning 720 watts each time the lights are turned on. I already know, though, it will bug me till I change them. At least this time I will try to choose a fixture that can use regular CFL bulbs. Not the $8, special order, ones.
In hindsight, I think a faulty thermostat that probably had my AC running for the better part of our vacation (it forgets to switch the AC off regardless of how freezing it gets in the house) is likely the actual culprit for the eye-popping electric bill. So, I guess there is a new thermostat in my future too. Maybe a wireless one for me to move from my office to bedroom, as needed.
The silver lining is all these changes will leave me so broke I won’t be able to buy gas to go anywhere – thereby further reducing my carbon footprint.