How have you kept your energy bill manageable with heat waves this summer?

After one of the hottest June’s on record, we’re curious to hear how some of you have been managing your electricity and energy costs.

In my Brooklyn apartment, I’ve been:

  • Running my AC on a schedule - I work from home, but am fine with a bit higher temperatures during the day. I set my AC to 77 in the daytime (or turn it off entirely) and usually set it a few degrees colder before heading to bed.
  • Consolidating loads of laundry w/ my roommate - I didn’t realize how often i ran undersized loads of laundry! I know this might be taboo for some of you, but combining our light and dark wash into a full load of laundry has cut down the amount of times we run our washer/dryer by 1/3rd.
  • Gradually swapping our our incandescent bulbs - I recently moved into a new apartment with recessed lighting in the ceiling that use approx. 70W per bulb. We have about 8 of these and have been gradually swapping them out with Hue bulbs since I moved in.

Would love to hear some details from folks here!

P.S. Here’s a comic for some of the parents out there :slight_smile:

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I was constantly watching our AC use last year and was a got on everyone whenever a door was opened for more than a couple of seconds or heaven forbid someone opened our sliding glass doors when accessing the lanai area.

This year it’s all in stride because our Solar has generated a buffer of over production from earlier on in the year. We are making within 50 kWh of our production in what has been a wetter and cloudier summer than last year. We have a big buffer (currently about 3,500 kWH) to draw from and not have to worry about paying more than our $15.44 minimum connection fee each month. I do try to time charging our EV’s to times where I see strong solar production, just to limit our grid use, but again with a right sized solar system I’m not nearly as worried about it as last year.


A post was split to a new topic: Having trouble changing name of Hue device

It’s funny… I simply do NOT use my thermostat like a normal person uses a thermostat…

I set my comfort, sleep and away settings to 85F… And I keep it that way throughout the cooling season (effectively turning my AC “off”)…

When it gets uncomfortable, I will manually dial it down slightly below the current temperature and my ecobee will ask if I want to temporarily set it for this temperature for 2 hours, 4 hours, or indefinitely… I choose 2 hours almost every time… If the 2 hour duration ends, and I am still hot, I’ll re-up for another 2 hours…

I have the same MO for the heating season… I turn my thermostat setting down to 55F and only bring it up slightly past the current temperatures when I am feeling uncomfortably cold… And of course, I will layer before touching the thermostat…

I like my “smart” thermostat mostly because I can ask “Alexa” what the outdoor or indoor temperature is…and I can control my HVAC from an armchair or from my parents home to pre-cool or pre-heat the house on my drive home (but I rarely do even that if I am honest about it)…


The best energy saving tip was to go on vacation for two weeks. I got to shut everything down!

It has been a bit tricky this year, as my wife is working from home, and her office is upstairs in the hottest corner of the house. I don’t get to gripe at her for running the AC when she’s doing the work to pay the electric bill.

In CO, we get pretty consistent cool evenings and mornings. I open the windows and turn on a bunch of fans to pre-cool the house a bit. I’m also considering a whole house fan to improve this process. This will be a double win when our utility switches to time-of-use metering in the near future. Unfortunately, we’ve had 25 consecutive days with air quality alerts, so I am concerned about this as a long term strategy.

I had thought I had replaced all our incandescent bulbs with LED’s, but Sense helped me find one last incandescent in a bathroom.

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I think that defines me even more than your use case! You are still using it as a thermostat. My Nest thermostat acts SOLELY as a wall clock and temperature sensor. I see an analog clock when I pass by it. I’m in Eco mode with a low of 40 degrees and a high of 90. It has NEVER turned on!!!

THAT is how I save on my energy bill.

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It’s the Chihuahua that is killing me!

What really kills my cooling cost is my parents and their chihuahua. They have to let this mutt in and out all day long. They stand with the front door open (8’x3.5’) letting this six pound mutt in and out. Worst is the dog doesn’t want to come in; so they stand there and beg for the dog to come. When it’s 110 degrees outside; that’s a boat load of cooling lost!

I am in southern Utah on high desert. 100 degree plus is the normal for these parts.

For my self, I use the garage as a sally-port side entrance to get in and out

LOL… Nice…

Tell me…with your use case, why did you buy a Nest? Seems like an expensive product for what you use it for…

You are right…as much as I don’t use the smart and scheduling features of my ecobee, I do use the smart feature of being able to remotely set my thermostat and getting the indoor temperature from my smart speaker…

The reasons I bought a Nest are: I had a utility incentive, it was on sale, and I had a $50 gift card, so I got a pretty good deal. I also wanted to make my home “smarter”.

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I’m not Kevin ( obviously :slight_smile: ) but let me add that some of us are just geeks and we love to play with electronics and the data associated with it. Many days, including today, you’ll catch me walking around in a shirt that says “data nerd”. There’s even the annual data nerd awards.

In my case I have 3 nest thermostats on a bench in my garage (pssst … for sale if anyone wants one) and an ecobee on the wall. I’ve switched between them a few times.

But to your point, I’m kinda surprised that Kevin has a Nest over an ecobee.

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Does the Ecobee have a clock with a sweeping second hand???:grin:

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But… The digital clock came out in the 50s, about 30 years prior to when I was born… I’m not sure I know how to read an analog clock :rofl::rofl::rofl:


Apologies for the book, but I love going into details about this stuff.

The minute I moved into my house, I replaced every single incandescent and CFL with the LED equivalent (honestly, in summer incandescent recessed can lights throw a lot of wasted heat). I was picky even about which LEDs I used. For example, in fixtures that had a lot of bulbs, I chose 4.5watt (40 watt equivalents) rather than 8-9watt (60 watt equivalents). My wife thought I was crazy and makes fun of me to this day for this, but we had access to the previous family’s usage via the smart meter and they used an insane amount. We’re much more efficient than the previous owners, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Some background info: Where I live, it’s usually in the mid 80s all summer (60s-70s at night), but we can get heat waves into the low 90s for a few days at a time. My AC is a 16 SEER 3.5 ton single stage unit from 2014, so nothing super efficient, but not terrible. My house is ~15 years old and all the window seals failed, so there’s a lot of thermal loss there. Where possible, we have blinds and dark thick curtains to keep the heat out since new windows are not in the budget at the moment and I heard replacing the seals isn’t really worth it. One bedroom upstairs gets really hot and I’ll just keep that door shut.

Regarding thermostat habits… I have a Nest, but can’t really use its smart schedule or even really set a daily schedule because someone is always home. As mentioned above, being away for a day or so is the best way to conserve! In the name of energy efficiency and if it were up to me, I’d keep my temperatures and 75 in the day, and 73 at night and use ceiling fans (since I’d really prefer it colder). It’s not up to me though (wifey likes it colder), and to avoid WWIII, my inefficient schedule is set to 72 during the day, 71 in the evening (when the sun’s not beating strong and it starts cooling down) and 70 for bedtime.

If it cools into the mid 60s or lower, if the air quality is good, I’ll use window fans and try to freeze the place out with cross ventilation and opening everything up. Doing this in spring and fall helps reduce HVAC by holding in the cold for longer into the day.

Potential improvements (ignore cost - all of this is pretty pricey):

  • Better Insulation
  • New Windows
  • More efficient HVAC (21+ SEER variable compressor or Geothermal)
  • Solar + Storage to offset grid usage
  • *Reevaluate natural gas usage

*At the time of this post it’s cheaper to use natural gas than the equivalent in electric, even with my $30 month service fee and assuming the improvements listed above are not feasible. Sadly, this is less green but keeps the sum of both bills more manageable… But if the price of natural gas significantly increases it would probably be more cost effective to go all electric and try to do as many improvements as possible…

Ultimately, we’re more efficient than average (lower usage than 53% of similar homes). The bills could be better but are manageable, and we’re comfortable.

My dream is to downsize when I retire and live net zero.


Not easy keeping the bill manageable in the heat and parts/labour shortage.
I have the AC people coming over today. I booked them over one month ago.
I want them to install a TXV(Thermal Expansion Valve) to make our old system a little more efficient. They can’t seem to source the part(I found plenty on eBay and searching the Internet).
(I thoroughly cleaned the inside and outside coils last month in the hopes it would allow us to make it through the heat. It has worked so far).
The system is old an usually needs gas. The Vent output temp is about 10F higher than it was in the past.
I want to insulate the house properly but family issues mean we can’t leave the house long enough for them to do the work. When done, we should be able to downsize the AC from 4 to 3 tons.

We have standard R19 fiberglass insulation in our roof rafters, but the southern-facing rafters get SUPER hot in the direct sun. I’m thinking about adding 2” rigid insulation foam over the rafters to seal in even more heat. Also adding insulation to the knee walls. My main task shortly will be to add insulation to all the duct work I can get to as none of it is insulated and I feel that it traveling through 90°+ spaces in insulated is severely decreasing it’s usefulness.

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When we moved in the AC was a mess. It had a huge hole in the intake, the size of a 12" ruler.
Also, the 16" flex return line wasn’t even insulated.

I have updated some of the attic insulation. We need the space for storage so I raised the plywood floor about 12" with this. It allowed me to run another layer of insulation 90 degrees to the existing insulation.

Our bigger problem is the walls. There is literally no insulation (100 year old wooden house). I can hear people talking in the driveway(which runs next to the house. I want to have foam insulation pump in (They need to do it from the inside because there are Asbestos shingles under the vinyl siding).


Dehumidifiers have been running a lot, aquarium heaters get a break.
No Central AC, purchased a portable AC in July to help on the hottest of days. We shall see how that effects the bill shortly.
Running pool pump minimally.
Grilling outside instead of cooking with electric appliances.
Spending a lot of time at our campground.
Our summer bills are usually quite a bit lower than the winter.


We’ve had a burner out here in the desert this summer. With the Time of Use plan, I set my smart thermostat to 79 from 4 PM to 9 PM.

Additionally, I signed up for OhmConnect and use their service to shut off things when we have a Flex Alert. So far, I’ve bagged $25 for signing up, received two smart plugs, won another as a prize, and received a $100 Amazon gift card.

Between raising the thermostat and OhnConnect perks, I’m weathering it just fine.

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Here’s another: a small fan pointed right at me. Keeps me multiple degrees cooler than my second floor temp.

Sense helped me with an interesting one this week.

My typical habit is to open up the house in the cool mornings and run some fans. This includes turning on the central fan that is part of the furnace. The central fan doesn’t do a whole lot, but it does recirculate a bit of the cooler outside air before the day heats up.

Sense just detected this central fan. It turns out the central fan actually uses almost as much energy as the air conditioner. So I’ve really just been wasting electricity turning this fan on. Either that, or there’s something really wrong with my AC or the fan. The fan pulls about 670W, while the AC (not yet detected) pulls about 900.