Friday, March 18, 2011

Energy Savings in Arizona! Seems like an Oxymoron!

Well as many of you may know I do live in Arizona! Yesterday was my birthday and it was the first day of 2011 that we hit 90 degrees! Wowzers!

My family loves the winter time out here and so does my bank account! We don't use our heating system very often in the winter because we like our house cold - I mean COLD! We love to sleep in the cold and if we are chilly we will put blankets on us around the house. We do draw the line at about 60-62 degrees and if it is that cold I will kick the heat on to 65 and then it gets turned off. We had a very odd frigid snap back in February and we had the heat on for several days straight but other than that we save LOTS of energy in the winter.

We have lived in AZ for almost 4 years and this past summer was our worst in regards to energy and our utilities! My July electric bill hit $394.00!! Yes that is correct! I decided we needed to do something drastic! I love my washer and dryer and I have all sorts of settings to choose from. But none that says let's save lots of money!

So I bought a clothes drying rack.
These racks are not expensive and the one I have here I paid about $10.00 last summer and I will be picking up a second rack very soon! I actually am using the rack today since we are back in the upper 80's and a nice breeze. These clothes will dry very quickly!  I personally would love to have a clothes line but I have the strictest HOA in the world and I just don't want to deal with it.  The racks have wheels so I can roll it in and out of the house very easily. The first month I used the rack our electric bill dropped $80.00 and we were having the same type of temperatures. I will hang up almost everything except underwear and socks and sometimes a few other items. The towels I will often throw in for a few minute fluff on no heat. My husband's work uniforms also need to be dried. I will put over any underwear and socks and then run another load. I will not start the dryers until I have run at least 2 loads through the washer so I can accumulate enough "dryer" items to run the dryer. I love it because I am saving MONEY but I am also saving energy which is good for the world we live in!

To also save on money we have a programmable thermostat.
During the day we won't let it get above 77 because by the time we get home it takes forever for the house to cool down. As you can see it is currently 70 in our house and it is almost noon. This is from the overnight hours. I will be very honest - we like a COLD house and because the thermostat is upstairs it can be tough to get the temperature to be 70 at night like we like to sleep. A MAJOR part of our electric bill comes from our AC unit. We are trying to get better acclimated but since my husband works outside all day long every day we refuse to be miserable in the house so we have to find other ways to cut down on energy to drop our bill.

We do have a programmable dishwasher as well. From the research I have done using the dishwasher uses less water and sanitizes the dishes as well. Depending on the type of load and how dirty the dishes are etc. will depend on the time of wash I will run. Normally though it is a normal wash with no special heated dry or hot wash etc. If someone is sick in the house I will kick in the hot wash to make sure the water is super hot to kill the germs (may not be true but makes me feel better). Other than that I see no reason in using more hot water.

As you can see in the picture above this isn't quiet a full load. The kids are normally responsible for the dishes and in teaching them responsibilities I also am teaching them to load it correctly so we can make the best of the space we have so we don't have to run as many loads. The dishwasher must be full before we will run a load. This cuts down on water and energy.

I have always said the suns direct rays are so HOT out here in AZ.  For instance it can be 100 degrees at night with the sun down but it is comfortable enough to sit outside on the porch. However, if the sun is out you feel like you are baking in the sun. One area in our house that I notice a lot of heat is the loft upstairs.

For this very large window we have installed thick blinds and then this curtain will close all the way and it is a dark brown curtain and it is very thick. When we put this up it reduced the heat in the loft a lot and this is also where our thermostat is so that helps not having the unit run all the time because this area of the house stays so warm.

These are just a few things we do to help save on energy costs and also in our efforts to start going "green" to help save the resources we have on our planet. Not too mention it helps save some of the green stuff in my bank account! I hope to be sharing more on the ways we work to save money, energy, and our efforts to be going green and natural!


  1. Awesome tips! I have insulated curtains on all of our bedroom windows and blinds because we love it super dark and it keeps it cool in the summer. It is not Arizona but it does get pretty hot with the sun directly on that side of the house for a long time. I just love all of these tips. I hope you had a fantastic birthday!! I miss you!

  2. Thanks Erin! I hope to have another post soon of all the things we do to try to save energy and money! I know it sure can get super hot in the midwest too!

  3. You should be proud!! What great tips, thanks!!!

  4. Thanks Aleyta! I figure every little bit helps! I hope to share more soon!

  5. Excellent suggestions for saving money!

    We are in Texas and our energy bills are through the roof during the summer months as well. Your a/c can be 70-80% of your energy bill in the south... great suggestions to use a programmable t-stat!

  6. Thanks Crystal! I hope to get another energy saving post up next week! Texas sure does get hot like AZ! I look for every way to save money but be comfortable.