Sunday, February 22, 2009

Engergy Efficent in CT: Part 2. Was It the Lightbulbs?

draft testerI know I just posted a few minutes ago, but I'm so pleased and surprised I just have to share this.
Remember back in October how I had that energy assessment thing done on the house but after telling you all about the program I never told you about what they did?
Well, two guys came to the house. They set up this contraption in the front doorway that allowed them to test how drafty the house was. This let them see whether we were well sealed or if we were losing heating/cooling to leaks.
They also attached a contraption to the furnace that blew air through the system and checked if our ductwork was leaking.
It all had to do with air pressure.
At one point, they had gone out on the back porch and when they came back in the back door was closed, but not latched. The suction on the front door was so powerful it made the back door pop open!
Anyway, they sprayed this foam sealant stuff around the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, they spread this goop on the exposed ductwork in the basement, and they replaced old bulbs around 13 light bulbs with those compact florescent bulbs we are always being told are more energy efficient, blah blah.
(I believe we got the max number of bulbs, but that was about all they could do anyway since most of our lights are on dimmers and you need special, more expensive CFLs for dimmers.)

Nothing Changed
At the time I didn't really see any change in our bill because we are on UI's budget plan. They average your usage and have you pay one amount that is supposed to level things out, so when your usage spikes in the summer from running your central air you aren't floored by the bill. Instead you are pained every month because the bill is so high.
So at the time I was like, "yeah, whatever at least I did it." because I didn't see any results. Actually there was a point a few months ago when UI reassessed my account and increased my payment amount! ouch!

I'm In the Money
Well, our budget plan reset in January.
When it resets you have to pay any accumulated balance in full. I didn't have to pay a balance, which was a pleasant surprise, but didn't really register as significant. And I was like, "Oh boy can't wait to see what the new amount is next month." Because every year it has gone up by leaps and bounds, especially with the escalating cost of electricity.
But this time it's down! By $109, which is almost half!
(Say it with me...Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus!)
I think this is going to be the new amount for this year. I don't think they send an interim amount and then your budget amount starts on the next bill. So this is totally awesome.

Through No Fault of My Own
I can see that our usage was down in October, November, and December compared to other months (there is a spiffy bar chart on the bill) and since we haven't made any lifestyle changes, it must be the light bulbs!
Of course the generation charge also recently dropped from 12 cents to 11 cents, but I think that was just this month so I'm not sure how much that contributed to the overall budget amount resetting. IE, I don't think it has been reduced for a long enough time to have a significant impact.
Hubby just woke up and I was like, "Look at the electric bill! This is an extra $100 we get back!" He was happy, but as he had just woken up his main concern was coffee.
I can totally funnel this "extra" money into paying debt or savings pain-free because it isn't money we had last year so we aren't going to miss it.
2009 has been much kinder to us so far.

The take-away: invest in those CFLs, they are apparently totally worth it!


  1. Wow, that is so great!!!! That would help us TREMENDOULSY! But, things like that don't happen in Italy.

  2. That is great!!! More YARN money!!!! WOOOOOOT