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Old 04-08-09, 03:22 PM   #1
Peakster
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Post Peakster's House Efficiency

Hello everyone. I have a 3 bedroom townhouse with a basement located in southern Saskatchewan. I intend to track the costs of my bills and share tricks of how I save money on home ownership.

The house only has one exterior wall so that helps with heating costs. As soon as I moved in I installed low flow shower heads and compact fluorescents throughout the home. I like the thermostat near 63*F, but my roomates like turning it to 73*F when I'm not at home . The furnace is about 80% efficient.

These are my utility bills for the month of March:

Gas - $128.80
Electricity - $73.81
Water - $19.62

Other expenses:

Cable - $30.37
Telephone - $63.83
Insurance - $22.42
Wireless Internet - $15.00
Condo Fees - $125.00
Mortgage & Property Tax - $1083.33

Total March '09 Expenses: $1562.18

Rent collection from roommates: $800.00

Monthly deficit: $762.18

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Clearly there's some improvements to be made! I'm going to continue to conserve for the month of April and hopefully with the extra daylight hours and warmer temperatures, I can cut down on utility costs . I'll update next month.


Last edited by Peakster; 04-03-11 at 03:16 AM..
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Old 04-08-09, 04:14 PM   #2
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Woo yay, another tracking their consumption.

How is your energy usage broken up? Heat is gas I assume? Hot water?
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Old 04-08-09, 06:07 PM   #3
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Are your SaskEnergy payments equalized or is that an actual(estimated) cost? I'm a short way down the road in Moose Jaw and I pay $107 per month equalized. I own a 1912 two storey detached. Your electricity bill looks pretty good - about 540KWHr per month?. The Saskatchewan average is 683KWHr for a family of four.

I'm not sure what you can do to reduce electricity usage except CFLs unless your roommates are very accommodating. I'm also not sure what suggest to reduce gas usage without running afoul of condo association rules. You should however upgrade those windows, the furnace and possibly attic insulation (check your condo rules - it may be considered a common area). Definitely apply for the Energuide for houses rebate if you decide to take on any of those projects.

Other things to note, SaskEnergy has a $15 rebate available for installing a programmable thermostat. Sask Watershed Authority is also giving $50 rebates for installing CSA approved lowflow or dualflush toilets. Financially the best thing you can probably do (assuming this is your first mortgage and you have 25 years to go) is pay down your principal - at this point, one extra payment can take years off your amortization period.

Good luck!
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Old 04-09-09, 01:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
How is your energy usage broken up? Heat is gas I assume? Hot water?
Heat is natural gas and same with the water heating. Probably a good portion of the electricity is from the clothes dryer. I didn't look too closely at how it was broken up, but I think there was connection charges this one time too. Next time I'll take a look at the units.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knowbodies View Post
Are your SaskEnergy payments equalized or is that an actual(estimated) cost?
They offered an equalized payment plan of something like $82/month, however I preferred to see my fluctuations throughout the year.

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You should however upgrade those windows, the furnace and possibly attic insulation (check your condo rules - it may be considered a common area).
Yup definitely... the windows are pretty drafty and they slide loosely, which isn't as efficient as the pivoting ones. I'm thinking of adding extra insulation in the roof sometime too.

Quote:
SaskEnergy has a $15 rebate available for installing a programmable thermostat.
Wow, I didn't know that. I still have the original mercury thermostat so changing it is now on my list.

Quote:
Financially the best thing you can probably do (assuming this is your first mortgage and you have 25 years to go) is pay down your principal - at this point, one extra payment can take years off your amortization period.
Definitely! With, my first mortgage payment the principal only went down by $62 and it drove me nuts! I'm currently accelerating the payments and cut my amortization period from 35 years to just over 14!

Got to love the added help from roommates!

Last edited by Peakster; 04-09-09 at 03:10 AM..
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Old 05-12-09, 01:36 PM   #5
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These are my utility bills for the month of April:

Gas - $25.63
Electricity - $36.81
Water - $42.51

Other expenses:

Cable - $24.15
Telephone - $34.30
Insurance - $22.42
Wireless Internet - $15.00
Condo Fees - $125.00
Mortgage & Property Tax - $1083.33

Total April '09 Expenses: $1409.15

Rent collection from roommates: $880.00 (one roommate is now paying an extra $80/month for the master bedroom)

Monthly deficit: $529.15

-----------------------------------

Most of the bills went down this month with exception of water use. Turns out the furnace filter was absolutely clogged, so with a replacement the furnace barely runs! Also keep in mind that the outside temperatures have greatly improved here in Sasaktchewan. The electric bill is surprisingly low, and I think it may have included a usage adjustment after the first month.

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Old 06-08-09, 03:07 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Maximum capacity...

May's property bills are in and paid for. This is what it looks like for the month:

Gas - $47.55
Electricity - $43.46
Water - $51.67

Other expenses:

Cable - $24.15
Telephone - $54.82
Insurance - $22.42
Wireless Internet - $0.00
Condo Fees - $125.00
Mortgage & Property Tax - $1267.50

Total May '09 Expenses: $1,636.57

Rent collection from roommates: $1,280.00 (all three rooms upstairs are occupied and now my bedroom is in the basement)

Monthly deficit: $356.57

-----------------------------------

Water use is up now with 4 people living in the house. We got cut off from mooching off of a neighbour's wireless internet, so we got our own. Payment isn't required until the end of this month though. Mortgage payment is now accelerated to the maximum allowed by the bank. Amortization is now only 11 years and 4 months!

Last edited by Peakster; 06-08-09 at 03:14 PM..
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Old 07-08-09, 03:04 PM   #7
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These are my utility bills for the month of June:

Gas - $31.77
Electricity - $44.87
Water - $43.16

Other expenses:

Cable - $24.15
Telephone - $35.89
Insurance - $22.42
Wireless Internet - $7.00
Condo Fees - $125.00
Mortgage & Property Tax - $1,270.34

Total June '09 Expenses: $1,604.60

Rent collection from roommates: $1,280.00

Monthly deficit: $324.60

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now that the warmer months have arrived the cost for gas has reduced considerably (it's only the water heater that's really being used now). We're probably reaching the point where bills are the lowest they'll be all year.

Last edited by Peakster; 07-08-09 at 03:15 PM..
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Old 07-09-09, 01:01 PM   #8
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Maybe get a thermostat that has programmable limits? That is, one that can be set during install (using a special service menu) to not allow heat settings above, for example, 65F or A/C below, for example, 78F?

It looks like you'll save a lot by getting rid of your existing phone service and installing VoIP. And the cable seems redundant with the wireless internet.

Also turn down the water heater if it isn't already.
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Old 07-09-09, 02:19 PM   #9
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I was not aware of ViOP service until I just looked it up. We don't have a landline, everyone has their own cell phone instead. My phone bill is used for mostly business purposes (roommates calling me when things break, receiving calls about room openings, etc.)

The cable is a promotion by one service provider (which ends in about 2 months) while the wireless internet is under another provider and my roommate is responsible for that. We just split the bill between the 4 people that live here.

I like the idea of a thermostat that has programmable limits... the house doesn't have A/C however it will come handy when winter hits because my roommates love to crank the heat while I'm not home and turn the switch down 10 minutes before I'm back.
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Old 07-09-09, 03:25 PM   #10
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If it's an analog thermostat, open it up and a screw added in the right place can limit how high it can go.

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