Friday, February 13, 2009

Staying Warm Without Spending Too Much Money

It's bill-paying time again, and I've been reviewing my bills from YankeeGas and CL&P in an effort to reduce my heating costs. At the top of the list of ideas is to replace my furnace with something more fuel efficient, but that's not really an immediate solution (taking the radiators off-line in the middle of winter seems like a bad idea to me).

Here's my unsightly furnace:

My house has two floors, 544 sq. ft. each, and one side of the house is protected from the cold, as it is attached to another house. The gas furnace sends steam heat to six radiators. I'm frugal and prefer to wear extra clothing layers, so I don't turn the thermostat past 65 during the day, 60 at night. It's really a little too cold, and I end up shivering by mid-afternoon when I've been sitting at my desk all day. But even with that effort, the latest gas bill was still $330.

About a month ago, I remembered that I have a tiny little electric "heat furnace" left over from the days when I lived in an apartment in Naugatuck that didn't have heat in every room (there was a blast furnace in the side of the stove and a weird vertical heater in the hallway that did a great job of heating the ceiling). The electric heater is great for keeping me warm at my desk (no more shivering!), and I've got another heater I use in the living room. So now I keep the thermostat at 60 during the day and 56 at night.

CL&P and YankeeGas both keep well over a year's worth of meter readings available on their websites, so I can chart just how well I'm doing with keeping my bills down. I'm looking forward to seeing if the electric heaters make a big difference in my costs. CL&P is a little tricky, though. At first glance today, I thought I was doing great with keeping my electric bill down. Then I look closer at the usage chart. For every other month, the chart shows one actual meter reading for the month. The two most recent readings, however, are for two weeks each and are estimated readings. And they are for a much higher usage per day than for any other month on the chart. I wonder if that has anything to do with CL&P losing track of many customers' bill payments last month.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Waterbury Girl
Wouldn't it be cute to send an estimated payment in to CL&P every time they sent you an estimated bill.
ALL our cats say hello.