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...due to the February electric bill!

We were away for a week in February, yet our bill was $156, about the same as January. But Mom was impressed as her Feb bill was $323 <egads!>, and that's in a slightly smaller house right next door, and just one person. Main difference is her thermostat is set to 75 and ours to 65--imagine that, halving the bill by wearing thick sox and sweater, sweatshirt/sweatpants or flannel shirt. And we relax upstairs in the FROG (free room over garage) this time of year, where it's warmer.

Feb was a cold month following an unseasonably warm December and January. I'm glad we were away, leaving our thermostat at 55, for one week anyway. Next year, Florida or Costa Rica or something in January-February! (OK, OK, I know that'll cost a lot more than the electric bill-) I miss coastal California's more or less year-round 60s/70s.

Speaking of living on a budget, METAR has a thread about living on $50k:

http://boards.fool.com/budget-exercise-broke-on-50kyr-305704...
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Is it possible to put another 10R of insulation in Mom's attic?

I did this about 15 years ago, the cost was minimal - about <$500... and repaid itself for me in about 10 months.

It may not be possible to EASILY improve the R-factor of the walls, but in the old days, folks would hang quilts on the walls to add a measure of warmth. Prior to that, the castle walls had tapestries for similar purposes.

http://www.touchoftapestry.com/History-of-Tapestries-7.html

Castles and large stone churches were drafty places that are hard to keep warm during the winter. In those days, insulation was unheard of, therefore tapestries were placed in buildings to keep them warm.


Well, that's what a google search shows :-)
ralph
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"Speaking of living on a budget, METAR has a thread about living on $50k:" - alstromeria


??? Heck yeah! $50 THOUSAND DOLLARS! Who the heck couldn't live like that? I could live like a King on $50,000/year. I'd be a rich man!

Zero Mostel " If I Were a Rich Man "

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahAOU1HZXlc


Art
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Oy vey! I vent back and listened to this version from the movie and I think I like it better. I think "Topol" is a better singer than Zero Mostel? What can I say? I like the movie better?

If I were a Rich Man - Fiddler on the Roof (Topol)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZNpBvAYu-I



Art
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Is it possible to put another 10R of insulation in Mom's attic?

Thank you for the suggestion. Her house is only 10 years old and supposedly well insulated. It was built by the same builder as our house, and we have thick attic insulation. I'll ask the hubster to look into it.
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75?!

Ugh - I would find that very unpleasant. Our houses is at 67.
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75?!

Ugh - I would find that very unpleasant. Our houses is at 67.


Me, too. Art keeps his house at 72 to 74 and it is always hot to me.

I keep my temp at 55 during sleeping hours and 60 during waking hours. Occasionally I will cheat and up the temp to 61 which feels quite cozy. Last night I did this and was drinking a mug of hot tea. I was getting quite sweaty and had to turn the heat down. No kidding. But then I wear socks, slippers, a warm shirt, a pullover sweater, warm pants and sometimes a hat. Sometime in the not too distant future, people will be regularly doing this. Right now I'm sure there are people doing it out of necessity because their heating bill is too high, but in the future not only will it be too much to heat, it will perhaps be impossible due to lack of resources. Maybe even in my children's lifetimes.
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75?!
Ugh - I would find that very unpleasant.


I think most of us will want it warm when we're skinny 87 year olds. If we make it. OTOH, she barely needs A/C in summer ;-)
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I keep my temp at 55 during sleeping hours and 60 during waking hours. . .

I would have to spend a lot of money on air conditioning all year round to do this. :-)

My power bills run from a minimum of about $90 per month in Winter to just over $400 per month in Summer. Keeping the house warm enough for comfort is never our problem.
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"Me, too. Art keeps his house at 72 to 74 and it is always hot to me. I keep my temp at 55 during sleeping hours and 60 during waking hours. Occasionally I will cheat and up the temp to 61 which feels quite cozy." - lindytoes
-----------


I swear to God you could hang and age meat in Linda's house which is why we couldn't ever share a house together. There would be a constant fight over control of the thermostat. No way could Linda ever leave it alone. She'd be constantly messing with it.

We keep our house at 72 in the wintertime and 76 in the summer. I set it where we want it and then leave it alone. In the spring and fall when the weather is pretty outside, which means 72 - 82 degrees, I just turn off the Air and open the windows.

Linda also likes fans blowing constantly and I get chilled. It especially bothers my neck and I get a crick in my neck when it has cold air blowing on it.

My wife and I are a whole lot more alike when it comes to our temperature preferences. We both prefer to be a little warm. 72 degrees is not "too hot." When it's cold enough to hang meat.... it's too cold.

Art
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"I think most of us will want it warm when we're skinny 87 year olds." alstromeria
---------------


Not Linda. It's rather ironic that she lives in the state of Georgia. A state run by and full of conservative Republicans and which is in the deep South and stays a whole lot warmer than her normal temperature preferences. She needs to move up to Vermont. Nice and cool and run by liberals. She'd probably be a whole lot happier there.

Art
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re:
I think most of us will want it warm when we're skinny 87 year olds. If we make it. OTOH, she barely needs A/C in summer ;-)
and
I would have to spend a lot of money on air conditioning all year round to do this (referring to 55/60 in my post). :-)


I agree with alstromeria that if I make it to 87 I will probably want it warmer, but probably not 75F in the winter. I remember my grandfather living in a trailer in Florida with little to no air conditioning AND wearing a sweater in the summer. I just about died when I visited him.

I will NEVER live where it is as hot as Phoenix. I have time-of-use and put my air conditioning down to 72F most of the time in the summer, but from 3pm to 8pm M-F non-holidays I don't use air conditioning (or other high use appliances), only a single overhead fan. It has gotten as hot as 82F inside by about 6pm. But those few hours of discomfort mean that I pay about $110 for electric for the hottest month. Of course I also live in Georgia where we have some very cheap energy because of nuclear (and maybe hydro?).

Art is right. I should live in Vermont. My family is in the South so that is not likely to happen.
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"It has gotten as hot as 82F inside by about 6pm. But those few hours of discomfort mean that I pay about $110 for electric for the hottest month." lindytoes


Luckily for Linda there is a dollar theater not too far from her house and oftentimes during the hot summer afternoons she can be found there watching a dollar movie at the theatre. When her daughter lived with her both of them saw a lot of movies for a $1.00 in the late afternoon in the summer.

Art
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"Luckily for Linda there is a dollar theater not too far from her house and oftentimes during the hot summer afternoons she can be found there watching a dollar movie at the theatre. When her daughter lived with her both of them saw a lot of movies for a $1.00 in the late afternoon in the summer." - Art


Another fun & cool thing to do is to go to the Y and swim before her time of use ends. Linda teaches water aerobics and gets free membership at the Y and has taken me as a guest many times in the past. So there are enough things to do in the afternoon to stay cool till time of use electricity switches back to cheap rates during the summer. Also we like to grocery shop so on the way back from the pool we sometimes stop and buy something yummy to take back to the house and cook...

Art
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I keep my temp at 55 during sleeping hours and 60 during waking hours. Occasionally I will cheat and up the temp to 61 which feels quite cozy. Last night I did this and was drinking a mug of hot tea. I was getting quite sweaty and had to turn the heat down. No kidding. <?i>

I don't keep it that quite that, but it all comes down to what you are used to. I've been slowly decreasing the temperature settings over the years, and 64 during the day and 60 and night. Now that I'm used to it, it feels perfectly normal. I usually have to turn up the heat when I have house guests.
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Art: We keep our house at 72 in the wintertime and 76 in the summer. I set it where we want it and then leave it alone.

We have a programmable thermostat. 59 after 11:0PM, 72 after 6:00 AM, then back to 65 during the day. At 6:00 it goes to 72.

Haven't programmed it for summer yet.

Count No'Count
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sykesix: I usually have to turn up the heat when I have house guests.

When I moved to Southern California from New England, I found I didn't need the heater on at all in the winter. My guests disagreed.

Count No'Count
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Our heat pump doesn't see much use, but there are typically a few nights in January and a few in February when it gets cool enough to kick in. Neither of us is bothered by sleeping with a stack of quilts and Mexican wool blankets on the bed, so once we get to bed, the house temp can drift pretty low before we would bother to turn on the heat. All those camping trips in high altitude, low temperature climates has us use to this.

On the other hand, neither of us can sleep if the house gets too warm. It's strange, we both hike and survey all Summer long. I used to run every day throughout Summer and still ride my bike - no matter how hot. But I can't sleep if I'm sweating. There are days in late July and early August when our air conditioner runs almost non-stop.
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You have a heat pump, too? I've been told (I think on the TMF Home Maintenance board) that one shouldn't change the settings on a heat pump often--eg, not set it lower over night. Is that wrong?

Before I heard about that, I kept the temp at 68-70 in the daytime in winter and 60-62 at night. SO when I thought we needed to keep it level all day, we used 65. My ideal would be more like 60 at night, but DH--no way. Like Art, his neck gets uncomfortable in the cold.

I've noticed we've gotten a bit less tolerant of cold with age, especially DH. We have a heated mattress pad and warm it before we get into bed at night in winter. Ir's so nice! Like a warm towel from the dryer after a shower. I also keep a lap blanket by my recliner in winter, and use it.

In hot weather, we set the thermostat to 78. I'd prefer it cooler--so we go RVing during some of our hot weather ;-) Next year we hope to go somewhere warm in winter as well.
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My husband checked out Mom's attic yesterday--and other home maintenance issues while he was about it-. The insulation seemed adequately thick, but he saw signs of rat trails/poop. It appeared old, but she will call our rat wrangler, the one we used a few months ago.

Her through-the-fridge-door water supply wasn't working well so I ordered a new water filter for her. They say you need to replace the filter every 6 months, but we replace ours more like every other year. I hope that's OK...they cost $32.

NOTE TO SELF
Next fridge, no water line! I didn't mind using a Brita pitcher when I lived in NY or at DD's and DS's.
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I could live like a King on $50,000/year. I'd be a rich man!

We'd feel rich on $50k apiece--$100k HH income, but we haven't seen that realm since we left Silicon Valley.

EXCUSES FOR FINDING $50K HH INCOME TIGHT

- House too big...except when kids are visiting, then it's too small ;-)
- Homeowners insurance on the hurricane coast
- Electronics/hobbies/travel
- Food...lactose- and gluten-free items cost 2-4x as much as regular stuff, not to mention organic produce, pastured beef/chicken/eggs/dairy, wild fish...
- Nutritional supplements, drugs/OTC drugs (although it wasn't a typical month, I spent nearly $500 in this category in January! the hubster's cognitive support/stroke mitigation stuff is the most)
- Medical, dental, vision care in our 60s
- Yard maintenance (we pay gardeners) (no, that's not gonna change at this point)
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I could live like a King on $50,000/year. I'd be a rich man!

Well, in all fairness your house and car are paid off, you get your health insurance through Bonnie's work AND you don't have any children. I believe that article was talking about a family of 4, too.

You are a very frugal person Art, but you don't live on your income stream on your own. You'd probably be living with me if you weren't married and the temperature would indeed have to go up during the winter. I can afford higher temperatures, but I figure I can justify my more extravagant summer temps when I sacrifice a little during the winter.
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I'm sorry, but I have to brag a bit. Our condo here in Waikiki doesn't even have heating or cooling. Utility bills = $0.

We've been here about 3 months so far, and have kept the windows (and sliding door) open 24/7. And when we were here last summer we did the same. Lovely trade winds.
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I'm sorry, but I have to brag a bit. Our condo here in Waikiki doesn't even have heating or cooling. Utility bills = $0.

We've been here about 3 months so far, and have kept the windows (and sliding door) open 24/7. And when we were here last summer we did the same. Lovely trade winds.


Yeah, yeah rub it in. I just got back from a supposed tropical paradise but it was hot as hades there.
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On the other hand, neither of us can sleep if the house gets too warm. It's strange, we both hike and survey all Summer long. I used to run every day throughout Summer and still ride my bike - no matter how hot. But I can't sleep if I'm sweating. There are days in late July and early August when our air conditioner runs almost non-stop.

I can't either. Fortunately, there is usually only a week or two when it is that hot in Seattle. I don't have air conditioning in the house, which is pretty typical around here.
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"I'm sorry, but I have to brag a bit. Our condo here in Waikiki doesn't even have heating or cooling. Utility bills = $0. We've been here about 3 months so far, and have kept the windows (and sliding door) open 24/7. And when we were here last summer we did the same. Lovely trade winds." - Mr. Fungi
----------------


I admit it, I am a little jealous. I also freely admit that I have wealth envy. It's why I buy lottery tickets. I'd like to know what it feels like to be rich.

So Mr. Fungi, how much did your Condo cost you? How much are your property taxes? How much does it cost to live there? What are food and gas prices like? Inquiring minds want to know?

Maybe if I ever win the lottery I'll come and be your next door neighbor? That is if I could talk my wife into leaving Tennessee... which is highly unlikely.

Art
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Mr. Fungi: I'm sorry, but I have to brag a bit. Our condo here in Waikiki doesn't even have heating or cooling. Utility bills = $0.

We've been here about 3 months so far, and have kept the windows (and sliding door) open 24/7. And when we were here last summer we did the same. Lovely trade winds.


We'll be back in Honolulu next February (Royal Kuhio on Kuhio Street). Let's get together for drinks or a meal.

Count No'Count
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You have a heat pump, too? I've been told (I think on the TMF Home Maintenance board) that one shouldn't change the settings on a heat pump often--eg, not set it lower over night. Is that wrong?

Pretty much everyone out here has a heat pump. There used to be a lot of homes with evaporative coolers in AZ. They are by far the most cost effective solution, but they tend to be less effective once the humidity goes above about 20%, and they require a lot of airflow (ie whole house fan and windows open). Heat pumps are the next most efficient solution for our weather.

As far as setting thermostats for variable temps, the truth is that it is of very questionable energy saving value for any type of heating/cooling system. Changing the temperature of a house takes a lot of energy and when you try to raise the temp several degrees all at once in Winter or lower it all at once in Summer, the actual energy balance could go either way. Whether you win or lose that balance battle depends on a lot of variables. A variable speed system is actually more likely to save energy and is less stressful on any type of system.

But other than that, I have never heard, and certainly don't see any reason, that heat pump thermostat adjustments would be any different than other heating/cooling systems. But that's not really much of an issue for us. There are very few days in the year in Phoenix when any heating at all is needed. Open up the thermal drapes to the sun and the house is warm almost any day of the year. Sometimes we light several candles in the fireplace in the morning to accelerate the heat-up process. So the only time the heat pump is pumping heat into the house, is in the evenings. We don't have to set the thermostat to go up and down during Winter. Just set it at 57 degrees and some evenings it might kick on. During the Summer, we used to modulate the temperature upward during the day when we weren't home, but now that we're retired, that doesn't really work for us. And when outside temps run between 80's in the evening and 110's during the day, you pretty much have to keep the A/C on. The only difference between day and night time is the percentage of time the system is on. We program the thermostat for a modest decrease in temp during in the evening.
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I admit it, I am a little jealous. I also freely admit that I have wealth envy....

So Mr. Fungi, how much did your Condo cost you? How much are your property taxes? How much does it cost to live there? What are food and gas prices like? Inquiring minds want to know?

Maybe if I ever win the lottery I'll come and be your next door neighbor? That is if I could talk my wife into leaving Tennessee... which is highly unlikely.


Art, this move was something we planned and saved for over the course of some 30 years. It has absolutely been worth it.

I don't want to get into details of what we paid. But a little googling will find you a website (starting with "oahu") that provides all the ask and recent sale prices for every condo on Oahu. And I can recommend an excellent agent of great integrity.

Condo prices are high -- $400-$500/sq. ft. for a nice (but not 5-star) 2 bedroom unit in Waikiki. Property taxes are quite reasonable. Gasoline is expensive (about $4.30/gal. for regular right now), but there's only so much driving you can do on an island. We walk, take the bus, and rent a car once a month or so for big shops or a trip to the north shore. Food is expensive in supermarkets, but there are many farmer's markets and fresh produce and fish in Chinatown at moderate prices.

I shouldn't have said $0 for utilities, since we do have an electricity bill. But zero heating/cooling costs.

I walked 10 minutes to the beach today, went swimming in the ocean, read a book under a palm tree, and walked home with my wife. Total cost = $0. A friend is coming over later, and we'll probably walk to a nearby restaurant, maybe listen to some music later. I love it.

But, hey! Tennessee is beautiful, too -- esp. (for me, at least) the eastern part. I have friends near Knoxville, up in the hills, who could live anyplace, and they choose there. I can certainly see why ... although I'm an ocean guy.
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We'll be back in Honolulu next February (Royal Kuhio on Kuhio Street). Let's get together for drinks or a meal.

Count, it will be a pleasure to be with you and the Countess again!

Aloha!
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"As far as setting thermostats for variable temps, the truth is that it is of very questionable energy saving value for any type of heating/cooling system. Changing the temperature of a house takes a lot of energy and when you try to raise the temp several degrees all at once in Winter or lower it all at once in Summer, the actual energy balance could go either way." - salaryguru
------------------------------


My good friend that went back to school and got a degree in refrigeration and air conditioning told me that when you heat and cool a house you aren't just heating and cooling the air, you are also heating and cooling the walls and the furniture and glass and TV and beds and lumber and floors and ceilings so that it takes a long time to get everything adjusted so when you mess with the thermostat all it does is keep the heat pump constantly working trying to adjust the temperature of everything in the house.... not just the air. He told me it's better to just set the temperature of the house where you want it and leave the damn thing alone and let it do it's job.

How much money do you save when you have to replace a $3,500 dollar heating and cooling system because you've worn the damn thing out making it work overtime trying to keep all the fixtures and walls and floors and ceilings and furniture in the house to what you've set the thermostat on?


Art
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"But, hey! Tennessee is beautiful, too -- esp. (for me, at least) the eastern part. I have friends near Knoxville, up in the hills, who could live anyplace, and they choose there. I can certainly see why ... although I'm an ocean guy." MrFungi


I'm an ocean guy too but I married a Tennessee girl so here I am. We used to live near Knoxville but now we live fairly close to Nashville. This is where my wife's parents and brother were when we made the decision to move and she got a job teaching in Nashville.

"Condo prices are high -- $400-$500/sq. ft. for a nice (but not 5-star) 2 bedroom unit in Waikiki."

So let's see, that would be ~ 1,000 square feet X $450/foot = $450,000/dollars for a condo in Hawaii. Right now way out of my price range.

There are fairly reasonable condos in Florida that we might could afford but my wife has no interest in moving anywhere and she's not really all that close to retiring anyway. She likes her job and has a lot of friends there so I figure I should just make the best of it.

It's not like I'm suffering here or anything. I just dream of Palm trees and Ocean and clear water and snorkeling and picking giant pink grapefruits right off the tree and slurping them down like I used to do when I was 19 years old when I lived in Florida for a year and half before I went back to college after dropping out my Freshman year. Sigh!

Art
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<<I walked 10 minutes to the beach today, went swimming in the ocean, read a book under a palm tree, and walked home with my wife. Total cost = $0. A friend is coming over later, and we'll probably walk to a nearby restaurant, maybe listen to some music later. I love it.

>>


You could have been sharing the wealth with a drugged out Detroit welfare mother instead of squandering it on your own comforts.



Seattle Pioneer
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Since I have moved my office upstairs, I keep my thermostat on 64 (heat rises) and I am quite comfortable. At night, I cut it down to 56 (with my bedroom window cracked a bit), as I like cold air or a fan when I sleep. In the summer, since it is warmer upstairs, my office is really the coolest room upstairs (Thank God), so I just use fans. If it becomes a little uncomfortable in the heat of the summer, I might look into buying a dehumidifier just for this room, but doubt I will need it. Since the downstairs does not have carpeting, it is really quite cool down there in the summer. The good thing.....the office does not get the afternoon sun.

Donna
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Lindy, my mother who always maintained a cool house, said "You can always add more clothing, but can only legally take so much off." Give me a cool house any day. Like you, I like my warm comfy robes, socks and high-top bedroom shoes.

Donna
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