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Old 11-29-2014, 08:29 AM   #1
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


I live in a rental home. 3b/2b mobile home. There are 2 of us living here and our bill was $215 last month (October). Everything is electrical - water, heat, etc. If we don't run the heat...the house is colder inside than it is outside.

Now, I am willing to do some things, but I do think that my landlord should be responsible for any large actions.

1.I put some weatherstripping on the doors and windows, but even then - you can see light around the frame of the front door. My landlord won't let me put sealant around the windows - I am pretty sure she just thinks I will screw it up.

2. She doesn't like to spend money and is a little greedy. Most landlords will cut off some of the rent if you do your own landscaping, mine expects it. When we first moved in, we didn't have a lawn mower yet, so she charged us $20 to mow the yard (crappily and she didn't even weedwhack around the fence.)

3. I was thinking about buying an infrared heater. I have friends who have them and said their heating bills lowered for the month by about $50. Any ideas on this?

4. Pretty sure there is no insulation under the house - any ideas how much this runs...this is one of the things I think she should be required to do.

5. Also, we wrapped all the pipes under the house.

Basically, I'm just looking for cost-effective stuff that I can do myself, cheap but effective. Two people should not have a $200 bill even with the heat off.

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Old 11-29-2014, 08:55 AM   #2
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


You need to move and do some research before renting your next.

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Old 11-29-2014, 09:00 AM   #3
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


Is it electric strip heat, or a heat pump?
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:05 AM   #4
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


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You need to move and do some research before renting your next.
Ayuh,.... That makes the most sense,....
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:09 AM   #5
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


The cost to generate a btu of heat with electricity is the same no matter what the device. Q Quartz or radiant heater may save you money if you turn down the thermostat and use the Quartz heater to warm the area you are in. Beware portable heaters can be a fire hazard and given the place you are renting has some maintenance issues already, the electrical system may also not be in great shape. One Quartz heater will use all the capacity of one 15 amp circuit. I would plan on moving at the end of your lease.
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Old 11-29-2014, 11:22 AM   #6
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


If the landlord says no, then your hands are pretty much tied. Not much you can do. If I was a landlord I probably wouldn't want a tenant modifying anything in my property either. I've also been on the other end of that battle.

One temporary fix for big gaps around windows and door frames is the foam backer rods they well for caulking. There's also temporary flexible weatherstrip that comes in a caulking tube and later peels off. But that may be too permanent in the landlords eyes.

Beyond that, time to look for a new place. When we were looking at houses, I would always call the local utility and get at least a years worth (preferably two) of utility cost statements. It can be an eye opener.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:28 PM   #7
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


Don't underestimate the benefit of curtains. A heavy curtain with a few inches of air between it and the window or door can make a big difference.

There are 2 of you in a 3/2 home. You may be able to close off some rooms and/or drain some plumbing. And or get someone to rent a room, which would hopefully cover your electric.

There may be some environmental factors you could use to help. If you get a sustained cold wind out of the north, for example, it might be worth putting some kind of windbreak in front of the unit if you can. But that is probably impractical.

If you have predictable water needs, a hot water timer can pay for itself fairly quickly. Landlord would have to sign off, but you would get an electrician to put it in.

Landscaping should have been part of the deal when you moved in. If you didn't agree to it she shouldn't charge you more for it or demand it of you; if you did agree to it you shouldn't complain because it's basically part of the rent.

Overall having an adversarial relationship with landlord is bad for all; obviously keep looking for a place, but in the meantime I would just try to be nice and look for reasonable compromises. If you have an *open air gap* between the door frame and the rest of the house and she won't let you use sealant, see if you can just put on press-on foam, or even painter's tape--something that won't leave residue when it comes off.
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Old 11-29-2014, 06:40 PM   #8
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


I remember as a little tike Dad stuffing old sheets around the front door with a butter knife.
Plastic taped around the windows.
Fuel oil forced air not keeping up and Mom lighting the propane oven in the morning to warm it up.
Doesn't sound like they changed much and that was 50 some years ago.
Electric heat makes me think it was made for a warmer climate.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:34 PM   #9
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


We are in a warmer climate, but we can get below freezing in the winter.

I believe it is a heat pump.

I wasn't planning on modifying the house, just things I can possibly do cheaply.

This house was lower rent than everything in the area and we has limited time, plus it has a fence for my dog. Most we found available did not or were $200-$400 more a month for rent.

Landscaping was not included in the contract. She just says I can do what I want to the yard because everything currently planted is dead and withered. She has given me permission to use the unfenced portion for vegetable gardening, which is a great thing. Also, I would never do anything to the house without permission. She had HVAC and all that come out before we moved, but that doesn't include the weather-stripping and the like.

As for the foam, I believe I mentioned in the original post that I weatherstripped the doors and windows.

I brought up the landscaping as an example that she probably will not be willing to improve the house beyond neccesity.

As for all the people talking about researching the houses, we moved here for a job and had a very short time to find a place in our price range that both allowed pets and had a fence.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:40 PM   #10
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


Also, we are saving up for our own house to buy and hope that after the year is up, we can get our own place. We aren't really apartment people.

I had permission to weatherstrip.

And as for shutting up parts of the house...my bf is on nights and I work days right now, so we tend to work/relax in the office and guest bedroom while the other person is sleeping in the master, so we tend to use the whole space. The living/dining/kitchen is really one big space in the middle, so not easy to isolate. I have some of the vents shut to rooms we use less or if they are covered in furniture. Every room has 2-3 vents in it, so it shouldn't be hurting airflow.
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:54 AM   #11
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


Do you turn the heat up and down? If so, with a heat pump with electric aux heat, you increase your heating bill. Because the aux heat is being used to raise the temp. And it is far more expensive to use then just letting the heat pump maintain temp.
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:31 AM   #12
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


Thank you for actual advice. We turn down a little lower if we are going to be gone but not off. I will try to stop that and see if it improves the bill.
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:55 AM   #13
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


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As for all the people talking about researching the houses, we moved here for a job and had a very short time to find a place in our price range that both allowed pets and had a fence.
With that said I understand your situation completely. One of my sons and his family just went through that very situation.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #14
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Electricity bill is tooooo big.


With electric heat and electric hot water you're pretty much screwed no matter what. Some insulation and weather stripping certainly won't hurt, but I'm betting it won't help much either.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:14 AM   #15
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With electric heat and electric hot water you're pretty much screwed no matter what. Some insulation and weather stripping certainly won't hurt, but I'm betting it won't help much either.
Unfortunately, we are in an area where we don't have a choice. Some manufacturing companies, but mostly pasture and farmland. We can't get gas, cable, and up until last week- we couldn't even get pizza delivery. The trash pickup that does the main town doesn't even come out to my area. The odd thing is that we are only 15 minutes from a very busy highway and less than one from an interstate. My last place had gas, it is definitely taking some getting used to.

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