Our 2012 Energy Use and the dates the kids moved home.

Our 2012 Energy Use and the dates the kids moved home.

As part of my partnership with GE, I received coupons for my GE light bulbs. All opinions posted about my GE Lighting experience are my own.

We got our utility bill in the mail yesterday. Not that unusual  heck, we get one every two months, right? So why the husband brought this one to me and started waiving it in the air was a mystery to me. Until I saw the amount due. OUCH! It was double the normal billing! With that we pulled out the previous billing cycle bill and sure enough, it was a third more than usual and we just hadn’t really noticed it!

If we stayed on the path we were on, we would be paying over $1,200 more for electricity this year. So what’s changed? Both of our boys moved home (one with a fiance in tow), so the washer, dryer, and dishwasher use is double. Plus with everyone on different schedules, the lights are on 16-20 hours a day in some rooms and our electric bill was showing it. While we don’t mind the kids living here, we do mind the budget whomping they’re doing to us, so we started looking at ways to reverse the budget suck.

Where Oh Where is our Electricity Pig?

Our heat is fueled by natural gas so it was easy to mark that off the list. Our gas usage didn’t change, the increase was in the amount of electricity they’re using, so we started an in-home audit and discovered that computers were being left on 24/7 and we put an end to that. We also reminded them that when they’re not using appliances, chargers, etc., they should be unplugged, or the power strip turned off, because they’re still drawing power.

Doing a lightbulb inventory looking for ways to save money by putting in the right energy efficient bulbs #cbias

Doing a light bulb inventory looking for ways to save money by putting in the right energy efficient bulbs

Our Home Light Bulb Inventory

We knew all of these small changes would help, but we needed to undo a $250 overage so we started looking for bigger electrical draws and that led us to lighting. The room the kids spend most of their time in is the basement which has two large, 3-bulb ceiling fixtures. We opened them up to see what was inside and started an inventory.

Like most of our fixtures, they were a mix of bright white and cool white bulbs,  but they were all compact florescent light bulbs(CFL). That’s a start, but evidently not enough. We started charting the current bulbs and the possible savings by upgrading and decided that we’d take GE’s recommendation and upgrade the 5 most used fixtures to more energy efficient bulbs. Since we’d converted from incandescent to CFLs some time ago, the only way to really make an impact was to go to LED.

A simple spread sheet and a look at our use on Our Lighting Inventory made it obvious where we needed to make changes first #cbias

A simple spread sheet and a look at our use on Our Lighting Inventory made it obvious where we needed to make changes first

Charting out the use/set-up/and savings made it really easy to see where we could make changes and this would be a great task to get your kids involved in as well. It helps them take more ownership for the  amount of energy they’re using and in the end the amount of the budget that goes to paying for lights or doing something fun as a family.

Making the Change to More Energy Efficient LEDs

We were packing up to head out to Walmart to look for new LED bulbs when my husband looked up and saw a bubble on the ceiling. From it was dripping water (at least we hoped it was water!). Yikes! He stayed behind and created an enormous hole in our ceiling and I headed to the Walmart to go light bulb shopping (check out my shopping trip in pictures here).

My Shopping List

My Shopping List

#cbias Choosing new CFL bulbs for the bathroom - instant on and bright white were a must

Choosing new CFL bulbs for the bathroom – instant on and bright white were a must

Sadly my local Walmart didn’t carry any LED bulbs so I picked up some instant-on CFL’s for the main bathroom. This room gets a lot less traffic so it’s on the CFL-OK  list and at $5.44 for 6 bulbs it was a steal! I upgraded to a brighter white and instant on bulb so that putting on make-up can be done in more natural light and so there’s no stumbling around in the darkness waiting for the bulbs to come to full brightness.

But Can You Save Money with CFLs and LEDs?

For those of you still using incandescent bulbs, did you know that according to energy.gov, that you can light your home using the same amount of light for less money?   By replacing just 15 of the inefficient incandescent lightbulbs in your home, you could save about $50 per year. Change those to LED and you’ll likely save hundreds. Well over the cost of the new bulbs.

Your Lighting Choices Can Save You Money - info from energy.gov

Your Lighting Choices Can Save You Money – info from energy.gov

As soon as the leaking water pipe is fixed and the ceiling is put back in place, we’ll resume our conversion to LED lights. We’ve identified the five fixtures as both stairways, the basement, and the front entryway. Those will be the first places to get the new LED bulbs because they’ll save us the most money right away. The next fix will be to replace or retrofit the two florescent tube fixtures in the kitchen. When those are complete, we’ll have our top 5 energy hogs converted  That should make a huge dent in our bill!

Learn More about Saving Money by Going Green:

Also read: Lighting Legislation 2012: GE Light Bulbs Save Energy #CBias


I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting#CBias #SocialFabric” All opinions are my own.