How To Save on Electric Bills

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun' started by T.J., Aug 18, 2010.

  1. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    That's punishing, Susan. Hard to imagine anyone choosing electric hot water heating, here. It's nearly always the more expensive option, even if it's working properly.

    It's often a lot of little things that add up to big consumption, like loosing cool air to the outside. The windows where I live seal well, but I've had to seal around the two outside doors. Dressing lightly, and setting the a/c no cooler than necessary- just enough to "cool", not "chill" the space- can both help. Somewhere around 27-28 degrees usually does it.

    If you have an a/c with a timer, you could experiment with having it shut itself off after you've been asleep a few hours, while leaving a fan on. We always use fans in conjunction with a/c, to improve the comfort level without having to cool the room to the same degree that would be necessary without them. (Fans use lots less electricity than air conditioners.)

    Air conditioners are pretty expensive, and the bigger they are the more they cost, so many landlords err on the small size when they buy them. The problem is that a unit that is too small for the job will run all the time, causing it to use more electricity, in the end, than a bigger unit would have used. If your a/c cycles on and off about every three minutes, once the room temperature has stabilized, and doesn't take more than 5 minutes to cool the space initially, it's probably about right.

    (Just some of my thoughts on the subject. Others will have found other ways to get the economy they're looking for.)

    Like you, I had electric heat and cooling in the states. It was a number of years ago, but we averaged $100/month, annualized (we kept the house at 80 degrees winter, 78 summer). Here, if I annualized my expense for heating and cooling, it would be around $30/month. (The fact that we got away from central heat and cooling systems is what has made the difference, here.)
     
  2. Windknot

    Windknot Regular Registered Member

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    I am assuming that all of you know to buy 220 instead of 110 from CFE. And you should do this when you sign up for your service. As has already been mentioned, it can be a pain to switch over later.

    Second thing is that if I were renting, I would insist on having the electricity in my name. This obviously means that you have to go out and sign up with CFE. If the landlord refused, I would not rent from that person. Reason is not only for possible theft, but it appears that the number of A/C units you have, can affect your class. I have 6 mini splits in my house and of course I do not use them all at once. But a lady friend actually signed me up for my account with CFE (my Spanish was pretty bad in those days), and she told them I had 3 A/C's. She also signed me up to buy 220.

    I have a gas water heater, which is set only to "warm." Also have a gas dryer. To go along with that, if you own your own place, consider the cost of installing a gas line where your refrigerator and/or chest freezer goes. Then consider the propane versions of these units. Yes they cost more (about $2000 US) than electric for an 18 ft fridge, but think of how fast you'll recoup that money if your electric bill is $150 lower each month. BTW, I understand that these propane units are extremely efficient, using a flame about the size of a pilot light. This I have to see for myself, but at any rate, propane is a lot cheaper than electricity.

    Finally...and I know this can be difficult in Cancun...but consider your location and what if any sea breeze you might get during the day. My house sits on a hill and so has an unobstructed breeze form the ocean, and I can sit outside in the shade all afternoon and be very comfortable with my margarita(s).

    Oh....my house is 350 meters and my average winter bill (2 months) is 260 pesos, and 400 or less in the Summer.....and my IVA is 16%...not 11%
     
  3. SamCancun

    SamCancun Guru Registered Member

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    Just had my bill through and it's a 2700 pesos!! All we run is my computer which is on 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, a fan, one air con in the room that is on from about 5pm -8am (if we are at home) and two tvs, plus the lights and the fridge and the microwave very rarely. It says the cost of production is 4728 pesos!!! Now doesn't the government help stop soon? If i get a bill saying i owe 5000 pesos on electric for 2 months i'm probably going to have a heart attack, that would be about 125 GBP a month, I paid 50 a month in England and I thought that was scandalous! Can't do anythign about it either as the meter was played with before and the landlord got caught and got a big fine so he doesn't want to do that again, just our luck that happens when WE move in!
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    That's cheap!
    I'd say our usage is fairly similar to yours and we only have the one TV that isnt on that much. Our last bill was over 10,000 pesos and although we have had new mini splits put in looking at the daily consumption and working it out pro rata it isnt looking like it will be that much cheaper next time - I'm guessing about 7,500 pesos.
     
  5. T.J.

    T.J. I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    $10,000 is nuts. Something seems terribly wrong. Is it remotely possible that someone is tapping into your feeds, after the meter?

    If that is normal you should really consider at least one extra meter to get your bills down in the Tarifa 1C category. I have a normal sized 2 BR, 1 Bath apt and I could leave on everything, including 3 a/c's, 24x7 and I think my bill would still be less than that.

    Maybe turn off and unplug everything one day when all the neighbors are home and see if your meter comes to a dead stop. If there are common meter bases for your neighborhood in a single location, it is easier for someone to glom onto the electric of another.

    A couple of years ago I saw a home in Florida with NO METER and they had heavy duty truck jumper cables above and below the meter base, feeding a small home. They were out and out stealing from the electric company. I owned a vacant lot next door and saw this go on until my lot was sold months later.
     
  6. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Boring....

    Unfortunately, many of the people with electric bills they don't like will just have to live with them because getting those bills down involves attention to boring little details and doing things people don't really like to do. In this respect, it's a bit like trying to lose weight. which we all know is both simple, and hard to do.

    Take the bill Sam talked about, for example. The difference between his bill, and my relatively modest bill, is just about 200 KWH/month greater consumption.

    Keeping the sun out of your house by drawing the curtains, turning off lights when you leave the room, turning off TVs when no one is watching them, making sure the kids aren't running in and out of the house all the time or spending time peering into the refrigerator for something to eat; or, that anyone is leaving the doors open to rooms you're trying not to cool are what it's all about, and that ain't fun. (And, I could add, sealing up any obvious leaks of air to the outdoors: before I sealed it, my backdoor leaked enough cool air to make my balcony one of the cooler spots in the place!)

    People who've written about these subjects have amused us with stories of leaving the a/c on all day so their pets would be comfortable, or leaving doors ajar so their pets could come in and out of air conditioned rooms, etc. The list goes on, but it all amounts to a little extra electricity used here and there, and a much larger bill owing to the subsidies being cut off at anything above 450 KWH consumption a month*. You get whacked, for the excess.
    ________________________
    *Summer only, Benito Juarez Municipality: the level of subsidies is less, in winter
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  7. Life_N_Cancun

    Life_N_Cancun Guest

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    Unless you're using the AC more now.. something still isn't right... the minisplits only used at night should be many, many, many times more efficient than your old system.. so if you haven't been using them more than before then you need to check around for "leaks" of power... IMHO
     
  8. ToriB

    ToriB Cancuncare Sun Care Advisor Registered Member

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    LOL V... I know ppl here like that to when it comes to pets. I figure eventhough Dezzie has all that fur, if I am gonna suffer and survive, he will and is surviving just the same.
     
  9. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    You would think so, wouldn't you, Tori.
    _____________________

    For anyone who begins to take the issue of reducing their consumption of electricity seriously, the most useful thing to do is to use the electric meter to monitor consumption. Seeing exactly how much electricity you use from day to day will let you immediately see the impact of any changes you make in your pattern of consumption.

    For example, if you should decide to try allowing your air conditioned rooms to be just a little less cool than you would normally keep them- compensating for that by dressing more lightly indoors, using fans to move the cool air around, and sleeping with minimal or no bedclothes- you may find you don't have to have the temperature as low as you would otherwise. Doing that for one 24 hour period, checking the meter at the beginning and end of the test period, would give you an indication of just how much difference that might make.

    Just as a car uses more fuel when you start driving at higher speeds, air conditioners use significantly more electricity when set to deliver really low temperatures: recently, I asked one man what he set his a/c at when he went to bed. He laughed and said, "19 degrees"! We sometimes set ours as low as 25 degrees at night, but usually 26 is sufficiently cool (observing the practices I mentioned earlier), and at 25 we often start to feel cold at some point during the night. Odds are, the man who said he likes a very cold bedroom also likes to sleep under a lot of covers, and is willing to pay for the privilege!
     
  10. Gringation

    Gringation Guru Registered Member

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    V - We just got a minisplit in our bedroom a few days ago. I agree! Anything under 25 is TOO COLD for me!! But then again my Mexican husband hates having a sheet on top of him, and over the years I've gotten used to just 1 sheet and occasionally a thin blanket.
     
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