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Old 07-17-07, 01:37 PM   #1
C-Mart
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Average Utility Costs - Trying to come up with a budget!

We're buying a new home - this will be the first for both me and my fiance. It is also the first time either of us are dealing with a joint budget, and are trying to do a little bit of pre-planning/budgeting.

So I looked all over the SCE and SCG (gas and electric) websites for maybe some guideline as to what to expect. Maybe an average consumption based on square footage in our particular area or something. I even called the gas company and they were utterly useless. I thought I would turn to the Otters and maybe get an idea of what we're dealing with.

The details:
Single story detached home, new construction
1863 sqft
3 bedroom, 2 bath
my fiance likes the AC set to cold (say 72), and constantly runs ceiling fans (which we'll have one in our bedroom)

We're in Beaumont, CA and the climate is desert. So, 100+ temps in the summer, and fairly cold nights in the winter.

Considering that we would set up the thermostat so that it doesn't run while we're at work and such, and that we're only consuming 2 people's worth of resources... can anyone give us an approximate idea of how much we're looking at per month?

This is what is currently budgeted:
Gas: $50/mo
Electric: $150/mo
Water: $50

I think trash is built into our HOA, but I'm not sure.

I know that every one is different and blah blah blah, but even a rough idea would be appreciated.
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Old 07-17-07, 01:48 PM   #2
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So you want to run a constant AC temp drop of 28 degrees and think that $150 will cover electricity costs in California? I really doubt that.

If your house is properly insulated with good UV reflecting windows, you can raise the temp to around 75-76 without any noticeable difference. They say that even raising the temp 1 degree can save as much as $10/mo. on your bill.
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Old 07-17-07, 01:50 PM   #3
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I think you're under-estimating gas and electric and maybe overestimating water (unless you're going to be having a lawn in the desert).

I'd add another $100 between all of them.

I'd also set up an area in your basement where your fiancee can go and lay down on a cot or play with some toys if she's too hot. I like cool temperatures too, but 72 is ridiculously cold. Is there maybe a habitat or something that you can put her in while you're out at work?
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Old 07-17-07, 01:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Mart

This is what is currently budgeted:
Gas: $50/mo
Electric: $150/mo
Water: $50

I think trash is built into our HOA, but I'm not sure.

I know that every one is different and blah blah blah, but even a rough idea would be appreciated.
Well, I don't know your prices, but you were building in the Southeast, I'd say the water looks high, the electric looks low, and the gas looks about right. I'd go with $300 for the three in budgeting.
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Old 07-17-07, 02:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bus
Is there maybe a habitat or something that you can put her in while you're out at work?
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Old 07-17-07, 02:20 PM   #6
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What is your cost per kwh? Being a new house, it was probably built to be a lot more efficient than older houses. Plus having a new A/C unit should help the efficiency.

We used to keep it around 72 just to keep it cool and paid an average of $250-$350 in the summer. We had an entire new unit installed last summer and now we are easily comfortable at 76-77 (we run ceiling fans constantly also). My last 3 bills have been $135, $155, and $200. And it is very hot here in the summer. We also changed providers to get about a 15% rate decrease.
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Old 07-17-07, 02:29 PM   #7
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My PG&E cost of gas, just for a water heater and gas stove (when the central heating is off) runs over $70 per month for 4 people. So the $50 might be fairly realistic.

My power runs a minimum of $250 per month. I have a lot of computers running, but no air conditioning so I'd figure closer to that amount.

Heating in the winter gets my gas and electric total up to around $500. But that's with little insulation.

Water runs about $45-50 per month with very little outside watering.
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Old 07-17-07, 02:57 PM   #8
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My PG&E cost of gas, just for a water heater and gas stove (when the central heating is off) runs over $70 per month for 4 people. So the $50 might be fairly realistic.

My power runs a minimum of $250 per month. I have a lot of computers running, but no air conditioning so I'd figure closer to that amount.

Heating in the winter gets my gas and electric total up to around $500. But that's with little insulation.

Water runs about $45-50 per month with very little outside watering.
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Old 07-17-07, 03:06 PM   #9
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Well, we're definately going to have to come up with a good middle ground on the AC, thats for sure. I grew up with no AC, but she has never been without it... I'm thinking 76ish for the evenings, 78 for the morning, and maybe 78 during sleep time... perhaps up to 82/84ish for the away times.

I do plan on reading up on all the energy saving tips, etc... I saw on the So Cal Gas website that there are a lot of savings offers for energy efficient appliances, etc... so I'm definately going to look into those as well.

Ok, so based on the input I'm going to budget for:

$75 gas
$50 Water
$175 Electric
Total: $300/mo

If I remember I'll put up the first few months of actual charges.
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Old 07-17-07, 04:24 PM   #10
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Well, put the heat lamp in her cage on a timer, or have it on a corner so it's not heating everything up. I'm sure some of the other people who've kept pet fiancees here like Giantrobo can help you out with it. At some point you have to get her acclimated to the climate, even if she came from a temperate zone.

The bedding might be something to look at. Do you have wood chips or rocks?
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Old 07-17-07, 04:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bus
Well, put the heat lamp in her cage on a timer, or have it on a corner so it's not heating everything up. I'm sure some of the other people who've kept pet fiancees here like Giantrobo can help you out with it. At some point you have to get her acclimated to the climate, even if she came from a temperate zone.

The bedding might be something to look at. Do you have wood chips or rocks?
All right... a bit is funny... but you're talking about the woman that I love in a very derogatory way, and I don't like it.
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Old 07-17-07, 04:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Mart
All right... a bit is funny... but you're talking about the woman that I love in a very derogatory way, and I don't like it.
I don't mean to sound hurtful, but I suspect that a significant portion of the polar ice cap melt is due to your girlfriend's over-utilization of AC.

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Old 07-17-07, 05:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Mart
All right... a bit is funny... but you're talking about the woman that I love in a very derogatory way, and I don't like it.
Calm down, Conan.
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Old 07-17-07, 06:03 PM   #14
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Calm down, Conan.
Oh I'm plenty calm... Vib's comment is kinda funny and doesn't really insult anyone, Bus's isn't, and calls my fiance an animal, which insults her and offends me, and I don't even get the relevance to this thread.
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Old 07-17-07, 06:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Mart
Ok, so based on the input I'm going to budget for: Total: $300/mo
So what do I win
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Old 07-17-07, 06:25 PM   #16
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C-Mart, after 5 years of marriage, you will come back to this and laugh

Lighten up Francis
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Old 07-17-07, 06:41 PM   #17
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My parents usually keep their air on 73 and that is comfortable. At 74, at times, it does get a little muggy in their house. So, maybe his fiance isn't too crazy. Everyone's house is different.

Last edited by 7Keys; 07-17-07 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 07-17-07, 06:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Mart
Considering that we would set up the thermostat so that it doesn't run while we're at work and such,
I do that. Does anyone know if that actually saves money? Say I turn mine up to 77 (and the temp does hit 77) when I'm not home for 9 hours of work, then I get home I turn it down to 73. Is it better to keep it a consistent temp so it doesn't have to "work harder" to catch up on the temp. I assume it is better to turn it up, because I figure the air kicking on and off uses more energy than it kicking on and running for a long period of time.

Hopefully that makes sense.

Last edited by 7Keys; 07-17-07 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 07-17-07, 07:09 PM   #19
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It depends on where you live, too. Where I lived before, I could get away with keeping the air on 80 or 82. It was a newer CA system. Now that I'm in a two-story townhouse with a 20 y/o CA unit that I can't afford to replace till next summer, I usually keep it at about 75. If I don't, the upstairs becomes unbearable. I have exhaust fans in all the upstairs rooms blowing warm air out of the windows so the AC can get up there and do what little good it does. Also, I leave it on all day for my cats' benefit AND because I don't want to come home to a stuffy house. Kansas is pretty humid in the summer, thank you very much.
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Old 07-17-07, 07:24 PM   #20
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I'd cancel the gas and get an electric stove and leave the heater to the central air system.

Keep lights off as often as you can - get some light colored drapes for the windows to keep some sunlight in.

The electricity estimate looks pretty low for CA - that's close to what I pay for electricity here in La for a 1400 sqft house and 72F air. The water bill looks low too - I pay 45 for the water stuff but it includes garbage p/u and sewerage so water itself is actually about 15 bucks.
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Old 07-17-07, 07:57 PM   #21
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Man you guys keep the air low. I set mine at 78-82 in the summer. And since I have zone heating/cooling with digital readout, I know it's not just a bad thermometer.
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Old 07-17-07, 08:01 PM   #22
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I keep mine at 78 during the summer and turn it down to 74 at night. If there's anything I hate it's being uncomfortably warm at night.

I'm moving into a house in a few months (well, probably, waiting on one more signature!) that has dual zone central A/C systems, one for the main part of the house and one for the master bedroom/bath. This way we can turn the master suite A/C system down at night and keep the main system up a bit.

Of course, this is South Florida, where the humidity keeps things unbearable all day during the summer.
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Old 07-17-07, 08:41 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildcatlh
I keep mine at 78 during the summer and turn it down to 74 at night. If there's anything I hate it's being uncomfortably warm at night.
Amen to that.

Room temperature is anywhere from 64 to 74. 72 sure isn't "ridiculously cold." Ridiculously expensive, maybe.
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Old 07-17-07, 08:54 PM   #24
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Amen to that.

Room temperature is anywhere from 64 to 74. 72 sure isn't "ridiculously cold." Ridiculously expensive, maybe.
I don't think 72 is ridiculously cold either. Like I said, at my parents' house 73 is comfortable. In the winter they usually keep the heat on 65-66.
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