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Your Electricity Costs Can be Low, Even with Metered Electric

Electricity costs for campground owners are constantly rising. It is not unusual to find that they are installing individual electric meters at each site. There are ways you can keep your costs down.

Like it or not, paying for the power you use is something you'll probably have to deal with. We don't use much, so we like paying for only what we use.

Right now, I am looking out my screen door. My neighbor's window is open as far as it will open. I am also listening to the drone of the air conditioner on his roof, at the rate of 18 cents per kilowatt. People are very concerned about phantom loads, but we should be looking at the major electrical loads. My figures may not be exact, but turning off the air conditioner for 10 minutes a day, will probably save more than all your phantom loads put together.

Open the windows and cool off the RV in the cool of the morning. If it doesn't cool off at night where you're at, think about moving. You're in an RV; they are supposed to move.

Heating with a portable electric heater or the heating coil in your air conditioner are excessive electricity users. I've seen people who run their heat in the morning and then switch to the air conditioner about 11:00 for the rest of the day. Then they sit in their lawn chairs and complain about the park owner getting rich on the electric charge.

Maybe put a sweater on in the morning and keep the RV cool. Don't over air condition when you're not in the RV.

Realize that the park owner should be making a fair profit on his multimillion dollar investment in the park. He's not making a profit on 18 cent per kilowatt electricity, which he is selling for what he buys it for. About 20 years ago, there was a big surge to install electric elements in RV water heaters. Now, they all come that way. But with electric costs, that may not be the cheapest way to heat your water. Propane (LP gas) may be the way to go. On the RV I am presently in, the water heater on propane runs on pilot and keeps the water hot enough to do dishes, and so hot that we need to add plenty of cold to the mix when we shower. It does it cheaper than electric. Remember, if the burner is just on pilot the recovery rate may be three to five hours. For quick recovery, just turn the main burner on when you need it. Then, turn it back to pilot.

The refrigerators in both our Holiday Rambler and our Forest River can run close to four months on a 30-pound bottle of propane. If I buy propane in Alaska at $3.85 per gallon, 18-cent electric is cheaper; in Texas with $1.40 per gallon propane, propane is cheaper.

The days of cheap gas and electric are over. There are many ways you can save on your electricity cost if you make the effort. Do a little research, do the math, and be willing to do things a little differently than the norm.

If you don't want to make the effort to control your electricity costs, you can sit in your lawn chair and complain -- and watch your electric meter spin.


Editor's note: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article. He's practical. While normally frugal, he's also generous. He enjoys fishing, antique farm equipment, steam engines, and most things mechanical. He's a great handyman who can fix most anything. I hope that you are enjoying his perspective on RVs and RVing.

Go to the RV Life and Travel home page to find more articles about RVs, RV camping, and full-time RVing.

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