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Sunday, October 11, 2015

We went SOLAR!!

We finally went live with our solar panels on August 1st, 2015! We were so excited about this change and couldn't wait to see our first bill.

Information on installing the panels:

  • Yes, it really was free of charge. We didn't pay solar city 1 cent to install the panels.
  • We are not renting the panels; solar city owns them.
  • We simply pay for all of the energy that we generate on the panels.
  • The one risk of installing the panels: If we sell our house, we have to convince the new buyers to keep the panels and transfer the contract into their name. If they refused for some reason (which we don't anticipate happening because of the cost benefits we would be able to show them), we would have to pay $500 to remove the panels, and another $500 to install the panels at our new house. If solar city doesn't operate at our new location - that's when we'd have an issue. We think the benefit outweighs the risk for us.

How it works:

  • We pay for all energy generated on the panels (at a lower rate than our utility company).
  • If we don't use all of the energy, our utility company is required by state law to purchase the extra energy from us. We would then have a credit with our utility company.
  • If we used more energy than what we generated with our panels, we would pay our utility company at the normal rate for the extra used.

Our bills prior to going solar:
Our bill from the utility company in July was $148.21. We used 961 kWh.
Our bill from the utility company in August was $125.65. We used 835 kWh.

Our first bill after going solar:
We generated 513 kWh on our panels for this billing period. (For the 1st 22 days, half of the roof was not turned on, so this would have almost been double had they caught the mistake earlier).
We used more energy than that, however.

So, we pay money to solar city for what we generated:
Our bill from Solar City in September was $65.79. We generated 513 kWh.

And we also pay our utility company for the extra kWh usage:
Our bill from the utility company in September was $9.10. We used an extra 73 kWh.


  • We used less energy this month. This is partially due to the weather, and partially due to the fact that we are much more aware of our energy usage now.
    • The solar city app allows us to track the energy we use and generate LIVE down to the second. It is absolutely amazing.

Live shot of what we are generating vs using.
If I turn the washing machine on, I literally
see a spike on the graph instantly!
Having access to this has made us
much more aware of our usage.
A look at how the day is going.
I know that the jump in our usage
was due to starting the laundry.

A look at how the month is going.
A full look at the month of August.
You can clearly see when the turned
on the second half of the panels
on the 22nd!

  • We saved money!  

  • If I look at our trends with our utility company, our bill for September would have most likely been around $100. Instead we paid about $75. As mentioned above, we would have generated even more energy had all of the panels been turned on, and our utility company would have ended up providing us with a credit for energy that they had to purchase from us. 

As we move into winter, we will generate less and less energy on the panels. We will still be generating small amounts, however, and saving small amounts of money as a result. We look forward to seeing what next spring and summer holds and hope to build up some nice credit with the utility company for next winter!

I can't say enough good things about going solar. This program really is pretty risk free, and we really didn't pay anything out of pocket. I was skeptical at first because it seemed too good to be true. I met with solar city twice just to make sure. They have been great to work with and my husband and I are very happy we decided to go solar.

If you are interested in going solar, please contact my wonderful sales representative by going to this link. They have a great referral program, so you'll also be helping us out a bit!

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Our windows are old and drafty. In the winter we try and save money and cold toes by putting plastic up on the helps a bit!

Now that Caroline is a party of our family, we decided to take the plunge and just get new windows. We didn't want her room too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer.

While we were at it we got new shutters since we had the hoa approve than long ago!

Our house is now a very comfortable temperature. We love these new windows!

In another attempt to help keep the bills down, we also replaced our old attic fan. The motor was making odd noises last year, so we figured an update was in order.

The old attic fan had me worried about a fire (you should've heard it)... so while we were at it we bought all new updated smoke alarms for each floor.

We are now feeling much warmer and safer! :-)

Friday, November 21, 2014

The main bathroom

So our last big project before baby Caroline arrives, was to remodel the main bathroom. We only have one bathroom for the two bedrooms to share, and it not only needed a needed way more storage in order to accommodate our growing family. So... at 30 weeks pregnant, we decided to get moving on this project.

This is what the old bathroom looked like:


We gutted the whole thing. I say we...but at 30 weeks pregnant I wasn't much help. Plus a couple days after deciding we were going to go forward with the remodel, I got put on bed rest. So I was acting supervisor of the remodel :) Joe did ALL of the hard work...all by himself. I am so proud of him! I did really miss getting to help though... we always love doing these projects together, and I felt pretty helpless the whole time.

Here is our gutted bathroom:

We took everything out. Tub and all! Discovered that the walls behind the shower were just regular water protection at all. The toilet had previously had a bad leak as well (which we knew when we moved into the house due to the patch in the ceiling below). The floor had not been repaired, however. So our first step was to put up new shower walls and fix the floor around the toilet. The subfloor was just stained, so we simply decided to put backerboard on top of it to help waterproof the floor. Oh actually... first we put in the new tub....then the new walls and flooring. Joe carried the old tub out and down the stairs on his own...and the new tub up the stairs on his own. At one point I was behind him thinking I could support him if he fell with an 80 lb tub... I quickly realized I should simply remove myself from the bottom of the stairs! LOL There was no way that me being there would be of any help!
We also discovered that we were going to be hard pressed to find a two handled shower faucet that was decent looking. Apparently they are no longer making these anymore. So we had to call a plumber out and get it switched over to a single handle. This was a completely unexpected expense and took a good bit of our time since we were, of course, determined to find a way to do this ourselves! 

Joe then did the new tile  in the shower and on the floor. We lucked out that he had a wet saw at work  to borrow !

Things were then fairly smooth sailing. Put the toilet in, the new vanity, added a shelf that we built, and decorated!

Here is our new, beautiful, amazing bathroom! I LOVE IT!!!


Friday, October 17, 2014

A fresh set of stairs

I have been wanting to rip up the carpet on the stairs for quite some time now. Not only have multiple people fallen down the stairs because they are slippery...I just wanted a new look. It was kind of low on the priority list though...that is until Chelsea was put on steroids and couldn't make it through the day without peeing on them. Of course she chose the stairs to pee on over and over and over again. So, the last week of summer vacation, I was sick of the smell and had been unsuccessful at my attempts to clean the urine odor away... I ripped up the carpet.

It wasn't a hard job, but it was tedious... I had to pull out staples, sand, fill in holes that the builder left in the corners, etc... then we painted and put carpet treads down. I love how these turned out!!




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Baby room

Well we haven't done many improvements to the house recently. We did take out all of the old overgrown shrubs in the front of the house and replace them with beautiful Gerber daisies, however,,, they all died from too much sun and have been taken over by weeds.... not picture worthy as we'll have to redo it!

The baby room is pretty much complete, though. We have some shelves to put up, but other than that it is ready to go! Now we just need little William/Caroline to get here! :) The closet is organized, and the dogs even have their own bed (so they think) to hang with the baby :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bedroom updates...

Well we finally got around to painting our extra bedroom! We also hung our wedding art in the room and installed a new fan.... the old one was no longer working. While we were at it we installed a new fan in our bedroom as well

Monday, July 29, 2013

And the color is.....

BLUE!   So we literally sent 12 different colors to our HOA for our front door. They approved our very last choice. I was so disappointed, and felt like it was a color that I was settling with. Well, we painted the door yesterday. WOW I LOVE IT! I don't think they realized how bright it was going to be! I thought it was much more muted based on the color sample from Lowes. This is more our style!! Now, it makes the rest of our house look in need of some upgrades...which we have planned out. The shutter style and color have already been approved by the HOA...just haven't made it to the top of our priority list. While we were painting the door, we replaced our house numbers.

 So here's what it used to look like......