This question about saving money on electricity was closed by the community.

I re-opened it because is a valid topic for the site.

In fact, one of the sample charter on-topic questions in money's Area 51 charter is: "I'm way over budget on my grocery bills. What are some ways for me to cut costs?"  (22 on-topic votes, vs. 3 off-topic)

I see the question under discussion as such a a household cost-cutting question. Electricity is a fundamental expense item in most households, and refrigeration is a major consumer of electricity in a household.

Where do we draw the line for household cost-cutting questions, if any?

Or, was this question closed for reasons other than being off-topic? For one, the title could be better, mentioning refrigerators specifically. It might also be a rather silly question for those who already understand refrigeration? Or, perhaps it is attempting a micro-optimization of energy costs that really isn't practical and people consider silly?

Discuss. :-)

  • I have some gripes about the question itself, but I would consider it on topic. I may go into more detail later, if warranted, after I have gotten some sleep. Aug 23, 2011 at 14:15

4 Answers 4


We have been leaning towards stock markets and investing lately. Lots of questions about theory and other topics I know little about.

Those questions are fine, and I am learning something. But I can offer expertise in being miserly and saving money. Saving and making money are both a part of personal finance.

We have been having a problem with average users for the past year. I am on the fence, but I think we can get more experts if we widen the topics a little bit.

  • Agreed. Having more questions on the other topics in personal finance would be a good thing. Aug 23, 2011 at 14:19
  • @sheegaon - I meant average number of visits. I hope you will stay. Do you have questions you want answered, or did you want to answer questions? You could set a tone by asking then answering your own.
    – MrChrister
    Sep 2, 2011 at 15:58
  • Hmm, ok, previous comment deleted. I'll think it over and maybe post my concerns to meta. I'm new to the site and I think I can bring a bit of occasional sanity to questions about markets and general investing. It just seems like, for an expert, the site has a bit too low signal-to-noise ratio, so I'm worried about attracting and retaining qualified answerers, but I'm still gathering some examples to make my case. Sep 2, 2011 at 16:01
  • @sheegaon - I do hope you stick around and help add some good content. You are the target market.
    – MrChrister
    Sep 3, 2011 at 0:06

My beef with that question isn't that it is about cost cutting. I'm more concerned that the question is really about heat exchange and refrigerators. Just because the answer to the question has an impact on utility bills doesn't make it a finance question.

This would be better suited for a science or maybe (stretching here) home improvement.

  • 3
    I think the question is related to personal finance and should be phrased something like this to make it clearer: "How much savings is it worth to fill my unused fridge to make it more efficient? Will I save $1 per month? $10 per month?"
    – Alex B
    Aug 23, 2011 at 15:51

I think that it is a lousy question because it doesn't come with any context.

If the question was "How do I reduce household electricity expenses?", how to most efficiently use a freezer MIGHT be an ok answer.

You can prepend "Saving Money on Electricity" to most anything to make it on topic. Would "Saving Money on Electricity: Opening and closing CD-ROM using a paper clip" be an on-topic question?

  • 1
    +1 for the CD-ROM. Next time I will not close the CD ROM till I need to put in another CD, this will I will minimize the number of times I need to open/close it :). And does changing TV channels to often lead to more electricity consumption.
    – Dheer
    Aug 24, 2011 at 10:52

We are fast approaching the "angels on the head of a pin" debate. I'd not object to this type of question, but I can see that it's right at the edge. This, efficiency of gas usage, and other frugal type questions may all be a judgment call.

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