Thursday, November 20, 2008
Weather Proof to Save Money
Our house is freezing today! The reason it's so cold in here is that the temperature has dropped and it's snowing but we haven't weather proofed our home yet. There are a lot of little things we can do to make our home warmer and, in the long run, save some money too.
One way our household is wasting heat is through our old windows. The gas in them has long ago "left" so they are no longer insulated. A few years ago we began using the plastic that you tape on the inside of the windows to "insulate" them from the cold. So far this year we've not done it. In the past, this has helped by at least 50%, so we must get the job done this week. Also, we don't use our front door in the winter and we stuff the cracks around it with strips of rags. The door is old and sort of warped and a lot of cold air comes in this way.
Another way we waste energy here is through Josh and Evan's electric heat. Their room is in the addition part of the house and when it was built, an electric base heater was installed. This heater uses a ton of electricity, which translates to wasteful and expensive! These reckless teenagers seem to want their room roasting hot all winter long, though they complain about heat in the summer, so they crank the thermostat up high. To combat this problem, we're thinking about moving their beds into the large family room and stringing a curtain around them. This way they can just use their rooms during the day to change their clothes or whatever. Josh is almost never home as it is, so I don't think it will be too much of an inconvenience.
Hot water usage in our house is ridiculous. Our natural gas bill is out of sight because of the heating problem but also because everyone here takes showers until the hot water runs out. One thing we used to do when the kids were little was to share bath water in order to conserve. If the kids can't limit their time in the shower, we'll go back to that rule. As far as laundry goes, I wash most of the clothes in cold water. I've begun doing laundry at night when the prices are a bit lower too. As far as dishes go, I decided to wash dishes once a day rather than keep them cleaned up all day long. We do not have a dishwasher, which I still believe wastes electricity.
There's no reason to have lights on all over the house all day and night. I've been instructing the children to keep lights off if they're not in the room or if they are doing something that doesn't require a whole lot of light. I know a lot of people who are using the new light bulbs designed to save energy, but I don't know how great they are since I've never used them. I do know the initial bulb is more expensive than the old ones. Johnny wastes a lot of energy by keeping a light bulb over his iguana's cage, which I turn off in the evenings. The lizard can sleep in the dark like everyone else. She doesn't have to be toasty warm all of the time either.
There are a ton of other ways to save energy in the home, but hopefully I've given you a few things to think about.