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.

5 comments:

Joy said...

Thanks for the tips! We are without a dishwasher as well but I've always heard that dishwashers are actually more efficient than hand washing. I guess hand washing uses more hot water and dishwashers use more energy. Still, I have to say that I fantasize about owning a dishwasher someday! We're so glad you joined us this week for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Rebecca said...

Yes, Consumer Reports says that using the dishwasher saves water and energy. (Because it uses less water than handwashing, it needs less energy to heat the water.) I was also thinking that I need to wash dishes every time my sink is full of dirty dishes. I could probably fit three times that amount in one dishwasher load. Of course this is a moot point for me since I don't have a dishwasher.

Your other ideas about insulating your windows and doors should pay off! Do you have storm windows? I just don't like the idea of putting plastic on the windows, but with our storm windows it doesn't feel too drafty.

You've given me a lot to think about! Thanks for joining us for TGT!

Rebecca said...

Yes, Consumer Reports says that using the dishwasher saves water and energy. (Because it uses less water than handwashing, it needs less energy to heat the water.) I was also thinking that I need to wash dishes every time my sink is full of dirty dishes. I could probably fit three times that amount in one dishwasher load. Of course this is a moot point for me since I don't have a dishwasher.

Your other ideas about insulating your windows and doors should pay off! Do you have storm windows? I just don't like the idea of putting plastic on the windows, but with our storm windows it doesn't feel too drafty.

You've given me a lot to think about! Thanks for joining us for TGT!

Condo Blues said...

Mythbusters did a segment on lightbulbs and compared how much electricity a CFL, incandesent(sp), and LED used if left on a certain period of time. The LED used significantly less electricity (but the bulb cost approx $50) than all of the other bulbs, the CFL used approx 1/2 the amount of electricity as the incandesent (sp).

bethanyrae said...

You've got some great ideas there. We're working on the electricity habits, too. What if you keep the heat off in the guy's room all day, turn it on for a couple of hours before they go to bed to get it warmed up, then back off after they go to bed? We always sleep better in a cool room with blankets. It's a small enough room I would think two hours would heat it up nicely for them. Might have to turn back the covers to warm them, too. ha.
bethanyrae