Easy ways to save on heating bills

HappyladiDecember 4, 2005

My electic/heating bills are always lower then most of my neighbors that live in the same size homes.I have an all electric home.

Some of the cheap ways I save; I have a set back thermastat. This is a HUGE moneysaver. It goes down to 60 at night and while we are at work but turns up before we get home or get up. I like the Honeywell ones.

We have a timer on our water heater. It comes on in the mornings for showers and goes off about 10 am. There is usually enough hot water for an evening bath or dishwasher use. If I do a couple of loads of laundry during the day and want to run the dishwasher at night all I have to do is hit a buttom to turn it back on.

On sunny winter days I open the blinds on the south windows and let all the sun come it. By turning on the fan only on my thermastat I can warm my home to upper 60's even if it is in the 40's out.

I keep a couple cosy throws in my living room for people to cuddle under. I also wear a sweater and slippers in my home in the winter. However I don't like being cold, I usually keep the heat at 70 when I am home.

Any other ideas?

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Caulk and weatherstripping are cheap and easy. Check your doors. They often leak a lot of air. The "V-seal" type strip is so easy to install and very effective at cutting down on air leaks. And just like "oven peeping" wastes energy or unnecessary trips waste gas, opening doors lets in air that needs to be heated. Combine trips. Take the garbage out at the same time as leaving for work. Pick up the mail when you get home from work. Etc.

If you have one room you use primarily for tv watching and the like you can turn down the heat in other rooms and add a small auxiliary heater to the room you use to bump up a couple of degrees. It's usually more economical than heating the other rooms more. I used to like the bathroom real warm so I put a small electric heater in there when I'd shower. It's a small bathroom so it would heat fast. Doesn't bother me as much anymore so I don't use it now.

The plastic window kits are cheap, effective and easy. Some double face tape, put up the plastic, use a hair dryer to shrink it and trim the excess. You'll cut air leaks and save money. Especially when the kits are free after rebate.

Insulated drapes and shades help over windows too. While you open for the daylight sun, make sure to close them at night to keep the warm air in.

Especially for walls that face the predominant winds in your area, (here, the NW winds are the killers) it's helpful to hang fabrics, quilts are great. Hang them on the wall for decoration and added insulation.

Also, close off rooms that you don't use. Often you can cut off at least part of the heat to them and save. Keep the comfort in the areas you use.

Also most plaes will benefit by adding some humidity to the air. It'll make it feel more comfortable. Don't forget to clean out registers and cold air returns occasionally too.

Insulating pipes and the water heater blankets are low-cost helpers too.

High ceilings can use a little air movement. Ceiling fans or just a small fan to gently move the air. Bring the warm stuff down to the floor and make use of it.

The one other think often overlooked is to eat nutritiously. If you're not, you just feel the cold more. If the body doesn't make enough heat you feel chilly no matter the temp in the room. Plus a nice pot of soup, chili or stew just tastes great on a cool day, especially while you're looking out at a snowfall and maybe a trafic jam. While it's simmering it's also adding heat and humidity to the room. It's definitely good winter vittles!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 8:38PM
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Electric heating was always considered a lot more expensive, but I wonder if it is still true with skyrocketing natural gas prices that keep going up every year. Electric heat does have some nice features. You have to vent a gas-fired boiler, so probably at least 20 and for some people as much as 50% of their heating dollar goes up the chimney. With electric heat zero percent goes up the chimney, and you don't have to worry about chimney maintenance, putting in chimney liners, carbon monoxide poisoning etc.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 3:59PM
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Several years ago I sold corn-fired stoves.

My friend, who'd sold them before, said that he could build a better one, and did. It's been in production for 15 years.

In this area, around the Great Lakes, people figure that they can heat all or most of a house using about 150 - 200 bus. annually, with good circulation and insulation.

Multiply that by the price that local farmers get for their corn, and I'm sure they'd be glad to sell it to you at that price, even deliver it.

I'm sure that you'll find that cost lower than your heating bill - unless you cut trees (or tops) yourself.

Or live in the tropics.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 4:19PM
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Just a word of caution about having those 'cozy throws' handy. We used to keep our home at 60 degrees all the time and then crawl under a blanket when we wanted to sit down and watch TV for a little bit. The problem was, those throws were so cozy we didn't get out from under them and became the worst couch potatoes. Without them, you are more likely to keep moving. But it would probably have been smarter for us to not set the thermostat so low.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 12:52PM
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I don't agree with that theory. I know people who have their winter temp sticks at 78° and still don't move. They're too warm. Lazy comes from the heart, and possibly the TV, not the ambient temp IMO. And the computer can contribute a bit at times too! :)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 3:49PM
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Too warm tends to make one sleepy.

But - I guess the advertisers don't care, as I hear that one way they judge how many TVs are on is by measuring timing of spiking fluctuations in electrical usage. So as long as it's using power, they're happy.

Actually, that should be the broadcast station owners that are happy - their advertisers would be less pleased if they knew that the only eyes watching the TV belonged to the family dog.

Life has its problems.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 5:50PM
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bhrost, that isn't true about the electic heat not going up the chimney. I had electric heat in my previous home & you could be in the family room where the fireplace was & be comfortable. But when you went to the bedroom end of house it was freezing because all that warm air had travel to & up the chimney.
Also, with the electric heat, you had to let it run much more because it almost felt cold coming out of the vent. We now have gas central (AND fireplace) & only need to run the unit a few minutes for the house to become very warm, very quick, and it maintains the temp. better. True the gas is higher right now but you have to use so very little of it, that it's cheaper to heat that way than a tremendous electric bill.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 4:04PM
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I understood bhrost to be suggesting that you don't need a chimney to vent electric heat, where with other heat sources there's loss up the chimney. That's true. Having one for a fireplace and not using it properly will naturally suck the heat out of a house in short order when misused.

That said, electric heat is in many places far more expensive than alternatives, even with the rising price of gas. However, electric heat can be used rather efficiently to supplement heat when the home heat is uneven and can raise the temp a few degrees for a reasonable price.

There's no definite answers to what's cheaper. But many can do things to save on their heat bills and not have to have icicles hanging from the nose.

Another thing that can save on heat bills, if you have the room, is to grow some evergreens as a windblock. Less heat loss means less heating to be done. Trees can be a great energy saver. My plantings years ago have paid off nicely. Fully bushed out in the summer months shade the house from the summer heat and of course the leaves go away in the fall allowing the sun to shine in during the winter months.

Few people think about such things when building a new house. The direction that certain rooms face can make a big difference in the fuel bills. More seem concerned about the color of the bathroom walls than something that has a significant impact on the pocketbook in the future.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 2:16AM
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If one has a fire in the fireplace, it sends most of its heat up the chimney.

When it isn't working, one should close the damper in the chimney, in order to reduce the amount of regular heat going up the chimney, as hot air rises. But there is still some opening there, which will allow some hot air to go up the chimney.

The best thing would be to plug the chimney entirely, so that the non-fireplace-produced hot air can't go up at all.

As wind causes one to use more heat in order to maintain the same temperature, here in Ontario it really helps to have an evergreen windbreak on the west and north sides of one's home.

Uncle's place, into which I moved late last winter, has a garage on the other side of the lane to the west of the house, and a lilac bush (which the new owner recently cut back substantially) and two evergreens on the north, which don't help a lot, as they are not part of a solid block.

I had a fuel delivery yesterday - just about 25 gallons, cost about $80. - I maybe should have called the fuel company to tell them that I didn't turn on the furnace till Nov. 16.

Have a nice, warm winter, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 4:51PM
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Having the glass doors on the fireplace helps a lot. When you're going to let the fire burn out, close the doors and it'll also radiate some heat into the room and the doors will cut down the heat going up the chimney. Once out, close the damper completely and with the doors closed, assuming they're sealed properly, it makes a big difference on heat loss.

Another little trick us snow-folk can use is to shovel some snow up against the foundation of the house. Don't pack it, let it be loose. Powdery snow is the best to insulate the foundation. This insulation makes a big difference. It's free of charge and eco-friendly too!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 1:06AM
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Piling some straw bales along the foundation, especially on the windy side, helps as well.

Especially if you're doing work in the basement.

Actually, working in a chilly basement usually means that one gets it done faster - faster movement helps keep one warm.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 1:39PM
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we have a fireplace with a blower and it heats the den/kitchen/dining room/breakfast room areas of the house quite nicely. i set the central heat to about 68, and we build a fire to bring it up any higher. last month our electric bill was only about 250, and that was due to having to run AC one day and heat the next, back and forth like this really runs up the bill. of course, it is better than the 450.00 bills for cooling during hte summer!

BTW, cost of firewood=$0.00 the previous owner left 2 cords, and my brother in law brought close to 6 cords more. My parents rented a log splitter in return for a cord of wood, so i have a net of 7 cords for heating. this should last me thru the winter, even with fires burning all the time.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 1:41PM
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My thermostats are set at 58 degrees .. on excetpionally cold nights when I get home from work I'll turn them up to 64 degrees downstairs while I get the woodburning fireplace light. I never turn it any higher upstairs in the bedrooms, I sleep with an electric blanket ...

The fireplace is newer with a blower, once it gets going, it heats the downstairs to 68 or 70 degrees. I use 5 or 6 cords of wood each winter. When I go to bed I throw another piece of wood on, close the flue and turn the fan way down. That keeps the coals warm through to the next nite and keeps the chimney warm so the cold air doesn't come in.

I also had an $80 oil bill for November, it wasn't really cold enough to heat the house, but it was cold enough to have a fire going at night. This month is certainly going to be higher ... VERY cold December in Western NY.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 1:51PM
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Confession time, I guess.

I've been cheating some.

Old Uncle, who lived there before he died, left a fan heater in the bathroom, that I use part-time. I feel that reasonable men sit down to pee: some wives have told their husbands and male offspring that unless they choose to do that, they can clean the bathroom.

As we older guys need to service some of our needs more often, and I dislike sitting down on a cold plastic seat, I've been using the heater fan, off and on - depending on the level of heat/cold outside, and my presence or absence: came away this afternoon forgetting to turn it off, as I'm to be away for a number of hours.

Also came heir to another heater fan when our offspring were clearing their Mom's home, and keep it aimed at the area where I sit at my computer. Also use it to heat the car engine on cold mornings, as otherwise it is quite reluctant to start.

So they are part of the reason that my fuel bill, first since about May, was under $100.

My electric bill is usually under $100./mo. also - paying under 6 cents per kwh. for most of my usage.

My uncle left a fleece-lined vest that I am enjoying, as well.

Also some heavier farmer-style shirts that I'm enjoying.

I am enjoying some of uncle's heavy work socks, as well.

Actually, I had more than enough before, so now I have so many that it's hard to keep track of them. One major problem - many are solos. I guess their partners got tired of the place and took off, or something.

Since I'm not willing to cut off one leg just to accomodate them, I'm not quite sure what to do with them.

Actually, I can wear two unmatched when I'm staying home - the cats don't seem to notice (don't complain, in any case).

I guess I'll just have to throw some out that have been darned about three times, already.

Actually, as I fear that a lovely pair of slippers that daughter gave me last Christmas got thrown out during my move last spring, I guess I'll use some old tops to make some slippers, for walking in sock feet on cold floor isn't too attractive.

Unfortunately, when I put on most of Uncle's pants, I find it rather hard to breathe - and I formed a rather deeply ingrained habit, years ago, that's called breathing.


In substantial amounts.

And, as my family has rather weak lungs, if I run any distance or walk fast for a while, I am puffing - so breathing does seem rather important.

Have a great Christmas, everyone, if that celebration is important to you, focusing on the important values that underlie the celebration.

And good wishes for health, friends, interests and enough to live on, for everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 3:03PM
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C'mon now Ed, that's not cheatin' that's using common sense! Being uncomfortable isn't why we're on earth, nor are we saving money by getting sick.

One thing though, I thought someone was forging on your account when I saw that you didn't know what to do with mismatched socks! :D

A thought: Do either of those electric heaters have a thermostat on them? If so, weatherstrip and close the door on the bathroom and let the thermostat raise the temp a few degrees in there. If you don't have a t-stat one, do you have a timer that can handle the current of the heater? That would be a good substitute. With the contents of the room warmed up a bit, the net cost won't be much and you'll be much more comfortable when you're in there. You could always put a tv, radio, microwave, refrigerator and phone in there and *really* get comfy! (Course, I insist on a phone in the bathroom anyway for safety and convenience)

When I first got the house, way back when, I had no idea what the cost of utilities would be and was nervous. Not having unlimited income and not desiring to go deep into debt, I had the house *very* cool and then heated the bedroom a bit with an auxillary heater. Had a bed, a chair, a tv and a phone in there and the bathroom was just out the door and to the left. I survived quite nicely until I could see what the heating costs would average for that year, which incidently turned out to be a nice surprise.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 6:51PM
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I just remembered watching a show about a guy who built a house out using hay bales for insulation. There was trouble getting a loan on it and the insurance companies weren't knocking down his door to issue policies either. It certainly is a good insulation though.

I'll have to see if I can find any more on that. Wonder how it's working out.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 2:53PM
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I have managed to lower the tstat to 68 degrees day and 65 night without sacrificing too much comfort. Thats 3 degrees lower than I used to.
Haven't seen the new gas bill yet. I think with the 71% increase in NG prices (for midwest) this year, it may not make much of a difference.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural gas prices may leap 71%, oil, electricity less

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 8:31AM
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Jasper, Xcel Energy says natural gas prices should be around 20-30% higher in this area. I don't recall what my last gas bill was; it's a little early in the season to tell anyway (IMHO).

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 9:28AM
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Hi Ken, old friend! :) So glad to have found you...

My dad installed Burnham Boiler Furnaces in our home (hot water baseboard heat.) There are three furnaces as he made our duplex home into a triplex. My parents and I used two of the apartments. I have them to myself now and keep the thermostats at 50. I use DeLonghi oil-filled electric heaters in my kitchen, bedroom and bath. It's been extremely cold in PA, also, and I'm wondering if the water in my baseboard pipes could freeze with the thermostats set so low. So far so good. I make sure they run in the morning and evening, but they're idle pretty much the rest of the time. Any thoughts? Thanks.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 10:45AM
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There have been quite a number of houses built with straw bales for walls.

I think there's need to be some kind of framing to deal with the settling.

They stucco over them, I think. Probably inside as well as outside. One would need to be careful to have no available holes - mice, you know.

They have good insulation.

Durable, too, I think.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 3:48PM
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After I posted this, I thought it might be better suited to another forum. I searched and found the Heating & Air Conditioning Forum and posted my question there. Any thoughts are still welcome! :) Thank you...


    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 8:00PM
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Hi abreeze, nice to see you around! Don't be a stranger! :) Hope all's well and you're enjoying the season.

The HVAC forum can probably give more details, but I don't see any big problems as long as there's no major air leaks around any faucets going outside and those may freeze a bit so either should be drained or self draining. It could help to put some pipe insulation on them too. But it's going to have to get awfully cold to freeze them up to the point of bursting and 50° would sure seem to me to be a safe temp. However, the pipes, I assume, are probably running in the basement or crawl space which could be much cooler, but I wouldn't worry about anything inside the house freezing at those temps.

I have a cousin who just got a new modular at his lake property and kept it at 50° without issues. The "problem" was it took a while to warm up the contents, beds, furnishings and the like when he'd come out in the winter so he bumped it to 55°. Then he'd turn it to about 70 when he'd be out there.

I do like those oil filled heaters for applications where you want to bring up the temp in a room on a consistent basis. Nice and even heat and not expensive to operate. For just a short term heating though, the normal one is better because you don't have to heat up all the oil before it puts out heat. I used to use one in the kitchen. It's on the west side of the house and has only a crawl space under it so it would be a touch chilly and I spend a lot of time in there. But now I have the heat up a touch and do more cooking so the kitchen stays warmer.

Ed, every time I think of the straw houses, I can't help but think of the three little pigs.... :)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 12:56AM
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Good points, as usual, Ken! :) Thanks for the caution about the crawl space. The basement is good, but there is a small stretch of crawl space that is much cooler... A bathtub faucet in the unused apartment needs to be watched. I keep an oil-filled heater in there set between the lowest setting and 1. Works fine. I may be going away for a little over a week and plan to shut the water off to that apartment and drain the faucets. I don't want the heaters on while I'm gone. I've also gotten some response on the HVAC forum.

Have a blessed Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 8:42AM
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I have thermal-lined drapes on my windows. They are attractive and keep the cold drafts out. And they weren't really expensive to buy. I bought them all thru J C Penney.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 6:20PM
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I keep forgetting about the insulated drapes. Helpful in summer and winter alike. Plus you can have a party in your underwear without the neighbors holding up cards saying 3.5, 2.5 or whatever!

Couple other thoughts are the deflectors on the heat registers that direct the heat flow down before the natural tend to rise. Warms the floors and makes better use of the heat.

Also clean up the vents and ductwork. Vacuum and wash down the registers, the radiators if you have them and vacuum the ducts too. Dust will insulate the radiators and restrict airflow through ducts and registers.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 12:54AM
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Sweaters, sweaters, sweaters.

And I use a cat as a lap throw. I have two. They aren't cheap, but they are beautiful and keep me cozy.

Also, we strung a clothes line upstairs in the guest loft and I hang clothes up there to dry. Saves electricity and dryer wear and tear. I know that doesn't heat the house, but it does save some money on the electric bill.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 10:04AM
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I have the thermal drapes in one room, but I needed more than that to block the cold. Our house has the single paned glass windows and we're not upgrading. I don't like the plastic over the windows so I bought some of the inexpensive spring rods that fit inside the windows. I hung opaque shower curtains from them and trimmed them to size. It's working great. I'm not sure if they'll make the rooms hotter in summer, but they certainly work for now.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 12:50AM
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Adella Bedella,

How about getting some of the bulk plastic cut from rolls, at the store, putting on a hem to thread the rod through and hanging them from the spring rods?

They'd let in more light and you could see things outside, if sort of " ... through a glass, darkly ...." Well - maybe " ... indistinctly".

Good luck with keeping out the wind, and getting some insulation.

I think that it's best to have the insulating sheet close to the window, for I think that I've heard that if there's two? or three? inches between them, the air between them tends to circulate - i.e. rise next the warm sheet and drop near the cold window glass.

Have a great New Year.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 4:04PM
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Thanks for the suggestion! I don't want any more light. I live in southern New Mexico. The sun here is extreme. Even with the opaque curtain, it's still "sunny" inside. I put the curtain as close to the window as I can inside the sills and cut it to fit the window size. It has cut down on drafts. The room temperature has noticeably improved.

The better windows would be an improvement for the long term. I can't justify the expense for my family because we probably won't live here for that much longer.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 3:56PM
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Good point on cleaning the ductwork. My DD was in a rental a couple years ago that stayed cold most of the time. I was visiting one day and decided to pull off a register cover. I couldn't find the duct for all the crap that was in there. We started cleaning with the vacuum. Hers wasn't srong enough suction so I got mine. Took most of the day but got them clean. You could feel the heat coming out after that. If this had not been a rental I would have brought in the air compressor and done a more thorough job as I do on my own from time to time.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 12:44PM
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I have nested in my bedroom this winter and when sitting around my shoulders and chest get cold. I have found a width of fleece of about 18" makes a good wrap. Also a nice fleecy bedjacket keeps me toasty. Sometimes I have snuggled under the covers and put the wrap over my head a bit. Think the idea of a night cap is not a bad idea either! This all may sound a bit wierd, but being on a tight budget this helps make the cool roooms bearable.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 9:42PM
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During the cold seasons, I often wear one of those skull-cap sort of caps that welders wear.

I have one on now, as a matter of fact (and it's warm here in the library). Wear it around home, and wear it in bed. When I go out, several of the baseball-style hats have mesh around three sides, which lets in a good deal of wind, so usually I wear one of them under that style of hat.

Those of us old guys who are follicly challenged need something to keep our heads warm, as a large volume of blood passes through our brains and they say that we radiate a substantial portion of our body's heat loss out of the top of our heads.

I've been letting the hair grow since early fall, so it's quite long now - but around the sides.

What a shame, really - we old guys lose the hair on top, but it still keeps growing around the sides, so we must continue going to visit the barber; occasionally, at least.

Keep your place as warm as necessary - and good luck in finding an inexpensive way to do it.

ole joyful

P.S. Did I ever tell you about the second cheapest heating system around? A heating stove that burns dry wheat, rye or kernel corn?

O.K., O.K. - I've told you about it a dozen times!!

All right, already!

o j

P.P.S. Just got my bill today for my latest delivery of heating oil for the furnace - $87.00 and some cents, I think it was.

I'm pleased with that.

o j

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 3:33PM
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I discovered I get less (or no) colds during the winter season simply by wearing a skull-cap when outdoors. Also, washing my hands often and keeping them away from my face, especially the eyes and nose.

Sometimes the simplist things can save you money!


    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 3:45PM
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oops. keep hands away from mouth as well!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 4:02PM
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It's a big help if you avoid putting your foot into it, as well.

o j

P.S. You're not a resident of Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies, I assume.

o j

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 6:27PM
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We purchased a Sun Cloud Infrared electric space heater and it will certainly pay for itself this winter from all indications. It will cost about $1 a day to use and that's all we've used for heating our home with the exception of a few days. We had teens and single-digit weather for two weeks in December and our gas bill dropped 41% from December a year ago and our electric only went up about 20%. Gas is higher here now than electric. We only had our natural gas furnace on for 5 days during December. During the day, the main area of the house is about 63°-66°.

We also found out by keeping the furnace fan on constantly that there is less variation in the temperatures in the house. We haven't heated the basement rooms at all and they have maintained temperatures in the 60's as well.

I also made window quilts for all our windows and that has made a huge amount of difference. Our bedroom is on the north with one (fairly large) window. Our bedroom is closed off from the rest of the house because we don't need to heat it just for sleeping, and the coldest the temperature has been in there is 59° and is usually arount 62°. Just Google - thermal window shades - and you'll find several methods to making them. I'm sure these same shades will help in the summer as well when we're trying to keep the heat out.

I made some of mine with furniture packing quilts that I got free. I gave them a vapor barrier on the side towards the window by using 97 cent emergency blankets (see camping gear at Wal-Mart - they are thin sheets of foil-lined plastic that have some thermal quality) and used spray adhesive to stick it to the packing quilt. Then I made a "pillow case" covering from a $4 sheet that happen to match the room perfectly, and it is removable for laundering. You can make these into permenant window coverings, or use inexpensive tension rods at the top and the bottom and fit them into the window. If you need to raise the window covering, just place the bottom tension rod up in the window casing.

Something else we've tried is heating water in an electric kettle for dish washing water. There are only two of us at home, and we found that by using a small plastic tub in the sink, we could use about 3-5 cups of boiling water and a little cold water and it was sufficient for rinsing dishes for the dish washer and washing those things we don't put in the dish washer and general clean-up. An electric kettle will make boiling water faster, using less energy, than a stove-top or microwave. We figured we have also saved a bunch of water by using this method. Think how much water goes down the drain before you get hot water to the sink. And everytime you turn the tap to anything but COLD, cold water goes into the hot water tank to replace hot that is used, which reduces the overall temperature and your hot water tank fires up.

These are simple-to-do things that we think have made a significant difference in...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 12:04PM
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There's a good way to save boiling the kettle, if you have a dog - just put the dishes on the floor.

You're going to put them into the dishwasher later, anyway, aren't you?

That'll clean them thoroughly.

Just offering a potentially useful suggestion.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 4:19PM
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Joyful - If I could afford the expense of a dog, then I could afford all the hot water I'd ever want to use (lol). I wouldn't have a dog because I just got rid of the kids and hubby is very well-trained. Why spoil a good thing....

We only run the dishwasher a couple times a week and it's just better to give some things a quick rinse before they've gone through the dishwasher if they have to sit there for 3 or 4 days. I'm sure you'll find my reasoning sound.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 7:47PM
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I have a fleece blanket that I cut a hole in the center just big enough for my head. So it keeps my shoulders warm. It works great.

I also wear a thin knit hat. Knit hats trap more warmth than something like fleece or felt.

My electric bills runs about $250 per month in the winter (Jan-Mar).

I also added another 8" of fiberglass to the attic. And I put white polystyrene in the windows. It insulates and also lets in a little light.

I also have a solar heat pane in the south window. But it only works on very sunny days. It is basically a box with the back being black painted metal, and the front being clear acrylic. A slot in the top lets out the hot air, and a slot in the bottom lets in cool air.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 11:50AM
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I think that your knit hat will retain more warmth if you have it covered with cloth, to trap the air.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 12:42PM
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