Benefits of a small home

FlowerLady6February 17, 2007

Right now we are having some pretty chilly weather for us. It was 38 when I went out to get the paper this morning. So, one of the benefits of living in a small home is it is cheap to heat, and also cheap to cool, not taking long to do either thing.

Hope you are all keeping warm while you await spring.


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With the temps in single digits...I "guess" heating a smaller home is one of the benefits. My bill was 250 this month, twice what normal winter months are. We are being told the numbers were averaged due to the meter readers not being able to get out. Hopefully paying this bill means next month will be much lower...or it could be more. I haven't figured out what they mean by averaging.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 7:45AM
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We have a "budget plan" with the gas company, they estimate how much gas you're going to use over the course of the winter based on previous years' usage and long range weather forecasts (is there an El Nino, stuff like that) and average it out over the year. You get refunded (or credited, if you want) any overage or have to cough up any shortfall in the spring. We had a very warm early winter and I'm really hoping that makes up for the frigid weather we've had in recent weeks, or else we're going to have to come up with some serious dough in the spring.

However, that's one nice thing about low ceilings and small rooms - our rental had cathedral ceilings and an open plan, and we FROZE because all the heat went straight up. The heating bills were ridiculous.

38 is practically beach weather lately though! :-)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 6:07PM
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Emagineer, in your case averaging means guessing. If you don't like them doing that you can go out and read your own meter when the bill comes and call it in to the Poco. I have done that a few times already. The Poco will take your numbers, recalculate to the reading date and send a new bill, usually with a new due date. Our power bills all have the words act. or est. on them. (actual, estimate)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 10:17PM
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Our home is total electric, but we were able to sign up for a budget program with the electric company. Our bill is the same every month, but in the spring, we do not get a refund or have to make up the difference. It definitely helps in our cold winters and HOT summers!

I think another advantage to small homes is that you have less to clean! ;)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 1:59PM
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Unless it's colder than a round 25°F, we can heat our house with a Sun Cloud infrared space heater for about a dollar (US) a day (maintaining a temperature of 63-65°F). I shut the doors to the 3 bedrooms and heat the living/dining/kitchen (about 800 sq. ft. - total house 1372 sq. ft.). We have a house that is less than a year old.

Now that I've lived through a colder-than-normal winter in this home, I'll make "window quilts" to place over the windows for next winter and cut down on heating even more. I thought the investment in quality Levolor blinds would be sufficient for heat/cold exchange through the windows, it helps, but not as much as well-made window quilts.

Even though we have energy efficient windows, we are having new (summer-use) window screens made using screen that filters 80% of the UV rays. On the trial run with one window, we found there is a HUGE difference - especially since most of our windows are on the west. Nothing like those 100°F (or hotter) days in Kansas.

I can also plug my vacuum into one outlet and vacuum the entire house in 10-15 minutes. THAT's a small home benefit.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 2:53PM
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What is the name of the summer UV filtering screens you are having made and where do you obtain them? Thanks for any info.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 5:35PM
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nwesterner - Although I spent a lot of time looking for the Super Solar Screen material on-line (wanted long rolls to hold down waste and the best price), we ended up purchasing the screen from Lowe's. As it turned out, the best price I could find was from our local Lowe's store. The Super Solar Screen came in short lengths (36"x84"), but each roll was enough to do one new screen and cost $12.98 each.

We happen to have windows that are produced here in town. We presently have half-screens on the windows so they don't block the view. The window company only charged us $20 to make the new full-length screens and we provided them with the screen. The new screens are much darker than traditional screening material, but you can still see through them.

For a little more information, check the link below, or Google - Super Solar Screen.


Here is a link that might be useful: Metro Screen Works

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 6:36PM
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Hendricus....I was being a bit "facitious" about not understanding averaging. We were getting TV news reports with all types of excuses. Plus, my bill was so irratic, $10 for electric and 20 for water...I know better than to believe their "average".

My daughter has a smaller home than I do and she got a $450 bill which made her so mad she marched right down to the utility company to fix it. On the plus side, utilities since moving here last year have been half what I was paying. Water even more so, and at the time I lived in the mountains without a yard to water.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 7:25PM
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Our small house is pretty cheap to heat and cool, but it has a single zone heating/cooling system that doesn't regulate the temps well between the first and second floors.

As a result, we spend more time upstairs in the winter, and downstairs in the summer.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 3:50PM
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I get a reading done every other month for electric and gas, the other months are "calculated". I'm not sure what algorithm they are using to figure out my calculated usage, but its not a very good one. I regularly get calculated bills for zero kW usage of electricity. I don't use that much electric, but I don't average zero use.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 2:27PM
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Grainlady, could you give me more info about window quilts? We are in San Antonio and face temps of more than 100 degrees in the summer. would they be good for keeping heat OUT as well as heat in/cold out? Our big expense is A.C. in the summertime.

the best thing about a smaller house is one bathroom--only one toliet to clean!otherwise, I do wish we had a little bigger house. We have 1080 sq.feet and there are three teenagers and mom and dad.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 5:47PM
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Low mortgage
Easy to keep clean
Heating/cooling less than $100-200 per month

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 10:07PM
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Generally, the most significant benefit is the overall lower cost of construction, followed by the lower cost of taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance. These were strong incentives for me. However, because we wanted a high-quality custom house, and we had very specific personal requirements, we ended up paying a high per-sf price. Therefore, we will fall back on all the other benefits, as mentioned in the other posts.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 4:17PM
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Willie ~ From what I've seen of pictures of your custom home, it is beautiful. You have done your best to keep things efficient after building it to your requirements.

For us and others it is going with what he have bought and working with that. Our little cottage is less than 700 sq. ft. and what we have started working on lately is re-insulating our attic. We are using 3/4 inch foam board between rafters on the roof side, then 9" thick pink fiberglass insulation between ceiling and attic, with a 3/4 in plywood floor. This should make a big difference in keeping it cooler during the summer and warmer in the winter. We happened to go to HD when it was having one of it's 12 month no interest deals and bought what we needed and will pay it all off in monthly increments before the final date.

The more ways we can all figure out how to live economically and energy efficient the better off we are. Life is too short and sweet to have to worry about mega-mansions, how to fill them and how to keep them cool/hot/maintained.

Blessings on all of you who choose to live in smaller homes. Bigger doesn't always mean better by any means. Home is where our hearts are.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 7:33PM
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