Thursday, October 4, 2012

My winterizing efforts for the 2012-13 winter season!

It’s October and nobody has to tell me that winter ain’t too far off! I’ve already noticed that some of the trees around my house are turning and every time I look out back, there are more of them lying on the ground. So, I got up off my butt and began to look at how best I could get the old homestead prepared for the cold months ahead.

The way I see things, when all the dust settles, there are two issues that have to be addressed for any all-electric home like mine; 1) how much money can I save on heating and 2) what amount of comfort will I have to give up in order to save on said heating? (Both these concepts are certainly at odds with each other in that if I keep the house warm all winter, say at 72F or so, I then get hit with large monthly electric bills). This going on at a time when I’m on a fixed income and slowly going broke. If, on the other hand, if I elect to freeze to death, I’ll save a few bucks to put towards my funeral costs. Either way, it seems to me a lose-lose situation.

Yet, there are some alternatives out there and they don’t have to cost very much. Here they are in no particular order:

Kill those Drafts

Almost any old house has what I call leakage. That is, air that come and goes through cracks either in the structure of the house itself or through various openings around holes through which plumbing pipes enter or exit the house. A can of foam costing about $6 bucks took care of those in short order. Weather stripping also works great to help seal outside doors!

Corral that Water Heater

Two simple things can be done here to lower your heating bill as much as 10%; 1) set the t-stat to 120F and 2) wrap that sucker in insulation.

Lower the Thermostat a few degrees

Some expert once told me that for every degree you lower the thermostat setting, expect a 12% savings in your monthly electric bills! I’m not sure if that’s the truth or not and would guess that there is probably a lower limit after which you really wouldn’t save and still freeze to death. This year, I’ve opted for a setting of 65F for the majority of the house with a small space heater to use for my office/bedroom. Oh, and an electric blanket also helps tons!

Manage those blinds and drapes

No matter what sort of window covering you have, keeping them open to let the sun in and closed at night to keep the cold out makes sense. You can also elect to use one of those plastic shrink wrap coverings like those sold by 3M. They can increase the R-Value of that opening by as much as 90% by creating a dead air space between the cold window surface and you.
There you go! That was pretty simple and it didn’t cost an arm or a leg to implement. I hope to do some additional postings as I go through the winter months to see if any saving actually materialize. Oh, and I'm hoping Global Warming really kicks in too, this year!

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