Saturday, January 9, 2010

Staying warm and being green

My house was built back in the 1920s, so it isn't exactly the most energy-efficient. I would love to do some updates, but I can't really afford to do so. Plus, who wants to get rid of those gorgeous leaded-glass windows? They don't make them like that anymore!

I also despise paying ridiculous amounts for gas and electric, so I am always looking for ways to reduce those costs. I have been replacing bulbs with those energy efficient ones whenever the other ones burn out. I try to have those bulbs in the lights that I leave on for security, as well.

I updated my furnace and air conditioner a couple of years ago, to a newer, yet used version, which dramatically reduced my heating and cooling costs. (Word of advice - though expensive, keep up on your furnace and a/c cleaning and service calls every year - saves you lots of money down the road!)

Only one room in the whole house gets a full blast from the furnace, so the majority of time is spent in there. The rest of the rooms split on two levels, which has never made any sense to me. The advantage of this is that you can close the door and retain most of that heat.

I've also become a believer in closing the doors to any area that isn't used as often, so that the heat isn't wasted going into them, and somewhat blocking the vents. Again, because they are split amongst levels, I can't block them off in the basement, as I would like, but what are you going to do?

I also play the thermostat game. For a while, I wasn't convince that it was really working. Perhaps that is more in the summer with the air conditioner? But, over time, I have finally noticed my utilities costs going down. (With the price of cable going up, this is a good thing!)

To do this, I leave the heat down at 55 when I leave the house for any period of time (unless it's literally just leaving the house for 15 min). I bump it up a bit when I get home and am cooking, then up again a bit when I decide to do other work. When it is time to go to bed, I nudge it down a bit and make sure I sleep with all of my blankets on.  I sleep with numerous blankets and a down comforter. Sleeping in the cold actually helps you sleep better. I also wear numerous layers and stay warm enough.

When it is particularly cold outside, I make sure I leave it closer to 57, to make me worry less about freezing pipes and the animals. I've even bought Snuggies for the dogs, lol, but haven't gotten to that point for myself, yet. It has been becoming a little tempting, though.....

Other ways of keeping warm have included drinking hot beverages and foods, of course. (Adding a touch of Baileys to coffee at night warms you up from the inside!) I love to cook/bake in the winter, because then the house stays a little warmer. I leave the oven door cracked open a bit for a slight bit of cheating heat afterwards. I am not sure if really does much, but it keeps the kitchen a bit warmer while I finish preparing food.

I'm curious to know what others do to keep warm........:-)

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