Oct 31 2007

A quick (or, sort of quick) energy audit


Here in the Pgh, it has been getting pretty chilly at night for the past week. We’ve seen lows in the low 30s and even upper 20s. Yeesh. The days are still nice, with highs in the 50s and 60s.

As you might recall, I am trying to use the heat as little as possible, to cut down on energy usage and costs.

It’s the last day of October, and I’m happy to report that our heat has yet to turn on this season. The temperature in the ol’ homestead has not dropped below 65, but it did hit 70 yesterday after dinner.

If you’re already freezing your buns off at home (or, if your heat has been on all week), let’s do a quick energy audit.

  1. What’s the temperature your thermostat has to hit before your heat kicks on? Can you set it lower? How about setting it so its colder at night, when you’re already warm and under your covers?
  2. Are your closet doors open? Why?! Can you please tell me why you are paying to heat your closet?
  3. The same principle goes to any unused room. During the day, if you aren’t spending a lot of time in your bedroom, how about closing the heat vent to the room and shutting the door? You don’t need to heat rooms that aren’t in use.
  4. Are you using an exhaust fan during your shower? Try to not use it during the winter. Exhaust fans, by design, pull all that warm air up and out of your home. Now, why in the world would you want to do that? The whole point is to keep warm air in, right? If you don’t like foggy mirrors, use a wiper on the mirror. When you’re done showering, leave your bathroom door open to the rest of the home until the bathroom cools off. Then, close the door just like you would any other room.
  5. If you can safely do so (no pets or small children), leave your oven door open when you’re done cooking. That extra little heat it will send into the room will feel lovely. The same goes for the dishwasher, if it is warm at the end of the cycle.
  6. Are your vents dust-free? This is a good time to clean them and check your air filter on your heater.
  7. Are your vents obscured? If you have a sofa covering a vent in your living room, it’s probably not going to do its job.

If you’re ready to kick it up a notch, then take some serious steps to winterize your home by sealing windows and keeping that cold air where it belongs.

If you’ve done all of these things and you’re feeling chilled, don’t turn up your heat just yet. Make a hot drink. I like tea in the mornings , but coffee and hot chocolate will really make a difference.

Wear socks and slippers. Pile on those cozy sweaters and maybe use a small blanket like a shawl.

Heat up a rice sock and hold it.

If none of these things do the trick, set your heat as low as you can without risking your pipes freezing and get out of your house. Go run errands, hang out at the library or somewhere that the heat is on and paid for by someone else.

I don’t know about you, but this certainly works for me!

Posted under Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “A quick (or, sort of quick) energy audit”

  1. That is an outstanding post! I’m ashamed to say that my heat came on for the first time yesterday. It goes from summer to winter all in one day here! I need to work on this though. Thanks!

  2. I’m glad you like it! Don’t be ashamed that your heat came on–it’s cold out!

    I live in an apartment, don’t forget, so I only have one wall that touches the outside. I think I’m benefiting from my neighbor’s heat.

  3. Good ideas! I do admit that we’ve been running our heat way more than I’d like to .. I’m chalking it up to the fact we move in to a home with electric baseboard heat and we’re getting used to it :) Still we haven’t cranked it up past 65 and only in the rooms we’re in most, the living room and kitchen and in the girls room I keep it set at around 70 at night since we have wigglers who never keep blankets on or will wear socks or slippers to bed! .. for me it’s worth the money to keep them and their cold feet from our bed in the middle of the night!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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