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Sabrina S

Cutting Energy Costs????

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I'm wondering if anyone has any unique tips for cutting energy costs? Ours are really high. We have an old house that isn't sealed well and drafty. We keep the heat/air low, have put weather stripping wherever we can, turn off lights, unplug tv etc. We need to increase insulation and replace the windows and doors but that isn't something we can do right away....so I'm looking for any other tips beyond the standard ways to cut consumption. (We have propane for heat, oven/stove, and water heater if that matters). Thanks!!

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LOL About the pellet stove :) Maybe it does who knows!

We do have a wood stove but it doesn't seem to make much difference. Then I read that for it to work right and actually help you have to turn the thermometer down quite a bit or the heat will just go up out the chimney so we will have to try that. Part of the problem is we have such a big old house it will heat the room it is in really well but not all of the house. Also, my husband is behind on wood chopping (and it is extremely expensive to buy). We are having a warm spell so we will try the turning the thermostat down with the fire going when it gets cold again.

We will be replacing windows and adding storm doors this spring probably and maybe adding insulation. At some point we need to replace siding on half the house and will look into adding wall insulation then.....lots and lots of things to work on but we have to do it little by little. We will see how much we get back in taxes this year and figure out what we can do I was just hoping for some innovative idea I missed that we could do right away. 

We already keep the thermostat at 64 during the day and 56 at night (although I've been turning it up because we are trying to get the baby to sleep on his own now. Debating getting space heaters for at night in the rooms we sleep in but they make me nervous. That said it is just as bad in the summer when it's hot.

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We live in an old house - 108 years this year. We have always gotten the big window sealing sheets from Wal-Mart and used them on the downstairs windows that leak the most. Recently we have been able to start replacing some of the windows, and that has helped a lot, but with more than 30 windows - I can feel your pain about the costs of replacement! We use a space heater in the room we are in, and leave the rest of the house cooler with the temperature turned down on the thermostat. In the past, we've thrown extra blankets/ quilts over the curtain rods in the bedroom to cut down some on the drafts so it would be warmer. 

 

Do your kids share bedroom? Even if they would not normally, you could put them together for the winter. There are a lot of different space heaters out there. We have had to use them in the past, and there are ones that are safe for overnight, and have tip-over auto-off switches. If you are looking for one, see if it has a timer. If you can set them o run for an hour or two, until everyone is asleep, then they can turn themselves off.

 

I know, it stinks to have high heating bills. We always chose something that needed baked for breakfast or lunch so the over could help warm up the house. Baked oatmeal anyone? 

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We ripped out all of the walls on our second floor and reinsulated.  Drastic but what a difference!  We also recently replaced our furnace.  It is powerful enough to get heat to our second floor where we used to us electric baseboards.  That furnace cut our electric bill AND our gas bill.  WIN!

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Yes my house is almost 140 years old!! I'm going to have to look for those window sheets until we can replace. We are also torn on what to replace with because we are told vinyl can crack when the house shifts seasonally. We are going to look into space heaters, they do make me a bit nervous. My kids do share rooms. So all five kids are in two rooms. I'm pretty sure we need to replace our furnace, water heater, and A/C units but all of that is expensive. Our furnace is only maybe 3 years old but I don't think it is the right size for the house. Our house is rock so there isn't really a way to insulate the walls. I suppose we could put insulation then drywall over that but I'm not sure how that would work really. I've heard the rock is supposed to be good insulation to begin with but all our walls are cold so I'm not sure I'm buying that!! I'm thinking I just need to make quilts and tapestries to hang all over the walls for insulation like an old castle lol. 

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39 minutes ago, Sabrina S said:

Yes my house is almost 140 years old!! I'm going to have to look for those window sheets until we can replace. We are also torn on what to replace with because we are told vinyl can crack when the house shifts seasonally. We are going to look into space heaters, they do make me a bit nervous. My kids do share rooms. So all five kids are in two rooms. I'm pretty sure we need to replace our furnace, water heater, and A/C units but all of that is expensive. Our furnace is only maybe 3 years old but I don't think it is the right size for the house. Our house is rock so there isn't really a way to insulate the walls. I suppose we could put insulation then drywall over that but I'm not sure how that would work really. I've heard the rock is supposed to be good insulation to begin with but all our walls are cold so I'm not sure I'm buying that!! I'm thinking I just need to make quilts and tapestries to hang all over the walls for insulation like an old castle lol. 

Well, I did think _cool that looks like a castle wall when I saw the picture of your home on your blog. Yes, rock can be cold. Tapestries, or at least some quilts, should help the walls. :) The window sheets we get are the DUCK brand (like the tape) and we have super huge windows, so we get the ones for patio doors and cover two windows with each kit. They're only around $8-10, so well worth the money.

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We unplug EVERYTHING not in use. Lamps, chargers (Especially charging bricks/cables!) EVERYTHING! It drastically reduced our bill. 

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Hmm we unplug most things...I think I have a couple lamps I could unplug but we really don't have that many things plugged in. I do leave the printer on, I suppose I could/should turn that off I'm just too lazy most days. It is wireless and I love being able to just hit print on my computer and it prints lol. Wonder if I could get a power strip with a timer or something...hmmmm or just not be lazy. Honestly though except for nightlights and like two lamps, there isn't much with a plug. Unfortunately, we have to leave the modem plugged in because our phones don't have reception without it and hubby is always on call. 

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LED bulbs give me migraines. I have been having them often since we moved into this house and was wondering why. I was afraid there was mold somewhere or something but then we discovered the main light in our living room is like an LED panel under the globe. We stopped using it and the migraines have almost completely disappeared AND my kids started sleeping better. So I am not going to use them elsewhere in the house after that. Now we just keep that light off completely. We keep lights off and windows open as much as possible but I'm also planning to buy some lamps so we can just turn on one or two bulbs as needed rather than the 4 or 5 in the overhead fixtures. 

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Where you live do they run incentive programs for cutting costs? Near us, families who live in older houses are eligible for free upgrades through Edison. We had vents replaced, our ceiling re-insulated, LED lights put in - which we also hate, but more on that in a minute -  and they checked the stripping on the windows. All for free. It was a blessing beyond belief. The windows are on us, but we'll install them ourselves a little at a time to help cut costs.

As for LED's... We've discovered LED's release pulses of light. You can catch it on film, and find it on the internet. Thus, the constant pulsing of light might be what is causing those nasty headaches. In our home, for whatever reason, our LED's starting emitting a high pitched squeal. I finally couldn't take it anymore and had to change some of them out. Plus, the color of the lighting is always a bother. Why are they never true light?

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I have called and talked to my energy company at length. There are a few incentive programs but nothing free. There are rebates for installing a new electric heat pump and one for a new electric water heater. Both of those are currently gas in our house but not the most efficient. Our heater is probably only a few years old but our water heater appears to be ancient so we will eventually have to replace it. That said IDK if it is better to stay with gas or get electric. We can get a free "energy audit" but that is really just an evaluation of our current insulation levels and suggestions to add it. Then if we decide to add the insulation as suggested our electric company will pay for it and we will pay them back in installments on our bill. That said, I called to set up the appointment and they said they would call me back and never did...I haven't had a chance to call them again. That's all we have available. 

 

I've found information on several issues with LED light. While it might save some it isn't a huge amount and won't be worth headaches. I am pretty strict about turning lights off and we are probably going to start slowing installing motion detectors in some switches and light detectors in all outside lights just in case someone forgets to turn them off. 

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19 hours ago, Sabrina S said:

I have called and talked to my energy company at length. There are a few incentive programs but nothing free. There are rebates for installing a new electric heat pump and one for a new electric water heater. Both of those are currently gas in our house but not the most efficient. Our heater is probably only a few years old but our water heater appears to be ancient so we will eventually have to replace it.

There are lots of other programs not part of the energy companies.  They often give grants or even do work for free.  I don't know where you might look in your area though...  Google maybe?  But watch for scams.  Or try a company that sells furnaces or hot water heaters.  Maybe someone there would know where to look.  I received blown in insulation and one replacement window and the work done all free in my old place in upstate NY.  I recommend an on-demand water heater.  That is a HUGE savings.  It keeps smaller amounts hot for immediate use, but isn't constantly keeping 60 gallons hot.

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Ohh I will see if I can find anything! We live in Kansas but haven't been here long so I don't know. When we replace our water heater I would prefer on demand but the electric company will give a rebate for one with a tank....not sure why. We will probably still go with on demand/tankless. 

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