Today’s Subject: Saving Energy This Winter
Heating costs will rise this winter. But all is not lost. With a little time and effort, you can make enough difference to give yourself a self-glorifying anecdote for your next cocktail party.
1. Seal every window and unused door with clear plastic. It may cost what seems to be a lot upfront – but your savings will be manifest almost immediately. Also seal any wall-mounted air conditioning units as these often bleed warm air. And seal over air vents in bathrooms and in your kitchen. These literally drain heat from your home faster than anything except an open door! Create a Velcro™ latch on the plastic wrap and only use them when necessary (meaning after bathroom use and during cooking on the stovetop). Keep them firmly sealed at all other times.
I don’t know about this Velcro idea, but I spent a good portion of yesterday sealing our windows. It definitely helped bring our heating costs down in years past. While working with 2-sided tape reminds me of struggling to unhook the bra of my Junior High girlfriend, it’s worth it the next time you encounter a casual conversation concerning windows. (I’d like to clarify I was also in Junior High at the time I was dating said girl. I don’t have those same issues with my current Junior High girlfriend.)
2. Turn your thermostat back to 60 degrees. Yes, I know this sounds chilly – but if you do it slowly, you will adjust to a slightly lower temperature in the weeks before the truly frigid temperatures arrive. I have found that wearing a Snuggie™ (or, to save money, a thermal blanket with head and arm holes cut into it) will keep one toasty warm even if the home itself is on the cool side.
60 won’t fly in our place. However, if you ‘randomly’ heat your house – turn off heat until you get too cold before running it for 30 minutes – it will help cut costs as well. This guy wants an excuse to wear his Snuggie, and who can blame him.
3. Close off rooms you do not use. This means sealing the doorway (especially the bottom where door meets frame.) Use either a sliding barrier or else tape a towel on either side, making sure the towel passes under the entire door bottom and seals the space between door and frame. I find that towels work best, are cheap, and are easily removed and replaced if you need to enter the room during the Winter.
Unused Panic Rooms, Dungeons and Grow Rooms are prime examples. If you have a Grow Room, you may already have some towels by the door.
4. Find hidden’ air leaks by lighting an incense stick and walking from room to room and along walls. If the smoke does not rise vertically, you have a leak. Find it and plug it. Also move the incense along baseboards to locate hidden draft openings you cannot feel directly – and plug them with caulk or some other sealant.
You can turn this into some sort amusing activity, like pretending to be the torch-bearer for the Buddhist Olympics. Everybody wins. Or is it nobody?
5. If you have ceiling fans, set them to rotate CLOCKWISE and turn them on LOW during the day to pull heat down from the ceiling back into the room.
Of course, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re going to want to set them to COUNTER-CLOCKWISE. Wait a sec…Ok, please disregard that last sentence.
6. Unplug any appliances that have ‘stand-by’ electrical components such as clocks, digital indicators, etc. Plug them in only when you are going to use them. Do NOT leave your computer on ‘stand-by’ 24/7 – it is a massive electrical drain. And purchase solar-powered outside lighting that charges during the day and provides illumination at night. Turn all outside lights and porch lights OFF unless you are expecting food delivery or guests.
7. If you have SOUTHERN FACING WINDOWS, open the blinds and permit sunlight to stream unimpeded into as many rooms as possible during the day. Keep the window shades up and the windows fully open to sunlight until the sun begins to set (usually after 4 p.m.). Then return any blinds or curtains or drapes to their position to retain warm air inside your home.
The open windows may cause a slight alteration in lifestyle. No more naked pilates.
You get the idea. There are obviously dozens of things you can do in order to consume fewer natural resources and save some money, but I just thought I’d share a few of the tips that could appeal to the lazy, yet good-intentioned segment of the population. But don’t just take it from me, I have some old friends with infinite wisdom: