Thursday, December 7, 2006

Snowy Day in WNY.

I am somewhat spoiled in the energy usage department... We live in a village with reduced electric rates & last winter we had a coal furnace installed,yes COAL

So sitting here watching it snow like crazy outside isn't really bugging me, but... Our house was built in 1867 or so & is extremly drafty (or as I like to say WINDY). I am sitting in one of the cold rooms, previous owners didn't bother to run a heating vent to this room after they divided a bedroom into 2??? But the worst room is our sons bedroom. His closet door has to have something propped against it our the wind will blow it open...

Sooooo I know a thing or two about draft stoppers. We put plastic on the windows in that room the first year we lived here, only to have them BLOW OFF, our first real construction project will be window replacement! I have thermal lined drapes in there now. It is helping, just not lots, again windy! We have plans to insulate the closet soon. It is tucked under the tennants stairway & might as well be open to the outside. There was NO insulation at all in this closet. Someone actually stapled wallpaper over the bottom of the stairs & that was the ceiling.

I know those of you with older homes are relating! We have our hands full with this one!!!

Back to the coal furnace. I am not fond of it personally, however I cannot complain about the bills it generates either. I just haven't figured out how to get or keep it going (chalking that up to a totally sexist notion that it isn't MY job!). We were able to heat our home comfortably last year for approximately $600. Our first year gas bill was over $2000 for the winter, we are still paying on it! I really wanted the wood pellet furnace but our supplier was out & the gas furnace (which happened to be a whopping 15 years older than we were told) decided to die 3 days before Christmas last year. What ya gonna do, gotta stay warm. And warm we are! The average temperature of our house has gone from 62 to 72. Even the hardwoods in the kitchen aren't frigid to walk across barefoot. BTW did I mention that even installed we probably spent less on the coal furnace than we would have replacing the gas one! So lets review $2000 = 62 degrees with a baby in the house $600=72+ degrees in the house & I don't have to own stock in a slipper company.... I guess if you are looking for a change RUN don't walk to your local wood stove, pellet stove or coal store retailer. I have heard better things about local dealers than the big chains....SERVICE is a huge issue with me.

Well anywho, my frugal tip for draft dodging... sew up a door sock! I used a scrap of leftover fabric (big enough to fit across the bottom of the door), an old pillow for stuffing & a pound of white rice (uncooked & not instant). You could also use beans or anything heavy (rocks...), it's just to give it weight. I folded the fabric in half & sewed the long side & one short side. Turned it right side out. Stuffed it with stuffing from the pillow & then used a funnel to add the rice. Then I folded the unsewen short side twice to hide the unfinished edge & sewed across. After all it is for keeping out the cold not a fashion accessory. I have seen these in adorable patterns & cute-sie designs, but functionality is all that's necessary. Besides the kids are already tempted to play with it...if it was a doll or reindeer it would never be doing it's job!

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