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Heating bills

Wow, I finally got my natural gas meter read! See, I'm excessively frugal in some ways. I like to keep my personal cost of living down so that I can occasionally spend into a hobby or some fun excursion that I don't often get to do. One of the things that I skimp on is home heating. When the low temperature for the day is forecast to stay above freezing, my heat is completely off. There are exceptions to this, like during the short period when I take a shower (although most of my showers this year have been at my local community center) or when I have guests over, but generally I stick to it. When the air outside goes below that mark, I turn on the heat but set the thermostat in the basement to the minimum and the one on the first floor to 50 or 55°F, depending on the time of day. And I wear a coat while inside.

The only previous read was in January, and that was just good fortune -- I happened to be off work and present at the house, which I was just moving into. Since there was no followup read, they estimated my usage based on the usage before me.

Their estimate to early November is that I had used a little over 1000CCF*. In reality, however, the reading now, in mid-late December, is only up 434CCF. In fact, I haven't yet used as much as they thought I'd burned way back in mid-March!

As a result of this, it seems likely that I am paid up in advance for months, perhaps past even the end of 2012!


As a bonus, I am focusing more on insulation this time around. I have taped most of my windows so far. It's not thermal resistant tape, I'm just using the regular kind to block the inflow of cold air. The step after this? My father tossed six of those plastic films that you put over windows in my direction. They're thermal resistant and should add yet another layer of insulating factor. I will have to do something quickly about the doors to my attic, though, as they're as of yet permanently ajar (simply taping dropcloths around the portal would probably work wonders here).

So, yeah, I'm no fan of the cold, but I like money. :)

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
page_of_swords
Dec. 24th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC)
Windows are the big heat loss. In Alaska they make the equivalent of boffer shields for windows. Also you can block off unused rooms.
manderx
Dec. 24th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
The stuff your dad gave you isn't any better than what you used. The trick is creating an air barrier. If you want another layer, make sure there's an air gap in between.
Another thing to look for is any drafts. They can come through any opening in the walls/floors, including electrical outlets. Wait for a windy day and walk around with a candle (carefully), or a stick of incense and flashlight.
thevirtualjim
Dec. 24th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Yup, candle is great for looking for drafts, which is the main way you lose heat. It doesn't even have to be that windy to use the candle. Nice thing about electrical outlets is that they are pretty easy and cheap to insulate. Windows and doors can sometimes get kinda complicated.

I also assume you looked at the attic insulation? Is the attic doors/hatches themselves insulated? Also, for them not closing well, often just tightening hardware/adjusting the hinges, ect resolves it. If your doors to the outside don't make a good seal (often true on the bottom0, you can put something there to block airflow, such as a 'snake' of stuffed cloth tubes.
jcholewa
Dec. 24th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I use the lazy method of stuffing blankets and/or drop cloths against the bottoms of my doors.

Annoyingly, the one substantial room that I'd like to cut off (the serving room) has the longest heater. And the door doesn't close all the way -- that's one of the jobs for 2012.

Last night, I sealed a layer of garbage bag over one of the attic doors (it's on the same level as my bedroom, if you recall). Today or tomorrow, I'll do the same to the other door. Still, I poked my head in there, and it seems pretty well insulated. It wasn't really any colder in the attic than it was in my room.
page_of_swords
Dec. 24th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Have you considered adding a valve to that section of baseboard? (It may already have one)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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