Ideas For Saving Energy This Winter

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by shellyr44, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. shellyr44

    shellyr44 Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to think of winter when we in the midst of an extreme heat wave right now, but why wait until the last moment to prepare for looks like another expensive winter. I had an idea to get everyone to pitch in any ideas they might have and pass them along. There are the normal ideas about caulking windows and doors etc, but real savy homesteaders know how to get through winter without breaking the bank. I'll start and give this tip. If you have drafty windows but the thought of covering them with plastic and possibly blocking the view doesn't appeal to you, buy clear shower curtains and rings and hang them on the same pole but behind your curtains. The shower curtain will turn your curtains into insulated curtains, keep the drafts out and not block your view. If you buy the heavy shower curtains with the metal gromets you can use them again next year. :rolleyes:
     
  2. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how much a shower curtian just hanging there is going to do, but there are plastic shrink-wrap kits you can buy to apply to your windows, you use a hair dryer to shrink the film which pulls it tight and it's completly invisible. I don't know about cost on that. Another optino is just to hang a heavy quilt in front of the window.
     

  3. shellyr44

    shellyr44 Well-Known Member

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    I read this idea in Mother Earth News archives. I know about the shrink wrap for windows. I do hang a quilt over our bathroom window though. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    My old home has double hung windows with the old weight pockets, etc., meaning that they leak air even though I have storm windows in place.

    I have tried time and time again to find what are called window jam liners to seal off the old pockets and provide new sliding surfaces for the windows to track in. "This Old House" has used a couple of different styles of them, but I sure can't find any company locally that has even heard of them.

    Anyway, I will be buying one of those 4'X8' sheets of plastic like some farm supply stores carry to line stalls with. I'll rip the appropriate size to use as jam liners and make my own after insulating the weight pocket and other areas.

    In addition I have purchased enough lumber to build inner storm windows to give me a third layer of air seal. I'll use the heat shrink storm window kit plastic on these. These inner storm windows will be placed against and seal against the window trim with some rubber gasket like material. It will fit into a routed shallow groove on the back of each inner window. The gasket like material is from a full roll of material I purchased at a garage sale for $3. It is 3/16" in diameter and may have been used to hold some sort of screen wire in place. Pretty big for that though.

    I will also be making some light weight frames to cover with shrink plastic (or insulation) which will be used as inner sliding doors to help seal each door entry into my home. I may also use one or more to close off rooms in addition to the usual door.

    I'm also toying with the idea of making shutters to apply on the outside of the windows. I would keep them closed on the unused windows and open them each day on the others I look out of. Each homemade shutter would be insulated and enclosed rather than louvered.

    What I'd really like to have is a different home, but that isn't going to happen soon to my knowledge, although I did buy a lottery ticket.
     
  5. cathryn

    cathryn Well-Known Member

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    Last year we put a fireplace insert into our OLD and LEAKY house. We had been spending a lot on oil just to keep it at 64-although it was only 64 in the main part of the house. This past winter we were warm and cozy for a fraction of what it cost previous years (we still use oil for hot water, and to keep the basement from freezing). We have an unlimited supply of free wood (we do tree work and have a large splitter).

    The stove wasn't cheap. I fought getting it because it was a big nut to bite. My DH and I installed it and the new liner which made it a lot cheaper. We bought a good stove and it should pay off by the middle of next winter. Even if it didn't pay off so quickly we are so glad we did it because we have a much better quality of life during the winter.

    Get a good stove if you are going to get one. They are so efficient now, there is only a small bit of ash to clean out once and a while. We live in 1/2 acre zoning. My neighbors asked if we were going to get our stove in anytime soon - and we had been burning it about 2 weeks. Burning the right wood makes a big difference in how much smoke there is.

    If you can swing it I would recommend getting a wood stove, or a fireplace insert to heat your house. If you have the space to stage, split and dry wood you can save even more money. Talk to local tree companies and see if you can get them to drop you some wood. Around here (Southern CT) lots of good burning wood is ground up for mulch-especially Ash which grow big and plentiful around here and can be burned right away. You do need to get a relationship with them so that you only get wood that is burnable, and that is small enough for you to handle. You don't want to be used as a dumping site for junk wood.

    That is my experience. It was worth the investment of $ for us.
     
  6. blue gecko

    blue gecko Well-Known Member

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    With the price of electricity and this summer's heat we've been giving this some intense thought. Our main problem is gain/loss from the windows. What we've done is purchase blue foam insulation board and cut it to fit the windows. It still lets some light in and you would not believe the difference in inside temps. The plan is to use spray adhesive and glue fabric to the panels; light color on one side and dark on the other. In the winter we'll tilt the panels (with the dark side out) leaving some space at the top and bottom. They should act as trombe walls during the sunny part of the day. At night they will be pushed upright to seal the window. They are so light weight its easy to move them around or stowe them in a closet or under the bed.

    I haven't covered them yet but I'll look for twin sheets on sale, goodwill finds or quilt materials. Quilt backing muslin will probably be the light side perked up with fabric paints when I find the time.....ah, time......
     
  7. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    We only run an electric heater in the bathroom on cold mornings. We all dress in there before heading out to feed the critters and hop in the car. Some evenings we get home in time to reverse the process and hop in bed. This saves heating the whole house (cathedral ceiling) when we are only needing to be warm for a few moments. Weekends we sleep in and get up when the sun has had time to warm the place up a bit.

    When we watch TV in the evenings, we snuggle on the sofa under a thick quilt and keep each other warm (the kids can't wait for cool weather as they get snuggled more then). We fight over who gets to hold the cat as he generates lots of heat and is cuddly.
     
  8. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Keep your house at a colder temperature. You will be healthier for it with less respiratory infections. Learn to wear layers in the house...sweats,socks and shoes,too. Polar fleece anything will keep you toasty. When we lived in MI our toddlers ran around in blanket sleepers in the winter. We have afgans on all chairs and couches; even at the computer for when we get too cold sitting down. We can keep our house warmer as we have an outdoor wood furnace but it still uses electricity to run the pump. Be sure and close off rooms you aren't really using and just heat the core of your houses' activities. Bedrooms can be very cool if you have warm comforters,electric blankets or enough dogs! A hat to bed will keep you extra warm. Or just go outside...when you come in you will feel nice and warm!!!! And if you are able to use wood for heating be sure and get your supply now before the demand hits...or lock in your propane costs if you are stuck with that. DEE
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    A wool stocking cap, wool socks and wool sweater....and my personal favorite, red wool unionjacks.
     
  10. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

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    We live in a log home and last month had winterized the whole hous. Caulking around windows, doors, and between the logs. I took an old comforter, last winter, and made a curtian for the bathroom window, which helped. We will be using more wood this winter for heat and cooking. I have made new curtians for our bedroom and the living room that are lined to keep the cold out. I have the kitchen and another bedroom that needs to have curtians made. I check yard sales for material and lining. We are buying a new paddle fan to bring the heat down from our very high cealing in the kitchen and living room area. It is a cathedral ceiling so all the heat goes up there and into the loft bedroom, we want to bring it back down to us. I have to have my feet warm so confy heavy wool socks are worn.

    RenieB
     
  11. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm beginning to itch...
     
  12. shellyr44

    shellyr44 Well-Known Member

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    Good ideas. It seem alot of our problems are about windows. We bought a wood cookstove last year and tied our hot water into it. I have three sets of clothes bars to hang clothes on and. I would use wool underwear and socks if I could find some cheap ones. Would make it easier to go out and feed the chickens.
     
  13. sapphira

    sapphira Well-Known Member

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    Funny you should bring this up. Am fixing up and old kero heater for emergency and searching for sock liners for husband - have been for lasttwo weeks. S.
     
  14. myheaven

    myheaven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    we are replacing our 3 very problematic windows this year. One is a VERY LARGE bay window which is costing us 2,000 to replace but it has to be done. it leaks so bad and its about to fall out. My best advice is to replace the very worst windows in your house if you can. and second invest in a wood stove(heater) you can heat and cook with it. In the winter I never use my stove to cook its always on the wood stove. We do dead and down so heat is free. Our stove paid for its self (profesionaly installed required by insurance) the first winter.
     
  15. cowgirlracer

    cowgirlracer Well-Known Member

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    Wool undies? Where do you get these? Also, where do you live? It sounds like it gets frigidly COLD there!
     
  16. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Wool undies work well if you're involved in non-aerobic activities (not sweating heavily). They're better than silk, and a massive improvement over cotton, but still not ideal unless you're "sitting around" not "moving around."

    For moving around comfort you want to go with some of the newer high wicking synthetics. Which, if you buy them this fall as "long underwear" are going to be quite expensive.

    But LO! You want underwear... you don't care what it looks like. So hit "Dicks" or any other major sporting goods retailer and paw through the summer sale rack. Those exercise shirts for summer are made out of the same fabric (or dang close to it) only just a little beefier. For undies beefier is not necessarily bad. I've got a complete "set" of "long underwear" in a high performance wicking synthetic for $20. Nice "camisole" top and leggings which fit under my shell pants (and my wool overalls)... and I can wear them during the summer as regular clothes if I want to.
     
  17. TnMtngirl

    TnMtngirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I cut strips of plastic grocery bags and stuff around windows with a thin knife blade.When warm weather comes again just pull it out and throw away,have been doing this for years.Our old house is small and there are a lot of cracks I use the bags to fill those too.The spray foam stuff is good but messy.
     
  18. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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    Grow a thick mat of chest hair...
     
  19. bugstabber

    bugstabber Chief cook & weed puller Supporter

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    I wear Cuddl Duds for the legs in the winter, can't live without them. Well I could but then I wouldn't go outside.
     
  20. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    yea, dress for the occasion. couple pairs of socks, inside a cotton pair, outside some wool socks, preferably handknit. long underwear of course. no bare feet, no sweater without anything under it. A teakettle simmering on the stove, hot soup, down comforters on the bed. we never heat the bedrooms, even when heat was cheap our bedrooms were cool, we sleep better that way, too. Actually for many years we had sheepwool comforters, really snug and warm, from the wool of our sheep. there was a small family garage size enterprise, they took your wool and made it into comforters. actually all our lives we have only heated the living room and kitchen and the bathroom when it is needed.