Not as prepared as I thought

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ninn, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

    Messages:
    2,786
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Susquehanna, PA
    :Bawling: Well, I am getting too close to cold weather for my physical comfort. I am not prepared for cold weather, and I am not prepared to prepare for cold weather. To explain: My dh and I purchased a trailer home for 1500 dollars. We got what we paid for-we sunk another 1500 into redoing the entire plumbiing system. (and I just found a leak.......lol) . That was all our savings. We saved for a month to have the furnace serviced and get it up and running. This place was open to the elements and every cat in town for over 2 years. We spent less than 20 bux and got the smell out (thank you kids and pets) but never even thought about the underside of the house. Well, that's not exactly true. I have been fussing about insulation for 2 months. However, I never thought about the existing ductwork. Wish I had-we have just found at least 3 places where it is pulling away from the flooring and several more where it has holes that go all the way thru. I am taking estimates now on getting it repaired, as to get it replace will cost more than I can save in a month. Why is it that I never thought about the ductwork? I have no idea. It should have been one of the first things I looked at. I guess it is time for me to overcome my fear of small spaces and crawl underneath my home to see what else needs my immediate attention. ICK! I hate small spaces. I don't go under things that weigh more than I do. I know it's irrational, but what if it falls on me??? And how in the world do I even know what I am supposed to be looking for? What was I thinking??? Now I am really scared of upcoming winter. With DH being laid off for 3 months and it being all we can do to keep food on the table and heat in the house over that period, where do I get the funds to fix the heating system? I cannot in good conscience keep on running the electric space heaters. And I begin to suspect that I may need to replace the furnace as well. (it only runs if set at 70 or above-I prefer to keep it set at 65)

    The only positive thing I could find out of this is the following: If we insulate along the backs of the skirting like we planned, at least we are trapping the heat that escapes thru those holes and can use it to prevent the water feed pipe from freezing. (the rest of them are inside the house). And since heat rises, it will eventually come back into the house. I just worry about how much extra fuel we will consume while we save for repairing or replacing the ductwork. What to do???
     
  2. kitty32_z8

    kitty32_z8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    703
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    You might want to contact your electric company and ask about any heating asistance or weatherization programs for low income. They may be able to help get you weatherized. Also keep your eyes on freecycle.org and craigslist for free weatherization items.
     

  3. SignMaker

    SignMaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I feel for you! It must be very cold in your house right now!

    My recommendation would be to consider using anything you can to insulate with. For instance, if you have access to square bales of hay, stack them up around the perimiter of your house.

    Also, you can buy very strong plastic from lowes or home depot and use it to keep out the drafts. It makes a huge difference in how cold your house is. Growing up, my mother would winterize our house each year and plastic on the windows was one of the first things that she would put up. What you do is take some cardboard boxes and cut them up into 1.5 inch strips. Wrap the cardboard with about five inches of the edge of the plastic and them staple it in place. With practice this becomes easy.

    Good Luck!!
     
  4. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    I can commiserate, Ninn! I've been procrastinating getting into my own crawl space to see what's up with the furnace (which has not worked since March). We've been heating the kitchen with the gas oven (baking a lot), and the rest of the house with the woodstove - which will work until it stays below 32 even during the day...then we're goanna NEED the stoopid furnace!!

    So Why haven't I gotten my butt down there to at least have a look yet????
     
  5. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Messages:
    2,890
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Location:
    NE PA
    Ninn,
    I'm in Susquehanna County and know that Trehab has weatherization crews. Their weatherization number is 570-278-5240. They should be able to help you especially if you have limited income.
    Ann
     
  6. Beltane

    Beltane Enjoying Four Seasons

    Messages:
    3,107
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Beautiful Milton, New Hampshire
    Oh no! Definately call your local community action group. I work for one here in NH and our weatherization department is hard at work helping lots of folks get their homes ready for winter. Good Luck to you. :)
     
  7. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    940
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    You stated hubby is laid off.. Not laid to rest. Send him under there with some duct tape and some baling wire. Just takes a little effort and you can do anything.
     
  8. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    Definitely call Weatherization, then apply for LIHEAP, heating assistance. It gets mighty cold here in PA. Do keep in mind that Weatherization is going to evauluate your home completely before agreeing to assist you. I know someone who was refused assistance because her floors were in poor condition and she had leaks in her roof(doublewide) They refused to invest in her home until repairs were made.
     
  9. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

    Messages:
    7,220
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    i agree with the duct tape recommendation. it works wonders. a great temporary fix.

    i also agree with bales of straw or hay for around the skirting(or lack there of) if you could find someone with livestock who has old hay for cheap, that is the way to go for now.
     
  10. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

    Messages:
    2,786
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Susquehanna, PA
    What I said was, DH is DUE TO BE laid off soon. When that happens, our income will go down to less than 150 per week. That will barely cover the lot rent and the mortgage payment. It doesn't leave alot of room to fix anything else. We do what we can with what he currently earns, which is not alot. I am disabled, with no benefits coming in yet. I am seriously considering trying to go back to work just to pay for repairs and preps. As things stand right now, after the regular bills are paid, there is no money left to purchase the raw materials needed to effect the repairs. I have a few dollars squirreled away for the metal heat duct tape that is required for sealing up the seams and am hoping that to cover the holes with tha will hold me for the winter. After that, it will be strapping tape and screws to reinforce the ductwork support system. However, it will take me a couple more weeks to save up the money for those. Literally every penny right now is allocated. We have spent our entire budget and then some trying to make this place liveable. We have borrowed for some repairs and applied to the church for help with others. We have gotten brand new insulation given to us for free and have made plans to install that this coming week. I have applied to the local programs for help with the stuff we can't afford. However, some repairs that they will deem necessary cannot be made in cold weather. I just CANNOT replace walls, windows and floorboards right now, even if I COULD afford it. It is too cold to have windows out or rip up floors. We ran out of money long before we ran out of repairs. We expected that to happen. We did NOT expect the list to continue growing while we were not looking!!....lol. This is such a learning experience.
     
  11. tamsam

    tamsam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,321
    Joined:
    May 12, 2006
    Location:
    north central wv
    Depending on the size of the holes in the duct work you may be able to get a small roll of alum flashing and a tube of liquid nails and patch them that way. The flashing will cut with a pair of regular sizzors, just cut it a little bigger than the hole and put it on with the liquid nails. Good luck. Tamsam
     
  12. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Messages:
    2,890
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Location:
    NE PA
    Ninn, DID YOU READ MY POST? with the name and phone number of the weatherization agency in the county? Call them on Monday.
    Ann
     
  13. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

    Messages:
    2,786
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Susquehanna, PA
    AnnieW~

    Yes, I did. Thank you for the information. As soon as i hits 9 am monday morning, I will be giving them a call. I hope their program still has funding available. I sure have left it late in the season to call them, huh? Worst that can happen is they say they can't help-then I'm no worse off than I am now. Keep your fingers crossed.
     
  14. HeatherDriskill

    HeatherDriskill Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    457
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I'm sorry things are hard for you right now. Sounds like things are tough all over. As I read your post about being completely broke, I had to wonder if you pay for your internet. If so, having that cut off could certainly help your finances.
     
  15. mtmama

    mtmama Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    304
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    you could call a furnace repair place and ask them about the furnace only running if it is set at 70 degrees, it might just be the thermostat that needs replaced. It never hurts to ask!
     
  16. ihedrick

    ihedrick Can't stop thinkin'

    Messages:
    1,267
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    Contact some of the nurseries around you. They may have some old bales of straw that they'll give you. I've gotten lots this way, and am working my way arund my house for insulation.
     
  17. ihedrick

    ihedrick Can't stop thinkin'

    Messages:
    1,267
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    I asked my Dad (retired furnace mechanic) about the temp thing...its the thermostat...without looking at it...
     
  18. stown

    stown New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    I would go for any low tech/ low $ fix I could find. The suggestion of piling straw or hay bales around the skirting sounds like a good start.

    You have little time and then next spring maybe you can make better repairs.

    Good Luck and stay warm! :)
     
  19. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,891
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    I have a question for anyone who might know. I live in a VERY OLD mobile. There is an "underbelly". How can one tell if the ductwork is ok? I crawl under my place and there is a solid bottom on it.
     
  20. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,740
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    north central Pennsylvania
    OK..never having lived in a mobile home...what do I really know..right ?? But..having a very independent friend that has and did for years I've seen some things that she has done over the years. Now..she is totally self sufficient..has a weaving business and that is her income for over 30 years raising her son since I have known her. Many years ago came from Sweden. Just has gotten electric in the last few years and still has her outhouse..Hauls water for animals and cleaning from stream..so you get the picture. Old, old mobile home. Wood stove she heats with..but she lays cardboard down on her floor in the winter months and covers them with old carpets or even blankets and quilts on her floor. Doesn't use the hay bales around home because of the fear of a spark from the wood stove catching on fire here. Sure..it's isn't Better Homes and Gardens..but she keeps nice and cozy during our northern PA winters here. She uses heat lamps with "regular" light bulbs for more heat..and they will heat that area you are underneath them. Not the heat lamp bulbs in the lamps while in the house. She doesn't take or ask for assistance from the state and will not get SS when she is older..and she is older now.. She has never paid into it. I think you probably have to think almost in a "survival" mode this winter. Get very basic, if you can get anymore basic than you are now. Plastic up the windows or even use cardboard on them and cover with a pretty curtain for the cold months. Maybe an expensive plug in heater that you get at Wal-Mart cheap to use for a few hours a day to keep the chill off the room you are in at that time. And if all else fails..just snuggle with your honey on cold winter nights..it's make the time go faster until spring and you can get on your feet again. Ask for help from others..many are more than happy and willing to give a hand. We have all been there in one way or another at some time in our lives. I wish you luck and let us all know how you are doing too !!