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It's our first year in our house and we're just looking for a brainstorming session of ways to save money this winter... Our furnace is only a couple years old so that should help.. but what do I use for the windows? There are miniblinds and then drapes, which are closed, but is there anything else I can do? I heard bubble wrap helps but is it really that effective?

We currently have our thermostat set on 60. Is this unreasonable? We have wool socks and sweaters and sweatpants and everything to keep us warm.

My basic plan is to keep the thermostat at 60 then use space heater to heat the area we are sleeping/living in to get it up to reasonable temperature or is this a crazy idea?
 

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Well, first I would suggest that you make sure you have extra furnace filters. A dirty filter will up the furnace coming on more than it should. Second, get caulking and a gun and check all the windows outside for cracks and seal them. I open my blinds and curtains in the winter to let the sun help heat my home ( passive solar). I close them in the summer to help keep it cool ;)
Measure your outside doors and go and buy some draft stoppers. Now, you can make your own or you can buy some that attach to your doors ( they're kinda like sweepers lol) and they stop the cold air coming in and the warm air going out, and they're not such a pain in the rear having to move them back and forth to the door like the ones you just shove up against the door.
If your nose is cold, then turn up the heat. Thats my motto. So, if 60 is where you want your thermostat and you're not shivering, go for it. IMO, thats too low. It's a good temp for the bedroom to sleep in, but in the living areas, it's too low. I'm just saying. Thats only MY opinion. You can go too cold ya know ;)


Thats all I can think of with only one cup of coffee LOL:sleepy:
 

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Winter

-make sure you have the draft stoppers, like mentioned above, also do weather stripping.

-in between (so they aren't visible on the outside of windows) the blinds and the curtains, I hang heavy blankets for a barrier.

-make sure all the outside caulking is good, if not replace or add around windows and doors.

-go in the basement/crawlspaces and make sure that you don't have any spaces or drafty areas, they have that expander insulation/caulk stuff you can spray in if you have some.

-get a programable thermostat, so you can go lower at night or while you are at work.

-insulate/wrap your pipes and water heater.
 
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-We add a layer of bubble wrap to our windows even though we have a new house with high-grade insulated windows and insulating Levolor blinds over them. The bubble wrap REALLY makes a difference when the temperature start to really dip! Check furniture stores for free or inexpensive sheets of bubble wrap.

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/bubblewrap.htm

You will also find other DIY projects at that link.

-I just finished new drapes to cover the front and back doors in the living room. These are two-layers and made with insulating materials. I did this for the front door when we first moved into our home 3 years ago because the reflection of light off the neighbors garage would add 5-7 degrees of heat into our entrance in the summer, but the same insulated drapes worked to keep the cold out in the winter as well, so I made all new ones with better materials for BOTH doors. Hubby built oak cornices to match our trim to hold the rod. In another era it wasn't unheard of to cover doors or the doorway into a room with velvet drapes to prevent drafts and cold air coming into a room.

- Is 60°F unreasonable? Not if you are comfortable. Your house is probably holding enough heat from the day to keep the temperature indoors higher than 60°F. Once cold weather REALLY sets in, you may find 65°-67°F more realistic. If you keep the furnace fan on CONSTANT, your air temperature will remain more even and you won't feel that 3° rise and fall of the air temperature before the furnace kicks on. That's a tip our furnace technician gave us.

-Maintain an air lock. The air in your house is like an envelope when you have all the windows closed. Each time you open the front door the envelope is broken and either the furnace or air conditioner must kick on to heat/cool the air in the envelope. We enter and exit our house through the garage and into our laundry room. The room is our air lock because we have to open a door to get into the kitchen and the rest of the house. So the SMALL envelope of air in the laundry room is all that is disturbed when the door is open.

I have three books to suggest (check your local library for these, and similar books on the subject):

Movable Insulation by William K. Langdon
Lots of great ideas in this book. Since the book was written, there are better products with which to use the ideas.

The Home Energy Diet by Paul Scheckel

Energy-Saving Projects You Can Build - Better Homes and Gardens copyright 1979. We used this book for many projects during the energy crisis during the Jimmy Carter years. We built window coverings, a cover for our air conditioner, an air lock at the entrance of our home, built a windbreak at the two back doors...
 

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Great tips and thanks for the book titles. I am thinking of making window quilts this winter. I won't be done them this year I am sure but I would like to try the concept. We have alot of large windows in the house and I would think that window quilts will help alot. I also want to make some draft stoppers (the long things for at the bottom of the outside doors).

We also need to plug in the heat tape under the house, put the insulation in front of the basement windows and when it starts to snow, we always bank up the house...that makes a huge difference.

The highs this next week are only suppose to be in the mid 40s so winter is definitely on the way! :sigh:
 

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I learned a few things from this thread Debbie-cat thank you for the idea window quilts , i do use some of the stuff mentioned but i'm going to check out the others. Thanks again everyone ,Klean163 :cloud9:
 

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These ideas are very handy, thanks.
 

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Thanks Great ideas!!!
 

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i close all the registers and doors to unused rooms--
(unless its a room with plumbing that is on an outside wall) keep the warmth avbl so pipes don't freeze and burst.....

keep doors to closets, pantries, etc closed so that you are not heating unused space.....

follow the window quilt/drape ideas above and if possible on warmer sunshiny days open to let the heat radiate in when sun is shining directly on the glass....

on especially cold and yucky days plan for a day of baking and let your oven do double duty by leaving the door open as it cools down....

you will find many many tips here in the archives that will help you 'winterize' your house the best you can but you can only do so much and then you have to start to winterize your person...for us we have a found a soution that works (ok-so it will never feel like the caribbean in here but at least by the end of winter we will have saved enough to take a trip there....)...keep your eye on the prize....that's our motto.....

so here's what we do......i have hung curtains in the doorway of the FR and keep closed most of the time in the winter...i have a ventless fireplace that i run (truly does cost pennies an hr) and it keeps the room toasty and warm while we are using it...(it is the room we spend 90% of waking hrs in)....although it requires running into the 'deep freezer' when you gotta potty or get a drink....the savings on the utility bill makes it all seem worthwhile...besides the pioneers had to run out to the outhouse....so we still got it better...lol...(so i keep trying to convince my own family)...wonder why they keep saying "but we AREN'T pioneers" ..... about an hr before bedtime i turn the heat up from about 55 to 65 and flip on the electric blankets (this makes it less miserable as we are brushing teeth/face, etc)....when we go to bed i turn the heat back down to about 52-55 and open the curtains to FR and allow the additional heat to escape into the main house (fireplace is off now)....in the morning.....i'm up an hr earlier so i turn on the heat to about 69-70 and it runs for about an hr before DH leaves and then back down it goes to low 50's for the day....the curtains to the FR get closed and depending on temps that day and if i am home and miserable i will turn the fireplace on if necessary...otherwise everything stays off until about an hr before dh comes home and then the fireplace comes on and its a repeat of the night before.....may seem kinda extreme but we cut our heating bill to 1/3 by operating this way last year......and your body really does get more used to the cooler temps after awhile......so its not quite so miserable....now if you have little children you probably would want to make a few adjustments....however in our previous house we did it with radiant heaters and my son was young and he didn't die (although he kept blowing the breakers coz he was turning on ALL the heaters at one time...maybe he was trying to tell me something) ?? lol

we wear lots of layers of clothing around the house w/big fluffly socks and always slippers....sometimes i will even wear my earmuffs (well its really more like ear-wrap...like the skiers wear) and if my hands get cold i wear thin gloves (the ones that are designed for you to sleep in so they are thin and easy to do just about anything in)... also drinking lots of hot liquids will help keep you warm too....i have a heating pad (a little one that's used for aches & pains) and when i get chilly i will put it on my lap and it works great.....

i hate winter and i hate cold and i would move somewhere warm in a heartbeat if only dh would agree to it (he loves the change of seasons)....so until that happens (which WILL be in my lifetime come [email protected]!! or high water) this is what we will do to get thru the winter and the outrageous heating bills that accompany it.....
 

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Regarding window quilts. I went to Salvation Army. They have quilts around $10. for twin. (esp. 1/2 off colors). You can split them.seam and make rod pockets. This allows light in. I left them whole. Nailed under the moulding.
This year I will put a dowling in a rod pocket at the bottom and bring the whole bottom up to the top. Attaching the dowling to the top rod when I want light. I am far too busy (and lazy) to make 14 window quilts. I cannot leave it covered all winter though either, the lack of light makes us DEPRESSED. Too Dark.!!
 

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so here's what we do......i have hung curtains in the doorway of the FR and keep closed most of the time in the winter...i have a ventless fireplace that i run (truly does cost pennies an hr) and it keeps the room toasty and warm while we are using it...(it is the room we spend 90% of waking hrs in)....although it requires running into the 'deep freezer' when you gotta potty or get a drink....the savings on the utility bill makes it all seem worthwhile...besides the pioneers had to run out to the outhouse....so we still got it better..
What kind of ventless fireplace do you use?
 

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old farmhouses did not have heat on the second floor WHY because you can put more blankets on the bed.

You can keep your house colder at night WHY because you can put blankets on the bed... Save yourself some money do not put a space heater in the sleeping area most are a fire hazard anyway. get extra blankets on the beds and put the kids in blanket sleepers.

In the 70s everyone was making window quilts they put velcro on the sides to keep the drafts out. I also remember the 1 inch ridged insulation cut to fit the window and then slid in place in the evening

we have old windows and even though we have storm windowwe have big drafts so I do the plastic on the inside on the bedrooms. last year I used polar fleeze to cover one window It made a huge difference I think I may make winter curtains this year.
 

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What kind of ventless fireplace do you use?
niko: i looked on the fireplace box but i can't see who the manufacturer is.....we have had it about 10 yrs now....we bought it at the local hardware store but you can get them practically anywhere now....(this is a big full size one with a huge mantle all the way around....not the little freestanding ones that you see for $100-200)....i think we paid about $700 for it at the time but we bought the custom mantle and i had it professionally stained to match all my cabinetry and furniture and we also got the optional 'blower' unit to go with it too but in the 10 yrs we have never had to use the blower coz it will get so hot in the room you have to open the windows.....the room we use it in is 20x30 and we never have to adjust the thermostat on the heater up over 1/2 way...... we also have 2 ceiling fans in the room and i turn them on to 'move' the heat around but you could do the same thing with a fan.....

try home depot or lowes or one of those places...i really do think it makes a difference to get the best one you can afford coz i think their heating capabilities and energy efficiency's can make a huge difference.....and you have to be able to get a gas line run to it....
i have friends that have bought electric ones thinking they would do the same thing and they have been disappointed and claimed they looked 'prettier' than were functional.....

i will continue to try to find out who made this one and if i can i will definately let you know...it's possible the reps at the store remember coz the same guys are there that got it for me......i'll ask them.......
 
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We heat with a wood stove. Wood heat is nice and warm. Our heat pump was replaced last year with a more efficient one. Not by choice, a tree fell on it. Everyone here has given you excellent tips. Don't forget to make sure your water to outside spigots is turned off from the inside and drained.
 
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Well, we purchased oil already while the prices were low. The earlier you get oil the less expensive it tends to be. We got our furnance cleaned and adjusted this past Sat. a safe, clean heater burns less fuel.

We keep our thermostat down to about 55' and run an electric oil filled radiator in the living room (keeping all other doors shut, no need to heat unused rooms) the furnance will kick in to keep the temp at 55'-60'. We push the thermostat up to 60' at night and run an oil heater in the hall with bedroom doors open and just pile on the blankets.

We cover our windows with blankets. Use draft dodgers. bake and dry laundry during the day~makes the house nice and toasty. Everyone has their own throw in the living room to cuddle up with, we wear sweaters during the day and bathrobes and slippers in the evening.
 

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Not sure if this was mentioned our light company gave us out let covers they are like foam and fit over the out lets and stop air from flowing through your out let the cover goes over them so you don't see them.We put them in all the out lets and noticed no cold air coming in and they were free.We also put plastic over windows to keep cold air out.They are Walmart all precut.
 

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niko: i looked on the fireplace box but i can't see who the manufacturer is.....we have had it about 10 yrs now....we bought it at the local hardware store but you can get them practically anywhere now....(this is a big full size one with a huge mantle all the way around....not the little freestanding ones that you see for $100-200)....i think we paid about $700 for it at the time but we bought the custom mantle and i had it professionally stained to match all my cabinetry and furniture and we also got the optional 'blower' unit to go with it too but in the 10 yrs we have never had to use the blower coz it will get so hot in the room you have to open the windows.....the room we use it in is 20x30 and we never have to adjust the thermostat on the heater up over 1/2 way...... we also have 2 ceiling fans in the room and i turn them on to 'move' the heat around but you could do the same thing with a fan.....

try home depot or lowes or one of those places...i really do think it makes a difference to get the best one you can afford coz i think their heating capabilities and energy efficiency's can make a huge difference.....and you have to be able to get a gas line run to it....
i have friends that have bought electric ones thinking they would do the same thing and they have been disappointed and claimed they looked 'prettier' than were functional.....

i will continue to try to find out who made this one and if i can i will definately let you know...it's possible the reps at the store remember coz the same guys are there that got it for me......i'll ask them.......
Thank you, I'd definitely appreciate it. It get's chilly even in Florida. And yes, sometimes cheaper is not always better ( or cheaper ).
 

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niko: i looked on the fireplace box but i can't see who the manufacturer is.....we have had it about 10 yrs now....we bought it at the local hardware store but you can get them practically anywhere now....(this is a big full size one with a huge mantle all the way around....not the little freestanding ones that you see for $100-200)....i think we paid about $700 for it at the time but we bought the custom mantle and i had it professionally stained to match all my cabinetry and furniture and we also got the optional 'blower' unit to go with it too but in the 10 yrs we have never had to use the blower coz it will get so hot in the room you have to open the windows.....the room we use it in is 20x30 and we never have to adjust the thermostat on the heater up over 1/2 way...... we also have 2 ceiling fans in the room and i turn them on to 'move' the heat around but you could do the same thing with a fan.....

try home depot or lowes or one of those places...i really do think it makes a difference to get the best one you can afford coz i think their heating capabilities and energy efficiency's can make a huge difference.....and you have to be able to get a gas line run to it....
i have friends that have bought electric ones thinking they would do the same thing and they have been disappointed and claimed they looked 'prettier' than were functional.....

i will continue to try to find out who made this one and if i can i will definately let you know...it's possible the reps at the store remember coz the same guys are there that got it for me......i'll ask them.......
Um....is this the kind you see in the newer built homes that you turn on with a flick of a light switch? (seeing that you said it wasn't one of the free standing ones)
 

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-We add a layer of bubble wrap to our windows even though we have a new house with high-grade insulated windows and insulating Levolor blinds over them. The bubble wrap REALLY makes a difference when the temperature start to really dip! Check furniture stores for free or inexpensive sheets of bubble wrap.

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/bubblewrap.htm
I really think I am going to give this bubble wrap thing a try on our windows -- if I manage to get the bubble wrap free, what could it cost me but time?

We didn't have curtains when we bought this house, so as I order them room by room, I buy thermal/blackout drapes so I can pull them shut and hopefully save heat. Overstock.com has been a great resource for these.

I feel silly asking this, but where on a window exactly am I supposed to be looking to caulk? I would like to do this but don't really understand how. I have double paned windows, btw.

We get eaten alive every year with our heating costs (natural gas). It literally makes me sick with how much $ flies out. I seem to remember something about our furnace not having a filter system, but I don't know if this is right so I wouldn't know where to look or what to do if I DID need to change a filter. Help!
 
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