Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baby it's Cold Outside

Our utility company has recently changed the format of their statements. There is now a neat little graph in the corner that shows how much energy you use compared to others in town. I know our utilities where high, but seeing how we compare, shocked us. My Vet and I are pretty frugal, so we already put plastic over the windows, insulate the outlets on exterior walls, and turn off lights when we aren't using them, etc. That apparently, is not enough.

We now have lots of plans to improve our energy efficiency over the next year. I don't like all of the green technologies being shoved at us, but many of them could help us save that $1000 a year in utilities, our more efficient neighbors save. Our big plan is slated for this summer, but is there anything we can do right now?

 reenactment only, no one was
harmed in the filming
Our basement has always been really cold in the winter. Since we use our fireplace as a significant source of heat, it has always made sense that the lower level would be colder. We also live in an old house, so I didn't think too much about it. Then one, recent, afternoon I was in the basement looking for things in the craft area, and noticed light from outside pouring in around a conduit line.

Having just seen the above graph for the first time, I wasted no time in trying to fix it.

My Vet gave me a can of Great Stuff he had in the garage, but it was cold and needed to warm up. He then found a roll of unused insulation in the garage. I had to wait a day for the can to warm up. In this time, a good blogger would have grabbed the camera to show you just how big this hole was. I on the other hand, hustled back up the stairs and warmed myself by the fire.

I suited up with long sleeves, goggles, breathing mask, and gloves. Partly to keep the fiberglass from hurting me, but really to stay warm. I started by using the Great Stuff to fill the gaping hole that I found, and then went around the foundation adding to any holes that I could feel a draft from.

Using a 2x4 and a utility knife, I cut the insulation to fit the small spaces between the joists that rested on the foundation. I added 2 layers in each space that had none, and added an extra layer to all the rest. I don't know if it was needed, but I had it and figured it couldn't hurt.

It is still cool in the basement on the Sub-Zero days, but I can actually do laundry in my stocking feet! The best part is we've seen almost a 10% reduction in our energy costs!

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