Weatherstripping doors and windors gives you one of the best returns on investment you can get. Don't forget other not-so-obvious trouble zones such as fireplaces, attic access, and electrical outlets on exterior walls — all of these need to be sealed up as well.
If incense isn't your thing, another way to discover where you need some more weatherstripping is to have your house pressure-washed. Any gap in the weatherstripping around your windows and doors that will let water in will also let air out as well.
Winter's coming pretty soon — what haven't you looked at lately? It's easy to take energy savings for granted:
- I did my weatherstripping last year! (Weatherstripping wears out.)
- I changed the furnace filters a while back! (If you can't remember when, it's time to change them.)
- I programmed the thermostats when I installed them! (The kids adjust the thermostat when we're not looking.)
Don't forget the outside of the house!
Yeah, we, we do too. If you're like us, you have an overflow refrigerator that you use for holiday parties and special occasions. It's usually your old, inefficient refrigerator, maybe from the previous house, that you hung onto after you upgraded because it wasn't worth anything to sell it.
Somehow, somewhere we seem to have gotten the idea that you're better off to just leave the house at room temperature all the time, that you're better off to just leave the computer on, that you're better off to just leave the spare refrigerator on even though it only has three things in it — and it's all hogwash. I know, I know, you don't do anything silly like this ...
But unless your old refrigerator is full of food, unplug it. You can always plug it back in later when you actually need it.
You may have the problem we have experienced several times over the years. You spend $2,500 on a brand-new computer and one or two years later some smartass tells you it's an antique.
"Nonsense!" you exclaim. "This does everything I need!"
Maybe, but it's still costing you more than you think it is. If you're still hanging onto your old computer, you probably have a 200-watt power supply in your desktop, a CRT monitor that pulls down 120 watts, and if you're really high-end, a laser printer than pulls down another 100 watts in stand-by mode. (I know, because I had that setup once upon a time not too long ago.) What does this cost you? At 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that's only 4.2 cents per hour.
Not much, right? (If you consider what you actually get from electricity, it is really inexpensive.)
Compare this to a more modern set up with a laptop with a 20-watt power supply, an LCD monitor that pulls down 20 watts, and a printer that stays off except for the 10 minutes a month I actually need it — and I'm spending 4/10ths of a cent per hour to run my computer, a savings of about 90%.
And here's the real savings: my new computer setup cost me about $1000, or 40% of what the old system cost, and delivers at least twice as much computing power.
It may be time for an upgrade ...
August in Georgia is famously hot. We were up and down quite a bit this month, both hotter than August last year but also with two (2) heating degree days (HDD). We continued to keep our thermostat at 75° and enjoyed the $60 savings on our electricity bill.
We did spend some of that on water to keep the lawn looking pretty. With water at nearly $3 per 750 gallons, keeping the grass green cost about $30 this month. Don't tell anyone, but I miss the days of water restrictions — the "drought" from last year — when having a brown lawn as acceptable.
August 2009 Data
|Electricity, in kWh||Cost / Unit||Gas, in Therms||Cost / Unit||Water, in CCF||Cost / Unit||BTUs / Ft2|