Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I’ve been resting and taking care of myself while feeling guilty that necessary work is not getting done. Last night I kept thinking about all the things I should be doing instead of laying around resting. Winter prepping, food storage, making window quilts, get Christmas quilts finished, customer quilts finished, unpacking more boxes, write blog posts, wash my cold weather clothes, and so many other things. All things need to be done and all at the same time. But, which one first? Catching up after an illness of several days is difficult.
I remind myself I’m only one person. I can only do so much at one time. I believe my number one priority right now is my health. After that I need to get ready for the cold weather ahead. Yesterday I turned on the furnace. I hated doing it but I don’t need to be freezing while recovering from an illness. Keeping warm in winter is a necessary expense. I’ll do all I can to keep that expense low but I must have it to live. Umm, I also don’t want the pipes to freeze either.
I called to set up an appointment for our utility company to do an energy evaluation audit on my house. The audit will include a blower door test to find air leaks. For the little money the audit costs its a real bargain. They can pinpoint what is needed for maximum energy savings. I use the list to do research into costs and start saving for those things. I don’t know a lot about heating systems but I do believe the furnace in this house is rather old and not efficient at all. The filter required is costly at about $35 each providing I can find one. Ordering online will make them more expensive with shipping costs. Over the summer I’ve been researching HVAC systems for two story houses. Some new furnaces sound too good to be true. Right now I’m only researching types of energy star systems, not the price. I won’t look at actual price until I figure out which type would work best for my house. I believe in quality over quantity. A cheap price doesn’t usually provide the best efficiency neither does the newest and greatest provide the best maintenance. Seriously, why buy and pay for installation on a system that no one local knows how to keep working? Why have a system with impossible to find or very expensive filters?
The person who does the audit is simply looking for energy efficiency and not selling products so they may have some suggestions about a good three way system. I’ve been researching three way heat pumps with individual control zones. Three way means furnace, air conditioning, and water heating combined together. A heat pump is more energy efficient than a forced air system. Individual zones means I control which areas of the house gets heat or air. I don’t need it anywhere except the room I’m in so other rooms could be shut down. I believe the money saved on utilities will be sufficient to make payments on a new system.
I had planned to make window quilts and cornice boards over the summer. I say that very same thing every year and somehow the quilts never get made. So far only one room actually has curtains on the windows. That’s because I had the curtains at the old house and brought them with me. I guess it would help if I simply managed to buy heavy curtains and hang them. I have so many ME projects to do around using less energy but not enough time and not enough money to do them. The one thing I won’t ignore is the year round canning. Not only does canning save money on food but it also saves energy.
I have no idea whether this house is insulated or not. There may be some insulation in the crawl space but I doubt there is any in the walls. Touching the bare wood floor isn’t as cold as touching an outside wall.
Hmm, that reminds me. I wrote an explanation of household insulation back in the time of the oil embargo of the 1970s. When I started blogging back in 2002 I put that explanation on the main blog. When I started this frugal living blog I added the explanation here too. Every year or two I include a link for my readers to look at it again. Maybe you’d enjoy reading it. This is the link. Na Na explains insulation.
I’m very interested in what you are doing to prepare for colder weather while keeping your energy bill low. Probably other readers would like to know too. Some live in colder places and some live in milder places but we all want to keep utility costs low. Please leave some comments telling us your winter priorities for saving on heating costs.