Talk to me about heat. How do you keep your bills low in the winter? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-10-2009, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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With Obama offering that $1500 tax rebate for energy efficiency improvements, we're thinking about buying a wood stove...or maybe insulating window treatments...because those things qualify for the rebate.

I know it is only August...but already I'm starting to fret about our upcoming winter season.

MDCers in cold climates (we are in Vermont...we have some serious winter here)...what do you do to save on your heatings bills?

Do you have a wood stove? Does it save you money?

What about window quilts?

What would you buy to reduce your heating costs?

 

 

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Old 08-10-2009, 08:53 AM
 
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We live in a cold climate. Ours is a 70 year old stone house, so the walls are not well insulated, but we have all new Pella and Andersen windows and doors.

Our heating bill (natural gas) is $16 a MONTH budget plan or $192 a YEAR. We use our heat about 6 months of the year, so realistically we are paying $32/month for the months we use heat. That's pretty cheap!

Our wood burning stove is to supplement our central air. I will tell you that heating with wood can be a lot of work if you cut your own or it can be expensive if you don't. We go through about 2 cord of wood per winter, which would cost us somewhere around $350 if we bought all of it. If you are using the stove exclusively, you could burn 6 or 7 cord in a cold winter.

It's important when you are heating with wood that the wood is truly seasoned hardwood in order for it to burn efficiently and safely. A lot of people will advertise that their wood is seasoned but then you find out that they felled the tree 6 months ago and split it 4 months ago. Uh... no... that's not seasoned. If we have to buy wood (some years we do, some we don't), we buy it the previous year and let it season an additional year on our woodpile. This year we'll be burning one half cord that is 2 years old and the rest will be 11-12 months seasoned on our woodpile. We have some wood already laid in for next winter. Wood that is not properly seasoned will burn cooler and produce a lot of sm oke, which causes creosote... leading to chimney fires. So it's important to find a reliable source for your wood. If you are seriously considering heating with wood this winter, you need to start finding nicely seasoned wood now. Seasoned wood will have cracks in the ends of the split wood and will feel light for it's size.

The other expense is having the stove inspected and swept once (or twice if you're not burning good wood) each year. We paid $140 for this just a few weeks ago.

Our stove is an older cast iron Sierra and I can cook on it and I even do a little baking in it (baked potatoes and such that can't spill), so this saves even more money. For example, if I want to make beans or chili or soup, I can start it on my regular stove, then once it gets up to temperature, I can sit it on the wood burning stove for the long, low and slow cooking.

Last but not least (have you figured out that I love our WB stove??), our stove requires no electricity (unlike pellet stoves) and it has saved our hide more than once when ice storms knock out our power. Once for several days. Modern stoves have blowers on them to circulate the air, but the blower isn't necessary for a wood burning stove like it is for a pellet stove.

I hope I've answered some questions about heating with wood. It certainly saves us a lot of money.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:43 AM
 
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We live in a new home, so it has a lot of the energy efficient stuff already. One the things that makes a big difference for us though is programmable thermostats. I use them a little differently than others do I think though. The ones I have have 3 time zones a day. Rather than trying to time them to when we are coming and going (because I'm a SAHM and we don't always have a specific schedule), I just have one zone for night, set at our nighttime temp (58 last year) and spread the other three out during the day, set at the lowest tolerable daytime temp (61 last winter). If I'm cold, I bump the heat up a few degrees. The advantage of the programmable thermostat is when the time zone ends, it resets the temp back. This has several good things about it - first, sometimes I'm colder because I'm less active, but later in the day I'm more active (cleaning or something) and don't really need the heat as high. I don't have to remember to reset it, so I save a lot of energy that way. And, because it does automatically reset, it helps me adjust to the lower temperature. At the beginning of the winter, I tend to bump the temp more frequently, as time goes on, I adjust. Also, if I'm out of the house, the temp stays low and saves us energy. If we have a schedule where I'm sure I'll be away most of the time during a particular time period I'll set that time even lower. Anyway, I feel they definitely save us way more than their purchase price in saved energy. I can't believe anyone doesn't have them!

How your house is heated can make a difference too. Our last house was forced hot air, one zone the whole house. We found it saved us money to keep the heat extremely low at night and just keep a space heater in our room (since the kids slept with us anyway) and heat the one room via electric rather than the whole house via gas. Electric is generally less efficient, but when you are talking about heating a significantly smaller area, it worked out cheaper.

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Old 08-10-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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The biggest thing we do is turn the thermostat down and put on a sweater and slippers. We put in a couple of digital programmable thermostats last fall, and the biggest difference I noticed was that the temperature stayed steady in the rooms with the digitals--the heaters would get turned on low if the temperature dropped even slightly. We didn't get around to programming them, we just turn them down at night before bed and up in the morning. If we are going to all be away for the day, we turn them down then too.

Other than that, sealing windows either with seal and peel, or plastic, or even heavy blankets is helpful.

I would love to have a wood stove, but that's just on my want list for the next few years.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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We just keep the heat low (62) and bundle up. I work from home, so no need to heat whole house during the day, just wrap up in a blanket sitting at my desk. Fleece is often worn in the winter months. We have also done the plastic on windows and shut doors to less used rooms.
We rent, no way we could instal a wood stove, but it would be on my list of things to add as wood can be had for cheap with a forest permit and some sweat equity.
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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My brother heats his house with a wood-burning fireplace insert. It keeps the house so warm they run around in their underwear! At the same time he installed the insert, he also blew in 10 bags of insulation in the attic. He burns between 1-2 cords of wood per winter. His windows are nothing fancy, but he is obsessive about caulking things every fall.

I live in a 90-year-old house with very little wall insulation, and we just suck it up and freeze in the winter. At first, I paid a fortune to replace most of the windows. That didn't really help, and I'll never recoup that money in energy savings. The two biggest improvements I've seen were when I had some siding replaced last year, and a ton of insulation added to those walls. And we got a new energy-efficient furnace last winter. I still keep the thermostat pretty cool, but our gas bill has gone down over $250 this year.

Ditto the suggestion on the programmable thermostat. I love ours!

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Old 08-10-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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Last year new windows really helped in our old house(1500sqft). We kept the temp at 62 and our gas bill never went over $55. Now we just bought a new house that is much larger 2700 sqft and is older. All the windows have been updated and are double pane and we have energy star furnaces ('04). We are buying an wood-buying insert for the fireplace which is situatede in the middle of teh first floor so we are hopeful that it should be low. We are getting a cord of felled wood from my inlaws and buying another cord. We are in the south though so heating is not as expensive as cooling.

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Old 08-10-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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Well, I don't handle being cold well, and I get cold easy. (Did I mention we're moving to Wisconsin this week?!?). DH on the other hand does not get cold easily. In addition to the programmable thermostat, I have a couple of little space heaters I picked up at Walmart last year. I kick one on for me in the room I'm working in, and if the kids are in the basement where it's cooler I will kick that one on for them. That way while we're still using a but more electricity, we're keeping the house about 5 degrees or more cooler overall and still saving money. It's the best solution we've come up with so far.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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We live in a 100 year old farmhouse in NC Washington by the Cascade mountains, it gets cold here, we live in the land of extreme temps. last week it was 100, and in the middle of Jan it can be -20 below zero. So I know all about cold. Wood heat can be great, but it can be messy and expensive. To make it cheap you need to have a chainsaw, a truck and time to get your own wood. Otherwise you'll be paying someone else to do it.

We have a pellet stove, we got it for a smokin good deal on our local bulletin board, it is wonderful and we love it. Pellets cost us about 600 a winter. We also have to use some electric heat too.

We have OLD windows in much of the house and not money to get new ones right now, so we have made curtains with liners and they really do help, we also made our own storm windows, with frames and plastic-not the loveliest things in the world, but they really do help. We have a new front door and are going to get a new back door also. Currently we are thinking of a way to have a retractable clothesline because our house stays pretty darn warm and so we can dry our clothes w/out the dryer to save on that cost. The last couple years we were under a remodel and so part of our house was barely insulated and BRRRRRRR....this year though it is pretty much done and so we'll be warmer.

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Old 08-10-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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We live in a warmer climate and spend 300+ a MONTH on heating. We have single pane windows that leak like nothing. We are updating all the windows this fall $$$$$ however we are hoping to save a bit on our heating bills, we already keep the house at 55-62 during the winter, lots of think slippers.

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Old 08-10-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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We live in a 60's ranch house, so it is probably so-so in terms of insulation, etc. The windows and doors are quite old.

We mostly rely on turning the thermostat down, and bundling up. We do put the plastic window film on some windows, but I think it is a huge pain to install so I only put it on windows that we don't open, so that I can leave it on all year round.

We have a single pane window in the basement that I put both the inside and outside window film on, and that made a pretty big difference (it was a big walkout window). I also lay towels at the base of doors that we don't go in and out of often.

If I was going to spend a big chunk of money, I would blow more insulation in our attic, or replace windows. I would only replace windows if I was going to stay in the house for awhile, bc the ROI for windows isn't that great when you sell.

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Old 08-10-2009, 03:47 PM
 
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We live in a small farmhouse in a part of the Ozarks that's prone to ice storms. After suffering through our first winter here with a small wood cookstove and some propane wall heaters, we blew a bunch of insulation in the attic and replaced the old stove with an outdoor wood heater, and it has made a ton of difference.

We bought our outdoor wood heater from here: http://www.outsidewoodheater.com/

It takes some brawn and bulding-knowhow to install, but it works like a dream. You load it up in the morning, stick a couple logs on around supper time, and then pack it full right before you go to bed. We go through about 5 or 6 ranks of wood per winter (about 2 or 3 cords). Wood is dirt cheap around here -- about $30 or $35 per rank -- so we end up outlaying about $200 for a winter's worth of wood.

We also have a "winter mode" that we go into when we fire up the heater for the first time of the season. We seal (foam and duct tape) all doors to the outside except for the one in our mudroom, and we nail a large, thick wool blanket across the living room window.
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:27 PM
 
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We live in a nearly 100 year old Craftsman style home in a city in Michigan. Our winters can be very cold and extremely loooong! We have a 45+ year old gas furnace that I would LOVE to replace. But with DH getting furloughed this summer, our plans to replace it went on indefinite hold. We would also like to get a woodburning insert to replace the current, 94 year old coal-burning fireplace.

But aside from those major and very costly improvements that we would like to make, this is what we've done to reduce our heating bills since we bought our house nearly 2 years ago.

-Even though it starts getting cold here in September and stays cold until mid-may, we only turn the heat on between Nov 1st and April 30th.
-We keep our heat set to 60 degrees, day and night.
-Replaced the extremely drafty and damaged windows in the bedrooms.
-Replaced the storm doors.
-Close off two of the three entry doors during the winter and cover them with plastic, door quilts, and draft dodgers.
-Use silicone caulk around all the door and window frames (inside and outside).
-Add putty caulk around the cracks of old windows, when ready to seal tight for the winter.
-Stuff strips of felt (cut from old sweaters) into the larger cracks around old windows.
-Everyone sleeps with thick down comforters
-We all wear lots of wool sweaters and socks/slipers, leg warmers, wrist warmers, and even stocking caps when it's really cold.
-I keep plenty of cozy throws on all the chairs in the living room and have shawls stashed around the house for me (I suffer from Raynuads and get painful chills very easily).
-DH and I replaced the drafty basement windows with glass block. We noticed that much of our heat was going out of the basement windows before it even had a chance to make it upstairs. This one improvement has really done wonders for us.

Our gas bill runs $30 to $40/mo in the summer, just for the water heater. In the winter, our gas bills range from around $100 in Nov and April to as much as $250 in January, which is our coldest month (with several weeks of sub-zero temps). This may seem like a lot, but I know it's super low in my area. We have very high utility rates in this region - I have friends who pay as much as $1500 to heat their house in the winter alone. : AS for us, I am sure we could have even lower bills if we could just get rid of this ancient furnace!

HTH!
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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Do you have a wood stove? Does it save you money?
Yes, two. And yes.
It would cost more money if we had to pay for the 3-4 cords of wood we need a winter ($150-$175/cord/red fir is the going rate in the summer, $225/cord/red fir during the winter for good, seasoned stuff) - hubby goes and gets our firewood himself. The chainsaws are his hobby as the garden is my hobby - as my neighbor has said, might as well have a hobby that's useful! We'd be paying that much to Avista each month (we go through about a cord a month, give or take) just to keep the house 65-70*F - with wood heat the house is perpetually 74*-84*F. My mom jokes that coming up here in the winter is like summertime. And we start burning around September at night, and need to keep it up until about May when we're still kinda burning just at night.

What about window quilts?
I have had some blankets falling apart over the years, so half our curtains have parts of those blankets sewn on the back of 'em. But even then, sometimes we have to open the windows to cool things off in the house because sometimes it gets a little warm... I don't have to worry about leaving the patio door open a crack

What would you buy to reduce your heating costs?
We bought two wood stoves - one for the living room and one for the den a half floor down (heat rises and all). Hubby got the den wood stove on clearance from Home Depot ($320 or so) and the pipe on sale ($450) since it has to go up, outside the house, above the roof line.
Hubby goes and cuts our firewood though. Costs us $5/cord for the forest service permit, and gas for the truck and chainsaws, plus his time. He gets to go out with some of his buddies, sans kids, and hang out with them though.


And check with your state tax credits... In our state, if you replace an older, inefficient fireplace insert, you can deduct the cost of it from your taxes (40% the first year, 20% the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years). It may have changed since then, but it's something to think about. Then see if you have any rebates/credits available from your local utility company - you never know.

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Old 08-10-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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Dress the kids warm, use electric blankets so we can have the house colder at night. Open shades during the day and close as soon as the sun starts going down. There's been lots of threads like this over the years if you do a search

Seriously?
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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Well, we have gas, but our 100 yo house still has all it's original windows. I'm sure replacing them would help, but at this point, in our neighborhood, it would actually detract from the value of our house. We also have the wooden (yeah, right) storm windows that go with them.

I spend one weekend every fall weather proofing. First floor with it's custom blinds gets heavy duty stretch plastic on the outside. Once you get good at doing it, you can't even really see it. It's very clear.

The second floor gets inside plastic. We have heavy duty "granny" curtains, that black out the light & the drafts. One window has a blanket over it we leave up year round for similar reasons.

The back room on the second floor(which some genius decided to expose a brick wall - beautiful, but not practical unless you mean practically freezing) we pretty much seal off and put on our coats to go use the computer. The third floor, we close the vents and seal it off. The windows in the front that are degrading get super heavy duty plastic.

A few things we added last year in addition to the door scrapes at the bottom were the valve gaskets for around the doors. Seriously, they helped SOOOOO much to reduce our drafts. They cost about $25 each, but they are energy star rated and I'm sure they saved more than that the first year. We also replaced our doorknobs & locks, which sounds weird, but refiguring them also helped close some gaps.

We use a programable thermostat too. We wait as long as we can to turn it on.

One thing that really helps is calling your gas or electric company and going on the offered budget plan. Part of it is that you can have them come out and do an energy audit. It shows you where you are losing energy. One serious culprit is wall sockets. Seriously, it sounds like a crock, but many are just mini windtunnels!

The budget plan is helpful, because instead of having a heart attack with that $400 bill in January, you pay the same monthly payment every month based on your income & your energy use history (mine's like $180). It kicks in around September to give you a running start on the winter. If you're lucky, you will have a few months in May/June/July of $30 bills b/c you caught up and paid it off. Then it starts again in Sept.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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Some useful links: :::

Renewable energy incentives in your state
http://www.dsireusa.org/

2009 Federal energy tax credits
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...pr_tax_credits

Low income weatherization programs
http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/weather...e_contacts.cfm

DOE Insulation Zip Code calculator
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer...nsulation.html

ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...showGetStarted
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:41 PM
 
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We keep the heat at 68 during the day and at night we lower it to 50 and in the bedroom we use those elctric radiant heaters. Generally my electric bill in the winter is around $90 or so.

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Old 08-10-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Crunchy*VT*Mom View Post
With Obama offering that $1500 tax rebate for energy efficiency improvements, we're thinking about buying a wood stove...or maybe insulating window treatments...because those things qualify for the rebate.

I know it is only August...but already I'm starting to fret about our upcoming winter season.

MDCers in cold climates (we are in Vermont...we have some serious winter here)...what do you do to save on your heatings bills?

Do you have a wood stove? Does it save you money?

What about window quilts?

What would you buy to reduce your heating costs?
nak

just an fyi, window treatments are NOT covered under the rebate

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knit.gifand sewmachine.gif my way through my stash.

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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*Turn the heat OFF at night. Seriously unless it's under say 22 degrees turn the heat off. At the very least reduce it to 50 degrees.

*Turn the heat off when you leave the house. The old school thought of there being too much wear and tear on the furnace and it actually taking longer (more power) to reheat the house has been debunked many many times.

*Get everybody thick thick socks and sweaters, and give each person a special blanket to use during the day.


*Clothes doors off on rooms you aren't using, only heat where you hang out.

*Replace windows if you have old ones.

And what we did, trolled and waited for a woodstove that was free/nearly free bought the pipes put it in, and then made friends with tree cutters and now we heat for free. (Well the cost of gas to go get the trees, and the energy to split the wood.)
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Crunchy*VT*Mom View Post
With Obama offering that $1500 tax rebate for energy efficiency improvements, we're thinking about buying a wood stove...or maybe insulating window treatments...because those things qualify for the rebate.

I know it is only August...but already I'm starting to fret about our upcoming winter season.

MDCers in cold climates (we are in Vermont...we have some serious winter here)...what do you do to save on your heatings bills?

Do you have a wood stove? Does it save you money?

What about window quilts?

What would you buy to reduce your heating costs?
Hey, I live in Vermont too (Burlington)...

I am curious about the rebate thing...I hadn't heard of that and we are also considering putting in a pellet stove this year...can you tell me more about it?

me, dh and 2 boys = our family (oh and a cat...who is also a male...lol)
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:30 PM
 
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We purchased and installed new sliding doors this year. Since we purchased them before June 1 and they both are Energy Star rated, both of them qualify for the tax credit. However, if we had purchased them AFTER June 1, then only one of them would qualify because the rules got stricter. My point is to check the exact products you are considering. Not all windows and doors qualify.

We also replaced our hot water heater. It didn't qualify for any rebates. Very few do qualify for this particular program.

(And, like a PP mention, window treatments do not qualify.)

My info is for the US, btw.

As far as heating bills go, we live in a mild climate. We generally only use the heat December - February with a few years starting earlier and/or going later.

We saw a big savings when we installed a programmable thermostat several years back (5-6 years ago).

I call our gas & electric company every year to come out and check our gas appliances/energy audit (free). This year, they have been here 6-7 times already due to leaks, new meters, energy audits, and so on (all free). I had them turn off our pilot light to the furnace the last time they were here and we saw an immediate drop in the gas portion of our bill! I'll be doing that every year from now on.

We have forced air heating and we have ceiling fans (no A/C). The fan works well at distributing the heat downward in the living room (first floor), which is our coolest room year-round.

In 2010, we plan to replace at least our bedroom windows (which are above the sliders we replaced this year). We're doing it for cooling reasons, but insulation is insulation and those will also affect heating.

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Old 08-11-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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*Turn the heat OFF at night. Seriously unless it's under say 22 degrees turn the heat off. At the very least reduce it to 50 degrees.

*Turn the heat off when you leave the house. The old school thought of there being too much wear and tear on the furnace and it actually taking longer (more power) to reheat the house has been debunked many many times.

*Get everybody thick thick socks and sweaters, and give each person a special blanket to use during the day.


*Clothes doors off on rooms you aren't using, only heat where you hang out.

*Replace windows if you have old ones.

And what we did, trolled and waited for a woodstove that was free/nearly free bought the pipes put it in, and then made friends with tree cutters and now we heat for free. (Well the cost of gas to go get the trees, and the energy to split the wood.)
I live in Maine which is close to VT and I could not imagine turning the heat off at night in the heart of winter, I would be very concerned about my pipes freezing for one. Also seeing as how sometimes daytime temps barely get to 22, turning off the heat is probably not practical.

To answer the OP, like I said we are in Maine so our winters are identical. How we lowered our heating cost was to zone our house so that at nighttime the downstairs drops to 56 or so also we are on a budget plan with the oil company which helps a lot...I agree with wearing sweaters and socks to stay warm. We also have a basket of blankets in the living room to put on when reading or watching tv, also we have a new furnace which is a lot more efficient than the old one as well as newer windows.

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Old 08-11-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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We have the option of closing off about 1/2 of the house when it's super cold. I think a lot of old farmhouse are like that. Our wood stove has kept us fairly warm, although i don't like to burn overnight. I'm just too paranoid. Wool rugs on the floor, flannel sheets, down comforters with quilts over them-all help. Our family wears wool or silk long undies all winter. This is my biggest investment. I can't say enough about layering and keepong your core warm. A lightweight cap in the house doesn't hurt either.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:35 AM
 
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Our bedrooms are all on the upper floor of our 2-story home. We do not heat the upper floor in the winter, unless someone is not feeling well and is cold. Each of us has an electric blanket that goes on about 1/2 hour before going to sleep. No complaints - we're all comfortable. It saves us a lot of money.

In the warmer months, we only put the heat on for a short time each morning when everyone showers. Then, it goes off for the day. I use whatever residual hot water there is to do a load of wash.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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Naturalyst, how do you handle dishes?
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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We have an 800sq foot house and heat with a high efficiency woodstove. As a pp said dry seasoned wood is a must! We buy cords but have to split the wood ourselves. Chopping wood really warms you up and is a great workout too! We have our programmable thermastat set for 10C/50F (we are afraid of pipes freezing in the basement) but it never gets cold enough to turn on.

When we aren't home there is no one to feed the fire so it gets cool but then we aren't wasting wood either.

The bedrooms are chilly but it's nothing a few extra blankets can't fix.

We had new insulation put in the attic when we moved in here and it works great. We are the only house on the street that the snow doesn't melt off the roof from the heat leaking from the house.
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post
*Turn the heat OFF at night. Seriously unless it's under say 22 degrees turn the heat off. At the very least reduce it to 50 degrees.

*Turn the heat off when you leave the house. The old school thought of there being too much wear and tear on the furnace and it actually taking longer (more power) to reheat the house has been debunked many many times.
I think this would only work in a couple of circumstances. #1 You have a newer home with good insulation. #2 You have a newer and energy efficient furnace. #3 You have mild winters.

In an older home or a home with an older furnace, a LOT of energy would be wasted trying to bring your home back up to even 60 degrees after being completely turned off. Your furnace will work more efficiently if you keep the heat the same all the time. Also, where I live, the winters are so cold and WINDY that we frequently have to worry about whether our pipes will freeze overnight, even when the heat is ON at 60 degrees.
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post
*Turn the heat OFF at night. Seriously unless it's under say 22 degrees turn the heat off. At the very least reduce it to 50 degrees.

*Turn the heat off when you leave the house. The old school thought of there being too much wear and tear on the furnace and it actually taking longer (more power) to reheat the house has been debunked many many times.
Actually, it has NOT been debunked for heat pumps. The way heat pumps operate, if the gap between the desired temp and the actual temp is quite large, the emergency heat will kick on. The emergency heat uses an INCREDIBLE amount of electricity and you will most certainly see a spike in your electric bill. The recommendation for heat pumps is to set a temp and leave it consistent for a length of time.

Now, I know the OP is in VT and does NOT have a heat pump since heat pumps are only effective in mild temp places. I just didn't want someone from another state where heat pumps are dominant (like me in VA) to read "turn your heat off" and then wonder why their electric bill is astronomical.

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Old 08-11-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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I think this would only work in a couple of circumstances. #1 You have a newer home with good insulation. #2 You have a newer and energy efficient furnace. #3 You have mild winters.

In an older home or a home with an older furnace, a LOT of energy would be wasted trying to bring your home back up to even 60 degrees after being completely turned off. Your furnace will work more efficiently if you keep the heat the same all the time. Also, where I live, the winters are so cold and WINDY that we frequently have to worry about whether our pipes will freeze overnight, even when the heat is ON at 60 degrees.
I have to agree that turning off the heat at night could be risky in seriously cold climates.

We had a problem at our cottage with the pipes freezing after the heat had been off just a few hours. The cold combined with the wind going thru small cracks, concentrating the cold blasts, can freeze cooper pipes and cast drain lines very quickly.

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