Winter is Coming: How Are You Getting Ready? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-22-2010, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
AnnaNova's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Santa Fe
Posts: 489
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
so my question is mostly about how you save on heating bill in winter. Although any other relevant information would be great too.
if anyone has any great tips on insulating your house without major overhaul, i will be very thankful. We pay $100 + a month on our heating bill and i really hate that. we have radiant heat, and also fireplace where we burn wood daily to keep living room area warm with that.
We live in a poorly built house, our windows are so bad that on some days i can see curtains moving from the cold that gets in. ideally, we should replace all our windows, our boiler, and possibly doors, and insulate our garage, but all that is major $$$$ which dont have right now... so im gonna try to insulate on the cheap.
Let's Talk Winter!!!
AnnaNova is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-22-2010, 11:15 AM
 
Think of Winter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: By the Shore
Posts: 2,339
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Fireplaces typically use more energy than they provide since they suck outside air in your windows and doors. But maybe you and your dh have engineered your fireplace to make it more efficient? (We don't have fires when it's really cold, because there is no cheap/easy way to do it.) But if you're not a fp expert, I'd do a lot of research. Definitely get your fireplace inspected. And make sure you have enough CO monitors. Make sure your damper is in good condition so you can get a tight seal when you're not burning wood.

Next, stop the drafts. Find out where they are, then use draft blockers, rolled up towels, plastic over the windows, add thermal shades/drapes and close them tight at night, use weather stripping.

We cut our bill significantly when we switched to an electronic thermostat that lowers the heat at night. We put an electric blanket on the bed to compensate.

Do you have access to your attic? Check that for good insulation. Laying nice, thick insulation up there is not hard to do.

But you know, I think $100 a month is a steal. We spend a lot more, and keep the house too cold for me.

I just noticed you're in Santa Fe. I think humidifying your house would help a lot, too. Dry air feels a lot colder than moist air.
Think of Winter is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 11:28 AM
 
FillingMyQuiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: searching for my sanity
Posts: 3,216
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Everything that Think of Winter said especially about the fireplace, they're notoriously inefficient.

Some mamas have had good results w/ just adding an additional layer to their window coverings, like cheap fleece or thrift store flannel sheets hung behind their curtains.

Maybe window quilts would benefit you??

I like to make sure everyone in the house is adequately clothed (w/ toddlers, this is hard ) We like wool slippers, wool or silk long underwear, lots of layers, including blankets.

We replaced our front door this year and added a new storm door, I'm hoping to really see a difference this winter b/c that was part of our major problem.

Jenn<>< crunchy conservative mama to 6 fencing.gif reading.gif notes2.gif fly-by-nursing2.gif

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

FillingMyQuiver is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 11:41 AM
 
lyterae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Our plan right now includes evaluating our attic insulation/venting, getting a programmable thermostat, and getting thermal curtains. Especially to make sure that all of the windows are covered, I'm not sure if we'll do plastic on them or not, I'm afraid of the cat shredding it.

wife of 8 years to DH geek.gif, mama to DD blahblah.gif (2006) & DS jog.gif (2011) angel1.gif (Dec. 2012) rainbow1284.gif due Nov. 2013 

 vbac.gifh20homebirth.gif cd.gif homeschool.gif

lyterae is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 12:07 PM
 
frugalmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,146
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
We've got to have the furnace checked and I'm going to try to get someone in to seal up the windows in the master bedroom - they leak air like a sieve and it's on the north side of the house, so when the wind blows it's COLD.

I'm on the lookout for thicker drapes for the living room - it's got tons of windows which is nice but they get cold in the winter.

I'm also starting to stock up on tea on sale now for drinking lots of hot tea in the winter, and other warm foods as well. We have been saving bananas in the freezer all summer that got over ripe - when it starts getting cold we'll make banana bread which warms the house and us.

I'm trying to come up with a solution for our garage - it's also our laundry room and the freezer is out there so we're in and out quite a bit. It's not heated at all, and the garage doors leak air really bad - you can see the cracks around the edges and in the doors themselves. Not sure what to do about them.

Me, 29, Muslim hijab.gif single mama to T age 7 energy.gif We homeschool.gif saynovax.giffambedsingle1.gif and Love it!
frugalmama is online now  
Old 09-22-2010, 12:18 PM
 
FillingMyQuiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: searching for my sanity
Posts: 3,216
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post
I'm trying to come up with a solution for our garage - it's also our laundry room and the freezer is out there so we're in and out quite a bit. It's not heated at all, and the garage doors leak air really bad - you can see the cracks around the edges and in the doors themselves. Not sure what to do about them.
I would consider hanging a heavy blanket over the door.

Jenn<>< crunchy conservative mama to 6 fencing.gif reading.gif notes2.gif fly-by-nursing2.gif

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

FillingMyQuiver is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
AnnaNova's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Santa Fe
Posts: 489
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Think of Winter View Post
Fireplaces typically use more energy than they provide since they suck outside air in your windows and doors. But maybe you and your dh have engineered your fireplace to make it more efficient? (We don't have fires when it's really cold, because there is no cheap/easy way to do it.) But if you're not a fp expert, I'd do a lot of research. Definitely get your fireplace inspected. And make sure you have enough CO monitors. Make sure your damper is in good condition so you can get a tight seal when you're not burning wood.

Next, stop the drafts. Find out where they are, then use draft blockers, rolled up towels, plastic over the windows, add thermal shades/drapes and close them tight at night, use weather stripping.

We cut our bill significantly when we switched to an electronic thermostat that lowers the heat at night. We put an electric blanket on the bed to compensate.

Do you have access to your attic? Check that for good insulation. Laying nice, thick insulation up there is not hard to do.

But you know, I think $100 a month is a steal. We spend a lot more, and keep the house too cold for me.

I just noticed you're in Santa Fe. I think humidifying your house would help a lot, too. Dry air feels a lot colder than moist air.
ive heard, too that fireplaces are not at all efficient, but my husband refuses to believe it. when we have fireplace going, the floor in the living room becomes cold(er), so thats his argument that it saves us money.
i will definetely look into thermal window curtains, ive never heard about them.
and we dont have attic, our house is not big at all, about 12000sq and its one level... somebody told us that if we replace the boiler, we could cut the heating bill by about 40 % because i guess ours is old and cheap and crappy, but thats an investment i cant afford right now.
i do bake a lot in winter though, or just cook stuff in the oven, it helps to stay warm!!!
AnnaNova is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 12:25 PM
 
HeatherAtHome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,077
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We started preparing for this winter last spring. Yes, our first winter in our house was that bad! We did major insulating but if you just want to go the simple route (plus you're in Santa Fe!):

around the windows-if you have molding, remove and check for gaps. Can you see daylight? Feel a breeze with your hand? Hold a stick of incense up to it and see if air is coming in. You can seal any gaps with a can of spray foam, just make sure you buy the kind specifically for windows and doors. Seriously.

If the windows themselves are old and breezy looking, cover them with plastic.

Do you have a basement? Look at your foundation/crawlspace area and see if it needs protection from wind/cold. Around here people rake up leaves, bag them and lay around foundation. Bales of hay also works as does piling snow around the base of your home (this advice would be for others reading!)

I have a pair of soft soled slipper boots. Similar to uggs but knitted/leather bottom. Every morning before I get out of bed they go onto my feet. And I keep sweaters/small blankets laying around in convenient places.

People love our house in the summer time because it's so cool around here (both inside and out) but in the winter it's COLD. (We've completed step one and see another 2 years of work before it's where we want it to be.)

Blogging about renovations in our first home
HeatherAtHome is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 12:31 PM
 
HeatherAtHome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,077
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post
I'm trying to come up with a solution for our garage - it's also our laundry room and the freezer is out there so we're in and out quite a bit. It's not heated at all, and the garage doors leak air really bad - you can see the cracks around the edges and in the doors themselves. Not sure what to do about them.
Depending on where the cracks are:

around the other edge of door frame where it fits into the wall-fill gaps with spray foam insulation specially made for doors and windows (low expansion)

around the edge of the door when it closes-you can buy new weather stripping that would cover the gaps

in the door itself, if you mean you have have a wooden door or something with actual gaps in the DOOR-seal with caulking or other similar material depending on what your door is made from.

Asking at hardware stores is helpful. We have one here with a knowledgeable staff where I can say I need to do XYZ and they will tell us the materials we need and explain how to do it.

Blogging about renovations in our first home
HeatherAtHome is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 12:52 PM
 
Vaske's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: The cold, cold North
Posts: 324
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
The house we were renting for several years had all the drafty windows replaced the last year we were there...and the new windows did not reduce the heating bills at all, compared to just putting plastic over them as we did before.
Vaske is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 02:10 PM
 
honeybunmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,750
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FillingMyQuiver View Post
I would consider hanging a heavy blanket over the door.
We will be doing this. We have new windows, but need a new front door. Huge draft there. I'll be checking the thrift stores for a blanket to hang over it. Dh and I were just discussing this over the weekend. We are on a level payment plan for our gas bill and we have not caught up yet. The payments have been increased again because of that. Unless the cost of gas itself goes down this year (fat chance), I don't see our gas bill going down. Dh is home all day with our son, so, it won't really get turned down during the day.

For the kids, I'm making a sleep sack for my soon to be 5 year old and cashmere rompers (from thrifted sweaters) for the baby, to keep them warm when the heat is turned down at night. I'd also love to invest in wool fleece mattress covers. The baby has a sheepskin, but not the rest of us. And last year I totally lucked out at Sears and got a wonderful down comforter for $20 in a Black Friday sale. I will be on the lookout again this year. I have also made cashmere lined leather slippers for the baby (again from upcycled materials) and need to make a pair of recycled sweater slippers for my daughter. And really, for myself and dh, too! The kids will also have wool vests/sweaters for around the house to keep them warm.

There's really nothing else we can do for our house right now (we already have high efficiency everything and new insulation and windows). The biggest things we could do, we're not financially prepared to do right now and that is replacing the front door. The transem (sp?) over it has been in the process of being repaired for almost a year. Ugh! We should be getting that back soon (I pray). That will help the draft above the door. There are just two pieces of wood there right now and you can see the light coming in where the boards meet. So, undoubtedly, air comes through/goes out that way as well.

Mama to add 10/05; ds 3/09, and two angels
honeybunmom is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 08:29 PM
 
Crunchy*VT*Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Home of the Screaming Pennies
Posts: 2,961
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wear hats in the house.

I know that sounds simplistic -- but you do lose a lot of heat from your head and just wearing cute little wool hats around the house allows us to keep the thermostat down a degree or two lower.

 

 

Crunchy*VT*Mom is offline  
Old 09-22-2010, 11:11 PM
 
happyhats's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,257
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Despite the many things I DON"T care for in my current apartment, one thing that's good is that it is energy effecient. We'll be doing plastic over the windows, possibly blankets instead if I can get them cheap because I'd prefer not to waste. I'll also put towels at the front and back door, and possibly even put a blanket over the back door completely. Done!

I'll be scouring my parents and sisters for unused blankets and checking the thrift shops. I have a month or so I think, because right now we're experiencing a bit of an indian summer.
happyhats is online now  
Old 09-23-2010, 05:54 AM
 
zebra15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 4,746
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Well just to be the odd ball, winter is our 'cheap' season. After 8 months of continual air conditioning the electric bill should be a bit lower. We usually don't turn on the heat at all. The few months here (phoenix) that its actually liveable.

When I was living where it was cold (OH) to prepare for winter we always checked the caulking around windows. Made sure the weather stirpping was in good condition by the doors. Checked the outside water pipes to make sure they were drained BEFORE the first freeze. Curtains were closed at dark and opened at sunrise. The sun helped warm the floors .

IMO you need caulk, weather stripping and some time at homedepot!

Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed  crochetsmilie.gif homeschool.gif  reading.gif  modifiedartist.gif

Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

zebra15 is online now  
Old 09-23-2010, 06:56 AM
 
Poddi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 1,911
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I bought light colored fleece throws and blankets and used them to cover bedroom and bathroom windows. You can usually get them very cheaply. I think it really made a difference in keeping the rooms warmer. I don't cover up the living room or dining room windows, but we don't spend much time there anyway.

It's still like summer here so I'm not doing much yet. Next month we'll probably fill the propane tanks and stock up on food. I would like to get another winter coat for DS2. He only has one that's a hand me down and rather ratty. I myself have too many coats. I'll probably sort through them and donate some.

Mom to 2 beautiful autistic boys (12 & 11)  
Poddi is online now  
Old 09-24-2010, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
AnnaNova's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Santa Fe
Posts: 489
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
so when you guys say "plastic over windows", how does that work? where do you get it? how do you do it?
AnnaNova is offline  
Old 09-24-2010, 01:06 PM
 
Denvergirlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Foothills west of Denver
Posts: 2,042
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnaNova View Post
so when you guys say "plastic over windows", how does that work? where do you get it? how do you do it?
Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Walmart, Target etc, etc.

It's plastic that comes with double sided tape. You put the tape on the window, press the plastic wrap stuff to the tape and put up as tight as possible. Then break out your hairdryer and the plasitc will shrink and make the seal tighter.
try to put up on most extreme edge of the window casing, cool air often seaps out more thru the casement than the actual window.

Articles that explains better:
http://saving-energy.suite101.com/ar...dow_insulation
http://www.ehow.com/way_6067613_plas...treatment.html

Links on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Window-Insulat.../dp/B002WCJA46


As for our preps, we've been cutting and slpitting wood this summer and our wood shed has several cords in it. We have an insert fireplace with a blower, so it does put out the heat. We only keep the heat at 50 in the winter, and supplement with wood heat. It's COLD in the morning, but warms up nicely after a few hours.
This morning it was 53 degrees in our main room, so fire is burning right now as I type.
we also have a wood cookstove in the kitchen, but only burn that in the dead of winter - Novemeber thru March as it can overwhlem the kitchen.

We do have one room that is especially cold, very poor air flow into that room. We are getting ready to buy some door fans to help move the air around some more.
Last winter, I hung blankets in that room, and it helped a lot, but not enough to make that room comfortable for any length of time.

other than that, we just bundle up and keep throw blankets around. Once the fire has been burning for a few hours, it can actually get down right hot in the house, so other than some discomfort in the morning right when we get up, we are just fine.
Denvergirlie is offline  
Old 09-27-2010, 07:32 PM
 
inthezoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: between the river and the mountain
Posts: 670
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We have a small house, under 800 sf and it gets drafty in the winter in places we can't seal, like between the boards of the ceiling. We once pressure washed the metal roof over the bathroom and where that roof meets the rest of the house started dumping water into the bathroom. There's really no way to seal that so I made a draft log out of a piece of wool blanket rolled up and put snaps on it and attached snaps to the door to keep it in place. I have a second one of these on the door to the entry way.

We use plastic on our windows too and it helps a lot. The cats do rip it so then I tape it with clear packing tape and in some places I know they can't resist I reenforce it with the packing tape right off the bat.

I have window quilts that I have made but I'm not sure how to hang them. Everything I try doesn't seem to work very well. I don't want them up in the summer and would like to only put them up at night except for the coldest days because we have so little light in our home already.

This years biggest improvement is a new propane stove put in the main living area. I've only had it working two days and last night with the oven and the stove both running it really heated it up in here.

Last year was a mild winter and we only had an oil filled portable heater that we turned on a couple times. We have reptiles (bearded dragon, snakes, iguana) in the main living area that need light bulbs to heat with on at all times and that doesn't let the ambient temp fall much below 65 which is bearable in sweaters.

belly.gif to  jumpers.giflol.gif wonderful people with  baby.gif on the way!

inthezoo is offline  
Old 09-27-2010, 09:46 PM
 
mommaof3boz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,485
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
There is a product called Seal and Peel. Basically it comes in a tube like caulk but is silicone (?). You seal up the cracks around the windows and come spring you just get ahold of the corner and pull it right off. I think a tube is around 6 dollars or so. You can do several windows with one tube. We do it every single year. Which reminds me its time to get started on that. Also considering adding thermal curtains to the bedroom windows...
mommaof3boz is offline  
Old 09-28-2010, 06:46 PM
 
iowaorganic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 3,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, our new old house has horrid windows and no heat in the upstairs (it is like a 1905 farm house). The downstairs is hot water heat and it will stay fairly warm unless it is super windy (which this is iowa basically in the middle of corn fields- so windy it does get). The plan is to silicone around all the windows and then put up plastic. I am also making my own thermal drapes since I was not impressed at all with the ones I looked at in the stores. I am using a heavy cotton ticking fabric (just because I like it!) and lining them with either thick poly blankets or polar fleece.

I also went to an army surplus store and bought heavy army wool blankets for matress pads for the children and plan on topping those with flannel sheets and adding a down alternative comforter or wool blanket to thier winter bedding.

DH insisted we get a down comforter and I already am in love with it- it is like sleeping under a toasty cloud! We are also going to add a feather bed. Now here is the problem because we are a kind of cosleep family. We are going to sidecar the baby and I think the little one will have to sleep in wool sleepsacks to stay warm.

Also we do have a wood cookstove that will keep the kitchen nice and toasty- and although I agree about the general ineffieciencies of auxiallary heat- it is awesome.

Oh- wool socks and slippers and sweaters/sweatshirts all around.

Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

iowaorganic is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off