Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Conserving Energy

It is that time of year, again, where we are changing seasons and going quickly from one temperature range to another. I see so many people that seem to think they have to be totally "comfortable" at ALL times. They seem to always have either their air conditioning or their heater on, in their homes and in their vehicles. I have one relative that I have often times seen run both in the same day to keep that temperature a 'constant comfortable', then complain about the bill when it comes in. Personally, I don't even think this is healthy! (the constantly even temp nor the bill)

Personally, I don't like BIG utility bills. I find them far more uncomfortable than the temperature being a little cool or warm. I prefer to use other methods, other than turning on those heating and cooling units, to combat the slightly changing temperatures. If it is a little cool, I simply switch to a long sleeve shirt or visa versa. If the house gets a little warm, open a window ..... cool, close them. If it is a little more than slightly chilly I bake something, like bread. The energy used serves two purposes instead of one and the resulting heat usually lasts a long while if you don't run in and out of the house too much.

This week it has been very nice. We had rain come through last weekend and cooled things down a bit. It is sunny in the middle of the day and only slightly warm, so I turn on a small fan for about an hour or so. It circulates the air, cools it down, and it is nice in here the rest of the day. But by the end of this week, a much bigger cool down is expected. The night time temps are predicted to go down in the low 40s, possibly even upper 30s (F) with one day only rising up into the mid 50s (F). Am I going to turn on my heat? Absolutely not! What will I do? Plan ahead.

A couple of days before the predicted temperature drop, while it is still warm, I will be shutting down my house. During the warmest part of the day I will shut all of my doors and windows that have been open the past week to circulate the fresh, fall air throughout the house. Yes, it will get a little warm inside for a day or two, but it won't be unbearable. And I am usually outside during the heat of the day, anyway, doing work in the yard or with critters. Then at night, when it starts to get chilly and I come inside, the warm air that was trapped in the house will feel wonderful! Most of my house is pretty well insulated, so by shutting it down while it is warm inside and out, it will hold the warmth in. Then when the temperature makes that big drop outside, it will stay nice and warm inside for several days, no heater needed!

This time of year, when we have a cold front come through, it usually only lasts for a few days before warming right back up. By using this process, my house usually stays warm for several days. If it gets a little chilly before the next warm-up, I simply put on warmer clothes and stay very comfortable. Catching up on some physically exerting chore that I had been putting off warms me up pretty good, too. I also plan on spending some of that time to cook up some meals ahead. All that cooking warms up the house and then when it is warm again, I can simply heat up my meals in the microwave and not heat up the house on the warm days, resulting in no need to cool the house down on those days. This time of year our weather is constantly changing back and forth from warm to cool to warm.... When it does get warm again, I open the house all back up.

I repeat this process over and over until the colder days of winter set in. Last year I never had to use any heat until December! It really isn't hard at all. It just takes a little planning to get started and once you adjust to the routine, it becomes second nature. Then in the Spring, I reverse the entire process. Yes, before the hard cold of Winter, and the high heat of Summer, some days I may get just a little uncomfortable, but as I said, it is short-lived and not nearly as uncomfortable as trying to pay those high utility bills makes me! And most importantly, it keeps us much more acclimated to our changing environment. Should the day come that the grids go down (and they will), I will be able to stand the ever changing temps (and keep on going smoothly about my daily work) far better than everyone that keeps pushing those little heating/cooling unit buttons every single time the temperature changes a degree or two.

How do you handle the fluctuating temperature changes during the changing of the seasons?

3 comments:

  1. Nice round up of what to do. We have been experiencing a warm front the last few days. All the windows opened to allow the warm air to breeze through. Today damp and cooler. Muggy feeling...yuck! But some baking will take that damp air of the house and comfortable by night time. I hate to put the cookstove on. However this time of year laundry doesn't dry outside on the line or inside on the racks. Hate this. They are hung for days inside before they are proclaimed dry.
    Good to hear from you.

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  2. Sounds like our weather is very similar right now. It was nearly hot yesterday and very humid. But I shut everything down because we had about a 30 degree (F) temperature drop overnight. I will be firing up my old worn out oven, too.
    I really understand what you mean about the laundry! It is frustrating but I am glad to see someone else that is devoted to NOT using the dryer, too. I hung bedding and curtains out yesterday evening, hoping the rain would hold off until late morning when they were dry, but I was wrong. But so far, just a light drizzle, which will make them smell even better if it dries this afternoon. But the air is damp, and the load of clothes I wash today, as you said, will take forever to dry.
    Cookstove - do you mean wood, gas, electric, etc?
    Good to hear from you, too! I will have to look and see how your trip went.

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  3. Sorry too so long to get back to you. It is a wood cookstove. It is on all the time now. I cook in it, heat water on it and love to sit by it. Cold tonight, well below the freezing mark. leaves will be fallen by morning.
    Take care.

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