Small Steps

I’m one of the guilty: I know how much I can do to reduce our household energy use… and I don’t.  The heating bill came today, however, and even though this is the fourth winter I’ve been in this drafty old house, it still shocked me.  And this was AFTER I had all of the windows replaced.  That did save quite a bit of money, but regardless, a doubled heating bill from November to December isn’t a treat to get in the mail.  I’ll spare you the reasons why our heating bill was still so high (they have to do with combining households), but will focus on what I’m going to do to help. I’m not to the point where I’m ready to invest loads of money, time, or effort, but I know there are small steps that I can take.

  • Check out tax breaks. Like I said, we replaced the windows in December 2008.  I didn’t get any tax credit for it, but it’s possible that it would have qualified.
  • Thaw frozen meats as much as possible before cooking.  That’ll shorten the cooking time… but require me to remember to transfer the meat to the fridge the day before I cook it.
  • Use fewer dishes so we can run the dishwasher less frequently.
  • Take shorter showers, reducing the amount of water the hot water heater must warm.
  • Cover pots and pans on the stovetop.  That way, I can cook on a lower heat.
  • Change the filter on the furnace on a regular basis.
  • Put on a sweater and a pair of slippers. I set our programmable thermostat pretty low, but am known to bump it up several degrees every evening… thereby completely defeating the purpose of it.  A few extra layers can go a long way.
  • Insulate pipes. We have exposed hot water pipes in the basement that are warm to the touch.  I’m guessing that they lose quite a bit of heat this way.  There must be some form of insulation that can go around them.
  • Unplug. H does not enjoy reaching behind the television to flip the powercord for the entertainment center, but there are many things that I’m the main user of (stand mixer, toaster oven, certain lamps), and I don’t mind plugging and unplugging – I just need to get into the habit!

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