We are all looking at the news and even the most optimistic of us are realizing that things may change for a while. We’ve been here before, we’ve seen the rising prices, the unemployment and the foreclosures – but for many of us the problem becomes more individualized. What can we do to preserve ourselves; to keep the roof over our own heads?
Home energy costs are a large monthly outlay for all of us at this time of year. Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and live in our homes. This is about 21 percent of the national total and many households could save 20-30 percent on their household energy bills.
Small savings may seem futile when we consider the big picture, but many little savings will actually lower your bills. Things may be falling down around you, but you will know that you are actively taking control of your own expenditures. So let us look at some small energy savers.
Do you feel a draft coming from below or around your external doors? Have you got weather stripping around your door? The type you screw into the frame is best, but you can buy the self adhesive type if you are not handy. Attach the overhead horizontal piece before the two sidebars.
Lower your thermostat by 5 degrees as you go to bed or if you go out and no-one will be at home. Change the filter on your furnace to allow more efficient running. Old-fashioned light bulbs are more expensive than fluorescent lights. Buy several of the energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs when they come on sale. Change them immediately but keep the old ones for spares.
Switch off lights when you are not in the room. In spite of a generalized public opinion that it is cheaper to leave a light bulb on rather than switching it on and off, it fact, it is not. Another surprising energy waste is when we leave our TVs, computer, etc on standby overnight. It is using power.
Use plastic window coverings to prevent heat loss. You can buy a type of ‘cling film’ for windows that will act like double glazing. You may not like this on your living room windows, but apply it where you can. It does not go straight onto the glass; attach a double sided sticky tape around the frame, then stick the plastic film to this. The small air pocket between the glass and the plastic film acts like a double glazing unit.
On sunny days let the sunshine warm up your home. At night close all blinds and drapes. Try closing heavy velvet curtains across your screen doors at night. Glass radiates in a lot of coldness!
Crude oil has finally hit the $100.00 per barrel mark, and soon we will be paying $4.00 per gallon for gas. Never mind cutting down for the environment – now is the time to cut down for your own sake; it must be time to tighten our belts.