Minus 11 Degrees and Saving strength Never Looked So Good
In one of my past lifetimes, I was a long haul trucker. Driving over the road has always come easy for me so this vacation to Wyoming, 2,100 miles round trip, was a driving pleasure. It has been a while since I had taken to the open road and I found that I nevertheless had the adventurous spirit that allowed the miles to slip under the tires without the blacktop and concrete getting bored.
There is a particular ease that comes with traveling long distances with just oneself and a big truck. On this trip, I had a SUV and three family members and at times the ease part was no where to be found. Between potty stops and the need for just the right drink, I struggled to find the freedom of the open road that I remembered and loved.
additional antifreeze to the SUV before leaving home and glad I did. Second morning, I stepped out of the motel in Wyoming and almost lost my hat in the wind that carried minus 11 degree air. Not often, in my life, have I experienced temperatures below the zero mark. I like cold air and snow when I snow ski – I don’t like minus 11 degrees when I’m carrying a suitcase to the car.
Visited my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson at their Wyoming home for Thanksgiving. A single story home with a complete finished basement. The home was constructed in the 70’s and showed a lot of upgrades. The home was heated by a 90% efficient Lennox gas furnace, had double pane vinyl windows, programmable thermostat and a gas/wood fireplace in the basement. I asked how the gas bill looked when it was really cold out and learned that the bill rarely got over $80 per month.
To me it seems that $80 for natural gas per month when it’s really cold outside is pretty decent. Here are several reasons I think the heating costs are kept in check.
1. The thermostat is kept at 66 degrees.
2. Efficient gas furnace with clean air filter.
3. Wood is purchased at $20 per cord and the fireplace is used regularly.
4. Double pane vinyl windows.
5. Metal insulated front door with storm door.
6. The heating ducts are all located inside heated space.
The basement was warmer than the main floor. The fireplace was in the basement and the stairway was at one end of the house. However, sitting upstairs in the living room left my lower legs and feet noticeably cold. The thermostat was located in the upstairs hallway and the two return air grills were located at the bottom of the wall in the same upstairs hall.
The wind was blowing and the electric outlet near the front door in the living room spilled cold air that was easy to feel with a bare hand.
The kids have totally remodeled the basement and have done a great job. Relaxing in front of a TV – while sitting next to a roaring fire – holding the sweetest little baby boy the world has every known – makes for a pleasant and comfortable evening. It was the first time I have visited since they got this home – I wanted to discuss some home energy audit stuff with them, but decided just to brag on the new grandchild instead.
Given the appropriate time and circumstance, I would make mention of the following items and upgrades that could further reduce the energy use for their home.
1. With the basement now finished, additional return air ducting should be additional. Additional supply registers have been additional for the basement without additional return air registers.
2. Caulk and weatherseal windows and doors from the outside. Stop the cool air before it gets into the walls. I would nevertheless recommend outlet caskets be installed on the outlets and light switch boxes.
3. With a basement, it is important to air seal the connection between the concrete foundation wall and the wood framing. Cold air moves behind the first row or sheet of exterior siding and gets into the wall and floor space – cools the whole house.
4. Install a wood insert into the fireplace. An insert will put more warm air into the room and less out the chimney.
5. Install a pass by duct above the fireplace that will allow the warm air from the fireplace to naturally rise to the upstairs.
6. Start a fire in the fireplace and turn just the furnace fan on to circulate the air warmed by the fireplace throughout the house.
7. Hang insulated window curtains. Close at night, open curtains on sunny side of home during the day. Passive solar energy at work.
8. Check the level of insulation in the attic. When it’s minus 11 degrees out, you can’t have too much insulation in the attic. Don’t forget to air seal the attic floor before adding more insulation.
9. Check to see if the strength company has installed a smart meter, if they have, contact the company and inquire if they have web based strength usage obtainable. Reviewing your electrical usage in right-now mode can provide valuable information that can be used to control your electrical usage.
The small town where my daughter lives is really pleasant. There is a river running by the center, two traffic lights and no traffic jams. Hunting, snow skiing, water skiing and great medical care is a simply an hour away. I think I could live there and be at home.
Hey, thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed this article, hurry back, but I won’t leave the lights on for you…