My brother says the newspapers are lying. The newspapers are saying that our natural gas bills are going to jump 50%. Heating and Cooling Journeyman brother says 70-100%. That’s $200 more a month, from November till April.
I’m also guessing they’re not liable to drop, even after the South regains its refinery capacity. Once they get homeowners used to paying insane amounts to stay warm, they’ll manufacture some reason to keep the levels there even if the costs drop. Hate to say it, but that’s sound business, even if it’s unfair. Supply and demand.
So, we’re starting to take more drastic measures with our house. It’s big — Kalamazoo’s el cheapo housing allowed us to buy a big ol’ barn of a house, close to 2000 ft2 — and we need to come up with ways to make it a lot more energy efficient. Praise God that Paul and I are still both employed, so that we can afford to do it.
1) Re-insulate the attic. This is a no-brainer. We’re having our builder put fiberglass batts on top of our current blown-in insulation. He’s even going to build us a nice platform so we can store book backstock up there if we need to.
2) Programmable thermostat. Just called today; they’ll have it installed in an hour and show us how to set it. We’ll keep the daytime set at 68 and the nighttime set at 60 or so. Paul is the human furnace, so once we’re both asleep we’ll still be toasty warm.
3) Fireplace insert. I used to want an insert just for the treehugger aspects of it. Now, we need to do something about the fact that there’s no damper in our chimney — it’s basically a big column of cold air through the center of our house. Regular fireplaces actually lose heat when you use them — inserts turn them into a highly-efficient cast-iron furnace. We’ll put a new fireplace in and I’ll get a nice, safe, 95% efficient woodstove — and a sizeable hole in our heating bill plugged.
4) New back door. The folks who owned our house before us left a 1/4 – 1/2″ stripe of daylight under the back door of our house. Paul and I took to plugging it with a towel last year, but this year we’re getting a new steel door with a proper sweep and jamb. I swear, you could feel a 5-degree drop in the kitchen because of that stupid door, and it’s right near the furnace, so it’s sucking out extra heat, besides.
So. Between all these and rope caulk and plastic on the windows, we should be set for many years to come.