Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I can't believe I learned something on Regis & Kelly

After enjoying an interview with my favorite Bond -- Daniel Craig, I started folding laundry and zoning off. John Giddings from HGTV's "Designed to Sell" was up next, talking about ways to save money around the house. First, a programmable thermostat and then power strips. Check, check. Then he said you can lose efficiency through outlets on exterior walls. Have to admit, this was news to me. A cheap little piece of insulation is sold at hardware stores -- just put it between your switchplate and the wall to seal it up. Neato. It is definitely that panicked big heating bill time of year.

Next, I opened my laptop to check email and found an article called "Locate Air Leaks" in my TerraPass enewsletter. This got me thinking about how much energy my old house is likely wasting. The big, architectural windows in the front, as well as those in the attic, have not been updated (it's a 1915 house). These fixes are on our list, but it will be costly to achieve the same look in new windows. We know we don't have a lot of insulation, but we do have double-layer brick and plaster construction. Well, did I mention our dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets? At least we're saving water.

Anyway, the TerraPass article talked about one guy who got a free energy audit from his utility company. I went to PPL and UGI to see if we could get one. Maybe, but I couldn't find any such thing on the websites. I tried to log in on PPL to do the online evaluation, but I couldn't remember my password. I also apparently answered my security question wrong, so I was locked out (on the first try). I hope their power plants have security as serious as this!

Another comment grabbed my attention. "Richard" noted that his bathroom fans were letting warm air escape because they don't have a positive closure. I, too, have noticed this and wish someone at Nutone would get wise to it. I can't live without a fan in the bathroom in the warmer months, but I've actually thought of sealing it off during the winter. I don't know of any other fix.

My solution is assigning "make house more energy efficient" to the husband. I'm instead going to focus on saving the world with my green ideas.

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