My Beautiful Wickedness


An ill wind…
November 5, 2007, 5:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Patti is talking about how she’s breaking wind…weatherproofing, y’all. It’s sort of a sport in the north this time of year.

Here’s my own list of stuff I’m doing to keep the cost of heating this huge barny old drafty house down:

1. We replaced all the windows with the vinyl energy-savers and we caulked like crazy.
2. We made draft-blockers out of recycled towels and rice; chilly wind still blows in from the porch.
3. We keep the thermostat at 59 at night, 65 during the day — otherwise, we can’t afford the heating bills.
4. We’ve made “damn, you look sexy in fleece” a regular part of our daily speech.
5. We use the pocket doors and hang a sheet over the other dining room entrance to keep the dining room warmer when we’re at home. The dining room is where we play all our games, where we eat our meals, do homework, grade…so if we can keep this one room warmer, that goes a long way toward making me less grouchy.
6. Hot tea. Soup. Warm bread. I do use the oven a lot in the winter and then I leave it open afterwards to bring up the temp in the kitchen. When I bake, we eat at the table in the kitchen so that we can all be warm.
7. We insulated our basement around the windows and we insulated the pipes with wrap tape. I don’t know that it has helped but we felt very handy doing it.
8. We have lined the attic door with a long blanket. It gets really cold up there and I don’t want to feel the wind whistling through the crack in the ceiling and down to my bedroom.
9. In a fit of whimsy, I made bed-hats for Kid and for myself when John was teaching down at Ole Miss. I also wind up wearing socks to bed so that I can get to sleep more quickly.
10. Ordinary weatherstripping on all the doors was one of the first things that we did, but I have to recheck the doors that we use all the time to be sure that the stuff is still in place.

I wish we could afford blown-in insulation for the house. It’s a balloon frame with lath/plaster and it has these crazy firebreaks horizontally every four feet, so I imagine it would be a total pain in the ass to get that done. Since we’re bumping along just a bit beyond paycheck to paycheck, I haven’t bothered to investigate the costs. We’re saving up for a roof job next spring and that’s the first priority.

Anyone else have novel ideas for keeping a house warm?

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Baking is good! We always wear wool socks. And fleecy jammie bottoms. And knitting helps keep you warm.

Comment by patti

I don’t know how to knit. I crochet, quilt, embroider, and sew, but I never got the hang of knitting. Now that I use my keyboard all the time, I don’t do nearly as much handcrafting.

Comment by bridgett

We’re in the same boat – old, drafty house. We still have the original frieze (should be freeze)windows and they do little to stop the wind. Even our “modern” windows (1870s) are exceptionally drafty, so I’m looking into insulated shades for all the windows.

We also invested in really good wool blankets and I’m making myself a house hat. I plan on making some draft blockers. Although I haven’t done it recently, I like to have a quilt top ready to lap quilt in winter. It keeps me warm while I’m quilting.

Comment by listie

Flannel sheets are a lifesaver. They won’t keep the house warm, but they’ll keep you nice and toasty.

Comment by RockyCat

Also in the ‘won’t warm the house, but really does help’ pile: super-warm showers. (One can also use super-cold showers on the same principle, but they’re not nearly as fun.) As hot as you can stand it (if not a bit hotter), until you start feeling uncomfortable.. then, the outside chill will feel better and you’ll warm the covers (or your pants, socks, what have you) when you get out. It’s tricking your body into changing its subjective perception of temperature, rather than actually doing anything, but it still helps if you’re having trouble getting into or out of bed.

Certain types of space heaters are also a good investment. Expensive ones like the Vornado are supposedly really good for raising a whole room’s temperature, if that’s what you’re interested in (I wouldn’t know, as I don’t have $100 to spend on a space heater, even if it does everything I want it to). Other ones, like (my preference) parabolic heaters are less expensive and work very well if you’re alone. They don’t have to heat the room up (indeed, they’re extremely inefficient if what you want is a room full of toasty air), because they’re not moving air… instead, they send heat waves directly at their target, making whatever bits of you they hit instantly warm. Those are particularly useful because you can take them with you or aim them wherever you are, and *you* feel warm, even if the air around you doesn’t heat up.

Comment by Magniloquence




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