Leave it to my cousin Chuck to send me to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Health and Human Services Agency website, csd.ca.gov for a list of Winter Energy Savings Tips.
First off, I think I'm offended because Californians know whit about winter chills. I shiver from Chicago, where the temps are currently a near-balmy 11° Fahrenheit, and over a foot of snow has, like an unwelcome guest, moved in and hovered for weeks. (We know better than to listen to our babbling governor who is expected to be impeached later this week—well before the snow melts.)
But I checked out the list anyway. Of the 36 tips, I scored 24, which gives me a passing grade.
1. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees or less during the day and evening and to 55 degrees at night or when away. 64-66 day, 62 night, 58 when away.
2. Wear warm clothing (sweater, robe, thermal pajamas, socks, slippers, etc). Wearing 'em, and sipping hot coffee, too.
3. Use lots of blankets. One big down comforter wrapped all around me does it.
4. Open drapes to let the sun heat your home during the day and close them at night to help insulate. Only sometime, but I leave the skylights uncovered all winter long.
5. Close unused rooms and the vents that heat those rooms. I close my guest room and bath.
6. Take a shower instead of a bath or take shorter showers. I take showers, but not always short.
7. Turn off kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans after they’ve done their job. Yes, but because they are not silent fans and the sound annoys.
8. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed and make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes. Clean infrequently, and they're not blocked.
9. Move furniture around so you are sitting near interior walls (exterior walls and older windows are likely to be drafty). My desk faces the coldest window in the house, so no.
10. Close your fireplace damper when not in use. It's a gas fireplace; I don't know.
11. Set your water heater to the “normal” setting or 120, unless your dishwasher requires a higher setting. I set it below normal.
12. Wash dishes by hand and fill the sink with water instead of letting the water run. I do.
13. Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer. Don't use dishwasher unless I've entertained a crowd; yes on the clothes washer.
14. Use cold water when washing clothes. Started doing that last year.
15. Use the energy-saving control on your dishwasher if it has one. Moot, see #13.
16. Let dishes air dry. Yes.
17. Hang clothes to dry. Yes; see What Broke Girl Doesn't Use.
18. Clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap after each use. Moot, see #17.
19. Use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer if it has one. Moot, see #17.
20. Keep waterbeds covered with a heavy comforter or blankets. They still have waterbeds?
21. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to push warm air down into the room (counter-clockwise in winter). No fans.
22. Remove window air conditioner units or enclose with an air conditioner cover to stop drafts. Don't have 'em.
23. Add plastic sheeting to windows or purchase plastic window covering kits or interior storm window kits. Won't do it.
24. Place aluminum foil between your radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room. That is just not a good look.
25. Have your heating equipment checked by a qualified technician to make sure it is operating properly. Every few years.
26. Clean or replace furnace filters once a month. No way. Mine are special-order, $50 each.
27. Install weather-stripping or caulk to leaky doors and windows. I'm handy with my caulk gun.
28. Install gaskets behind outlet covers. What's a gasket?
29. Wrap your hot water tank with jacket insulation; be sure to leave the air intake vent uncovered. Nope, it's naked.
30. Insulate your pipes. If I could find them; I think they are in the walls.
31. Install a programmable thermostat. Have two.
32. Install low flow shower heads and faucets. Not when I can turn down the flow myself.
33. Increase insulation in your attic, walls, floors, basement, etc. No, except for the side that was damaged last summer. I made certain quality insulation was installed under the new siding.
34. Seal leaking ducts. How would I know if they are leaking?
35. Replace your old water heater or furnace with a newer, more efficient Energy Star® model. I don't replace an appliance until it dies. Same with cars: buy new, maintain it well, drive it forever. By the time I get another one, new technologies have created cleaner, more efficient models.
36. Replace your old windows with more efficient Energy Star® windows. Yep, last year...whew, I think that just got me a passing grade
So, Cousin Chuck. What was your score? Let us know in "comments."
For more WFMW tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.