January 26, 2009

Energy Savings Tips from Gov. Schwarzenegger

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.

2 comments:

  1. Hello Cousin S! - Cousin Chuck here...

    1. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees or less during the day and evening and to 55 degrees at night or when away.

    {65 day - 55 Nite & 50 Away BUT we keep our second furnace turned off in the family room, where we have our home based business, so in there it is about 45-55}

    2. Wear warm clothing (sweater, robe, thermal pajamas, socks, slippers, etc).

    {Long-johns, Wool Socks, Heavy Flannel Shirt, Bib Overalls, Heavy Carhart Jacket, Knit Stocking Cap, Sorrel Boots with Wool Liners - I actually dress warmer inside than outside!}.

    3. Use lots of blankets.

    {Flannel Sheets, two blankets and a comforter do nicely in our 45-50 deg bedroom. I grew up in Alaska where our bedroom potty froze in winter and the wind blew through the cracks in the boards that covered our walls.}

    4. Open drapes to let the sun heat your home during the day and close them at night to help insulate.

    {Drapes always open downstairs - big porch shades sun, but shades open/shut upstairs}.

    5. Close unused rooms and the vents that heat those rooms.

    {Unused bedroom closed/unheated & our bedroom/upstaira closed/unheated during day}

    6. Take a shower instead of a bath or take shorter showers.

    (We take showers, mine longer but wife takes short ones.}

    7. Turn off kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans after they’ve done their job.

    {No vent fans in our 160+ year old farmhouse}.

    8. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed and make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.

    {Clean as needed, 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).

    {Some yes, some no - about 50/50}

    10. Close your fireplace damper when not in use. It's a gas fireplace;

    {Closed}

    11. Set your water heater to the “normal” setting or 120, unless your dishwasher requires a higher setting.

    {I don't see how a few degrees makes any difference here. If set low you use more volume of heated water from the cooler tank thus forcing the heater to run more to heat a larger volume of cold water & you run the risk of running out of warm water in the midst of your longer showers. If you set the temp higher but below a dangerous scalding point, your heater will not have to run as much to give you the volume of warm water you need because you can mix it with some sold at the tap. Your shower won't get cold and your dishwasher will kill more germs with hotter water.}

    12. Wash dishes by hand and fill the sink with water instead of letting the water run.

    (Wife does so on small quantities)

    13. Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer.

    {Yes}

    14. Use cold water when washing clothes.

    {Silghtly Warm Wash/Cold Rinse}

    15. Use the energy-saving control on your dishwasher if it has one.

    {Not used}

    16. Let dishes air dry.

    {Yes}

    17. Hang clothes to dry.

    {Nevermore - Quoth the Sherrill...}

    18. Clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap after each use.

    {Yes}

    19. Use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer if it has one.

    {Yes}

    20. Keep waterbeds covered with a heavy comforter or blankets.

    {Our Sleep-Number is premium air-bed - love it!!! - which warms up more quickly than cold mattress. I only know one couple still sleeping on a waterbed.}

    21. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to push warm air down into the room (counter-clockwise in winter).

    {Sorry but in our 45 deg bdrm this would create an artic blast!}

    22. Remove window air conditioner units or enclose with an air conditioner cover to stop drafts.

    {One of four is out/covered - these babies are heavy!}

    23. Add plastic sheeting to windows or purchase plastic window covering kits or interior storm window kits.

    {Already have excellent alum storm windows}.

    24. Place aluminum foil between your radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room.

    {N/A}.

    25. Have your heating equipment checked by a qualified technician to make sure it is operating properly.

    {Only when problem develops}.

    26. Clean or replace furnace filters once a month.

    {No way! Mine are $25 each. I vacuum them clean at the beginning of each season which is fine. Used same one five years now}

    27. Install weather-stripping or caulk to leaky doors and windows.

    {I'm a pro with my caulk gun, but like the shoe cobblers kids with no shoes, I haven't gotten around to doing this yet...}

    28. Install gaskets behind outlet covers.

    {Dear S!, A gasket is seal cut from a sheet of rubber/foam/cork material and shaped to fit under the outlet cover to stop air infiltration. This can be a big heat loss esp. in poorly insulated/sealed older homes - like yours...} PS: Our older home does not yet have outlet gaskets either...

    29. Wrap your hot water tank with jacket insulation; be sure to leave the air intake vent uncovered.

    {We have no wrap on our newer water heater which is highly insulated with foam.}

    30. Insulate your pipes.

    {Nope. Insulating hot pipes might help but not much since only small amount of stationary water loses much heat.}

    31. Install a programmable thermostat.

    {Yes}

    32. Install low flow shower heads and faucets. {Nope but I think they could save a lot on water heating and water useage. I would like to switch to these. My Cuz S, said "Not when I can turn down the flow myself." This seems logical, but to get down to the equvalent of a high-quality superfine low-flow spray head, you would be forced to shower under a mere dribble...}

    33. Increase insulation in your attic, walls, floors, basement, etc.

    {When gas prices shot up nearly double a few years ago I increased the attic insulation from about 4" to 24". What a difference in comfort and huge heat cost savings!!! Well worth the few hundred spent which has already been repaid several times.}

    34. Seal leaking ducts.

    {Nope, without these leaks our basement workshop would be freezing! - In fact this frigid winter I opened up a duct directly into the basement!}

    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. But 60 year old furnace with about 50% efficiency was replaced five years ago with 95% model with DC Fan which can save up to $200 to $300 per yr itself on electric bill. Most never think that part of their heat/ac bill is electricity! The furnace has payed for itself already - now we are making money. Washer died last summer and was replaced with Std model because the high-efficiency ones cost 3X $$$ and don't wash clothes well without running cycle twice!!! - like water saving toilets which have to be flushed three times. Cars: buy new, maintain it well, drive it forever. I drive a 2003 VW Jetta Diesel Wagon gets 40+ and very low maintenance. By the time I get another one (20 years), new technologies will have created cleaner, more efficient models. - I want a cheap plug-in electric car next! - Plug-In Elec is currently about 1/3 the cost of gasoline per mile driven.}

    36. Replace your old windows with more efficient Energy Star® windows.

    {Nope, but we have good, tight storm windows which are nearly equal to these new energy star ones which have no storms only double panes.}

    37. (Added by Cuz Chuck): Lower your heat even more and use spot electric heat for short periods where needed.

    {Yes, my wife has an oil-filled radiator type in her office - heats slowly but is quiet and even heat. In our bdrm and upstairs bath we use a pelonis quartz fan heater which puts out a blast of quick heat for showering and dressing. Using these only minutes per day only costs a few dollars on the elec bill - much less than keeping the furnace up in these rooms}

    Yes the TV/Amish Elec Fireplaces work on this principle but are far to costly to buy!!!

    38. Pile Straw or hay bales all around your house foundation and even up to the window ledges - Just try to keep the rodents and stray cows, horses, deer, etc away...

    {Nope - but I have actually seen this done quite a lot here in rural Michigan.}


    Cousin Chuck's Score = Too tired to count but I estimate about 20 some...

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  2. #2 had me laughing out loud: "I actually dress warmer inside than outside..." Now that is crazy, given you are in Michigan where temps were in the teens today.

    Cuz Chuck, I fear my readers will think Broke Girl and her relatives are all connected by a nutty recessive gene, some tightwad-frugal variant in our DNA, and will want nothing more to do with us.

    But I secretly appreciate your thoughtful comments. You can't say we're not trendily green. And we have yet to pile bales of hay around the house, although I have seen that in very poor communities. I would never laugh at that because if you are plumb out of money, well, you just do what you can.

    But there is no way we begin to approach the craziness of Heddy Green:

    Arguably American's greatest tightwad, Heddy Green died of a seizure in a grocery store while arguing over the price of skim milk. Her son had had his leg amputated because she was unable find a free clinic to treat him in time and would not pay for medical treatment. She was notorious for dining on cold oatmeal because she refused to waste fuel heating it. Upon her death in 1916, she left an estate valued over $100 million.

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