Last month I thought I was going to have a panic attack. Why, you ask? Because I got my gas/electric bill. I’ve lived in the desert southwest all of my life, so I’ve never been overly concerned with my gas usage. I didn't use much, since I didn't need to heat the house a great deal. My bill from the energy company in my new state of residence, however, told me that perhaps I need to pay close attention to weatherproofing.
I’m living in a rental property at present, and therefore can’t make all the changes that I’d like, but judging by my household use of 5.2 therms per day, I had to do something. I was using far too much energy. How can I be eco friendly if my gas usage is through the roof, after all?
Bit by bit this month, I made changes to the pre-1900s home that I’m renting.
Because the floors are uneven I had to add a weather strip to the bottom of the back door. While one side of the door was perfectly flush with the floor, the side near the hinge had an air leak that let cold air in (and therefore warm air out) at a staggeringly large rate.
I also discovered huge air leaks along various window frames. I caulked those up with a vengeance.
Next came the thermostat. It was set to sixty-eight degrees, 24 hours a day, every day. Neither my husband nor I had taken the time to change that, but our gas bill made me re-think my lack of foresight. It got changed to 65 degrees during sleep times.
These were small changes, but any change is better than no change at all.
Part of the problem is the age of the house. At the time it was built people only used a very thin layer of insulation on the outer walls. This is something that I, as a renter, do not have the ability to change. I’ll have to work around it.
In the meantime, I'll be researching methods to conserve energy in snow country, while continuing to make small fixes.