Saturday, 19 May 2012

How to Keep the Heat Inside and the Bills Down

Ok, so you've been hearing all about it on the news for months. Carbon tax, increase in electricity prices and all that. Here in Tassie alone, we are getting a electricity price hike of 26% as of 01/07/12 and that's without the carbon tax implications.

With that in mind, Roge and I have been working out how we can make our house more energy efficient and therefore save us money.

One thing that has been bothering us since the day we moved into this house, is the amount of draughts that it has. Yes it's an old house but there are still things that can be done to plug up some of the holes. First job, taking off the interior architraves and squirting expanding foam into the gaps around the edge of the windows. Hence stopping all the draughts every time the wind blows.

As you can see, we had some pretty significant gaps behind those architraves.

Ruler courtesy of the Taylors latest trip!
This is a pic of our now, plugged up gaps. Roge had a bit of an accident with the foam and it expanded so much that it fell down the wall and onto the floor but a bit of nail removal polish cleaned that up (good old Google let us in on that tip!)

I have also invested into a few door "snakes" although I brought them before I read a friend of mine, Sheryl's tip on how to make your own out of old woollen scarves. You should have a look here, it's quite clever and her blog is always so interesting and funny.

This photo is of the door snake, not of Tina the dog!
We have polished floor boards and whist this makes my floors easy to clean when there's a spill, they can be quite cold in winter and I've noticed mine are quite draughty. To combat this, I've gone and visited the local carpet shops and picked up end of rolls/offcuts of carpet, had them bound and put them in all the main rooms. It a fraction of the cost of buying mats, you usually get a bigger piece of carpet and it does the trick to keep the draughts at bay.

So one window done and it's already made quite a difference. I can feel the room keeping it's temperature much better when I put the heater on and therefore being able to turn down the thermostat a few degrees. That in itself should save a fair few dollars over the course of the winter. We still need to do a few more windows around the house as there are a few "offenders" when it comes to draughts but we'll get to them.

I've also read that if you have air vents up on your walls, you should cover them in winter as this too lets out all the warm air. Also try closing doors to rooms you don't use during the day as well as to your bathroom. Let's face it, you don't need that room to be warm all day round.

I'd be interested to hear from anybody who has more energy saving tips so send me a message if you do.

Keep warm everyone, I'm off to put on another jumper and make a cuppa.


  1. Reading about the price hike really brought home how whiny Ontarians are - they raised the price of electricity by something like 2% - a few dollars a month - and everyone's up in arms. I guess it's all perspective isn't it, and our governments are all short on cash and no one wants to pay a bit extra to continue getting the services they're used to.

    What's behind this huge 26% price hike? I remember hydro being hugely expensive already! Do you still have one of those inefficient hot water heaters? They have some great compact models, I'm thinking of the gas ones, that heat water really fast just when you need it. Makes a massive difference.

    We live in an old house in Toronto that is like all the other old houses - drafts galore and doesn't even have insulation (built before that was introduced!). Some people buy them, strip them right down to the studs or even the outer brick walls, and start again. Probably the only way to do it properly! You'd be shocked at our windows - the one in Hugh's room even has two big cracks in it. Our landlords can be pretty stupid sometimes: they should replace all the windows and stop raising our rent to cover the cost of the furnace in winter! (I'm good at whining too I've realised!)

  2. Hmmm, Aurora energy is soooo expensive and I'm pretty sure they are in trouble so they're raising their costs to try to stay afloat. Shame there is no competition in Tassie so we can't boycott them.

    When we were in Geelong we had Gas heating for the water and it was awesome. Sadly we have the old fashioned one here at our place and I won't bother changing it until it dies. We have natural gas in Tassie now but it's not up our street yet so I'd still have to use bottled gas.

    Old houses were so badly designed weren't they! I can't understand why our house has zero windows facing north and why there are gaps everywhere! Silly!

  3. Ah ... expanding filler. Reminds me of when Pete was renovating the million-dollar man-cave at our previous home and the building inspector's report came back noting "extensive overuse of expanding foam". We're still ribbing him about it; he had filled every possible crevice (and then some) with the stuff.
    Great article and very timely! These energy price hikes are taking their toll.
    And thanks for the mention of my lumpy door sausages. :)

    1. Haha, I love it! It must be a man thing then, not just a "Roge thing".

      No worries about the shout out, I was annoyed that I didn't read your blog before I had gone and brought some.