Well here are the next two chapters in my frugal reading material.
This is about looking after your furnace and air conditioning.
Try and have shade around your home as the air conditioning will run less. We found this out after cutting down the huge poplars down one side of our city lot. Our window air conditioners run much longer now. No central air here on the homestead as of yet. That is something we will safe up for later. Right now the window unit and built in wall unit are doing well. We also added some insulated drapes which help keep the house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
When we did the renovations the first time around the old windows were replaced with more energy efficient ones. We also made the front window with the ability to open on two sides. Now we can take advantage of cool breezes during the warmer months.
The author says to make sure your window units are clean. This is something Harvey does every time we put them back in (yes we do remove or cover them during the winter). The screens are washed, filters cleaned and the machines are blown out with the air compressor.
So nothing very new in this chapter.
Heating systems came next.
On sunny days we throw open the insulated drapes on the south facing window and the furnace stays off or comes on rarely. We take advantage of Mother Natures natural heating and lighting. Take today for instance, the last time the new furnace came on was at around 10 am. It has been off ever since and the temperature in the house is still sitting at 22 C. Cha ching money in our pocket instead of the gas and electric company.
The draft dodgers will be pulled out shortly and placed in front of the doors every night. One sits in front of a door we don't use all the time.
Every second year Harvey checks all the weather stripping on the doors and replaces any that need to be replaced. He also checks the caulking around the windows in behind the trim.
We re-insulated a few years ago so hopefully that will not have to be done again for awhile.
We do push back our furnace tune ups and that is something we will be doing more often with this new furnace. Keeping it clean will make it run more efficiently, and save us money in the long run. One more new tip to incorporate into our frugal plan.
The author talks about vacuuming and washing your vents regularly. I have gotten out of the habit of doing this so will add this to my monthly cleaning plan. Keeping furniture away from the vents will also enable the furnace to run at a lower cost.
The author says that perhaps one of the best pieces of frugal advice is to get a programmable thermostat. We have one which we keep at a temperature of 21C. When we both worked the thermostat was turned down during the time we were gone and about an hour before we got home the temperature would gradually go back up. Sorry, just can't do the lowering of temperature at night. That toilet seat is mighty cold in the middle of the night.
The author says that ceiling fans according to some experts can save up to $500 a year on heating and cooling costs. I do know that having ours on in the summer does make us feel much cooler. Perhaps it's time to give them a try during the winter, to push down all the risen heated air. A second tip to add to the list.
We are slowly changing all our CFL's to LED bulbs. It is taking awhile but when we switched from regular bulbs to CFL's we noticed a difference and we are hoping for the same savings when all the bulbs are LED. I like the light from LED's much better.
Our outdoor lighting around the doors are CFL's but are garden and deck lighting is all solar!! Love it. We get enough light to make our way around the garden and yard, but not so much that we are blinded.
We turn off lights in rooms not in use, and have timers on lights in the bedroom so I don't fall asleep and leave the lights on.
Chapter 8 is all about DIY.
Making my home cleaners is something I already do. I don't make all of them, but enough to keep the cost down. Some things just do not come clean with our very hard water no matter how much elbow grease a person uses.
The author writes about Dryel Kits. I tried them back when I was buying clothing that was dry clean only..... I was not very happy with the results. Gradually over the years we have gotten away from buying clothing that needs to be dry cleaned, and I have found with my new washer that the woolen cycle works wonders on those items that I would still take to the cleaners.
Harvey does most of his own plumbing and easy electrical work (changing plugs, putting in a toilet or tub, changing faucets, that kind of thing). He has also laid tile, carpet, vinyl, and laminate flooring. He even learned to dry wall!! However as we age we do notice it takes a lot longer to get things done. That's why we are always happy to have our sons help and they are more than willing to lend a hand.
I took Home Economics when growing up. I learned sewing and basic cooking techniques. This has come in handy over the years and I must say I am getting a bit more adventurous in the cooking department (especially baking).
Mom used to darn socks and I inherited her darning kit. I have darned many a sock, much to Harvey's enjoyment (he thinks I am weird).
Mom knit all our sweaters growing up and taught my sister and I. I love being able to knit gifts for my family and friends at a fraction of the cost.
The author talks a great deal about no cost or low cost classes to learn new skills. Learning something new that can improve your living situation is always a good thing.
Those skills that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents used each and every day are wonderful skills to have.
I now have a few more frugal ideas to try and make a part of my every day life.
Everybody have a wonderful evening.