Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Energy Battle...

So...

As mentioned in my to-do list, we are trying to cut our energy bill by 50% this winter. For financial reasons, ecological reasons, my own personal reasons... it doesn't matter. We have made this promise to ourselves and we are trying like hell to keep it...

A few years ago, when gas prices went through the roof, I had a vision. In our house we had a fireplace that ages ago someone had turned into a gas/fake fireplace. Well.... one day, I busted that fucking thing out, fireplace, brick and all. His parents were so loving as to give us a wood burning fireplace insert that has an electric blower on it. It's supposed to heat some 1500 square feet while burning.... We did have to shell out some cash to have a special insert placed into our chimney but I think this blog will explain that it was worth it.

John went and bought an axe and a splitter. We have a vehicle that can haul a fair amount of weight. We have asked around for firewood (free firewood... cause we can't afford to buy it... I'm astounded by how much people charge for WOOD!). As it turns out... people have wood that they WANT us to take!!! It's great! Our daycare lady gave us a ton, my dad gave us a ton, my father-in-law gave us a ton! My dad even has a small forest bed behind his house with downed trees that if we take a chainsaw, we can have SOOOO much more!

We have 2 electric heaters. One in the little boy's room, one we haven't even brought out yet... We are burning wood in the fireplace... my house smells great and is warm :-) We wear hats. We wear two layers of clothing. We wear socks to bed. We snuggle in bed at night. My kids have 4 blankets on each of their beds. We are fighting an energy battle.

And this month's bill says I WON.

It got cold last month and people turned on the heat. Not us!!! I have refused. (OK, there have been a few nights when I was VERY tempted, I won't lie.) It's incredible though....

My last month's energy bill was 100 DOLLARS!!!!!!! (Not to mention I have $900 saved in an "energy account"--budget billing-- cause we didn't run the air hardly at all this summer.... money in the bank!)

That's the cheapest it's been in 5 years! I feel odd being that excited about it but it's a small triumph for us. It's nice to say that when it got cold, we worked hard and we paid less. We own a home and we are trying to reduce the impact we have on the natural world while still maintaining our existance. We have succeeded in a small way but a big way...

Now comes another challenge.... it's supposed to dip down into the 20's this coming week... stay tuned!! I'll let ya know if we froze or if we were comfy and still saving money at the same time :-)

This is what John looks like with an axe splitting wood :-) ONLY... his butt looks great!!!

6 comments:

ChiTown Girl said...

OK, first, I HAVE to know where the hell that lumberjack dude is in your town. His twin lives here, just a few blocks away from me, but instead of an ax, he's holding a muffler!!

Congrats on saving on the energy bill. Your house sounds just like mine. Lex and I bundle up, and spend a lot of time under blankets. But, I can't afford to be paying heating bills that are in excess of $350, like my parents do. That's crazy! This week, the windchill hit the teens, so I finally now just turned on my heat. However, my thermostat is set at 65, so it didn't run very long (the temp in the house dipped to 59 before I turned it on, though. Sorry Lex!)

Good luck with the wood burning this winter. My only worry with having piles of wood around is that mice like to nest there :( My in-laws have a wood burning fireplace that they use all winter. Lex adores it. Quite frankly, I adored it when the ex used to use it to romance me! Apparently, it worked, huh? I love the smell of it, too. I think it's kinda cute when Lex comes home smelling like the fireplace. He just loves to do the fire building now. Good Lord, I hope he doesn't try bringing girls over to his grandma's.... ;-)

Jerry Critter said...

When I was growing up my family had a cabin on an island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle. The only source of heat was the fireplace and a wood burning stove.

We would go up there on weekends during the winter. My job was to get up early in the morning and build a fire in the stove and, if it was really cold, in the fireplace.

I still remember the warmth coming from the stove and fireplace. There is nothing like the natural heat from a wood fire. It not only warms the body, it warms the soul also.

Your bank account and your soul are better off.

-jd said...

A. I'm not that tall.

B. I'm not made of concrete.

C. You haven't bought me my red flannel lumberjack shirt yet.

D. Why am I fenced in?

E. WE ARE NOT TURNING ON THE HEAT! I WILL BURN YOUR CLOTHES, THE FURNITURE, AND ANYTHING ELSE I CAN GET MY HANDS...(not the whiskey) ON BEFORE WE TURN ON THE FURNACE. (my own test against mother nature)

ChiTown Girl said...

Uh, JD, you forgot to mention how much body heat you plan to generate to keep your woman warm!!!

Jack said...

That is the way to go. The renovations on my townhouse basically sealed up the fireplace so it doesn't really work. On the other hand, I'm not sure we are zoned for that kind of thing. BTW, my electricity bill was $350 last month. Urgg....

three moons said...

Wow, dana! See, you learning to knit is vital to your family! Pump those scarves and hats out, lol.