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Old 11-22-2019, 06:38 AM
Daisy Daisy is offline
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Default effective/frugal ways to save on fuel and stay warm



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I'm hoping others will add their tips as well.

Just heating one room in winter and live mainly in that room. This is actually useful in other ways as well, you just have one space to keep tidy and so is less work. If you live alone, put your bed in the living space and use it like a couch during the day.

If your bedroom is cold, what you do is put a hot water bottle in your bed about 15 minutes before you go to bed, it is amazing what a difference that makes. Put it at your feet when you get in. You will be warm all night. The hot water bottle will still be warm in the morning. I have found that the rubber hot water bottles give out and start leaking after about a year. I have two aluminum metal flasks that have lasted a long time. Also you can use just plan 2 liter soda bottles but don't put boiling water in (this will make the plastic melt and go funny) just use very hot water and it's good. If you find that the bottle is too hot for your feet, put the bottle in a sock. Also ALWAYS make sure the hot water bottle is well sealed and not leaking!!!

Hot water bottles are also useful when you are sitting at computer and feeling a little chilly, put hot water bottle on an old piece of blanked on the floor, rest your feet on the hot water bottle and flap other part of the blanket over your feet.

Just wearing something warm to bed helps a lot too. Wear a sweater and socks and woolly hat if youíre bald.

Also if it is very cold when you enter the bed, it actually helps to put your head under the blankets, your breathing helps heat the space under your blankets. If you donít have a hot water bottle, rub your feet against the mattress to create friction, this help blood circulation.

Use wool blankets, they are often better than quilts at keeping you warm. (Don't get the thin fluffy ones, get nice heavy itchy ones.)

Hang thick curtain all the way to floor in doorways to prevent drafts and cold entering warm space every time you enter or leave the room..

make a pot of tea and keep the pot hot by putting a pillow over it, or make a tea cozy.

Make a wonder oven. It works like a powerless crockpot. This is really good for stews, soups, and you CAN even bake bread in jars this way. And the good thing about your cooking is that it NEVER BURNS , just google diy wonder oven and take your pick. Easy, cheap and VERY effective.

Use thermos bottles. Put your drink of choice in the thermos and then cover with a pillow or old furry hat, anything insulative. It will keep the thermos contents hotter longer. The best thermos bottles are the ones with the glass reflective liners. look in yard sales, flea markets etc. for these. Make sure they seal well and have both a stopper and a screw on lid. Fill the thermos full.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:18 PM
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I'm hoping others will add their tips as well.



Also if it is very cold when you enter the bed, it actually helps to put your head under the blankets, your breathing helps heat the space under your blankets.


Doing this with cotton sheets is a bad plan. Synthetic, silk, wool ok. But you dont want to get your cotton sheets wet with condensed breath.

Also, socks off in bed.

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Old 11-22-2019, 10:11 PM
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Americans use almost twice the energy as germans or japanese. Those are the ones to see about savings. Possibly size has to do with part of it though when visiting japan residences i did not think they were unusually small. Roads and commercial vehicles were definitely smaller though.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:32 PM
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Insulation, insulation, insulation.


I use little wood compared to many, and it's because my ground floor is insulated to R 30.

My dad taught me that insulation always pays concerning AC.... And he was right.

Blackout curtains help, as do chinking around the door.

If not that:
Heat the space around you and yourself vs heating the air in the room to heat you.

A heater at the feet of your chair under the blanket etc.
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Old 11-23-2019, 03:37 AM
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If you have a daily exercise routine, like calisthenics, weight lifting, running, whatever, or you need to clean house, chop wood, mow the grass, etc. split the work between the mornings after you wake up and the evenings before bedtime to warm you up. Wear down booties, long johns and a sleeping cap to bed so you conserve body heat instead of paying for it. It's all about conserving body heat. I've slept in -10 degree weather in a good sleeping bag and felt toasty. Your body generates plenty of heat, you just have to conserve it.
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Old 11-23-2019, 04:00 AM
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If you have a daily exercise routine, like calisthenics, weight lifting, running, whatever, or you need to clean house, chop wood, mow the grass, etc. split the work between the mornings after you wake up and the evenings before bedtime to warm you up. Wear down booties, long johns and a sleeping cap to bed so you conserve body heat instead of paying for it. It's all about conserving body heat. I've slept in -10 degree weather in a good sleeping bag and felt toasty. Your body generates plenty of heat, you just have to conserve it.
Couldn't agree more

Even just wearing warmer clothes inside and warm slippers makes a difference.
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Old 11-23-2019, 07:41 AM
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We used to pack the front door cracks with plastic bags. Cats are nice and warm in the bed and do a lot to keep me warm.

Not survivialy but I got a heated mattress pad and LOVE that thing.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:30 AM
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There are ways to be frugal and not suffer. We have two woodstoves and heat with wood that we cut off our own property. We frugally sit around the house in our underwear during our northern Ontario winters.

We also use the woodstove in our living room to save electricity by replacing our 'toaster', coffee pot, clothes drying (rack in front), and occasional cooking.
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:45 AM
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Down comforter WITH a duvet cover (it addds 2 extra layers for insulation). Shop carefully, as some are very thin and/or the cover of the comforter itself is constructed poorly so you'll get drafts and/or shifting of the down.

If the bed is next to an outside wall, pull it at least a foot away so any coolness on the wall doesn't make you chilly. This also allows heat to circulate better.

Make sure the floor UNDER the bed has a carpet/rug. A wool felt pad is also much better insulation than the ****ty synthetic ones.

Carpet/rugs anywhere help.

Change the direction of ceiling fans so they push warm air down (opposite the summer direction that pushes warm air up).

Insulate the inside AND outside of your windows with plastic. Plastic outside is heavier. Make sure to get it tight. Also on the storm door, although you won't block the edges so the door can still be opened. Don't forget to insulate your skylights.

Thermal curtains (blackout OR otherwise). Also put one on the insides of the doors and in the doorways to rooms/areas that aren't used, or aren't used much. On either/both sides of the door. If no door, as in an arched opening to a dining room, hang two thermal curtains, perhaps with a shower curtain in between (helps block drafts).
Ensure no drafts from the outside. Caulk/weatherproof places where air is coming in (especially look at windows, doors, vents, and where utilities go in/out).

Keep cupboards, cabinets, and closets closed, with the possible exception of cabinets containing plumbing (if there is a danger of the pipes freezing), especially those along outside walls.

Insulation in the walls, between floors (especially between the basement and first floor), and in the attic.

Make sure your fireplace damper is tight when you close it.

Keep all vents and filters clean.

Dry houses feel much colder than those with good humidity at the same temperature. Adjust a whole-house humidifier as the temperature and your furnace's work fluctuates. If there isn't one on your furnace, pots of water on top of radiators or in front of heating vents help.

Candles light AND heat. Bad with cats Also watch children, elderly, and dogs. Ditto for kerosene. There's a recent thread on sB about kerosene heaters.

Keep your thermostat at one temperature. Fiddling with the thermostat makes the furnace work harder when you turn the temp back up. Computerized/zoned systems are a different story. Follow the instructions for those systems.

Use bubble wrap and/or loosely bunched plastic bags as an insulator between windows.

Paper bags insulate a little, but they block light.

Open drapes on sunny days to let the sunshune help warm the house, but close when the temperature starts to drop when the sun gets lower in the sky (well before sunset).

If you have to replace your roof, a dark color absorbs heat and a light color reflects heat.

After baking something, after the oven is turned off, leave the oven door open so the heat can contribute to the kitchen's warmth. If you use a double boiler, when done, wait until the water in the bottom cools off before dumping/using for something else so the hot water/steam can contribute to the kitchen's warmth. Forget this if you're going to use the hot water for washing dishes, putting in a thermos/hot water bottle, etc.

Last, and best... sleep with your husband/wife
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:25 AM
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Lots of good advice here. I've used most of them at one time or another in my various lives.

I was going to say the same thing as Canuck Prepper did but he beat me to it, just throw another log on the fire.

As I age I can see my declining ability to cut 8 to 10 cords of wood a year though so am thinking of ways to cut back on that.

When my Dad broke his hip I moved him to my house and set him up in the (large) kitchen with a bed there and closed it off to the rest of the house. There was one wood stove in the kitchen that he was able to manage. The bathroom was just around the corner and I kept an electric heater in there to keep it from freezing and he managed quite well alone. I was gone during the week and only got home weekends but this solution worked well.

I can see myself using a version of this in the next few years in winter to cut back greatly on needed firewood.

Another solution is to head for Florida or Arizona (in good times) for the winter.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:37 AM
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Or buy a piece of land in the mountains with lots of alive and standing dead standing conifer trees. Wife keeps saying that our way of life is no longer cool, that most folks get to heat with electricity and propane. We try to keep our home under 80 degrees, figuring 75 is best. Have lots of insulation. Wood heat does get rougher as one grows older so, although I am some 2 years ahead on wood, I hope next spring to get another 2 years ahead before I get too old. Cutting firewood in my eighties doesn't sound fun.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:15 PM
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Lots of good advice here. I've used most of them at one time or another in my various lives.

I was going to say the same thing as Canuck Prepper did but he beat me to it, just throw another log on the fire.

As I age I can see my declining ability to cut 8 to 10 cords of wood a year though so am thinking of ways to cut back on that.

coppicing and a tractor bucket won't reduce the wood you need, but letting it fall right into the bucket (or scooping it up) and not needing to split wood will seem like it.

Sure you'll eventually not be able to, but a friend of mine in his 70's heats his house this way.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:05 PM
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Actually the direction I've decided to go is this:

Right now I have a big old drafty house. I have three root cellars from buying adjoining properties but all of them are damp (quite damp). This works very well for potatoes but not too well for anything else, especially storage for tin canned goods (they rust very quickly) plus not conducive to healthy/comfortable living in if it became necessary.

What I am going to do is build a concrete walled dry shelter and build a small cabin on top that is very, very efficient. Equip it to be livable completely off grid as well as having electricity and propane and flush toilets for normal times.with survival backup from the get go. I have both well and spring water that can be easily piped to the cabin and it will be right behind the main house (and the main house will be accessible in warmer season and good times).

The lower part will have a concrete (and dirt) roof and serve as a rather hardened shelter so it can be lived in when/if necessary and the top (which will have some overhang) can serve to live in at any time (especially when I can't or don't want to cut large quantities of wood).

The cellar part I expect to be 12 X 16 and the upper cabin 14 X 20, (neither written in stone yet) but as of just a couple of days ago I gave the rough drawing to my contractor to give me an estimate for pouring the cellar walls and roof (just getting a feeler).

I'd actually like to go a little wider on the 'basement', maybe 14 or 16 feet wide but I need to learn more (the contractor has some experience with concrete roofs spans and loads) before the final commitment is made. The upper part I can build totally by myself.

I can do this affordably (much more affordably than revamping the old house or building a new house) and have the big old house to use most of the time and the small highly efficient cabin for use when needed plus the lower shelter for more trying situations.

Trying to kill several birds with one stone so to speak.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:37 PM
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Mtnairkin, that sounds like a really good plan!

I notice myself, in the winter I live in the "summer kitchen" (small house) which is basically one sizeable room, small kitchen and pantry. In spring, summer and early fall, I live in the main house.

this definitely saves on fuel, and there is something comforting about being in a smaller, more contained space in winter. It gives kind of a "comfy nest" kind of feeling. I turn off the water in the winter, to the main house, my two big freezers are up there and they still run, but don't use any other electricity up there during winter.

I have both compost toilet and outhouse by the summer kitchen. Once a month I'll turn on the water for doing laundry and luxury bath. Rest of the time, I wash small things by hand and use washcloth method like we did when I was a child. It works fine. And I use much less electricity in the summer kitchen.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:33 PM
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Solar, low cost passive. If your home or garage has a south facing wall, install polycarbonate glazing panels w/ nighttime insulation.
I mean I’m sitting in my garage right now, just finished lunch, both ohead doors are glazed. It’s 16* outside and 65* inside. Also thanks to all the extra sunlight I don’t have any lighting on. Monthly hit for this nada, zero, zilch.

Last edited by Copymutt; 11-26-2019 at 10:59 AM.. Reason: Spell correct
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnairkin View Post
Actually the direction I've decided to go is this:

Right now I have a big old drafty house. I have three root cellars from buying adjoining properties but all of them are damp (quite damp). This works very well for potatoes but not too well for anything else, especially storage for tin canned goods (they rust very quickly) plus not conducive to healthy/comfortable living in if it became necessary.

What I am going to do is build a concrete walled dry shelter and build a small cabin on top that is very, very efficient. Equip it to be livable completely off grid as well as having electricity and propane and flush toilets for normal times.with survival backup from the get go. I have both well and spring water that can be easily piped to the cabin and it will be right behind the main house (and the main house will be accessible in warmer season and good times).

The lower part will have a concrete (and dirt) roof and serve as a rather hardened shelter so it can be lived in when/if necessary and the top (which will have some overhang) can serve to live in at any time (especially when I can't or don't want to cut large quantities of wood).

The cellar part I expect to be 12 X 16 and the upper cabin 14 X 20, (neither written in stone yet) but as of just a couple of days ago I gave the rough drawing to my contractor to give me an estimate for pouring the cellar walls and roof (just getting a feeler).

I'd actually like to go a little wider on the 'basement', maybe 14 or 16 feet wide but I need to learn more (the contractor has some experience with concrete roofs spans and loads) before the final commitment is made. The upper part I can build totally by myself.

I can do this affordably (much more affordably than revamping the old house or building a new house) and have the big old house to use most of the time and the small highly efficient cabin for use when needed plus the lower shelter for more trying situations.

Trying to kill several birds with one stone so to speak.

I like the idea of designing a house to be comfortable with no electric, running water, or central heat then adding those things latter. Most buildings are designed that it is a given the utilities will ALWAYS work and if they are down for even a couple hours they become difficult to live in.

The building I live in was built before electricity but has been remodeled so many times since then that it gets uncomfortable when the power is out. I am slowly making changes to it to make a power outage much less of an inconvenience.
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:05 PM
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If a person has money and resources now, insulation is a good investment for when they may not have the money or resources.

My kids aren't that many years away from moving out so if I intended to stay here I would consider insulating some of the interior walls that way as they move out I can stop heating some of the unused rooms and the insulation will reduce the heat loss from the warm part of the house to the cold.
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:40 PM
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Americans use almost twice the energy as germans or japanese. Those are the ones to see about savings. Possibly size has to do with part of it though when visiting japan residences i did not think they were unusually small. Roads and commercial vehicles were definitely smaller though.
I lived in Germany as a kid and let me tell you, we did not have heated bedrooms. We had thick bed covers and warm night clothes. Only the main living area was heated in winter. There was no AC, and the hot water heater was only turned on once a week on Saturdays to take a bath. The house was not small at all. Oh, and we had shutters on all the windows that rolled down, that kept the house much better insulated than anything in the U.S. I wished you could get those shutters here

Here and now we have 2 wood stoves, one in the kitchen than also heats our water and one in the living room. If it gets really cold we have a few indoor propane heaters that will heat the bedrooms in about 10 minutes and not cost very much. No shortage of trees for wood around here either
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:15 PM
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I lived in Germany as a kid and let me tell you, we did not have heated bedrooms. We had thick bed covers and warm night clothes. Only the main living area was heated in winter. There was no AC, and the hot water heater was only turned on once a week on Saturdays to take a bath. The house was not small at all. Oh, and we had shutters on all the windows that rolled down, that kept the house much better insulated than anything in the U.S. I wished you could get those shutters here

Here and now we have 2 wood stoves, one in the kitchen than also heats our water and one in the living room. If it gets really cold we have a few indoor propane heaters that will heat the bedrooms in about 10 minutes and not cost very much. No shortage of trees for wood around here either

Quick Google... Rouladen are available in the States
https://www.google.com/search?q=roul...w=1366&bih=655
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:31 AM
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Wife and I studied many hours when students in our uninsulated rental house under wool blankets with a ceramic heater blowing under the edge!

We call them heat tents and could study sitting on the couch in a room that had ice on the windows and you could easily see your breath! We would many times have our winter coats/hats on with the blanket over out laps for hours at a time.

Kept a 2 liter bottle in a wool boot sock partly full of water to throw in the microwave each evening to make a hot water bottle for the bed. Kept playing with it until the amount of water was perfect and we knew exactly how long to put it in the microwave for! (Too long or too much water causes the lid to fail!)

Keep wool blankets next to our couch and living room chairs even today!

SD
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