John and I purchased our first home earlier this year. We live in Maine, where the temperatures get very cold in the winter, so it is very important to us to make sure that our home is as energy efficient as possible. We were spoiled for the last 2 years, when our landlord paid for our heating oil, but now that we are paying for it ourselves again, we want to make it last as long as possible. Heating oil is not cheap!
A few years ago, we rented a very large, old, drafty farmhouse, where we were required to pay for the heating oil ourselves. We were burning through almost a full tank of oil per month, at over $4.00 per gallon, and it was STILL only 58 degrees in the house all winter long. What a miserable winter that was!
As awful as that experience was, it certainly helped us to know what to look for when we bought our own home. That old farmhouse was about 2500 square feet, and our new home is only about 960. A smaller house is much more energy efficient than a large one, and we are quite comfortable here. We made sure to find a house that had a very open layout, so we don’t really notice how small it is on a daily basis. A large house may be enticing, but if you don’t really need all that extra room, consider buying a smaller home that will be more energy efficient. Being energy efficient will save you time and money, and improve your quality of life!
Another way we save on energy costs, is by turning down the thermostat when we go to bed at night, or when we leave the house for a while. At night, we are nice in warm in our pajamas, and under the covers in our bed, so there is really no need to have the heat turned up. Did you know that three to five percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68°F? You can find more warm weather, cold weather and everyday savings tips (conveniently broken down by no cost, low cost and investment solutions) from here. These tips from PG&E are really great!
Replacing all of the windows in our home is on our to-do list, but we probably won’t be able to get to that until next year, so we keep our shades drawn as much as we can to keep the cold air out as best as we can. Replacing your old windows with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 percent!
One of the worst windows in our house, is in our daughter, Kayleigh’s room. I have noticed that a lot of cold air leaks in from the bottom of her window, even with the shade drawn, so I thought that I would make a draft stopper to place on her window sill to block all of that cold air from entering her bedroom.
When I was a kid, my grandmother always had a handmade draft stopper at the bottom of her front door and it worked very well to keep the cold air out. Since I am making this one for a toddler’s room, I wanted to make the draft stopper toddler-friendly and turn it into a cute little dog. You could just fore-go the embellishments and leave it plain if you wanted to, however.
This draft stopper was really very easy to make, even for a non-crafty person like me!
DIY Draft Stopper
1 pair of heavy tights or leggings
Scraps of Felt
5 Pounds of Uncooked White Rice
Needle and thread
Step 1. Measure the length of the area you will be placing your draft stopper.
Step 2. Cut off one leg of the tights, also snipping off the foot just above the heel. I used leggings, so there was no foot part to cut off.
Step 3. Turn the material inside out and sew one of the ends together, then turn the fabric back out to its original state. You will now have one end that is sealed.
Step 4. Fill the draft stopper with rice. Using a funnel helps cut down on the mess!
Step 5. Once you’ve filled the tights or leggings with enough rice to make your draft stopper the appropriate length, sew the top closed. Now you have a draft stopper!
Step 6. Next, add embellishments to make it look like the animal of your choice, if you wish. I added craft eyes, cut out ears, paws and a tail with the felt I had, and added a pom-pom for the nose. I attached these to the leggings with Krazy glue. I used a pipe cleaner to make a collar around the neck area.
Your cute little draft stopper is now ready to stop drafts, conserve heat, and save money!
#PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest
Now through November 23, 2014, you can enter the #PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest for a chance to win one of seven $100.00 Home Depot gift cards! That could help to pay for some great energy saving tools for your home! Click here for more details.
What are some things you do to make your home more energy efficient?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.