utility cuting Qs and tips- General Budget & Finance

we recived a letter from our furnace company with heating cost tips today then I saw the site home page with more tips. I have a few questions. you can have a company (they say usually for free) come out and tell you whear you have heat escapeing and other ways to cut bills in your home.

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  1. #1
    south bend IN cat lady
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    Default utility cuting Qs and tips


    we recived a letter from our furnace company with heating cost tips today then I saw the site home page with more tips. I have a few questions.


    • you can have a company (they say usually for free) come out and tell you whear you have heat escapeing and other ways to cut bills in your home. Whear do you find these companys?
    • they say: you can get rebates and discounts from your utility companys. Never heard of his. anyone else?



    And a few tips too.


    1. the home site says to use plug covers to cut out plug drafts. You can also buy small inserts that fit behind the plate to cut back drafts. they are cheap and easy.
    2. Covering your windows helps a lot. Did you know you can get drafts from your window frame too? It was sugested I insulate behind mine but im afraid of cracking my origanal wood trying to do it.
    3. we got a programmable thermastat between that and plastic over the windows we have cut our heating from $149.65 last year Dec.to $94.65 this year Dec. We keep the house cool also at a low 52 and just have heating blankets and sweaters.

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  3. #2
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    When we lived in Gladstone, MO years ago they got a government grant to have infrared pictures taken of our homes and then the city came by each house to show us where we were losing heat. It was really nice. Now I live in the boondocks and am on my own to figure it out,but My electric coop will come out and do a check for us free of charge though.

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  5. #3
    south bend IN cat lady
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    maybe I can try my electric company. i really want the inferred thing don. Course I think it will look like my house is lit up.

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    TO PULL WINDOW & DOOR TRIM:
    if you have an old old house the wood trim might be easier to pull than you think. I am assuming it is NOT clamshell moulding which is definately newer.

    Old mouldings (and I am not talking 50 yrs but MORE) used cut nails, these are flat pieces of metal that are tapered. (TIP: If you do crafts you might want to save these for some country items)

    Newer uses finishing nails (unless somewhere in its life someone used a screw or something)

    Many times when gentley pulling up the mouldings the nails will stay in place and pull through the wood, finishing nails leave a small round hole, cut nails leave a small rectangle hole

    Is it painted? if so take razor and cut along the paint lines at wall and along the edge by window.

    Is it lacquered or otherwise wood coloured with some kind of protective stuff on top? This seems to dry out more and be more crackable than painted, Still cut along the wall because wall paint may also be sealing it.

    Is the wall drywall or horsehair plaster? (TIP: find a thin piece of metal for under the pry bar and it will protect the wall too. I have a chunk of scrap metal that I stick under it and it definately helps)Dry wall will damage without something to protect it. If horsehair and its damaged drywall mud does not do the greatest patch job

    BEST PATCH FOR HORSEHAIR PLASTER: White not grey floor leveler. It does come in smaller box vs the big bag. Mix a little at a time, because it sets up like concrete. Clean tools immediately after use (DO NOT PUT DOWN SINK). The white seems much harder than the grey so get the wall as smooth as possible with no humps. By mistake, I ended up getting some of the grey and I can wet sand it, not sure it will hold up to be honest for the floor - I may have to pull that and redo it

    TO PULL:
    You need a few pry bars, not one. A flat pry bar will leave less damage on wood.

    Start on corner somewhere and stick first bar under the edge, tap it in (gentley). take the second bar and put it in a few inches above where you put in the first. (WHY: This takes the strain off the wood, because it's a gradual incline of pull, vs steep incline.)

    You should be able to stick the first one in more once the second one is in.. Then check if the second one can be shoved in more. IF so put in third. Pull a little on the bottom, then the second one, and the third. THis is slow work, if it isn't brittle its quicker. You should be able to slide the second and third bars up the wood as it gets spread more.

    TO INSULATE:
    Buy insulation wrap, its yellow insulation that is about 3 inches wide in a small rolls, or sometimes folded. Using a putty or drywall blade shove this between the frames and studs (**if its a wide hole invest in some foam insulation that you can place in there). I have used some that was for doors (flat foam with sticky on one side) it was a bit of a pain to shove in because of the stick-um but it filled the gap then I put in the yellow insulation


    WARNING: if you use spray foam it can and will push the frame out of place. Use it sparingly as it expands like crazy

    DO NOT pull any shims that are between the wall and the door or window. These need to stay there.

    Last coat is caulk after the yellow.. If you have a cup of water nearby stick finger in it and you can smear it flat

    Let it dry before replacing mouldings

    Ria (maine)

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  9. #5
    south bend IN cat lady
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    Default Re: utility cuting Qs and tips


    thanks for the tips! I have old plaster walls. I love them actually but they do have there downfalls. Like adding new plugs and such its really tough to get through the walls. I dont know what horse hair plaster is but our looks like it has gravel in it. I can only see the holes in the wood laqured framed I cant see the nails at all. So of course the worst conditions for doing this. Ill show DH your post and see what he says.

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    Default Re: utility cuting Qs and tips


    horse hair plaster
    You can find this in homes built before the 1950's. It was used to hold the plaster together when building the walls and ceilings.

    I think the rebates and discounts from the heating company is based on the results of them testing your house and how well insulated it is. Not positive though.

  11. #7
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    usually the plaster was not a smooth texture like todays mud for drywall. It's usually a sandy type plaster

    To make holes in horsehair plaster almost guarantees the plaster will pull off the lathe. Especially if you use a saw. The vibrations of the saw will cause the problem, it can break off the glop on the back of the lathe, which means the lathe and the plaster can separate, the the dust etc falls down inbetween the two and pushes the plaster wall out ..

    Draw your lines on the wall. Drill your holes with a small bit for the corners .. then use the drill to poke holes all along the lines .. This will take time, but you have a chance, as it won't vibrate as much. REMEMBER let the drill do the work, don't push it through (or you;ll pop the back glob of plaster)

    Then case knife cut the rest (which is why you want the holes as close as possible). Have extra blades on hand .. This works if you have time and only have to do a few.

    I once had to cut a beam with a razor (the position was just so awful I couldn't get any tool in there close enough). I just went at it 5-10 mins at a time it got done and eventually I could box it and put in stairs. I think today (now I have 2 recips) I might be able to do it with power tool

    If you 'gotta' use power tools DO NOT use a recip (it has huge vibrations) .. some jig saws have less than others .. check them before using

    they make an electrical box with wings. These have adjustable wings to help hold it to the wall.

    Before putting in wiring and box, check the sides of the wall. Are they still strongly attached or are sections wanting to pull apart? If so use some glue (not reg - use the stuff for caulk gun) and slide some between the layers (I used a piece of cardboard to push it in) then use mini clamps and piece of wood on the plaster side to clamp together for a while. Heavy clamps put too much stress.

    Ria

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    south bend IN cat lady
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    man HS your full of info! Thanks!!

    We had a funny month this billing period. Last month was $90 and they estamated this at $300. I had a fit!! Said there was no way. So DH and I trapsed out in the snow in PJs with flightlight and checked our meter. It was right!! What a jump! We have had our house at 52 degrees so that is a lot of money to be freezing. I really want to get someone out to check the house but we cant afford to pay. I know we need to get the attic taken care of. We are loseing tons of heat there. We just caulked the windows and it got warmer. But with the new bill we had to lower the heat again. I just keep thinking. Togather DH and I dont make the worst pay. What about the people who make less than us??

  13. #9
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    Default Re: utility cuting Qs and tips


    has anyone checked to see if their city offers heating assitance. My city does they will contribute to paying part of your bill for you if you qualify, they will also pay a bill you can't pay and are in danger of losing service. It is through social services. The guidelines here are pretty strict to qualify but it doesn't hurt to check.
    Mdowdy

  14. #10
    south bend IN cat lady
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    south bend IN offers it. you have to make less than $21,000 for a two person household.

  15. #11
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    chances are they misread last months bill .. ask to be put on payment plan ..

    Have you pulled the reg bulbs and replaced with the swirlies? Use the 100 for reading lights - the 60's are NOT bright enough

    This month is a LOT colder than the prev month, I'm in Maine so we have another full month of cold, then mid March it should start getting a little warmer

    Try putting up blankets over the doors, make liners for the windows

    Plan on making casseroles etc for the oven, then put extra left overs in freezer or save for later in week .. using nuker is cheaper than reusing the oven

    check your fridge and freezer gaskets - stick a dollar bill in the door (try different areas) and pull it should have resistance, if not time to replace the gasket (check with a real appliance store)

    if you have empty areas in the freezer stick in gallon jug of water and let it freeze, this will help keep the temp down

    Have you cleaned the back of your fridge? the new ones have the coils hidden but the older ones need vac'd .. How is it underneath? believe it or not that can add to problems too

    what are you using for hot or cold? toasters, coffee makers, elec hot water heater, fridge etc - cut the use .. Don't leave on the coffee pot, use a thermos and you can have hot coffee/tea all day (and you don't have to even nuke it)

    Cut down shower time to 5 mins (I can do it in 5 mins and I'm old and fat so my kids can certainly do it in that time)

    Insulate your hot water heater ..

    Got a basement? put up insulation on the windows this helps keep the basement warmer which means the first floor is warmer

    What kind of heat? How old is the furnace? Have you had any maintenance done on it?
    Get the burner checked you may need it tweaked.

    Are you using electric heaters? space heaters? These use a ton of electric, we use one in the bathroom and the rule is everyone takes shower one right after the other or no electric heat.

    Clean the vents or baseboards - dust works like insulation, insulates YOU from the heat.

    Do you have forced hot air? replace the filters ..

    Ria

  16. #12
    Deal GURU
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    We are ripping out the rooms we made in the pole barn that we lived in for almost 5 years and trying to salvage as much lumber and insulation as we can. My DH is beginning to finish the basement and refuses to use any of the old insulation. He hates bugs. He grew up in Utah and I guess they don't have much there--LOL! Anyway any time any of his family comes to visit they all totally freak out over our Missouri bugs. He doesn't want to reuse the insulation as it "might have bugs" in it! I told the kids to go ahead and keep rolling it up and setting it aside in one of the old bedrooms. DH is only home on the weekends so for every wall he puts up we'll insulate during the week before he comes home. I know him and insulation so if he doesn't like it he can remove it and insulate himself! I'm betting we use all the old insulation! Any that's left over we'll drag up into the attic and add it there. You'd think after 30 years in Missouri he'd be use to all our wildlife!

  17. #13
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    can't imagine bugs in fiberglass (maybe spiders though) .. tell him you'll spray it with raid .. that way he's happy

    good thing you don't live in the South, he'd really hate the cockroaches (aka palmetto bugs ew yuck flying cockroaches) .. the fire ants .. scorpions .. water mocs .. other poisonous snakes etc etc

    I sure didn't want my kids doing any of the stupid stuff I did as a kid (I lived in TX, AL, MS, FL, OK at various times) .. Glad I raised my kids up north .. If they want to go fishing and tramp through high grass I only worry about ticks ..

    Ria

    Ria

 

 

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