Going in search of lower heating bills

Well, here we are again, on the verge of turning our clocks back and preparing for the return of winter weather.

Well, here we are again, on the verge of turning our clocks back and preparing for the return of winter weather.

I know it wouldn’t seem so bad if we had enjoyed any kind of a reasonable summer. The north coast has suffered one of the wettest, most miserable summer-fall seasons in my personal memory, which goes back only to around 1980.

Others may have worse seasons to compare it to.

There’s no doubt we got spoiled (sucked in?) over the past two summers with long enjoyable hours of sunshine, great deck-barbecue time, good growing conditions and even though it took an extraordinary long time this spring to see the snow melt off our lawns and sidewalks, I still felt that we’d have a few more days of nice summer weather ahead than we eventually received.

Now we are being warned by meteorologists that this cool, wet summer is about to be followed by one of the colder snowier winters in a long time.

My old favourite, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts a steady diet of precipitation for northern BC And we know what that means in this area – yes, lots more snow.

As rain drummed against the windows over the past weeks it got me to spend some of my time researching how to make my home a little warmer, checking out heating systems and looking for some tips on reducing the cruel gas and electric bills that seem to be heading for the stratosphere – with some help from the government, I might add.

Fortunately there’s a lot of information out there on the internet – some of its contradictory, some of it confusing and quite a lot of it that makes good common sense,  but requires a lot of effort, some planning and spending some money.

I have to say, when I went looking, I was not out there to save the planet – just to save myself a little extra on my pension, which for some reason appears to have become targeted as stimulus money for the oil and energy industries and even the food industry.

Well you got the message, same as I did this summer:  the cost of living is rising at a rapid rate.

So this past little while, in addition to moving the old snow blower into position, putting in new fuel and starting it up, just to make sure it would, I’ve been checking out some of the little ways and means of cutting down on heat loss, checking out insulation, doors and window trim  while getting ready to  accept the inevitable.

While you don’t need a degree to carry out even a rough kind of home energy audit, I have to say the over 300 suggestions I found on one such DIY audit list was a bit more overwhelming that I expected.

A lot of it did make some real sense and included some things I would normally do – as well as a lot more detailed things I just don’t think I could muster up the patience or energy for – get it?

Since I was looking for savings the easy way, I didn’t rush out and spend money on one of the many energy cost monitors on the market to measure energy use.

I’m pretty sure the expense of an infrared energy heat gun to allow me to take instant readings of the temperature on walls or windows, or to quickly find the places where the inside of an exterior wall is coldest in winter (needs more insulation)  or where the outside of an exterior wall is warmest (a sign of heat escaping).

Someone more earnest about the chore could use this information to target the draftiest windows or the areas with poor wall insulation for an insulation retrofit.

But if it comes to tearing down walls, I’ll wait a little longer.

But there were some simpler things like caulking, sealing, weatherstripping and finding and eliminating annoying and costly draft sources.

The provincial government and the federal government will help as well, if you don’t mind jumping through a few time-consuming and costly hoops, but if you’re upgrading to a new high efficiency furnace, or a complete HVAC system, or planning on doing some major insulating of roofs, attics, walls, basements etc. there’s some help to be had with the costs.

Takes them a long time, though, while your windows of opportunity are pretty short.

So, I suggest, if you can’t get to sleep at night, get the 140-page tome from Natural Resources Canada (an ecoEnergy, ecoACTION initative!) called, “Keeping the Heat in,” to read in bed. It’s a great sleep aid.

However, read during the day, it contains a great deal of useful information on everything from condensation and moisture problems to cold attics and basements.

I make light of it, but really, it’s good and doesn’t push you to do any more than you want.

But when you read it you’ll likely want to do more than you originally thought you needed.

I guarantee it!

Sorry!

 

ahewitson@telus.net

 

 

Just Posted

Terrace Minor Softball closes season with wins

Teams with be competing in nationals in Saskatoon

Malicious Monster Truck Tour returns to Northwest

Crowds gathered at the airport for show

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Skeena mainstem closed to recreational sockeye

Escapements expected to be below 800,000 threshold

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read