Thursday, February 25, 2010
Yay I won! and also: My fingers! They aren't finging! or, Ways to lower the electric bill
I entered a giveaway contest on a blog I found and started following about a week ago. Consequently, there will be little balls of awesomeness in the mail to me soon. Rob's site is great. I've been going through archives here and there for a few days and the posts cover a wide range of topics from making a travel mug from a mason jar - that's how I actually found the site, via a link from Fake Plastic Fish - to growing food and gardening (in January even!) to turning unwanted items into totally usable and attractive ones like lamps and string caddies. There's also cute dogs involved sometimes. Go should go check it out!
I keep meaning to make my own little balls of awesomeness that sprout greens and flowers and prettiness but never get around to it. I think this year I will make it a priority. There are lots of places around town here that could do with a bit of pretty-ing up. Places that obviously do not get mowed or otherwise kept. Yes, I think 2010 can be the year that I finally make my own seedballs. I think probably I should make myself a list of challenges to myself. In the spirit of another blog I enjoy following, I think I will call it Tiny Challenges: little things Dan can do to live more sustainably and self sufficiently (and cheaper!). I need to get off my semi-hibernating arse and get some gardening and homesteading type stuff done around here anyway. I can't do any actual cultivation here because of wording in the lease, but I think this could be a totally viable option. My parents are also bringing down a bunch of their unused containers so I can grow veggies in them. I want some dang squash this year!
In other news, this month's electricity bill was not much better than last. I know everything in the apartment is run on electricity, but over $250? Yikes! I didn't think we were using that much. Also, I forgot to check on the reservoir on my humidifier before work several days ago and it ran dry. Apparently sonic humidifiers stop doing humidifier type things when this happens and they are not promptly turned off. In hopes of combating the high bill, Duncan got a new thermostat and looked into other ways to use less electricity. He found out little space heaters like the one I got for the birds a couple years ago and have been using in my bedroom here are actually pretty darned efficient - especially when compared to the electricity-hogging circa 1975/1980 furnace - and that humid air feels warmer than dry air. And also, put on more clothes, duh. The last one seemed to be something he hadn't really considered much.
The thermostat had been jacked ever since he moved in. It never registered the right temp and fluctuated wildly in what it would actually heat to. Come to find out it would read that it was 65 when in reality it was heating the place to almost 75. New programmable thermostat is now set at 60. And, yes, you can survive in a house only heated to 60. In the winter. In the US Midwest. Really, your body can adjust to a lot, including being comfortable at 60 and especially so when you have the sense to put on some socks and a dadgum sweater for cryin' out loud. Don't believe me? Turn your thermostat down to 45 or 50 for 2-3 days and then put it back up to 60. (However, if it's currently below freezing where you live, I don't recommend going lower than 55 right now since that could cause issues with freezing pipes.) One day at the lower temp won't do it at all. Not enough time. Two is usually successful, but three makes it even more so. It's all a matter of perspective. And, actually, when Duncan leaves I will be resetting the thermostat to 55 to save even more on energy consumption. We also now have a space heater for the living room, one for the other bedroom, and a working humidifier. I'm feeling rather cold today, but seeing that the house has been sitting at 70-something when we thought it was at 60-something, I'm only just beginning my acclimatization process for the year. A nice mason jar of coffee or tea should ensure my fingers can continue finging until I'm used to the lower temperature.