While we are on the subject of resolutions, if you are resolved (see what I did there?) to make your home a more green and sustainable one, there’s no better time to incorporate energy-saving measures than during the cold months. Here are five simple things you can do to make your house more efficient…
#1 Install a Programmable Thermostat
The advice is usually to turn down the temperature during the winter, but wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a warm house?Programmable thermostats let you pre-set temperatures and schedule when the furnace goes on and off. If you use them correctly you could see up to $180 in savings each year. More sophisticated devices like the Nest learn your daily routine an automatically adjust temperatures based on your habits. We got a NEST at our house a couple of years ago. I like it, even though it turns the heat on about 30 minutes too early in the morning for me. It wants the house to be of a comfortable temperature for when I get out of bed, but makes the room too warm to sleep in. Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to fix that.#2 Install Ceiling Fans
Fans move cool and hot air around your living space, allowing you to turn the temperature down in winter and raise it during summer. During the wintertime, you can reverse the fan’s direction to clockwise to keep the warm air moving down. Plus you can hang your clothes on them for a winter air dry. (Okay…that was a joke)
#3 Eliminate Air Leaks
Use a door draft stopper and caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows to cut down on the cold air coming in. I actually have the worst door ever for this. I’ve got to get someone out to fix it. We took the weatherstripping off when we had our house painted. However, the weatherstrip was installed wrong because the door jam need to be completely re-done. I just talked to a contractor today get him on the schedule to come fix that.
#4 Use Power Strips
Did you know that many of your appliances use electricity whether they are on or not?Standby power is electricity that’s being used by things like TVs, computers, appliances, and phone chargers, even when the devices are in stand-by mode or even off.
Plug electronics, chargers, and appliances into power strips and switch them off when you’re not using the devices. You could save up to $200 per year! Or you can buy outlets with a remote control that allows you to turn the whole outlet off.
#5 Change Your HVAC Filter
If you change your filters monthly, you may lower your energy bills by 5 to 15 percent. Plus stop that annoying wheezing sound they make when they get dirty.
Simply put, dirty, clogged filters make the HVAC system work harder.
The savings can be substantial if you keep your filters clean as the average household spends approximately $2,200 on heating and cooling costs every year. Getting the HVAC system regular yearly maintenance is also beneficial.
Seems like every couple of years we have a winter that just doesn’t really show up. Although in my time in Southern Oregon, never quite as missing as this. Don’t get me wrong, we had a long cold snap in December, and the valley floor got and kept more snow on the ground than any time in my memory.
However, the snow in the mountains has been missing. A whole year is probably going to pass without Mt.Ashland opening.
But invariably, a wet spring follows a dry winter here. And the signs of that are happening. But if you have the question “is that enough rain?”, then here are the 2 websites I like to go to to see how we are fairing in the water for summer department.
The first is the Bureau of Reclamation page that shows how full our Southern Oregon reservoirs are. At the time of my writing of this, Howard and Hyatt are both at 55% and Emigrant is at 43%. But follow that link to see where those levels are on the day you are reading this.
The second is how much snow is there at Crater Lake. The National Park Service puts out a daily bulletin with snow accumulation current and average. That report can be found here. As of the writing of this we are at 43% of average snow depth for this time of year.
So that all being said, the spring rain that is forecasted to be coming through the area this week is hopefully wet and can make up for the dry January.
I just wanted to make one quick rant about the weather we are having in Southern Oregon this year. (And had last year too I suppose.)
What is up with the extended gray days? Is this a new weather pattern that is going to continue for the next decade? I remember back in the late 70’s when I lived in Klamath Falls that we used to get a lot of snow in the winter that stuck on the ground for a long time. Then in the next couple of decades, that all seemed to change.
It seems like there are definite cycles we get into. I might attribute it in part to our geography. Ashland seems to be at a line in the weather pattern. There is a definite difference in weather patterns starting 15 miles North, and 15 miles South. So any small change in the atmosphere may be more prominent here than in other locations.
But let me say I sincerely hope that this is the last of these long winter/spring years we have in a while. It is bad for the garden, and it seems to make everyone just a little down.
Every month we put an ad for our Ashland Property Listings in the Sneak Preview newspaper with a message. Something like “Homes are Affordable, It’s a Great Time to Buy” or “April Showings bring May Closings”…..
We try to be a little clever, or a little informative. (If they let me have the full say, we would be a whole lot sillier).
This month we joked in the office that maybe the message should be “Tired of the Weather? We can sell you house so you can move somewhere warm”. But the boss didn’t think that was the message we should send out. I think it would have made a bunch of people smile…but…..guess it was a no go.
Okay, enough of the whining. It is very green and beautiful here still, and I haven’t had to turn on the sprinkler system at my house yet. So I’ll just dose up on some more Vitamin D. Besides, it gives me more time to sit and learn how to use my new computer. Video editing, podcasting, and regular updates to my blog, website and social media sites.
P.S. Check out the new look of my website. Still needs some revisions, but it looks better than the last incarnation. www.AgentInAKilt.com
The great thing about Spring is that not only does it mean love is in the air…but the people who are looking to buy houses start getting the springtime bug.
All Realtors know, and can feel the added buzz that comes with sunny days. Open houses are better attended, the phone rings more, the excitement level is higher.
I have this idea that I think one day may be able to be studied. If there was a way to measure which days houses were shown and mash that with weather data, I would really like to have proof that sunny days are actually busier than cloudy days.
The scientist part of me wants to see proof of what the feeling side of believes to be true.
Happy March everyone…and here’s to a good spring.