The National Day of Calendar has a long list of common sense things you can do to cut energy costs; turn down the thermostat, use a crock pot instead of the oven, install modern lightbulbs, replace old windows or furnace, take shorter showers, carpool, etc.

If you have a furnace that is running fine I wouldn’t expect you to order a new one but it might pay off. We had ours cleaned last year and the technician used a mirror to show me a crack on the heat pump. For us, it was time to upgrade. The people who originally built our house had left all the operating manuals for all the big and little appliances so we knew the old furnace was 29 years old and owed us nothing. Now here’s the interesting part; 29 years ago a furnace that operated at 76% efficiency was a good thing. The new one operates at 94% efficiency and our heat bill went down a whole therm for a similar outside temperature month this year. That’s a lot of savings. The furnace will pay for itself in no time. We like that.

When I was a kid, mid 1950’s, we had a ton of coal delivered via a large shoot down into the basement and my father had to shovel the pebble-sized coal into the furnace hopper each night. The heat came up into the main floor of the house through a 30 inch square grate in the front hall way which meant the front of the house was warm and the back half not so much. One of my mother’s forever sayings was, “Put on a sweater,” when we said we were cold. We would sit around that grate drinking home-made hot chocolate waiting for our snow-pants and mittens to dry. You had to watch the mittens that had plastic palms on them because they could melt if left too long and we weren’t about to tell Mom we needed new mittens if that happened.

My husband hates winter. He whines from the beginning of October to the beginning of May. I on the other hand, whine the opposite six months. It is the one thing if our lives we differ on. I still live by the creed, you can always put on more clothing. but you can’t take off enough to be comfortable, if in public. I’m sure you’ve just imagined someone naked that you wouldn’t appreciate seeing…..sorry about that.

It’s in our budget to get new windows installed in our 60-year-old house in the spring. I’m sure that will cut down on the air conditioning we use and next years heat bill too. I’m also told it will keep out more noise, especially the neighbor’s barking dog. Yippee.