With high heating cost coming...What can I do to my house

Hello all, With winter coming up and high heating cost approaching, what can we do to help save money and help prevent heat lost. I'll list the things I've done, but would like further input for other items I haven't thought of. I'm in California so the winters here aren't too bad, nevertheless, money is money.
1-Added more insulation to the attic. 2-Set the thermostat to turn off at 9:00pm 3-Sealed any leaks in any doors 4-Took out one incandescent bulb in each light and added compact fluorescent
I'm would like to change the way my house heats. Instead of heating the whole house at all times, I'd like to find a way to only heat the bedroom in the morning and the family room. kitchen in the evening. I don't want to manually have to close the registers as they are in the ceiling. Is there any type of device that will automatically open and close the registers at specific times?
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I am interested in the replies to your post. I have been thinking about the upcoming heating season as well.
My situation, 1YO house, 6" insulated walls w/tyvec, energy efficient windows, Door seals good, forced hot air, one zone, 2800 sq ft.
I think my options are - Add more blown-in insulation to attic. - Add storm doors - Wear a sweater and set back thermostat - Install a programmable thermostat
Problem with programmable thermostats for us is that I work at home, my wife's an at home mom and we home school the kids. The call for heat is relatively constant except maybe between 1AM and 7AM.
In the 70's, when I was a kid, I remember that kerosene heaters were popular. I have one but I'm not sure I want it in the house, I use it to heat the garage when I'm building/fixing something. I do have a vented natural gas fireplace. Its likely less efficient than my furnace and only heats up the living room which we do not spend a lot of time in anyway.
OK - I'm rambling - So, you want to essentially add zone control to your existing systems. I'm not too sure that's easily accomplished but I'm curios about the responses.
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Have you seen the price of kerosene lately???
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Not since last winter. I think it was about $2.69/gal IIRC. Has it gone up even more? I still have a couple of gallons left over from last year. I use only about 10-15 gals per winter.
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Go nuts with sealing- in reality you can't, but more is better. Especially at lowest and highest levels of house. Assume possibility of leaks everywhere and you'll find many of them.
Turn down furnace/boiler t-stat to the max possible, whether fan switch or "aquastat." (You didn't tell us which.). Setting probably will have to be raised for mid-winter. (Ex: my fan switch is set to ~120 deg F, so fan starts when heat-exchanger gets to that temp, and shuts off about 105 deg F. Idea is to cool heat-exchanger as best possible, thus best cooling exhaust.) On my gas unit, turning down pressure-regulator setting, slows burner flow & reduces exh. temp. also.
I've seen some aquastats set to 210 F- indicating difficulty of heating the house with lots of leaks. In one previous house, after various improvements, setting that to 160 F worked fine. Wee bit more circ-pump-run-time than at 210.
An obvious one: insulate pipe/tube carrying heated fluids in spaces that are at lower temp. All you can possibly reach.
J
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You can also insulate under the house and put a wrap on the water heater. Heavier curtains and plastic window films can be more economical than replacing windows or adding storm windows. No reason not to have summer curtains and winter curtains.
But beyond what has been mentioned, you will need to start looking at things that cost far more than you are likely to save. Things like new windows or a more efficient furnace or covering hardwood floors with carpets (with thick pads).
By far the most cost efficient thing you can do is get used to a cooler house and set the thermostat even a few degrees cooler on average than what you are used to. It costs nothing in materials or labor (except maybe a few new sweaters) and could save more than all the other measures combined. (I know there is a limit to how far you can go)
If you're using a programmable thermostat, you can increase the cool part of the day by an hour or two as well as trimming a degree or two off all presets.
If enough people cut back instead of buying expensive building materials, the demand for fuel would be lessened and the price won't go up so much (at least that's the theory)

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smith snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Other than stopping infiltration, the #1 item is styrofoam window shutters put up at night and down in the day. When I put my shutters up my wife says she is warmer instantly, even when the heat is off.
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There are dampers that can be added. They can be time or temperature controlled. BUT some serious computations must be done before they are added to prevent reducing the airflow below acceptable level. I doubt there is an effective payback for the investment. Reducing the overall house temperature and adding supplemental heat where and when desired may work for you.
For most parts of the country after the things you have done caulk is your best weapon. Stop the cold air from entering or the warm air from leaving. This is the most common step skipped by the average builder. $50 worth of caulk can have a 100% payback the first year. Unless you are in Northern CA this may not apply to you.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

what about venting the ELECTRIC clothes dryer inside the house
Mark
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sounds like a good recipe for mold.
there are heat exchangers you can get that will take the heat out of the exhaust, so you can use that to heat your house. you have to do a lot of drying to make it cost effective.
regards, charlie http://glassartists.org/chaniarts
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my house is too dry in the winter
if I vent the dryer inside.... I can turn off the humidifier and the furnace
Mark
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Yes, and you also pick up some dust that gets past the lint filter. Over time, it can do things like clog intakes for boilers, etc.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

all the particles.
A
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Hello everyone and thanks for your replies. Someone suggested setting the thermostat cooler...yes we are going to start living in 68 degree when winter comes instead of a comfy 71 that I like it at. That should help too.
However, what about registers that will automatically close at a specific time of day? I've heard it's bad for the furnace if too many are closed as the furnace will not be able to cool itself enough.
We only live in your basic tract housing, nothing we have is special. On another note, when should the furnace/AC be replaced? Ours is almost 12 years old now.
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I don't think age is a particular problem--furnaces last quite a while. It is instead a question of efficiency--lots of heat is probably going up the chimney (and likewise the efficiency of the Air Conditioner is probably a lot less than new ones). How long do you expect to stay there? If only a short time you won't recovery the cost of a new furnace; if a long time you will.
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I have been measuring air flow in houses for 17 years using accurate, expensive instruments. 1/2 of the houses I measure have 1/2 or less of the required air flow, so efficiency is already poor. Cutting air flow without measuring what you already have is a bad idea. You could ruin both your furnace and ac. Zoning systems require complicated and expensive controls. They can be effective, but are NOT a DIY project. More efficient equipment may be a good idea, but it depends on ho efficient your existing stuff is and how long you will live there. Sealing ducts that run in unconditioned spaces can help as well.
Stretch
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Thanks Stretch....It looks like zoning my house isn't a good idea. Appreciate your reply.
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With home prices the way they are, we'll be here for many years. :-(
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