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Monday, March 27, 2017

Green Spot: How to Waste Heat

Posted by Tim Stobbs on October 24, 2008

Ok if you are living in Canada you likely live in a cold environment for at least half of the year.  It’s just an unfortunate fact of life.  Yet it also means your most important use of carbon based fuels is heating your home during those lovely days of -35C highs (with -40C or lower windchills).  So rather than telling you how to heat your home I thought it might be more interesting  (or at least funny) to examine how you are likely burning away your money on a high heating bill.

So here’s my guide to wasting heat and insuring you have a high heating bill:

  1. Leave gaps everyone. Don’t you dare seal all those little gaps near your windows, doors, or electrical outlets in your exterior wall.  That’s wonderful fresh air your blocking.  Don’t you just love those drafts when your sitting down!  They are so refreshing! Grab a blanket instead or better yet just turn up the heat.
  2. Don’t insulate your basement walls.  Yes I know they say you can lose up to 30% of your home heat that way, but it’s just so much work!
  3. Why close a fireplace damper? If you don’t know if your damper is close on your fireplace, don’t worry.  It just means you will be venting heat from your house directly out the top of your house creating a cute little white wisp of air on the top your chimney all the time.  That’s just up to 30% of your heat escaping, it isn’t a big deal.
  4. Don’t seal your heating ducts.  Who wants to spend time crawling around your basement finding the thousand little holes that are leaking air into your basement?  It’s just a waste of time to use one roll of foil tape an improve your heating distribution by up 30%.
  5. Make sure to drain your bath water immediately.  You don’t want it steaming up the mirror more after your done your bath despite the fact there is a enough low grade heat in that water to keep your bathroom warm for at least an hour.
  6. Don’t turn your thermostat down at night.  Your furnace is just going to have to heat up the house again the next morning and don’t worry about those engineers who point out heat transfer is driven by the difference between indoor and outdoor temperature so by having it at a higher temperature overnight you are wasting even more heat.  After all what do engineers really know!
  7. Don’t buy a programmable thermostat.  They are easier to program that a VCR and yes you only have to do it once, but why put yourself through the stress?  After all putting a new one requires you to figure how to undo and redo at most three wires and it takes less than 20 minutes.  You could miss most of a TV show that way! (In all seriousness, if you do ever install one of these yourself make sure you tie the wires to a long pencil prior to undoing any connections to your old thermostat.  You will so find yourself screaming in frustration is you lose those wires into the wall.)
  8. Don’t upgrade your insulation.  Who cares if your attic only has R10 installation in your old house.  Don’t worry about the fact that a upgrade could pay for itself in just a few years with lower heating bills and a more comfortable house.  After all it’s just a pain to get up into the attic.
  9. Don’t use heavier drapes in the winter.  They will ruin that light and airy theme you’ve got going.  Don’t worry about the heat loss through your windows after the sun goes down.  Just turn up the heat.  Also don’t you dare put up those plastic seals on your windows.  That’s so a fashion faux pas.  The home decorating police will have you in chains in a minute!
  10. Don’t educate yourself.  After all you might start to realize some of the cheaper and quickest fixes are the best to start saving on your heating bill and then you would miss even more TV that way!

Stay warm everyone and have a good weekend!

Comments

3 Responses to “Green Spot: How to Waste Heat”
  1. Great tips. Conserving energy is for sissies, anyway.

    I had no idea that leaving hot bathwater in the tub would make a difference, but I guess it makes sense.

  2. Canadian Dream says:

    Related to this read this story on a cool house (or rather warm without a furance).

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081020.whomes20/BNStory/Science/home

    Tim

  3. David says:

    Another suggestion is to go and buy one of those clothes dryer vents so when the dryer is running you can vent the heat and humidity into the house instead of outside, just be careful not to make your house too humid to prevent mold growth and other damage. Keep the furnace fan on to circulate the air.

    If you do not have a humidity gauge for the house I recommend buying one too because having the correct humidity in your house during the winter is important and having the proper level can make you feel warmer with the furnace set to a lower temp!

    This will save $ on running the furnace and a humidifier if you have one.

    When you don’t want the heat/humidity they allow you to close the damper to vent outside.

    Another trick I use is when I don’t want the humidity in the house, I vent outside and let the dryer run for a while to get rid of most of the water from the clothes (about half way thru the drying cycle), then I open the damper to the inside to get the heat with low humidity into the house.

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