I can pinpoint the reasons for this. January was cold and rainy (over 12 inches), plus the work we're doing in the bathroom requires minimum room and surface temps. All of this meant using the space heater to keep the bathroom warm, and not being able to line dry the laundry. I don't suppose it helps, either, that my washer and dryer are old. The spin cycle on the washer doesn't spin out the water very well, and sometimes I have to run the dryer on two cycles to get the clothes dry.
To help conserve our wood supply, I have been turning on the heat pump during the day, whenever the outside temperature is warm enough to produce heat without the auxiliary heat strips. In the evening we heat the front of the house with the wood heater, and the heat pump is turned off. It's cold in the morning, but we've learned to close up the kitchen to stay warm by the wood cookstove for breakfast.
Our house was built before central, forced air heating, so all the rooms in our house have doors. Each room had either a coal fireplace or coal burning heater. The doors kept the heat inside whatever room it was wanted in. One suggestion, when we remodeled the kitchen, was to open the wall between the kitchen and dining room. At the time, I didn't entertain this because that wall was the only wall I had for cabinets and shelves, which my small kitchen needed badly. Now, I realize how much harder that would have made it to keep the kitchen warm. The open concept design is a popular modern floor plan, but this winter I realized why it isn't conducive to zone heating. Or cooling. In summer I can contain heat generated by canning, and keep it from spreading throughout the house. The wood cookstove though, provides glorious heat and since I use it for all meals, the kitchen stays warm. The insulation and energy star windows we added help with that!
I've also been shutting the doors to my studio at night, to prevent heat loss from the rest of the house. My studio has nine, single glazed windows, all as old as the house is. Nor does the room have insulation. I love the light but it's hot in summer and cold in winter, except on a sunny day when the sun warms the room nicely. My regret is that we do not have enough sunny days! Closing the studio doors at night really help keep warmth in the living room and bedroom. Unfortunately, my desk and internet connection are in the studio, so I often use a small radiator type space heater to keep my fingers warm enough to type.
|Blankets over the windows and doors helps! Eventually|
we'll replace the drafty, ill-fitting door with an energy
star one. The energy efficient windows really help too.
Still, last month we used less than half the electricity we used in January 2012, when we averaged 54 kWh per day. Dan says next year we should do even better, assuming we get the bedrooms done. The corner bedroom, where we sleep, in particular is cold for the same reasons as my studio: old windows and no insulation. Once these rooms have better insulation and better windows, we will stay warmer with less energy output. Then, too, we won't be using power tools and space heaters to get repair and remodeling jobs done.
On a practical level I am not dissatisfied with this month's electric usage. January's electric bill was $83, and we can live with that. We have enough alternatives that we can make choices about when and how to use electricity. The important thing is that we are learning and implementing lifestyle changes that will better suit us for whatever the future may bring.