Keeping Out the Giraffes

November 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment

Contributed by Sonja Gustafson:

What is Your Monster?

Last night was a beautiful Halloween evening; the sky was clear, the air crisp, and my neighborhood was alight with various ghosts and goblins going from door to door.   Then today came with gloomy grey skies and drenching rain, and we are faced not with the costumed monsters of our children, but the more terrifying specter of a cold, dark autumn.

This reminds me of a recent podcast I listened to where the narrator was working with his 5-year old daughter to caulk their home’s windows against drafts coming in.  The daughter watched silently as he ran the caulk along the window seams, and as their work progressed, finally asked, “Daddy, do you really think this will keep out the giraffes?”

I love the thought of that girl working out the problem in her head:  there are giraffes that want to come into our home!  Daddy is trying to protect us!  But really, how can this silly gummy stuff keep those monstrous animals out of our house?

Maybe we all have huge monsters in our minds that are keeping us from imagining how simple it really is to “keep out the giraffes.”    Or maybe it’s difficult to imagine how something as simple as caulk can make such a big difference in the comfort of a home.  And yet, take a look at the chart below to see how many areas of our home can be made more weather tight with the some simple attention. Each of these represents an opportunity to make your home more comfortable while saving money on utility bill.

Now wielding a caulk gun to ward off the drafts is not the only way to fight the energy monster, but it is one of a number of simple things you can do today to make your home more energy efficient.  In the spirit of easily keeping out the giraffes/monsters out of your home, here are 5 simple things you can do to ward off the cold and save on your energy bills:

5 Things You Can Get Done Today

  1. Buy caulk.  Then read this tutorial on how to fix leaks in your home. (You can schedule the work for this weekend!)
  2. Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°F.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat for your heating system.
  4. Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle – let them dry overnight tonight!
  5. Use a power strip for your computer accessories, phone chargers, and other “vampire” devices and turn off the strip when you leave the room.

If after completing this list you are ready to take on more energy monsters, you should consider having an energy audit conducted on your home to more thoroughly determine ways to make your home perform to its best. (Seattle City Light customers can get a discounted audit here) You can contact your local home performance expert (Washington users can search here to find an energy auditor) to help you with next steps.

And then you’ll be keeping out those giraffes.

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