I had told you in my article Cheap Heating we would report back on the success of our use of painted foil Solar Heat Catchers and Window Quilts to help lower the heating bills for our very cool, but large drafty Victorian house. Then the coldest January since the 1800ís blew down from the Arctic. So with some trepidation, I opened our electric bill yesterday. Whew! In a month that all predictions were for double if not triple heating costs it was less than twenty ( $20 ) dollars more than December. Our effort to use solar heat for a back up and put window quilts on the windows to retain heat and prevent heat loss through glazing had worked!!!
As an experiment, we used our unheated partially finished attic room. It is 18 feet by 16 feet with classic tilted third story ceilings reaching a peak of around 8.5 feet. It has no heat but a portable propane heater we use only when we are upstairs using it for a game room and study, which is less than 2-3 hours a day. We put heat catchers in the south and south western windows totaling 20 square feet of flat black painted aluminum foil. Since it didnít need to look fancy, we put old blankets over the windows as window quilts. With no heat other than occasional evening use of a portable ventless propane heater, the temperature has stayed well above outside temperatures. An the attic has no insulation other than some put in the floor years ago by a former owner. The temperature out side has been in single digits (not counting windchill factors) for two weeks. The inside attic temperature has been 40 degrees -- or more -- for this whole period of cold. It never went below freezing . We were surprised and pleased at these unexpected results.
In the rest of the house we have electric baseboard heat set to match room use. We lower temps in room that we donít use. We put window quilts or blankets over all the windows to stop the spectacular heat loss that occurs through glazing. We put home made painted foil heat catchers and put them over all south facing and southwest facing windows. We donít any eastern windows other than one on a tool shed. Like most older Victorian homes these windows are seven feet high in rooms with 11 feet ceilings. Its never hot here in the summer, but in the winter all the heat rises to the ceilings. The first year we lived here it cost hundreds of dollars to heat this place Ėevery month -- and we were cold.
We put in a Franklin stove down stairs in the fire place and got the portable propane heater, and were rigorous about turning down the heat in rooms not being used, but heating bills were still outrageous if indeed lower.
So this year we did the full treatment. Window quilts on windows, heat catchers in all sun facing windows, a portable propane heater and rigorous thermostat monitoring. It seems indeed to have worked.
So I think it would be well worth your while to check out these features for the savings it will bring you.
To get ideas for window quilts just check out the mini-quilt patterns at such sites as:
I suggest using recycled materials for them like old blankets or comforters for stuffing, and recycled garments for the quilt materials. In an emergency or for room that arenít public old blankets work fine.
The plans for the heat catchers are at:
You have much better things to do with your money than pay it to utility companies.
For more ideas Check out these Frugal Living Books!
Complete Tightwad Gazzette
The Complete Tightwad Gazzette
Declare Your Finanacial Independence
Declare Your Financial Independence
Mary Hunt's Complete Cheapskate
You Can Afford to Stay Home With your Kids
You can Afford to stay Home WIth your Kids