Monday, January 17, 2005


It's been cold the past few days. Last night it hit -18 degrees. Amazingly, my 80 yr old furnace has been keeping the house warm.

This has not always been the case. When I first moved in, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the house had no evidence of ever being weatherproofed inside. When you walked by the majority of the windows, you could actually feel a cold draft blowing in. Lots of windows=lots of cold air.

That first year there were days when I was convinced there was a possibility I would freeze in my sleep. Even with a bed layered in blankets. That first year, I somehow learned of the energy audit program run by Centerpoint Energy (check with your gas or electric company for programs). I quickly scheduled a basic audit of my house for $25. The auditor appeared with tubes of caulking, 3M window plastic and tons of advice. I diligently followed all of his advice....and the results were immediate.

Last year I got even more ambitious. I scheduled the heavy duty audit for $100. The auditor came to my house and took an infrared reading of all of the external walls. The entertainment value alone was worth the $100. He was able to show me in x-ray exactly where the cold air was entering my house (and as a side benefit, where the walls have been insulated). Who knew a crack in the plaster and electrical outlets let in so much cold air. A few days after the audit he send me a cd containing all of the pictures. I spent the next few weeks and countless tubes of caulking sealing up those leaks.

This year, I am finally seeing the payoff in both comfort and at bill time. :-)

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