Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh the weather inside is frightful

Yeah, you heard me. The temperatures are frigid in Cincinnati, and my first winter on my own has been quite an adventure.

My lovely 3 room, 800 sq foot apartment finally exposed to me its big flaw after the temperatures began consistently dipping below freezing. It is poorly insulated, and has no central heating. When I saw and signed the lease for the place in August, heating my apartment for winter was not on my mind. Now, however, I'm trying to balance the astronomical costs associated with baseboard heaters with keeping myself and the kittens from turning into popsicles.

(my bill between October and November jumped from 120 kwH to 500 kwH.
I don't have data from December yet... and I'm a little scared to look. 
The only difference between Oct and Nov? Heating costs.)

A note to apartment renters to be: If your new apartment to be is heated with electric baseboard heaters, turn around and walk away. It is not worth it.

After I got my November bill I turned mine completely off.

(Electric baseboard heaters look like this)

Now, before you ask... yes. Yes I have. If there's a seemingly simple cost-saving energy solution, I have tried it.

I'm working for an Energy Alliance! I have done as much as I know how to make my place more energy efficient.

* I've taped all the windows in my apartment with a sheeted plastic and doublestick tape (and taped over the holes that the kittens have poked in them)

* During a brief warm up, I caulked around the cracks in the windows and floorboards in an effort to stop up some of the air escaping/coming through.

* Sweaters, Snuggies, and slippers are all mandatory coverings while inside. Sometimes, I look like a homeless Yeti. There are 5 blankets (2 comforters) on my bed, and 2 kittens keep me warm (when they decide they want to cuddle!)

* I try and use the oven once a day so that it warms the place a little.  I've been existing on home made soup and bread, and it has been wonderful! (Tea and cocoa help too)

* I have one space heater that my landlord gave me (after I complained about the amount of money I was paying to heat with electricity... too bad the space heater uses electricity...) and one oil-filled radiator that also uses electricty.

* My favorite new thing? Electric mattress pad! I keep it at level 9 for 10-15 minutes while I'm getting ready for bed, then turn it down to 2 for the rest of the night. With all the blankets I stay very warm at a low setting!

So which is more efficient? Two heaters used sometimes, or 3 baseboard heaters used sometimes? Or a combination of both? Hopefully I'll be able to figure this out in the coming months. I just got my December bill, and it was heartbreakingly high.

If you have any more ideas, let me know! Spring is almost here... and when the hot weather comes, I promise I will be keeping my mouth shut! No complaints here.