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Getting Ready for Winter

October 28th, 2008 at 03:59 am

I'm glad to see that oil prices are dropping, but the DH and I took some extra steps to cut fuel consumption this long, cold winter. The first step was buying a wood pellet stove in August when they had sales and we were able to get a stove for $1,500. We also ordered pellets and locked the price at $240 a ton (they are now $300 a ton). We had replaced two doors last year and three storm windows so that should help.

As we were renovating our property I noticed our kitchen door window was losing a lot of heat. The door is an aluminum door and has a window in the top and the window looked like it moved and there was a gap, it also had a very dirty window (the tenant didn't wash windows for an entire year and a half). Aluminum doors will last a long time and the actual door appeared to be in good shape. I started messing around with the window and tried to wash it and etc., and the whole window fell out. My DH thought we needed a whole new door which would mean a new casing, a lot of work and money. However, after researching through his supply catalog, we found that the window could be replaced for $40.00 and it solved our heat loss problem as well; it's like finding gold, we saved $300 or more.

My DH is an experienced builder and he was able to work a deal out with some contractors to come to the house and add more insulation to our attic for $100. So this should save on additional heat loss. We knew we were losing heat in the attic because there were dark areas on the ceiling were the rafters are which means you are losing heat through the ceiling. So this problem is solved as well.

We orderd our first 100 gallons of oil at $3.38 a gallon (ouch). We are hurrying to get that pellet stove running so we can stop using oil, it needs a new stove pipe which we purchased and painted black to match the stove and a new thermostat which we have installed, this weekend we should have that pipe installed and we hope to burn our first pellets. I can hardly wait, it has been so cold out and I won't turn the thermostat up above 68 and today we are suppose to get snow, so it's not that warm in the house; being thin I get cold easily and once the feet are cold, they never get warm again.

The house is coming along very well. We apparently had a faulty propane burner in the house we were not aware of and our tenant didn't tell us, so all the ceilings and walls are stained with black smoke stains, I have to paint every wall and all the ceilings. I've almost got the upstairs done and have started the largest room in the downstairs. I also painted the cupboards and replaced some of the hardware to give them a fresh look. I found some beautiful floor tile on sale in earth tones for $85 at the Home Depot. We needed a new entry way into the house because the prior one was water damaged. My DH installed it and it looks beautiful with the old red oak floors, it blended nicely and took care of what could have been a very expensive repair. My DH originally thought we would have to rag out the old floor and replace it and sand all the floors in the upstairs area so they would blend, this would have probably cost about $3000 and we were able to fix it with new tile and no sanding, a huge savings of time and money.

My DH did some custom construction of beams and crown molding in the main living area and we painted it with a semi gloss ivory color. He had also taken down a wall and made a much larger living area with a combined dining room and living room. The room we removed was wasted space we used for an office. Now the space is more family oriented and it gives a warm and cozy feeling. Since we are doing all the work ourselves, these improvements have been very inexpensive and it looks lovely.

My DH is able to get all his materials either at discount or free because some of the materials are scrap materials from one of his jobs. I bought paint at Walmart because someone told me that was generic Sherwin Williams paint, I only paid $10 a gallon. The color was rich and nice, but it didn't have the quality of a thick paint and required two coats instead of one. Overall, I'm happy with the results and the paint spread evenly. Paint can do amazing things to a room, but would not recommend Walmart paint, I found Glidden paint to be a good paint and reasonable.

I made an interesting discovery through this process too. When someone from the past was decorating this house, they had put in a brick tile floor space under the area for the woodstove and a pale yellow tile wall behind the woodstove. The yellow tile goes from the floor to the ceiling and is about six feet wide. It looks awful and doesn't match the room and is some what of an eye sore and stood out in the room saying "hello, look at me". So I lightly sanded the wall tile, which was ceramic and I primed and sealed it with a nice Behr product, then I painted the wall tile the same color as the walls in the room, it blended right in and looks the way it should and now the floor underneath the stove looks more like it belongs there. I didn't know you could paint ceramic tile on a wall; a painter told me about it.

I feel like I've started my own "This is your House" a series on cheap home repairs that look like a million bucks.

6 Responses to “Getting Ready for Winter”

  1. nance Says:

    We've found that the cheapest Wal-Mart paint works better than the more expensive Wal-Mart paint. Go figure!
    We prefer Kilz paint. Wal-Mart carries it, but it is more expensive. I discovered that Wal-Mart will sell, unopened, returned Kilz paint for $10.00 and have seen several gallons in the same neutral color. I've also purchased "oops" paint at K-Mart for a few dollars a gallon.
    Sounds like you have made some wonderful changes to your home.

  2. littlemama Says:

    How about posting some pics?

  3. Susan Says:

    Home Energy Audits are very good ways to save money on utility bills.You can do it yourself and it is easy to learn how. Just start to analyze the foundation, walls, ceillings, doors, and windows in your home. Look for cracks, homes, and gaps where air leaks might result. Look at your insulation ot thickness and dirty spots. Ckeck out you heating/cooling systems also.

  4. Lost in Debt Says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, we have been looking at all these things and making changes. I need to use some caulking this weekend to seal some windows for the winter; that's always a good way to keep heat in. I wish I had taken before pics - the improvements in the appearance are significant, I will post a few soon.

  5. girlndebt Says:

    Ahhh, these are a few things I miss about having my own home. It sounds like you are having a good time with it all and keeping budget minded through the process. It is also a BIG added bonus that your DH gets most of this stuff at cost or at a discount. That is nice.

    Enjoy it-and please enjoy the cool weather for me. We got a bit of cool weather today-it is 64 degrees as I write this here in South Fla but it will be gone soon. I do love the cold but not too cold. Smile

  6. Raj Says:

    Wow!

    I have to say you have such a compelling story for those trying to escape from debt. I actually work at a company that is trying to design a product to help people escape from debt once-and-for-all. I was talking last week with a family that's buried under a pile of maxed-out cards and needed to make some emergency repairs to their home. I'm glad to hear that you're moving steadily towards financial health given the economic environment we're faced with these days.

    All the best,

    Raj Patel
    GoalSpring

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