Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Save Money with Foam Shutters

Tips on How to use Foam Shutters to Save Money:
  • Use on all windows except southern windows at any time when a heat source is required.
  • Put shutters on south facing windows when the sun goes down when a heat source is required.
  • As a general winter rule, windows are best left exposed only when standing in front of the uncovered sunny window causes your skin to feel warm, or makes the floor warm. The rest of the time, the window is usually leaking more heat than creating it. The opposite is true in summer.
  • Heat from interior lightbulbs will help to heat your house while producing light, so losing heat to gain light from windows is not the best use of energy. It takes far more energy to heat a home than illuminate it.
  • Store shutters in a location where they are easily accessed, but unlikely to be damaged, as they will be installed and removed often.
  • Please note that foam boards, like curtains, are flammable.
  • Consider shutters for southern windows in the daytime and western windows after noon during days when artificial cooling is required.
  • On days over 100 degrees, shutters are recommended for all windows. Make sure to use low wattage LED bulbs in the house when artificial cooling is required.
Foam Shutter Craft DIY link here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Foam Board Window Insulation

Windows, regardless their independent insulating qualities, are never very good. Even with the best residential gas-filled, double glazed windows you can buy, you can get an R-value of maybe 3 or 4. Add 1 if you use insulated curtains. Blue or pink extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam board has an R-Value of roughly 5 per inch, if I remember correctly. By cutting foam board to fit in your windows, you can increase your window insulation by however thick you make your foam.

Foam Insulation Shutters:

Replacing the Headliner on a Ford Explorer

I found this link a day too late:

But it's a great tutorial. Wish I found it sooner. But just in case this site ever goes down, I'm going to tell you how to remove the headliner from a 1994 XLT Ford Explorer. I imagine that it's applicable for a lot of Explorers, and probably some other SUV's.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prepping: Power Outage

We live in an area that suffers periodically from week-long power outage related to ice and snow storms. For this reason, we planned our house to survive winter power outages off-the-grid, but summer emergencies like tornadoes also make outages possible. Rural areas are usually less of a priority for the power company, and it's already happened to us a few times. Here are some ideas:

Monday, November 26, 2012

"The Privy" - the Indoor Outhouse

I have decided to talk about my privy. I usually avoid talking about this subject with others because I know most people think it's just completely disgusting.

Saving Water and Energy

I don't sweat water usage as much as I did when we lived in town because I know it isn't going to the treatment plant, and I'm paying the same cost whether I use it or not. Still, we do make quite a bit of effort. These are our methods for saving energy and water, and remember that these are rural solutions:

How To Do Laundry Without Heat

We use an energy efficient washer that does not have hot water connected to it, and no dryer at all. I decided not to connect the hot water because I felt that if the hot water was connected, I would eventually find a reason to use it. There are good reasons to use hot water, for instance, when someone gets poison ivy. Hot water could also be good for greasy/oily clothes, but my washer says not to put that stuff in it anyway. That reasoning also applies to the dryer. If I had one I would definitely use it - cold weather, rain, pressed for time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Prepping: Fire Kit

To prep a fire kit, consider your circumstances carefully. And don't forget to MAKE A PLAN. None of the things in a fire kit will do you any good if you don't know how or when to use them. Do a drill at least once. If you have a wood stove, also plan what you would do in the case of a chimney fire.

Our fire kit:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Prepping: The 72-Hour Bag

Making a 72-Hour bag is one of the first stages of being a prepper. The idea is to make a kit that can sustain you for three days in an emergency, and is usually kept in your car. Some preppers see these kits as the resource that will help them to survive while they hike to their "bug-out location" - the place they will go when society, the government, the economy, whatever collapses.

We have 72-hour bags in case we need to evacuate our house or are away from home and cannot return, or have to squat in our woods, most notably in case of a major fire or a tornado. I am also comforted by the idea that Son of Caveman has one in his car in case he is out driving on icy roads with steep drop-offs at night in winter, as he often has. It's also allows some impromptu hiking and camping.

How to Buy American

Buying American doesn't simply mean buying American goods, it means not buying foreign goods, especially Asian goods. And it's harder than it looks. Here are some tips to keep your money at home - you may even save a little money.