This fifth article in a series about what the average person can do about global climate change.
Our desire to help is sometimes all but overwhelmed in light of the huge scope of this problem. Most of us feel like there is little we can do to make a difference. But, when you see it as millions, if not billions, of people like us working together then what you are doing can have a major positive effect.
Really, what can the average person do to help?
In the last four articles we talked about some of the things around the house that can be done to help. Most of them were small, easy to do and did not cost much. Now, it is time to look at some larger, maybe a little more difficult and sometimes more costly things.
As you drive around looking at people’s homes you’ll notice that most of the newer homes have a roof vent. The vent is cut into the peak of the roof to let the hot air out of the attic. Without the vent the hot air in the summer months would act as a blanket.
Most of the older homes don’t have a roof vent but use a vent fan installed at the time of construction. A thermostat triggers the vent fan when the temperature in the attic reaches a set value. If you have one of these fans on your roof – I have only one question for you “Are you sure it’s working?”These fans are almost never industrial grade and after a few years will either stop working or work poorly. If your vent fan isn’t working it can push your cooling bill up considerably.
I would suggest that you don’t try checking it yourself. These fans are usually in awkward and hard to get to places. You can even fall through your ceiling if you’re careful.
This next ideas are more expensive “most of them anyway”. If your windows are singles paned, vs. the now somewhat standard double paned, you should consider changing them out.
The seals around all of the exterior doors should be checked and replaced if cracked, compressed or missing.
If you have a fireplace keep the flue damper shut when you aren’t using it. If left open it will act as a ˜thermal wick” venting the interior to the outside.One way to determine if your house is “leaking” energy is to get a thermal evaluation done. This will cost you but it will give you a very good idea of what you need to do. Talk to your electrical company about it and they should be able to recommend some reliable firms.
You can also do-it-yourself by following the Baldwin County EMC’s home energy savings guide. http://www.baldwinemc.com/savings.aspx?id=98
These ideas will help put another dent in your power bill and put less CO2 in the air.
If you have something practical to share that you’ve been doing to deal with global warming and high-energy costs please send it to the email address below. The earth will thank you.
Next time more how to do it ideas for the rest of us.
Think Global – Act Local!