High heating Costs?
Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
This last winter heating costs went to an all time high, well winter is not that far away and heating cost will more than likely exceed this last winter's prices, or are you going to bite the bullet and pay the high prices again? Would you like to reduce your heating bill?

Well talk to me, Weatherization is my occupation and I have been in the business a long time and I am fully certified with the State of Montana and training was provided by MSU Boseman.

So tell about your house or apartment.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10231) 14 years ago
They are estimating that it will cost the average household around $2,400 a month for heating oil here this winter. The local co-op is warning that electricity rates will likely triple when the fall fuel shipment comes in. Hope it's a mild winter.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12288) 14 years ago
Ouch. Right now, my furnace is broken. Maybe we're better off just burning the furniture. I wanted to get insulation added to the frame part of the house but we probably have to put that off. Too bad the bathroom is in the frame part of the house.
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
Yes that is very true, after the election, no comments please, there will be some federal funding given out for fuel assistance for those who qualify for the benefit. Of course those fund are usually not on time.

This is the right time to starting thinking what you can do to reduce the cost of heating your house this winter. By the same token, the same principals are applied in summer but only in reverse properties. Meaning, in the winter you want heat to stay in doors with you and in the summer want it to remain outdoors. You cannot believe the houses that I have been to where the resident claimed how tight and warm there house is. When looking at their heat bill there cost were extremely high. After the house had been weatherized their heating cost dropped to almost 3/4s of their heating bill prior to the weatherization.

Honestly, one can save as much as 20 to 30% or more on their heating/cooling costs just by doing some simple things that does not take much carpentry skill to do. So let's save some bucks and energy.
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
Amorette, let me ask you some general question about your house. Is it a single story, one and half story, two story house?

What kind of windows do have? ( thermal pane, single pane, single pane with an exterior storm)

Are your doors wood or metal and how thick are they?

Does your house have a crawl space or a full basement?

How old is your house?

Does your house feel drafty when the wind blows?

There is reason that I ask these questions. I have never been to your house so you will have help me out.

What do think is wrong with your furnace or what doesn't do?

[This message has been edited by Todd Larson (edited 8/7/2008).]
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Posted by David Schott (+18072) 14 years ago
>>How old is your house?

George Armstrong Custer slept in her guest bedroom on June 18, 1876, just before setting out for parts west to take care of a small uprising of natives.
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Posted by Major Pain (+201) 14 years ago
Hal -- who is "they"? How authoritative is this tripling you speak of?

I can't imagine most people's budgets surviving a tripling of either the electric bill or whatever bill covers heating -- oil, gas, etc. Not after last year's energy-led blitzkrieg of the wallet. Seriously, triple? Please elaborate.

We're putting in double pane windows right now, hand-building each one to save money (saving about $800 out of $900 quoted costs; each window is about $100 in materials, our cost, not counting time. Plus they're stained glass, so they're pretty. Check these two out:



Lost all our western windows to the hail last summer, so it has to be done anyway. The windows are huge, it's an ex-church. Hence the stained glass theme. We likes us some stained glass.

But... triple? Oy vey.
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
ok guys this is nice stuff, but I set this thread up to help people save money on their energy bill. I know it is not very entertaining.

This what I do for an occupation and I have been doing it since 2000. I have over 160 hours of training that was provided by MSU Bozeman and sanctioned by the state. I was trained by top weatherization auditor in the state and I am concidered, by the state, to be ranked the second best auditor in the state.

The purpose of this thread was to help people not to make a complaint thread. If you have a high heating bill, I can help for I do this every day, five days a week. Complaints are fine but if you are tired of giving MDU a 1/4 of your monthly income, then lets talk. But if you like to just complain about it and not look for a solution, then start another thread.
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
Also I have a local business that directly addresses this issue of weatherization and if you would like to set up an appointment, I will come to your house and access what is needed to fix your problems. Just call 951-2574 for Alan or 853-9991 for me.

[This message has been edited by Todd Larson (edited 8/8/2008).]
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Posted by Bart Freese (+926) 14 years ago
I read that natural gas rates would be going up 62% this winter. I read that in the Kalispell paper. Did that show up in the Star or Gazette?
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 14 years ago
Sounds more like you set it up this thread as free advertising for your business. As such it should probably be in the classified ad section.
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Posted by Emilie Boyles (+245) 14 years ago
Here's the story I ran yesterday on Montana East News on money saving tips from MDU:

Montana East News received several calls yesterday about short power outages in the Glendive area. Mark Hansen, spokesperson for MDU told us that those outages were very short term and part of routine maintenance.

However, as the weather is heated up Hanson did offer some ways to save on power use in the summer as well as your summer power bill.

First, he offered a few cooling tips for the summer which included:

-Keep window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.
Do not place lamps or televisions near the thermostat. It senses heat from these items, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
-Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but do not block air flow.
Place room air conditioners on the north side of the house. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same unit operating in the sun.
-If your air conditioning unit is old, consider purchasing a new, energy-efficient model, which could save you up to 50 percent on your utility bill for cooling. The higher the seasonal energy efficiency ratio on the unit the greater the level of efficiency.

Hanson also offered a few maintenance tips to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. He recommended keeping your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual check-ups - start scheduleing now for the fall. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it's best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall.

A typical maintenance check-up should include the following:

-Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
-Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
-Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
-Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
-Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system's ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
-Check your central air conditioner's refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
-Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system's efficiency by up to 15 percent.
One more thing that Hanson mentioned -
-Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.

Clean up your filter while cleaning up your bill.
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Posted by Ryan (+477) 14 years ago
We upgraded in our living room. It had the old plaster in the walls which is why it felt colder than the rest of the house plus the windows were old.

After putting in new insulation,sheet rock, and 4 windows (wish we can replace all in the rest of the house) the temperture in the living room is the same as the rest of the house. Hope it helps with the heating bills coming up.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 14 years ago
Just filled our propane tank for the winter, and it was $2.05 per gallon and that is the summer fillup price which will be the lowest of the year. God Help folks on fixed incomes as they will make choices between food, medicine, and heat. What a mess we have!!!
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1284) 14 years ago
Good call Levi. I see this as a self serving kindness to the community.

I used to be in the insulation business in Miles City with the my best friend Robin Rhoads. It was in the late 70's when the energy crisis was in full bloom. Now I believe in the benefits of insulation/weatherization but I have a funny story to tell about insulating some homes for the government in Ashland. One particular home we where contracted to insulate had a 3 foot by 5 foot hole cut out of the house above the bathtub so the horse could drink water from the tub in the winter. Many of the other homes where missing doors and even some windows that the inhabitants had sold at Jim town bar for drinking money. We where hired to insulate attics on 12 of these homes at a good price but I cann't imagine anything we did make any difference in the heating bill.

The govermant paid the bills no questions ask.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9430) 14 years ago
Keeping your house weatherized sounds suspiciously like.... making sure you've got your tires properly inflated, and is therefore just so much liberal hogwash.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10231) 14 years ago
Major,

You're not the only one who thinks it impossible to pay those energy costs. Most everyone who lives in the Bush knows that it's definitely impossible - last year was impossible for most folks and costs have skyrocketed this year.

Give me a little while to pull some things together and I'll stash a document on the web and post a link to it - that way I won't clutter up Todd's promo thread with a lot of Alaska stuff.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 14 years ago
Hmm Chuck, do you know my grandfather Ralph Forman? He always told a story about somebody he knew finding a hole in the wall for the horses to drink from the bathtub. I wonder if you're the one he heard it from or if it's a common practice.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 14 years ago
There are always the horror stories to be told in any government program such as the "cadillac driving welfare recipient" but there are also many thousands of others that are needy and deserving in all ways and thus shouldn't be ignored. More and more of the elderly are really sinking into poverty in a serious way and shouldn't be ignored. This thread might indeed help them to get much needed help and that would be a good thing IMHO. Many folks aren't aware of what is out there and what would help and what wouldn't .
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12288) 14 years ago
I'd tell you hilarious stories about my house and its issues but this is apparently not the right place. I think I'll start another thread that actually discusses high energy costs rather than is an advertisement.
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Posted by Major Pain (+201) 14 years ago
> ok guys this is nice stuff, but I set this
> thread up to help people save money on their
> energy bill.

I'm afraid you're a little confused about message boards. Just because you start a thread with a particular intent doesn't mean that it will stay within some imaginary set of bounds you had in mind.

The only real control over thread content is generally that of the owner of the site, and from reading the boards here, MCW is pretty hands-off (which is one of the things that makes this such a nice site anyway - that and the unusually high level of discourse for a small town board.)
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10231) 14 years ago
Major, I guess we moved to a new thread so that we won't bother Todd - there's a bit of the info you asked for in a link there:

http://milescity.com/foru...3428#53438
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1284) 14 years ago
Levi,

Never knew Ralph, I went to school with your dad and Jim, I was in the same class as Jim. My partner in the business, Robin Rhoads was known by everyone in and around Miles City and the story could have come from him. But it sounds like a good common sense solution for a lazy man to water his horse in winter, no doubt it's happened more than once.

[This message has been edited by Chuck Schott (edited 8/8/2008).]
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
Levy, No I did not! My objective is offer free advice to those wish to save money on their heating bill. But obviously some people must have lots of money and it is no concern to them. But those who do wish to seek advice I give them the benefit of my knowledge.

But yes I do have a business for those who wish to pursue this further. I cannot give accurate detailed advice without looking at the house. If people wish have my services I have placed an ad in the classified section too, so what makes the difference, the idea is to help the consumer save money, you like to save money don't you?
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
Ryan, there might be some convective loops in your walls, this means that cold air (usually from the attic) is scrubbing the heat off the wall. It has been my experience that electricians and plumbers do not care how many hole they drill and never block them off.

So you must go into the attic or the crawl space, if you have one, and look for holes that cold air can infiltrate the wall. You can use the expand foam to seal the holes, but be sure to were gloves if you use the foam, because it will not come off skin to well.
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
MDU's first objective is to sell you natural gas, that's their main business and electricity. That is their number one job, so keep that in mind when MDU tells you anything!

I have had found some real nightmare situtation when MDU was there 1 week before me and signed off and said everything was ok. Those gentleman do not carry a combustion analyzer in their service trucks and without one it is guess by golly inspection of a furnace. I have one and have found more cracks in furnaces right after MDU gave the thumbs up.

So in my opinion, MDU is not a reliable resource for information. I am not picking on anybody in particular, but that is my general opinion about MDU as a whole.
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
Thanks Major! but you have have the wrong thread.
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Posted by Todd Larson (+137) 14 years ago
Awe heck with it! If any one seriously needs to get some advice, just call me. My number is in the classifed section.

You try to do something for people and this is how you get treated!
The rest of you jokers, when the nat gas prices get up to 17 a decatherm this winter, or propane rises above 3.90 pre gallon, don't call me.

[This message has been edited by Todd Larson (edited 8/8/2008).]
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Posted by Stefanie (+125) 14 years ago
Okay - I'll try to redirect this. I have a serious question that's been on my mind. We have a room in our house which faces west, and has a large entry door that's mostly glass window (appx. 3' x 7' glass), on either side of the door, windows that are the same 3' x 7' size. It makes for a beautiful view, but what in the world do I do regarding heating / cooling? Right now I have blocked out the sunlight to try and keep the room cool in the hot weather, since it seems to get a lot of sun. I think it's helping. So, what do you recommend for winter? I know glass can lose a lot of heat, but since it gets a lot of sun too, what's the better benefit? Getting thermal curtains, letting the sun shine through? A little of both?

We've been looking at our energy usage seriously this summer and have made substantial improvements in our consumption, and are interested in continuing. Thanks for offering your advice.
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Posted by Sharlene (+1210) 14 years ago
Todd-
I would love to have some serious considerations as to what to do with our house. My MDU bill this current month is $283 (last month was $280). We are on budget billing as winter is outrageous and now it seems that summer is too. We had to buy another air conditioner just for our basement to keep the humidity at bay so my computer wouldn't take a dive. I would love to have you come look at my house to see what we can do. We do need new windows as ours are wood and insulation in our attic. Oh and a new breaker box as it is the original one and therefore probably is why our electric this last month was almost $200. But this all takes money that we don't have so any suggestions regarding for grants or any funding would be appreciated. Thank you for having this thread as I have found it very useful. Email me directly or call me at home 234-1978.

Sharlene
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