No, it can’t be. It can’t possibly be time to write a column for a new year. It seems like I just wrote one for 2011 a few weeks ago. Unless you are a teenager, you know exactly what I am talking about. Well, time really flies when you are having fun. Of course, the frog says that time is really fun when you are having flies. Please smile.
As I think of a new year, I also think of the past. I just love it when you tell me that you were helped by something that you read in this column. For example, I just got a call a while ago from a fellow who told me that he had just finished reading the December column and wanted to order the attic radiant barrier so that he could install it before his attic gets hot. He is a smart fellow. I hope to continue helping you for a long time, so write my phone number down — 501-653-7931 — and just file it under energy nut and continue reading these columns.
I have received a lot of calls lately from folks with comfort problems in their homes. Some have older houses, and others have fairly new ones. It really doesn’t matter, because if you are not comfortable, you are not happy.
I can tell you that the subject of comfort has changed over the years. My first bedroom as a youngster was 6 feet by 9 feet. I had my own bunk bed, a place for my electric train, and I didn’t have to share it with three older sisters. The problem was that I had to go through their room to get to my room. And my room had no source of heat whatsoever, except what seeped into my room through the curtain [door] from the big non-vented gas heater in the girls’ room, and they didn’t have to share the heat with me.
On many cold mornings, I would draw pictures in the frost on the window before I would jump out of bed and run through their bedroom to get to the non-vented gas heater in the living room. Think of it. My room was freezing. Their room was smothering hot. The temperatures of the other rooms were anybody’s guess, and basically we were all thankful and happy just to have a house with heat.
What a difference a few years can make. Now we expect every room in our house to be the same comfortable temperature.
I know of a case this past year where the homeowner threatened to file suit against the builder of his new house because the upstairs was always a few degrees hotter than downstairs in the summer. We have proven many thousands of times that there is no excuse for a new house not to have affordable comfort. It is not always possible that every room will have the exact same temperature 24/7, but it can be very close. All you have to do is build it like the electric cooperatives and I have been teaching you to do for the last 20 years. It is easy and affordable, and IT WORKS EVERY SINGLE TIME. Just ask us for help.
I recently received a call from a lady in Illinois who said that she and her family had been in their new house for seven months and the house was cold.
I said, “I assume that you meant cold in the winter.” She said, “Yes, it was just great in the summer.” I said, “You should have built the house to my standards.” She replied, ”We did.” My heart skipped a beat and I asked her every question I could think of. Did you caulk? Did you use cellulose insulation? Did you use good windows, etc.? And yes, they even installed geothermal.
I couldn’t imagine what the problem might be, so I asked the age-old question. “What is the thermostat setting on right now?” Her answer was 60 degrees. I told her to turn it up to 75 degrees. She said that if she did, her husband would come through and turn it back down to 60 degrees.
I told her to go whack her husband upside the head and tell him who was boss, and if that didn’t work, stop cooking his meals. She laughed and said that might work.
This is a true story, and it has what appears to be an easy solution. Some problems don’t have such easy solutions, but I am confident I can help all of you. See you next month when I will give you more ways to make your house more comfortable.
In the meantime, Happy New Year!
Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at www.dougrye.com, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.
For those who enjoy podcasts, you can simply visit the iTunes store and enter “Doug Rye’s Home Remedies” in the search window. You can listen to Doug anytime on your computer, iPod or smart phone.