What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Cold Snap

There has been a lot of sickness going around especially cold and flu or flu-like illnesses. My husband came down with a cold just after the holidays and I've been down with a horrid cold with complications for two weeks now. When I was growing up, the winters were colder and believe me our house was poorly insulated at best. There would be frost inside on the windows, huge icicles hanging from the eaves troughs and quickly getting dressed before freezing was a challenge. Our bedrooms were downright cold at night as the only heat to them was via the two radiant heat gas heaters downstairs. We had a floor vent in the middle of the hall to help get heat upstairs. While heat does rise, little of it came upstairs. The basement was unfinished with a mud floor so the first level floors were beyond cold in the winter. I can remember my Mom opening windows on a sunny but bitterly cold day, enough to get a good cross-breeze. She would leave the house like that for a couple of hours! She hang clothes on the line on those days as well even though we had a gas dryer. Her reasons were simple. The fresh air got rid of stagnant winter air and killed germs. She was old school, born in 1903, raised on a farm and lived through two World Wars as well as the Great Depression. Let me tell you, she knew a thing or two about living frugally! We bought our first home in the early 80's and compared to my Mom's house it was quite energy efficient. We are now in our sixth purchased home, seventh if you count our vacation home. This house is a far cry from our first house in that it is so energy efficient and sealed so tightly we need an air exchanger. Heating costs are considerably higher than what my Mom paid but in reality a lot of the heating she paid for went out all the cracks and crevices of the house. Although it sounds like an expensive practice to do in modern, air tight homes her method of using cold air is just as effective now as it was then. Our winters have become warmer so what you need is a cold snap where the temperature is below freezing for a few days. Wait for a sunny day during the cold snap then shut off your furnace. Go through the house and spray all touchable surfaces (eg. phone handsets, door knobs, remotes, light switches, keyboards, etc) with rubbing alcohol. This greatly reduces any germs on those surfaces making the cold air treatment more effective. Change the filter as it may harbour germs. Open at least two windows to create a cross breeze. A kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan can be turned on to help remove the stagnant air. Leave your house like this for at least a half hour then shut the windows and start the furnace. This is long enough period to remove stagnant air in the house without lowering the indoor temperature too much. Germs go out the window along with the stagnant air.