Monday, January 14, 2008

Enjoying the Seasons, and some Insights on heat

My high-school friend Emily gave me some insights on some things that I asked about, and so I post her insights verbatim. Thank you Emily!

Berries: eating frozen berries (preferably locally grown) when out of season is preferable to eating berries shipped from far far away. Picking berries at U-Pick farms and CSAs (often located a short distance from cities) and freezing or canning them ASAP is an inexpensive- and fun to many- way to stock up for the winter. Canning is a somewhat more complicated process and requires a good amount of sugar but no energy is used in keeping them frozen. Organic berries are, of course, better for you because berry skins are very thin and easily absorb pesticides and it is quite labor intensive (or just takes a smart farmer) to grow berries without pesticides.

Heat savings: I'm not sure if space heaters are a great option. They typically eat the juice so are only good for a quick fix, certainly not for long periods of time. My heating bill went up $30 one month because I had taken in a couple of stray rodents (what was I thinking) for a couple of days and kept a space heater on LOW heat for 5 days. If you have a heat oil furnace, that is usually an excellent choice and electric radiators typically found around baseboards are good too. The general rule is, anything that has to heat a coil to work (hairdryers too) is going to totally blow the meter. As for electric blankets, I have heard (source unknown) that they put off small amounts of (questionably) dangerous radiation of some sort... go figure. I've actually never heard of anyone getting cancer from an electric blanket so?? I find the investment in a down or good synthetic duvet is more than sufficient for warmth by trapping body heat effectively- and they don't run the fire risk or consume electricity- and of course work in the absence of e. I get quite hot even alone under my duvet (which I bought in Wales, incidentally). And your first defense should be layering. You can drastically reduce heating costs by turning the heat way down and piling in the clothes (it's always said the first layer is the most important).

Thank you again, I really appreciate these insights! More soon!

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