Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

We Finally Got Our Heat Replaced November 5, 2019

Filed under: Environment,Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 9:34 pm
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(FYI, this is NOT a sponsored post, but I do reference the Mass Save program and benefits a bunch of times, mostly to make sure folks are aware of programs like this that provide home energy audits for free or for a fee, depending on the state.  These programs also recommend upgrades and other options that may be highly discounted or come with great rebates)

As if spending money on a new car wasn’t enough, we also just got our heat replaced. When we bought our house, the home inspector pointed out that both the furnace for the forced hot water and the water heater were nearing the end of their useful life.  And then when we had our free energy audit through Mass Save a few months into home ownership, we were also told that we should try to get a new, more efficient system.

Well, time got away from us (which tends to happen with one, then two kids), so we kept putting it off.  But then the furnace sprang a leak and flooded our basement, which kicked us back on track.

So, we got a quote from the same company that did the last few minor repairs on our old heating system.  The quote was quite reasonable, and included a few of the rebates available through Mass Save. We probably should have gotten more quotes, but the price was just about what we expected based on estimates from our home inspector, and we did get them to install new programmable thermostats for free.

So, now we have a new, more efficient system for our heat and hot water. Plus with our new thermostats, we can actually program different temperatures for different times/days to save money. Before, only one of our thermostats actually was new enough to be programmed properly.

We’ve scheduled another free energy audit for a few weeks from now (we’re eligible every 2 years) since we want to find out what their newest recommendations are for saving energy.  The last time they came, they replaced our light bulbs with new, more efficient light bulbs, gave us a few free power strips to help us lower “standby” energy use, and gave us some recommendations (along with quotes for those upgrades).  We didn’t end up doing many of their recommendations since we wanted to figure out our heat system first, and some couldn’t be done until after some fixes were made to the heat anyway.  So hopefully they’ll provide us new quotes for adding insulation and sealing up drafts in the house, along with any other good ideas they have for us.

It will be interesting to see just how much we’ll save on our gas bill this winter!

Have you ever done a home energy audit?  Was it worth it for you?  What are the biggest changes you’ve made to save energy in your home?

 

In honor of Blog Action Day October 15, 2007

Filed under: Environment — Stephanie @ 8:23 pm
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In honor of Blog Action Day I figured I’d post a little thought or two about environmentalism, going green, the eco-movement, etc.

I’d like to first discuss my stance on being eco-friendly and everything. I’ve always been into recycling. In fact, I was involved with recycling in my college dorm, and was actually recycling chair for a year or so. My friends all knew me as the recycling queen of sorts, grabbing recyclables off the top of trash cans (if it wasn’t too gross). I was always hounding people to do it. It just seemed so easy to recycle, since bins were never far away. Actually, one time a friend of mine threw a recyclable bottle in the trash just to spite me!

For the most part, I’m eco-friendly because it seems like a good idea. We’re polluting, and we don’t have to. Most actions you can take are relatively easy!

I realized that one problem with the green movement (as with almost any movement) is that you can get pretty extreme if you want to, which can sometimes make things worse. Being all militant is crazy! Just have fun with it!

One of the problems with going to extreme with things is that people start ignoring you, which makes your message less effective. Take, for example, the whole issue with global warning. Some people, like my late Grandpa (rest his soul) said he didn’t believe in global warming, that the earth has always been getting hotter and colder. A few days ago, after the announcement about Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, a friend of mine said the same thing. And this is where my issue lies: who cares what you believe! Even if it’s too late, as some people say, or that it doesn’t change the temperature, you can help the earth! And most of the eco-ideas out there are just helpful on their own! By reducing your gas usage in your car (by driving a more efficient car, driving less often, etc.) you also save money! And if you are driving less by walking or biking, you’re getting exercise! I am always going around our apartment turning off lights and turning down the heat…partially because I’m thinking about the environment, but also partially because I hate wasting money! If you’ve read any of my past posts, you’ll know I’m still nicely in debt from going to dear old MIT, so saving a couple bucks here and there always helps! I walk and take public transportation, too, which also cuts down a lot on my expenses!

Some earth-friendly stuff is just happiness-friendly, too! Planting a tree, keeping a waterway clean, they just make things look (and smell, taste, etc.) better!

And buying locally? You’ll taste the best tasting fruit and vegetables if you get them fresh and in season!

Well, I suppose this can cover me for now for Blog Action Day (seeing as it’s almost over!) but it’s got me all fired up! So hopefully I’ll post again soon about some environmental issues. This blog is still a work in progress!

 

 
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