Sunday, January 28, 2001

The Evans home

        Helen and Ray Evans like a warm room. They always keep the thermostat at 72 degrees, and with this winterıs cold, theyıre also wearing “shirts on top of shirts,” as Mrs. Evans puts it.

        Sheıs 64 and works part-time at Biggs grocery store. Heıs 77, retired and stays home all day. The couple occasionally baby-sits a 3-year-old girl.

        Mr. Evans takes eight medications, including one to ward off Alzheimerıs disease and another to prevent strokes. At times, his medicine seems to make him more sensitive to the cold, he says.

[photo] The Evans home
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Helen and Ray Evans
       Decemberıs energy bill of $234 is more than twice as high as the $102 they were charged for the same month last year.

        “I had to dig into our savings,” Mrs. Evans says. “We had car insurance and we had truck insurance all at once, plus the house payment.”

        Every winter, the couple prevents drafts by putting towels between the front door and its jamb and shoving rugs under the garage door. Fortunately, the home has some attic insulation. Adding more would save $38 in the first year but cost $266 if the Evanses did it themselves, energy auditor Jim Snodgrass says.

        By closing the fireplace flue in the basement, the couple would reduce air loss and save $33 a year at no cost.

        Mr. Snodgrass also recommends a slight change in the thermostat. Even setting it back by two degrees would save $45 in the first year.

        Mrs. Evans thought she already was skimping on heat.

        “They were talking about raising gas prices, and itıs been a cold winter. Thatıs why I kept the thermostat to 72 and stayed in here bundled up with the afghan around my legs,” she says. “You could just feel the coldness coming down on you.”

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