Sunday, January 28, 2001

The Fischer home

       The thermostat rarely dips below 72 degrees during winter in Charles and Kay Fischerıs house. For the Fischers, warmth has always been about comfort, not cost. Until now.

       “When I opened the envelope and looked at (Decemberıs energy) bill, I said to myself, ŒThis just canıt be right,ı ” Mrs. Fischer, 40, says. “It was like a mortgage.”

[photo] The Fischer home
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       The familyıs $524 bill for December was 72 percent more than the previous monthıs $305.

       The Fischers live just a few blocks from the Craftsman Electric business they own in Silverton. Their home was built as a single-story dwelling by Mr. Fischerıs grandfather; Mr. Fischer, 42, a master electrician, added a second story in 1986.

       The couple invested in a new gas furnace five years ago and replaced old, drafty windows in their basement with new glass blocks, good for conserving energy.

       Insulating the basement ceiling and attic scuttle hatch, weather-stripping doors and sealing cracks and holes in the ductwork could save the Fischers $136 a year, energy auditor Jim Snodgrass says.

        Mrs. Fischer says the family may rely more on an old wood-burning stove in the basement. Mr. Fischer cut heat vents into the basement ceiling to allow warm air from the stove to filter up and flow through the entire house.

       Says Mrs. Fischer: “If we get another really cold stretch of weather, we are going to cut back on our use of the furnace and keep that wood-burning stove going all day, every day.”

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