This winter has been brutal in Michigan. We bought our condo last March, moved to Calgary from May-October for my husband’s job, and are finally settled in back home for our first winter. I originally thought spending winter in Michigan would be less harsh than in Calgary but they don’t seem to be any different these past few months! What’s worse is that we learned our condo is poorly insulated. I feel like this “polar vortex” we’re experiencing outside in Michigan is also occurring inside my home!
Our electric bill has been awful. We initially set our thermostat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit but noticed our heater was constantly running and our home never felt like it was 65 degrees. I thought our place would be relatively warm in the winter because we share our East and West-facing walls with the condos on each side and we have high quality windows that are only 4 years old. It turns out that our wall facing South is poorly insulated and is FREEZING to the touch. The dishes in our cabinets that share this wall are ice cold and we’ve had multiple occasions when we hit negative-degree weather where the pipes under the kitchen sink froze. Thankfully nothing burst but it was really inconvenient having to leave the cupboard doors opened overnight and come down to a chilly kitchen in the morning. To make matters worse, the heating ducts run along the North and South walls so when “heat” comes out of the upstairs bathroom vent I mistake it for air conditioning. Why did they do that? At least we’re saving water by taking super fast showers.
Our solution to this icy madness isn’t really a solution. We turned the thermostat down to 60 and dress in a million layers. Our 7-week old baby girl seems to love living in her sleeper that makes her look like a little teddy bear. I sort of wish I had an adult-size bear suit for myself. We also bought insulated glass blocks to replace the cheap basement window, put in a second pane of glass above our front door, and used weather-strips to seal off any cracks around our front door. I’m not sure what else we can do to fix this problem since it would involve insulating the entire side of our home.
On the upside, friends who rented our condo while we were in Calgary said they didn’t have to use the air conditioning over the summer because our place seemed to stay cool enough by opening a couple windows. My hope is that the cost of our winter electric bills will be offset by lower bills in the summer. I still wish we would have known this situation before buying the condo. We had moved from a one-bedroom apartment where our bill was never more than $25 so I didn’t know what an average utility bill looked like for a 1,200 sq. ft. condo. I know my husband and I can suck it up and dress warm but we were hoping to rent out this condo down the road after we bought a house. The heating bill might not go over so well with renters. At least we’re learning what questions to ask and what to look for when we start looking for a more permanent home. If you have any tips I gladly welcome them. Thankfully it’s almost March and we’ve recently experienced temperatures above freezing!
Is there anything you wish you knew before purchasing your home?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.