Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chill out: Simple changes make your house warmer

Have you ever thought about how many times your outside door is opened and the Arctic air rushes in? Every time you or a family member does this, the temperature inside the home falls and the furnace has to run more to heat the air. It seemed that our home was a revolving door of people going inside and out and the indoor air was constantly getting chilled in certain areas. After studying this problem, I started to analyze the number of reasons we needed to go outside. So I broke the reasons down for needing to go in and out of the house. Here's what I found were the two biggest reasons:

1) To let the dog out in the backyard on his run line (we do not have a fenced in backyard):
First opening: Pull the line in from it's outside home position and hook up the dog.
Second opening: Let the dog out.
Third opening: Let the dog in.
Fourth opening: Unhook the dog and put the line back in it's outside home position.

So, the door had to be opened four times to put the dog out once!
Countermeasure: Place the line home position hook inside the screen door so that it doesn't have to be opened to hook him on the run line.
Countermeasure: Only open the door about one foot to let the dog in and out. Opening any wider than this is just waste.

Now, we only open the door twice to let dog in and out.

2) To walk the dog on his leash:
First opening: Pull the leash in from it's outside home position in the breezeway and hook up the dog.
Second opening: Leave to walk the dog.
Third opening: Return from walking the dog.
Fourth opening: Unhook the dog and put the line back in it's breezeway home position.

Again, the door had to be opened four times any time we need to walk the pupster!
Countermeasure: Place the leash home position hook inside coat closet so the dog can be hooked up in the house.

These two simple changes have reduced the number of times we need to open outside doors by about 10 times a day. I have realized that you have to step back and examine what you are doing to see the inefficiency and how things could be done better. A simple improvement, or kaizen, like this can really make a difference. By better insulating the doors leaks and reducing the number of times the doors are opened, everyone in the household has noticed how much more comfortable the kitchen air is.

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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