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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Playing the Heat Game

(Note: In this rare occasion, I swiped a meme from Facebook. If this is your image and you would like it removed, please contact me and I will do so immediately.)

Well, it's late October, and the temps around here are finally getting chilly. We were promised a mild fall, and so far, we are getting it. But, it's inevitable that we are going to get cold weather.

Cold weather, as you may have noticed, makes me crabby. And one of the things that makes me crabbiest is that I have to spend money to keep warm. I realize the reverse is true - I have to spend money in the summer to run the AC - but nothing bothers me quite like hearing the heat kick on and know that I'm working my tail off to pay the heating bills to make up for an outdoor temperature that I don't like anyway.

I've written on this topic before, but I recently posted the above meme to Facebook, and I was interested in the distribution of friends who also play the game of seeing how long they can last before turning on the heat. We do this every year; I try to make it to at least November 1 unless I have company coming over. One of my heartier friends notes that her goal is December 1.

Is this practice sustainable? Well, it is one of those "little things" you can do. Every day you decline to turn your whole-house heat on, you use less fossil fuel, and you pay less for your heating bills, thus making a small dent in both global resource usage and personal resource usage. I think it's a good practice overall.

Some ways to stay warm without turning on the dreaded whole-house heat:

  • Put on another layer. Your mom wasn't kidding; if you are cold, put on a sweater. It is far cheaper to keep your own body warm than it is to heat a whole house for your comfort. I have several "writing sweaters" I wear over my daily clothes when I am sitting at my desk.
  • Vent to the inside. If you can, vent your dryer to the inside of your house; I have written a long post on this, but there are baffle boxes you can buy that allow you to toggle your venting to the inside during the winter and the outside during the summer.
  • Bake. This is a great time to start making cookies, quick breads, roasts, and other meal items that have been too heavy to eat all summer and which require the oven to be on for an extended period. Don't forget to open that oven door when you are done and let all that lovely heat escape into the house.
  • Use area heat sources. This means using a space heater when you are going to be in a single room or using your wood stove to add a little heat to the house. Don't forget to close off the room you are heating from the rooms you will not be in, so you retain as much heat as possible where you are going to be.
Of course, I'll ultimately give in on the whole house heat. There will be a day that I crawl out of bed from under my flannel sheets, two blankets, two bedspreads, and three quilts*, and decide that I just can't live another day in the chill. But, until then, let the game continue!

*Really not kidding about the amount of covers I sleep under. I have the body temperature control ability of a reptile.
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