Hace Frio

I have tried to lead into this post a thousand different ways and I just can’t seem to find a purty way of doing it, so I’m just gonna give it you straight.

We keep the house cold. On purpose. And it has been cold outside lately. This means we’ve been cold pretty much most of the time except when
a.) we’re in the car with the heat on full blast

or

b.) underneath our pile of blankets, snuggled up in bed.

I’m even cold at work. But that is a year-round condition of my employment apparently. Ironically, I am “warmer” (using the term lightly) at work in the winter than the summer. In the summer the AC only has full blast mode and it is really very miserable. I really should invest in some fingertip-less gloves so that I can work in comfort and 80’s Madonna style.

But back to the house. We keep it cold. On purpose. Why? Well partly out of environmental guilt, err stewardship. You know the climate change thing (it’s not just warming up), trying to consume less energy all of which is very true and I fully support. But I would be lying if I said that was my main motivation.

The main motivation is do-la-res amigos. Cold hard cash. It’s a big house. And we have gas heat, ouch.

Last year, we took a beating with our heating bills.

And it sucked.

Like, A LOT.

So this winter, we set out to conquer our bourgeois ways, lower the thermostat and acclimate ourselves to cooler, and hopefully cheaper, temps.

Amigos, it has made a HUGE difference. Like $100 per bill difference. Multiple that by 5 months that the heat is on (we are also strict about having no heat or air for at least 2 months in the spring and 2 months in the fall) and that is $500 in savings. Maybe that is chump change to some, but alas, we do not fall in that category, so it’s like a mini-lottery to us.

And we’ve cut down our energy usage by something crazy like 80 %. So yay for Planet Earth! Captain Planet, (S)He’s our Hero! Gonna take Pollution down to Zero!

During the day while we’re at work, we keep the thermostat at 60 degrees, mostly for the kittehs. At night while we’re home and awake, we keep the thermostat at 62, 63 if we’re feeling indulgent (ooh la la!). While we sleep we take it down to 58 degrees.

We’ve also learned a few…Hot? tricks (hahaha) along the way to make things a bit more comfortable during the dark, cold months. So I went ahead and compiled a list for you and my inner dork.

Beth’s Guide on How to Stay Warm When You are a Cheap B*stard:
1.) Get thee a WOOL blanket on yer bed. Layer it between your sheets and comforter and any other additional blankets. HUGE difference. We routinely wake up sweating at night. And it ain’t because we’re fornicating neither.

2.) Space heaters are your friends. Just turn them off when you are not in the room. Why waste the electricity if you aren’t in the room? And remember, SAFETY FIRST!

3.) Hang out upstairs more. Heat rises!

4.) Turn the heat down at night while you are snuggling underneath your wool blanket.

5.) Acclimate yourself in increments. Take the temp down two degrees one week. Then a couple more the next until you reach your goal temperature (65 is a nice rookie beginning point.) Remember to turn down the temperature at least 3-5 degrees at night while you sleep. You’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll acclimate!

6.) Bundle up! It’s winter! No you shouldn’t be running around your house in shorts and bare feet in January unless you live in Southern Florida. That’s just plain silly! Socks, slippers a thick sweater/sweatshirt make 60 degrees surprisingly comfortable.

7.) Close the vents for vacant rooms. Why heat a guest room when you don’t have guests? Better to re-direct that heat to the rooms you actually use. Just remember to open them if you have company over!

8.) A fireplace or a wood stove are also great supplemental sources of heat. I secretly dream of having a wood stove.

9.)  Kittehs are heat whores. And pretty good feet warmers. Just be sure to get them a comfy bed to snuggle in so that they can stay warm to when you’re not around.

10.) Eat lots of hot sauce!! Ok, so I don’t really have a tenth point but my OCD ways will not let me end on an odd number.  It is a sickness I tell you!

This may all sound extreme at first, but we have truly been amazed at how easy a transition this has been. Trust me if I, the girl who is always, always cold can acclimate to 60 degrees, then miracles really are possible Tiny Tim!

Thus concludes our post on heat, dollar dollar bills yall and conservation. Hopefully we will still have friends and family that will want to visit after reading this. Highly unlikely. Or else we’ll have to spend our new found cash going to your house. Which will feel like summer compared to ours.

Happy Savings 🙂

**I thought of an additional heat saving tip for my list! Open your blinds and let the Sun Shine In just like in Hair. Whew. Now my OCD can rest!**

**Tip #11: Somanna reminded me that having your fan circulate air in a low speed, clockwise direction (he is very specific about that) helps move the warm air back down. I don’t know how. Science and I have never really got on all that well. But it does make the room warmer. So I chalk it up to magic. Tip # 12: Keep doors closed. It entraps the heat in the room. And now my list is officially screwed unless I make it to 15 which is a reassuring mid-point. Oh OCD how you plague me!**

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9 Comments

Filed under Mi Casa, the weather report

9 responses to “Hace Frio

  1. Kudos to you guys for saving money! I’ll admit to keeping our heat on 68-70 most of the winter, but luckily we have a fairly efficient heat pump.
    Anyway, I’m totally not trying to argue, but on #7 on the list, we’ve actually heard that it’s more efficient to keep the vents to all rooms open whether you use them or not. Something about circulation (I’ll be honest, I don’t know science that well, so I’m not exactly sure why) in the house…. I don’t know, just thought I’d throw it out there.
    Hope you guys have an AWESOME trip to India!! Can’t wait to see pictures and see the updated blog!

  2. Haha love it. And of course I will still visit you – the space heater does actually do the trick. …my problem with visiting is related more to the kittehs, anyway. Also, I HATE having that OCD factor about lists. I can’t end with odd numbers either. Unless it’s a multiple of 5.

  3. thekodavaviking

    Impressive – your house is colder than ours. Our house is a pleasant 68-70 deg even when it’s less than 10 F out. We have a kickass wood burning oven that we use mainly and have a few oil eaters round the house set at about 62. Open fireplaces while cosy, are not really that efficient when it comes to arming up spaces.

    Check your windows – biggest source of heat loss – here in viking land, most windows are double or triple glazed. A small investment in windows will so help the energy efficiency – but how critical it is in NC I don’t know.

  4. Scott’s in DC this week and out of guilt (or stewardship, as you say) I have knocked it to 57 when I go to work and bed and at 61 when the house is occupied.
    You’re so right about the wool – I have a Pendleton wool blanket that is my right hand man right now – well, it’s no “fornicating” – love that you actually used that phrasing! Ha!

  5. Hilawe

    Great stuff Beth! Gas heat is so expensive like you said and we had to do the same thing as you and Shaloot in our last house. Except Jessica could only handle going down to 65 while we were in the house and 55 at night with our down comforter (which made us sweaty as well). It sure saved us a lot of “do-la-res.” Our current house has oil heat which is really expensive as well but not that much cheaper than gas heat. I wish we could afford a geothermal heat pump system….love your blog!

  6. Jessica

    you sleep at 58 degrees?! Good Lord!!! Here in NH when it gets to 12 degrees at night I don’t know if I could do 58…maybe I’ll start with the rookie 65 degrees….maybe.

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