Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How low can you go?

I've been playing chicken with my thermostat. Right now our house is a frigid 51 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). I am wearing two layers on my feet and three on my body, plus a hot rice sock around my neck. It's way too cold for me.

Normally I'm not so hard-core with my house temperatures, but we are currently replacing our boiler. Our old one was a behemoth that was operating at 40-50% efficiency at best. Our new boiler--to be finished tomorrow--will run at 95% efficiency. We have a big house, and I wanted the highest possible heat savings.

Only one more cold night. I bet we'll be in the 40s inside before our heat comes on tomorrow. Brrrr....

How low can you go in the winter?


  1. I live in the middle of Missouri, but I usually try to hold it off till November.
    This year is pushing me....getting down to 34 tonight....
    Of course, I don't have children and the furry kids don't seem to mind.

  2. Rixa, how do the kids deal with the cool temperatures? You mentioned before that you keep the house at 67 at night. We prefer it fairly cool but with a baby I'm not sure how to keep him warm enough.

  3. Lots of layers! Right now all kids wear at least 2 layers of pajamas to bed. Dio and Zari both have down comforters. I wrap Inga in 2 blankets when she's in her crib. The last few nights I've kept her in bed with me all night--we all stay warmer that way!

    I go to bed with a hot rice sock. It helps get me toasty warm before I fall asleep. The kids would love ones for their own beds, I'm sure.

    We actually used to keep our old house at 65-66 during the day and much lower at night. This new house that we're in has radiators rather than forced-air heat, so we'll probably keep it at a constant 66-68. I might go for 68 since our boiler is so efficient! That will feel positively tropical.

  4. We keep ours set at 63 degrees, and use space heaters in certain rooms if it feels too chilly. So far we haven't needed the furnace on, but we are getting close.

    Sunshine, for the most part, my toddler doesn't seem to be bothered by the cold as much as the adults. We keep her dressed in warm clothes/pajamas with socks and slippers and she's okay. She still sleeps with us at night so there's plenty of warmth in the bed.

  5. I'm so glad you brought this up! We moved into a big drafty house, TERRIBLE insulation. If the heater isn't on, it is always the same exact temperature as it is outside. I'm trying to do potty training, but I can't let her go diaper free without cranking the heater up and I can just see the dollars ticking away whenever I hear the heater clunk on yet again. I'd love to just bundle up and let it be cold, but then I'd have to wait another 6 months to try to get any potty training progress. It sucks!

  6. We try to keep it around 65 degrees F. We haven't had to turn our heat on yet. (Although, today it's starting to feel pretty chilly). We are a top floor apartment, and that helps a lot. Especially since the lady that lives below us is older, and I think older people like to keep their homes warmer. When it gets really cold, I practically never take off my felted wool slippers!!! (I should probably make some for the kiddos, they would like them just as much as I like mine!)

  7. We had our natural gas shut off nearly 10 years ago because of massive unpaid bills. We have managed with electric space heaters since. So, depending on what room we're in, the temp can vary--probably 75 in the corner with the heater, but 68 on the other side of the room, and much cooler in other rooms without heaters on. We hang heat lamps in the basement during the bitterest part of winter to prevent the plumbing from freezing, because (as we discovered) the basement temperature will actually go below freezing when you aren't consistently heating the rest of the house!

    Our natural gas costs were immense because of the extra premiums and taxes our company charges to farm residents. It's far less expensive to use the space heaters--even though we pay extra rural fees for electricity too, we were going to be paying them anyway if we wanted power!

  8. We had ours at 60-65 the last few winters- even then our heating bill was 300$ per month! We have just moved into a different place and I'm so hoping to be warm this winter!

  9. We kept it at 65 during the day and 68 at night with a baby. Now with an almost 4 and almost 2 year old we will plan to go lower, maybe 63 and 65 or 66.

    We have a high efficiency electric heat pump in a 3 level town house. So our heat distribution isn't great, but ceiling fans and a few redirected vents help make it work.

    Our energy bills are usually 1/2 or 1/3 what our peers pay in similarly sized homes. Save $ wear a sweater! We agree with you!

  10. We we just discussing this last night! We're going to try for November, though in Montana it'll really depend on if we get a cold front through. Believe it or not, our first frost was only on Monday night!

    I know you guys have an old, big house, and I might have posted this before, but have you checked out the National Trust for Historic Preservation's webpage about energy efficiency in older homes? Things like insulated blinds (we have double cell top down/ bottom up cordless and I LOVE THEM), re caulking windows, insulating the foundation, etc. are all easy to DIY and can make a HUGE difference. We're working our way through the button-up-for-winter to-do list this weekend.

    Drinking something hot also helps me keep warm!

  11. We have been on an "off-peak" power program for years, all the time we raised our children. This means we agree not to use the heater or water heater during the day on week days. For this we get a much lower rate. But there are big penalties if we cheat! So we have had our house pretty cold during the winter, about 60-63 a lot of the time. Interestingly, our children hardly ever got sick. They had far fewer colds than anyone else we knew. My theory is that cooler temperatures keep the bacteria and viruses at bay and make for tougher kids.

  12. We have our heat set (with a programmable thermostat) to 62 at night, 65 from 5-8 AM, 62 during the day, back up to 65 from 5-9 PM. When I am home during the day I often override the thermostat up to 66-where I am comfortable in winter clothes. The programmable thermostat has really helped with our heating bills. It even has a weekend setting for when we are home more. As far as keeping babies warm, it is actually better to not overheat them for SIDS precautions. "Keep the room temperature comfortable for a lightly clothed adult." (AAP SIDS guidlines) So having a cool bedroom and snuggling with Inga is perfect!

  13. I keep our house at 45 degrees day and night. I think it makes us better people.

  14. Over here in New England in our house we hold out until November at least. I am happy in a chilly house anyway. Luckily it's been unseasonably warm (rainy, but warm). With a toddler who dosen't sleep under covers I am re-thinking the night time heat temperature as the weather turns. (Last year he slept in bed with us, so warmth wasn't an issue)

  15. We are in North East Mississippi. It has gotten down to freezing at night already, but still no heater for the whole house. I put an oil radiator (free-standing that you buy at Wal Mart) in my sons room at night on low, just enough to take the chill out of the air and keep him warm, since he never leaves his blankets on.

    We don't have central heat (or air for that matter). We have a gas wall heater in the living room, and outdated electric heaters in the other rooms, be we don't use those...they look like they would burn the house down. We are going to turn on the gas heater soon, but we have to get a round gate to close it off from our son.

  16. We used to keep our open house at 60-65 depending on how cold it was outside, and take our space heater from room to room throughout the day as we needed it. Then leave it in my older son's room at night, he was the only child we had at the time. It is against the rules to have a space heater in our apartment so we will probably keep the temp at 60-65 and bake a lot of! I love baking bread, but it just gets too hot in the summer to bother with in my personal opinion, so I get my fill of baking in the winter months. Helps keep the house warm, on baking days I keep the temp around 60.

  17. Rixa I urge you to be careful with the temp! I did the same thing 2 years ago to try and save money and ended up getting MOLD! Apparently consendation formed on colder exterior walls like the front hall closet and started mold! It was in all the east wall cupboards and in the upper and lower corrners in my room! It was only that way for a short time before I noticed the mold and has to scrub every inch of wall with mold killer and preventer-not fun!

    Look out and take care your best bet is add extra insulation and take the tax break for it!


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