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Have higher energy costs affected the way you heat your home?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 3, 2007

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Photo of Claire Scott

“We use space heaters in whatever room we’re using and set our thermostat at about 67 degrees.”

Photo of Rich Housh

“Unfortunately, no. I just use blankets and crank up the heat.”

Photo of Cassidy Kirch

“Personally, I don’t like to turn on the heat very much. I just use blankets to stay warm, but it hasn’t really changed because of high energy costs.”

Photo of Pam Vaughn

“Yes. If I’m feeling cold, I’ll put on a sweatshirt instead of turning up the heat. I try to keep the thermostat low, especially when I’m not at the house.”

Comments

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

I'm having to burn a bale of carbon credits every three days to keep the stove going.

bmwjhawk 7 years ago

I've gone from burning Euros to burning US dollars.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

"A beautiful woman by day - a lusting queen wasp by night." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054462/

sunflower_sue 7 years ago

Wow! So nice of Drew Carey to come to town and answer an OTS? for us!

Eric Neuteboom 7 years ago

There's two good things you can do to ease the bills this year:

  • Get a programmable thermostat. I'm amazed at how few people continue to take advantage of this. You can get one with day/week/weekend settings. Big time savings! Cold during the day when we're gone, warm when we get home and up in the mornings. If not for the savings, do it for the convenience! And don't be afraid to install this yourself, it's really easy.

  • Get a storm door! With a South facing front door, I could literally feel the drafts blowing straight in to the house between the cracks (the door was maybe 10 feet from the thermostat too) in spite of my best attempts at winterizing it. This year, with my new door up, the house is heated much more easily and retains heat much better.

Where's my snow???

badger 7 years ago

It's been such a cold winter so far here. We actually had to turn the heat on Thanksgiving weekend! And I've had to wear a jacket three or four times already. I may have to unpack my gloves this year; I haven't had to get them out since I moved down.

With all this chilliness, we're making a few changes. We opened up all the west-facing blinds to let in the sun and heat those rooms in the late afternoon, and took down some of the solar shading on the back windows. We set the programmable thermostat to stop cooling in the early afternoon, so the last couple of hours of sunlight can bring the inside temp up to 80 or so by the time the sun goes down, and it stays a comfy 70-75 degrees usually till it's about 9 or 10, when the heat kicks on.

Finally, we put a towel across the foot of the bed. That attracts cats, who then sleep on your feet.

OnlyTheOne 7 years ago

66 in the early morning to rise and dress 63 during the day 66 in the evening for comfort 64 at night to sleep and the only space heater is in the basement next to the desk. Yes a programmable thermostat! The only way to go. Site the house correctly (or open the correct shades/blinds) to get as much day sunlight as possible.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Yep keep the programmable thermo down to 68 ... 62 @ night 10 PM till 8AM.

Wear jackets, vest and use blankets. Tea,Port,Creme Sherry or vino sometimes.

OnlyTheOne 7 years ago

I forgot to mention. Keep the blower running 24 hours a day. Helps prevent cold spots, keeps temp more uniform throughout the house and you don't have to wait when heat kicks on to reach the blower on air temp. Warmer air starts circulating immediately.

sunflower_sue 7 years ago

RI, is that what I stepped in the other night?

I've burried our house in a large mound of fresh yard waste. On really cold mornings, the house steams a little bit, but thus far, we've managed not to smoulder or catch on fire.

LogicMan 7 years ago

"62 @ night"

Wimps! 60F, max. Would go lower, but the doggies get cold. :-)

"Keep the blower running 24 hours a day."

Not good, from an energy consumption point of view. The fan motor, of course, will use much more electricity. But all the pressurization and depressurization that occurs increases infiltration. Better to "weatherize" your abode instead.

"We use space heaters"

Electric resistance heat is two or three times as expensive as natural gas, so use sparingly. Also carefully -- space heaters are a major cause of fires.

"crank up the heat"

Do the opposite! When it is really cold/windy outside, turn down the thermostat. Just don't freeze the pipes or precious bodily parts.

"Yes. If I'm feeling cold, I'll put on a sweatshirt instead of turning up the heat. I try to keep the thermostat low, especially when I'm not at the house."

Excellent! A gold star on this one.

"we decided to velcro midgets to all our exterior-facing walls"

Make sure they are on the inside, and not the out. You want their body heat released indoors.

"close the vents in, and doors to, rooms that aren't used"

Just don't over do it. Furnaces need air flow through them to keep their heat exchangers from overheating and failing prematurely.

"make sure all the storm windows are in place"

Excellent; another gold star. Too bad storm windows don't get much press these days. If you don't open your windows in the summer, leave the storms in place year 'round to save on air-conditioning too.

"after using the oven, I crack open the door"

Not necessary -- the heat will transfer out of the oven anyway, just a bit slower.

"Get a storm door!"

A good thing too. Just installed one this year, but had to drive to KC to get it because that model was not sold here in town.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

our house has a programmable thermostat and we love it. I prefer the house a little colder than the rest of the family, and our lower level is always freezing, so we have a space heater... Didn't think about opening the oven after turning it off, might have to try that... but I get more volunteers to help me cook since it turned colder. We have East windows in the living room, so it doesn't help when people are home...

ms_canada 7 years ago

I heard the other day that this winter is going to set a cold record not topped here since 1996. brrrr. We have a good supply of fire wood for the stove in the living room which has a very high ceiling and can be rather chilly. So about 4pm I touch a match to the kindling and start a blaze. The thermostat goes down every night to 15 celcius (59 F.). Just wear more warm clothing while sitting around in the evening. You would think that in the Oil Capital of Canada our fuel costs would be low but not so. Not so at all.

FredGarvin_MP 7 years ago

I'm married to a lovely woman who has been hot flashing for the past 5 years. The house is cold as can be, so the rest of us just wear more clothes. "The One Who Must Be Obeyed" controls the thermostat in our house. BURRRRRRRRRRR

Jonathan Allison 7 years ago

I tured the a/c off in my apartment. I open the windows at night to let the heat out so that it cools down overnight. Usually gets to around 67-70. Then I close them before work if the temp is going to be about 75. IF it gets cold here in Houston I will not turn my heater on until I absolutely have to.
The great thing about apartment living, which I learned while living in Meadowbrook my sophomore year, is that I have people below me and on three sides of me who all will be using their heaters. I've found that usually I will draw enough heat off of them that I don't have to heat my own room. Don't tell my neighbors, please.

FredGarvin_MP 7 years ago

Ceallach, Thank you, that is awesome & just in time for Christmas!!!!!!!!

bevy 7 years ago

I do many of the things listed above but am considering a lock box for my thermostat. One of my kids keeps turning it up and denying that she does so. Maybe she walks in her sleep! Another thing I do in winter is unhook the clothes dryer hose from the vent and stuff an old towel in the vent hole to keep outside cold air out. Then I cover the end of the vent pipe with old pantyhose to catch the lint and allow the hot air from the dryer to stay inside. Have to change the "filter" (i.e. pantyhose) a few times but the extra heat inside is worth it. The humidity is welcome too since furnace air is so dry. Not to mention the fresh clean scent of lavender dryer sheets. mmmmm.

GretchenJP 7 years ago

I crank the heat up to 95 and open every door and window in the house.

OnlyTheOne 7 years ago

Not good, from an energy consumption point of view. The fan motor, of course, will use much more electricity. But all the pressurization and depressurization that occurs increases infiltration. Better to "weatherize" your abode instead. Logicman Yes good. The fan motor will use a heck of a lot less electricity than turning up the heat to offset cold spots and the normal fluctuation from heated to cooled as the heating unit cycles.

You wanna 'splain "pressurization and depressurization?" The blower runs at low speed with a constant flow of air throught the house. By the way what's to depressurize?

And who's to say the abode isn't?

Think more - type less

LogicMan 7 years ago

"Yes good. The fan motor will use a heck of a lot less electricity than turning up the heat to offset cold spots and the normal fluctuation from heated to cooled as the heating unit cycles."

The fan motors on home furnaces are typically about 1/2HP -- that's about 400 Watts. Not a trivial amount.

Why do you have so many cold spots? Sounds like poor insulation and/or infiltration, or older windows.

"You wanna 'splain "pressurization and depressurization?" The blower runs at low speed with a constant flow of air throught the house. By the way what's to depressurize?"

These positive and negative air pressures are defined relative to the prevailing outside air pressure. Running your fan creates a "negative pressure" on your return side, and positive on the supply. In theory, the systems are well-balanced; in practice, they are not even close.

In a typical multistoried house, with the furnace in the basement, the basement runs very negative while the upstairs is somewhat positive. So there's extra infiltration in the basement (and possibly more radon drawn in), and air forced out upstairs.

squishypoet 7 years ago

Hahaha... my mom actually got that "She who must be obeyed" sweatshirt for her birthday.

Joe Hyde 7 years ago

Thermostat held at 45 degrees (raised to 60 degrees for heating bathroom prior to showering, then dropped back to 45). All unused rooms have vents shut and doors closed.

Night: Snooze like a baby, warm inside a 0-degree rated sleeping bag.

Daytime: Wear warm socks, fleece pants, insulated jacket, stocking cap. On clear days open window blinds and let sunlight warm the south room carpets.

This is an experiment I'm trying this year. Serious cold hasn't arrived yet so I don't know whether this regimen is do-able through next spring. My only real concerns are the various water lines.

What I won't know until the natural gas bills come in is whether the furnace will run as many minutes, cycle on as often (and therefore cost me just as much) with the thermostat set at 45 as it would cost if held at, say, 65 degrees. Time will tell.

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