Less Heat Challenge 2011-2012

by Katy on October 19, 2011 · 74 comments

I have run a No Heat Challenge over the past few years here at The Non-Consumer Advocate, but am going to amend it this year to a Less Heat Challenge. Because really, although I promoted the idea of waiting as long as possible before turning on the ol’ furnace each fall, the main idea was always to keep your house cooler than normal. Not to live without heat.

So far this year, I’ve had a couple of times when I’ve wanted to turn on the heat, but those moments have passed by without any furnace action. (I did notice that the house was a chilly 61º one morning last week.) All of our beds now have flannel sheets on them, and the TV room lap blankets are back in rotation.

In the winter we normally keep set our programmable thermostat at 63° during the day and 57º at night. However, last year we hosted a Japanese exchange teacher and ended up keeping the house warmer than normal. (I don’t remember the specific numbers.)

If you are able to turn your thermostat down 2,3 or even four degrees from normal, you will save a ton a ton of money, not to mention the green-friendly energy savings. So throw on an extra layer, and put your tootsies in some wool socks, cause baby, the Less Heat Challenge in on!

Will you be participating in this year’s challenge? Please write your name in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Megg October 19, 2011 at 7:11 am

I will, I will!!
Currently our house is a balmy 58 degrees (or it was the other night), but we have a nice blanket on our bed and blankets in the tv room too, so I’m confident that we’ll be OK. Plus I tend to run hot so I keep our bed toasty at night! So toasty that flannel sheets would actually be too hot!
We like to keep our house at 62-63 when we’re home. I’m holding out until Nov. 1 which isn’t far so I’m confident we’ll be OK until then.
Our house is super shaded which is awesome in the summer (it seriously feels like we have the AC on sometimes) but not the best in the winter months. 🙂


Kate October 19, 2011 at 7:20 am

I’m not ashamed to say that I will be living with MUCH more heat this year. We have lived with electric baseboard heat for years, and the last two winters with no working heat in our living room. We got central air and heat this summer and we had the heat on a few days ago and – don’t tell my husband – I am in love. It will be kept low, but my kitchen will not average a high of 57 degrees as it did last winter. I baked A LOT last year just for the excuse to keep the oven on. 🙂


Kate October 24, 2011 at 7:03 am

I just realized – the kitchen was 47 degrees, not 57!


Becky October 19, 2011 at 7:25 am

I’ve been acclimating (and acquiring warmer clothing) over the 5 years since moving from Texas to Maine. All this month I’ve noticed the house is around 60 degrees and I’ve been comfortable. When we moved here, I was distressingly chilly at any temperature under 74, so I’m quite proud of myself.

My husband ran the wood stove for the first time of the season last night – we heat almost exclusively with wood. Except that we keep a heat lamp on for our elderly, ill and partially hairless cat when things get below sixty degrees. Frugality takes second place to taking care of our little buddy. Since our house is so small and well insulated, the heat lamp is enough to take the chill off for the rest of us much of the time as well.

If any of you are own or are building very “tight” house, please invest in a heat exchange-type ventilator so you don’t create a sick house! It will keep your air fresh and healthy without losing all your expensive heat to the great outdoors.


Becky October 19, 2011 at 7:27 am

Haha Kate, I do that too – “I’m cold. Let’s have muffins!”


Katy October 19, 2011 at 7:31 am

The “It’s cold, I should bake” phenomenon certainly keeps the complaining at bay!



Jackie sheridan October 19, 2011 at 7:35 am

Yup, im in! Havent used heat yet.. And only used the portable a/c in our bedroom at night during a few weeks in the summer really helped cut our bill.
I may have to knit some wool socks this winter, sounds cozy!


Thrifty Household October 19, 2011 at 8:12 am

I’ve just turned the heating on here as the extra jumper was in danger of becoming a hat & scarf! We’re aiming to try for 18-19 degrees centigrade in the evenings. (Ironing is great for warming me up!)


Emily October 19, 2011 at 8:15 am

This is when the programmable thermostat is so nice! The program is set for 63 at night. I heard it kick on once last night. I have it set for 67 for 1/2 hour when we are all getting out of bed, which makes all the difference in how many times I hit the snooze button…..


michele October 19, 2011 at 8:16 am

Actually this is about the temperature that we always keep our house at in winter. We live in Michigan so it can get cold but that’s what sweaters and blankets are for! I don’t understand people who wear t-shirts, have their heat over 70 and complain about bills! Last year my husband got a blower for our fireplace off of craigslist and that took about $100 off our bill each month, it was fantastic.


Dogs or Dollars October 19, 2011 at 8:23 am

Wow! I thought I was doing good with my 65 at home 55 at night and away. Sounds like I need to lower my top temp by a couple degrees. I have to ease The Husband into it. Maybe I can get to 63 by November.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi October 19, 2011 at 9:11 am

I will try to use less heat, but 57?! That’s like our lowest high temp in our winter lol! I will shoot for below 70…maybe 67 if we can handle it.


RebMoti October 19, 2011 at 9:20 am

We turned it on this morning, when the morning temp in the house was 58. We usually have it at 65 in the morning, 63 or 64 during the day (I work at home), 66 in the evening, and 62 overnight.


fiwa October 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

I’m in. I usually play this game every year – wait to see how long we can go before turning it on. I usually make it to November, I lost this year – I’ve had the flu for the past week, and I buckled when it hit 59 in the house and turned it on. 59 when you are sick feels sooooo cold.

I usually keep our thermostat set to 62 during the day and 59 at night, I’ll give your 57 a shot though. One thing I think will help this year is my husband bought a little space heater for the bathroom – we only turn it on at night, but by keeping the door shut it keeps the bathroom (and obviously the toilet seat) nice and warm. I don’t care if the rest of the house is cold, that’s what socks and sweaters are for, but I hate sitting on a cold toilet seat.

I live in Seattle, and it cracks me up when relatives from Houston come visit in the winter. They’re shivering and cold at 62, so they sneak in and turn it up to 70, and then I’m sweating and sloughing off layers. 😉


Kristia@Family Balance Sheet October 19, 2011 at 10:31 am

My husband is the one who like a toasty house. I call it our ‘thermostat dance’. He turns it up a notch or two and I turn it down. I try to keep it at 68 degrees, he would prefer 71. It usually falls between 69-70, which sounds quite balmy by reading through the comments.

I have also brought out the extra blankets for the beds and the tv room.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land October 19, 2011 at 10:47 am

When hubby is out of town, I turn it down to 57, 52 at night. But he insists on 65. What’s wrong with wearing two sweaters and a hat in the house? It’s really amazing how much more comfortable it is that way.

He turned the furnace on for the first time yesterday. I lobbied for waiting, but I just have to remember: If I didn’t marry him, he’d still have the heat on, so we’re still saving overall. A divorce means heating two homes, so I try not to be too obnoxious about it.


Anne Weber-Falk October 19, 2011 at 11:33 am

I’m in! We (re:I) try to keep the house at 60 during the day and 55 at night here in northern IL. When the gang complains I will turn it up to 66 to get the chill off but then it goes right back down to 60. We all have slippers and sweatshirts to wear and I have an impressive collection of free fleece throw blankets to cover up with.


Tina Barrett October 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’m in!! I have resumed my annual role of Thermostat Nazi! I know I’ve done my job right, when I see my kids watching television wrapped up in flannel quilts and wearing their ski hats (with the ear flaps).


Kris2 October 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Well, I would like to participate but no promises. I live in North Dakota. North Dakota=winter. Winter in ND=C-O-L-D. Arctic Circle looks like Hawaii compared to ND cold. Suspended in a block of ice cold. Set your body on fire and you will still be looking for a jacket to warm you up cold. Freeze your wet hair cold. Throw boiling water up in the air and watch it instantly evaporate(or explode. I can’t explain it, but very cool)..poof…cold.

So, I try and keep our central heat down in the winter and use space heaters in the room we happen to be in at the time but can’t promise I won’t be cranking the heat up this winter vs lowering it.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary October 20, 2011 at 4:32 am

Kris2, your description of the cold in North Dakota has me laughing out loud at my desk this morning. 🙂


Elizabeth L. October 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I will be! Of course, I live in Alabama and our cold is not as cold as other people’s cold. Last night it was down into the low 40s and we are expected to have some 30s, but with daytime highs in the 60s, I doubt I will run the heat any time in the near future. I’m just enjoying this time of no heat and no (real) need for air conditioning!


Rebecca B. A. R. October 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

What has really helped us with keeping the temperature down at night is an electric blanket on the bed. This year I want to try for the 63 degrees F during the day and 60 or less at night. We haven’t turned our heat on yet, either. We are also adding insulation in our attic, so hopefully that will help out, too.


Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life October 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I accidentally commented on the old post… but it doesn’t seem to be showing up… so I’ll just say it here instead 🙂

We live in an apartment building and don’t have control over when the heat is turned on, though once it’s on we can control the thermostat, and we don’t have to pay for heat. Although we are very conscientious about saving energy in other ways–e.g., turning lights off and rarely using our wall A/C unit in the summer–heat is a “necessary luxury” for me. My parents’ house is always ice-cold, and I hate going there for that reason. My work, too, is freezing, and I would love more suggestions on ways to stay warm there, as it makes me absolutely miserable. Heat, for me, is closely tied to my happiness, and one of the areas where I won’t make sacrifices for frugality.


Jinger October 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I think you are a smart woman…comfort is tied to happiness. And in the winter staying warm is your comfort.


Susan C October 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Do you layer your clothing? What about drinking hot tea or cocoa? I live in Ecuador we have no heater and no ac so we must layer. I love the baking ideas.


Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life October 21, 2011 at 6:01 am

Yes, I dress in layers, and usually most of us have our coats, hats, and scarves on during the day at work. I drink hot tea constantly at work, and have just gotten some hot cider and hot cocoa packets to get in the fall/winter mood. I also found some low-sodium vegetarian bouillon cubes so I can have hot broth at work as well. The post I linked to has a long list of the things I’ve tried for staying warm at work–unfortunately many of them have cost me money, but it’s better than quitting a job I love.


Rachel October 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

“necessary luxury”–Amen!

I commend the energy and money-saving efforts by everyone commenting, but I wouldn’t want to live with any of you! What a miserable existence, putting up with 50s and 60s during the daytime. I would have to do jumping jacks all day to stay warm! Please give me 70 minimum during the daytime!


Indigo October 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I grew up in the great lake region so the “winter” here in the upper part of NC is no challenge. With a sweater, some house slippers, and an extra blanket I make it through most of the winter without eve wanting to turn on the heat. There is generally a week here and there where it drops and I set the heat on to about 60. It kicks on at night and keeps it from getting so cold I struggle to leave my warm bed in the morning.

Let’s see how my new housemate takes it though.


Trish October 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I usually keep my thermostat at 60, day or nite, and hadn’t turned the heat on for this winter, but today is cold and blustery, and when I got home at lunchtime, the thermostat inside said 55, so I turned the heat on. 55 was just too cold for me.


farmgal October 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I’m in, we have still not turned the heat on yet and its starting to get chilly up here in ontario, we always keep it very cool in the house with limited heating, lots of wool socks, and extra layers makes as well as lap blankets


Kariann October 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm

We have been keeping it around 65 and I am freezing. I only wear skirts so I end up with a million layers on. I am looking forward to any tips on keeping warm! 🙂


Heidi October 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm

We’re keeping with the no-heat-until-we-can’t-stand-it challenge and then intend to keep low. Funny thing was my mom was over for lunch a week or so ago and asked if we could “turn up” the heat a couple of notches. I had to laugh because I didn’t think the house felt chilly at all and to date had not turned on the furnace (or the fireplace) even once since long ago spring. I obliged for her visit (t0 64) then promptly turned it off again. The TV lap blankets and the electric blanket on the bed (turned to preheat a few minutes before diving under the covers in the chilly north-facing bedroom then turned off for sleeping) are definitely in use, though.


Jinger October 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm

No heat needed yet in Austin…we’re still in 70-89 degree days. Pure bliss!


Lea October 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I live in Wisconsin, and it appears to be a point of local pride to wait until Nov. 1 to turn your heat on. Being a native Floridian, I broke down and turned it on in late October last year. This year, I’m going to make it. I read an article from Garrison Keillor once remarking that if you think it’s cold inside, go outside for a while, then come back in, and amazingly the inside now feels warm! Garrison’s comment, wool socks, and down comforters really help you keep your furnace temp low.


Karen October 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

No heat needed in the Bay Area yet either. Probably won’t turn any heat on until around Thanksgiving. And it will be kept at about 62 if we are home and then turned off at night.

This weekend I have on my list to replace the furnace filter, and to scrub out my kitchen floor heating vent, as my cat decided that that vent was a great place to pee in/down. Unbelievable–never had that happen before. I guess a bleach solution will do the trick, unless any of you have a better idea…?


Katy October 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Maybe an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle?



Karen October 20, 2011 at 8:18 am

Great idea, thanks!


Ro October 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

In Michigan where it is windy and rainy and low 40’s right now … that said, I am definitely in. Will not turn on heat before Nov 1st, and will not even dig out the space heater prior to that, either. Will profess to being happy that tonight was pizza night, so I had the oven on at 475 degrees for a little while.


Samantha October 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I am working on ways to lower our heat more than where it’s at – our biggest issue is the heat distribution in our home, so I’m trying to find the cheapest and most efficient space heating solutions. My two-year old daughter’s room is always the coldest in the house so I need to find a good way to raise the temperature there. I keep a small space heater next to my desk in the basement – I work from home and even wearing fingerless gloves I find my hands cramp up while typing if I lower the heat too much.


Willow October 21, 2011 at 11:17 am

We installed heating ceiling fans in the bedrooms of both our daughters several years ago and we love them. We bought Reiker brand ones that retail for $300-400 each. They use the existing power source from a regular light fixture because they use CFL lightbulbs so they are not really harder than a regular ceiling fan to install. The only drawback is you can only put one in per circuit so if two rooms are on the same circuit (common in older homes) they will trip the breaker when on at the same time. Not a problem if you only have one. We can turn the heat down in the rest of the house at night and our kids still stay warm in their room. And they are super safe for kids unlike baseboards or space heaters.


Roberta October 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm

SO true about how much money you can save by lowering the thermostat just a degree or two. I don’t remember the exact figures (for temperatures or dollar amounts, unfortunately) but we were shocked last winter at how much our heating bill decreased when we lowered our thermostat by just two degrees. We scarcely noticed the difference in temperature, but our bank account definitely liked it.

On a different note, sounds like I’m not alone in having a spouse who likes a different thermostat setting! He prefers it cooler than I do, which means he’s the spendthrift in the summer (we have central A/C) and I’m the spendthrift in the winter. We’ve negotiated a comfortable middle ground where we’re both relatively comfortable year-round, and we don’t waste a lot of energy.


Lynda October 20, 2011 at 1:07 am

The hot water bottles came out last night for cold toes! Yes, we’re going to try to keep the heating down or off for as long as possible but you never know what’s going to happen with the English weather! If it does go on, it may well be to keep the flat dry, rather than warm.


Ashley c October 20, 2011 at 3:29 am

What a great idea! I’m already on board, my rental house has those horrible baseboard heaters that take forever to heat up my main living room, by the time I’ve turned the heat on and put sweats on and then turned the heat back off, they are still cold. This year we’ve moving out ball python out of our bedroom and into the main living area as he’s outgrown his current tank and gets to move into a bigger one we got for FREE! so hopefully this will help keep everything a little more comfertable. We also have energy efficient lights for his tank to cut the cost down to 1/3 the price.


Jessica October 20, 2011 at 4:32 am

We are in the middle of a renovation/addition and currently have NO heat. We just finished installing the radiant floor tubing throughout the house but we have not yet hooked it all up in the basement. It was very labor intensive – the radiant floor will be the only heating system in the house so it had to go under every single floor.

Radiant heat is supposed to keep everything evenly warm with a lot less energy but until we turn it on – who knows. Even when we turn it on in a couple of weeks the entire second floor and most of the first have yet to be insulated so it should still be cool in here.

So I’m now part of the challenge which is hard because I hate the cold. I start to shiver more or less instantly.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary October 20, 2011 at 4:36 am

Now that we are living in a more modern home (built in the current century, actually!) unlike our previous home which was built in 1904 and had no insulation, we are looking forward to a more cozy winter. It’s amazing that without the drafts and cold spots, we can keep the thermostat at a much lower tempurature and still be just as warm.

So far we’ve only turned on the furnance to test it, and will be trying to hold out until Nov. 1. However, we will have houseguests next weekend (from Portland, no less), and I am guessing we will end up turning on the heat in order to keep them comfortable. The comfort of my guests is well worth the extra dollars to me.


Madeline October 20, 2011 at 5:43 am

I live in Arizona so I have the opposite problem! I am constantly trying to live in a hotter house so I can reduce the gi-normous a/c bills from May through September.Except this year, OCTOBER stayed over 100 degrees many days too.. at least, my home is situated on the lot in a way that keeps a lot of the main parts cooler than usual.I mostly have to be cool at NIGHT when I sleep so I crank it hotter in the daytime,when I don’t mind sweating!


Michelle October 20, 2011 at 6:00 am

I’m in but cheating! We live in the north woods of Wisconsin and don’t turn on the furnace until mid November but we do have a fire in the fireplace so that does warm us in the family room! We all have flannel sheets, warm jammies, blankets, and our muk luk slippers to keep us warm.


Laurel October 20, 2011 at 6:17 am

I am so happy after reading the comments – I thought I was the only person that keeps her heat really low. My family thinks I’m totally nuts, but my furnace goes on when the thermostat reads 49 degrees – and then it goes up to 50. On extra cold days here in Wisconsin, I may splurge and crank up the heat to 55, but 50 works for me (i.e. my budget).

Like others, I wear lots of layers (I love long underwear), put flannel sheets on my bed, use an electric blanket to warm up the bed and turn it off when I get in, and have lots of lap blankets (some electric). I have electric heated mats for the kitty beds and use space heaters to warm up my bathroom to shower and dress.

When I get cold, I’ll find something to do that involves MOVING, like vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, ironing. My house is always much cleaner in winter than summer. 🙂

Living in a house with a temperature of 50 degrees isn’t hard to do since I am gone most of the day anyway and the cats have their heated beds. On weekends I am so busy doing chores (laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking) that I rarely notice how “cold” my house is. My family might think I’m nuts, but my winter utility bills RARELY go over $100 and that includes gas and electric. That makes me very happy.


Jennifer G. October 20, 2011 at 6:23 am

I live in Georgia, and this has been the first colder week. It was actually in the mid-80s on Sunday, but the temps have dropped and highs are in the 50s.

Anyway, I live in a new apartment complex, and we are the middle apartment (second floor of 3 and have neighbors on each side), so I think the neighbors’ heat is doing all the work for us. It was 72 inside when I got home yesterday (50s outside). I cooked dinner, which made the temp rise to 74, which is where it still was when I went to bed!


Stephanie October 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I’m in Georgia, too! I was psyched to see our electric bill at only $100 for the past month (compared to $250 in the summer, and that’s with keeping the house at 76), so I can’t wait for the next couple of months when we don’t really have to keep much of anything on! It’s that wonderful ceiling-fan-and-blanket time of year!


cathy October 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

I like to do the same…wait until at least November 1st to turn the heat system on, and then we keep it in the upper 60’s range. We have found that maintaining the same temperature actually saves more money than turning down at night and back up in the morning. It takes so much energy to rewarm that the furnace ran far more than if we just leave it alone. In addition, depending on your climate, and ours is very damp in the Puget Sound area, you need to be cautious of keeping the temp so low in a damp climate that you end up with dry rot issues. I’m all for conserving though, we just all have to experiment to see what will work best in our locations.


pat October 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm

The past 3 years we didn’t turn our heat on until Dec 1, though last year I almost caved during Thanksgiving but we were so close that we just waited those couple extra days. We only keep our house at 62 during the day so I’m not real sure I can dial down 2 more degrees but I’ll throw it out for discussion with the rest of the family. I would like to note that my oldest daughter bought her first home this year and just recently turned on her heat to only 60 and it seems fine. She is already concerned about the price of heating a house and knows that dialing down really saves!


Jackie K October 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Im in also. We haven’t turned the heat on yet. I did ask hubby to clean the filter this weekend so that when it is time, the filter will be clean. I wear a fleece bathrobe my sister gave me, and some fleece pants and warm slippers. When my nose gets real cold, or when it’s colder in the house than it is outside, we know it’s time to flip the switch. We don’t usually put the temp higher tan 66 in winter. No AC (except in upstairs bedroom where we sleep) in summer.


RosaMaria October 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I been playing this game from over at Crunchy Chicken and for the past 2 years. I used to keep the house at 74 and last year I was at 67 during the time I am home and 55 while away or at night. I am going to try to go down by 1 degree and see how it goes..


Jenn October 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I’m a Portlander here too, and last winter, the husband and I only used a baseboard heater in our bedroom ONCE. To be fair, it was about 13 degrees that night, and approximately 8 million quilts were still not enough. That was the only time we used a heater all fall and winter long, too, anywhere in our apartment.

We believe in lots of sweaters and socks, slippers and lap blankets. 🙂
(The fat cat in my lap helps as well,)


Jen October 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I keep it cool, like 65, and my kids put on sweats and stuff, but I don’t believe in making everyone miserable or having to bundle up for winter in my own home. If I were totally impoverished I’d rethink that, but now I like being able to give my small kids some comfort and warmth. I am a single working mom due to a recent miserable divorce and I want my kids to be cozy and happy in their new place. Heat is a priority for me. But, the trade off is I make a lot of $5 dinners! 🙂


Dy October 21, 2011 at 2:15 am

I live in Florida and we’re just now seeing cooler weather. The current temp is 45 degrees outside and 72 degrees inside without the heater. I’m looking forward being much more comfortable this winter as I recently divorced, my ex like to blast the heater at 75 all winter. I’d have to strip down to shorts and t-shirts while he’d be wrapped in a robe and slippers. My personal goal is not to turn on the heat until January. I think that will get my electric bill under $50 for the next few months. (It was $65 last month, with running the a/c. ) I’m also someone who bakes when they get cold, or I run the dishwasher if it’s full. Either of those things will heat up my main living area.


Sara Tetreault October 21, 2011 at 6:16 am

We don’t heat our upstairs where all 3 of our bedrooms are and we have a door that we can close off to that upstairs area. Our house during the day is around 65 degrees, at night we set the thermometer to 53. The record cold in our upstairs is 41 degrees! I know this because my kids have thermometers in their rooms to track how cold it gets in the winter. My family likes it cold when we sleep and there are plenty of quilts, down comforters, and spare wool blankets around. BUT, nobody likes getting dressed upstairs in the winter…
Note: we have forced air heat in our house and to not heat certain areas, I simply closed the damper to the particular ducts in each room. Dampers are little levers that allow (or don’t allow) heat to leave the furnace and travel to different locations. It’s different than just closing the vent in each room. I didn’t know this until we added duct work in our basement.


Rachel in Portland October 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm

We resist until November 1 every year, much to the dismay of the teenagers. A few years ago, we tried to turn on the heat on November 1 because it was 30 degrees, but the furnace had broken so we had to wait even longer. We were cold, but we did feel very, very virtuous.


Elaine October 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Flannel sheets are on the beds. Slippers both up and downstairs and the heater is on off! I love it cool, especially at night. The only drawback is the cat. I cannot stand to have anything up against me as I get too hot. He, on the other hand, insists on being right next to you and preferably wrapped around your neck.. Yuk. He can be convinced to cuddle up with the dogs though. My heater won’t go on anytime soon. I keep it at 55 at night and 63 during the day.


Diane October 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Sorry, Katy, I’m out. I freaking HATE to be cold. I’d rather scrimp in a thousand other ways than freeze my a@@ off. I guess that makes me a fair weather friend 😉
OTOH, I can handle heat, so no A/C for me this summer. Not. Once. In fact, I got my PG&E bill today. I wondered why it was so “high” ($31 vs. normal of $25), but then remembered that I had house guests and no overnight travel last month.


Katy October 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

S’alright. We all save money and energy in different ways. 😉



Rachel October 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

I’m with Diane!


Sass October 22, 2011 at 5:15 am

I swear, I think all I’ve been talking about this week is having to turn the heat on! I am SO not ready for the cold. 65 in our drafty house seems to be the lowest we can take it all bundled up in layers, (we Southern Girls just can’t take the cold!)



Sunny October 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm

63 is fairly chilling to have a home. That’s true rock star behaviour! My home is 72 when we are home and 64 in the night. I find 64 cold so I can’t imagine 57. My hat is off to you!


DCN October 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

My landlord promised to insulate my apartment in October, and I have vowed not to turn on the heat until it’s done (I’ve heard horor stories from former tennants about how much it costs to heat). Temps have gone down into the low 50’s, but I’ve made it through with the help of an electric blanket, down booties and down comforter, and lots of fleece and wool. I think spending last September backcountry camping in Yellowstone toughened me up for this!


Vicki October 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm

We used to keep our house at 57 at night and 63 during the day (if we were home, otherwise 60). Now we have a baby, so we turn it way up to 65 during the day. I was surprised how much our oil bill went up.

We just turned our heat on today. It is getting into the 40s at night but only 60s during the day and not super sunny. Our house was getting too chilly!


Linda October 24, 2011 at 5:43 am

I normally do not turn my heat on until Nov 1st each year. This year, so far it has not been cold in the Northeast, so this has not been hard so far. If it does get a little cooler, I do have a fireplace that I can burn some logs to heat up the house alittle but I do not anticipate needing to in the next week. I may even be able to keep the heat off until later in November.

I normally keep my thermostate at 62 in the winter. My family does occasionally complain. I tell them to throw a blanket on when they watch tv. I work at home, so I am the one who is in the house most of the day. I just make sure I am wearing socks and make sure I have a sweater available when I am in the house.

While my family is watching tv, we have a blanket for each of us to throw on to ward off the chill.


Paula in the UP October 27, 2011 at 8:22 am

This is one challenge that I am always doing myself each year. We have even gotten use to our cooler home and prefer it. If I’m sitting watching tv or reading I like to have a blanket to snuggle under.

We struggle this year to make it to October before turning on the heat, we had a few freeze warning nights and very cold days at the end of Sept, it then warmed up for a few days and off it went until it got just too cold. We keep our thermostat at 58 during the day when we’re not home and at night for sleeping, it goes up to about 64 when I get home from work up and until we go to bed.


Katy October 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

That’s about the same as we do it.



Sister X October 28, 2011 at 10:47 am

When I lived in Washington, my roommate and I (purely out of poverty) made a game out of seeing how often we could keep the heat off in our apartment. We only turned it on twice that winter! Of course, the fact that we cooked and baked, and we lived in a top-floor apartment, helped. (Heat really does rise!)
When I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, my husband and I (again, out of poverty) didn’t turn on the heat in our cabin until it snowed (we woke up to 45 degrees, inside, one morning!) and then kept it at a balmy 60 degrees while we were awake, 55 sleeping. Even our fluffy dog would get under the covers with us at night!
In our new apartment (still in Fairbanks), the heat is taken care of by the landlord so we just keep it low.


Amanda November 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

Already doing it! I’ve lowered by electricity bill by half already :). I just listened to a really interesting podcast on metabolic rates of humans and whales. At rest, a human burns 90watts of energy. A hunter-gather style lifestyle (or high movement) human will burn 240watts of energy. And a human, living in a city – wearing clothing, cooking meals, driving cars – and utilizing all of the modern services will burn 11,000watts of energy in a day! This about the same as a blue whale. This statistic was startling and since reading it, I’ve been on a mission to use less energy.
See: http://www.radiolab.org/2010/oct/08/


Jane April 10, 2013 at 6:44 am

I recently found your blog and have been spending my evenings before bed reading everything. I love your goodwill finds. A few months ago I bought two Broyhill Brasilia dressers for $35 for the pair and sold them for $870. Anyways, in the winter we set the heat at 58 degrees and at night to 50. Our monthly gas and electric is 108.00! We have a 1650 foot square house (2 story) built in 1947 with original windows (I put plastic on all windows in the fall) and we live in Milwaukee, WI where it gets really cold.


Katy April 10, 2013 at 7:33 am

Wow, nice turnaround on the dressers. I’m going to have to Google them so I can keep an eye out myself!



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