Thursday, October 23, 2008

Challenge: Hold off turning on the furnace

This morning, my thermostat read 59 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a bit chilly in the house especially in my short-sleeved nightgown that leaves my legs uncovered. However, I am determined to hold off turning on my heat until November 1. How will I do this?

Use solar gain.
My only large tree, a green ash, no longer has leaves. That means all sides of the house are hit by sun--when it is in the sky. If I leave the curtains open on sunny days, I can gain from 3-7 degrees of heat in the house, all without turning on the furnace. The drawback is if there is no sun, there is little heat gain.

Cook and bake, baby, cook and bake.
Here is where cooking from scratch becomes a blessing. The more the stove is used for cooking potatoes or baking bread or pizza, the more warmth is added to the house. After baking was finished, my grandmother would leave the oven door open to let the heat escape into the house. I just let the heat move up the stove vent, but her idea will release the heat faster. If bread or boiling potatoes are not your thing, try cookies or simple items like grilled cheese sandwiches or pancakes. My cast iron pan holds heat well and will radiate into the room.

Love your blankie.
I am not ready to break out the down comforter (waiting until November 1 for that as well). However throwing an extra quilt or blanket on top of the bed will help retain some heat while sleeping. I have been quite comfortable in my bed for the past few nights with just a lap-size quilt I made on top of the "summer" bed quilt and over the portion of the bed I sleep. When sitting in other rooms of the house, I have a blanket over my lap. If it is chilly enough (and I am wearing short sleeves), a sweater or bath robe will help retain more heat.

Give some physical affection.
Get all cuddly with a child, pet or partner. Sharing body heat is very nice when there is a chill in the air and being with someone you love is always a nice bonus.

So consider delaying turning on the furnace as long as you can. My goal is November 1. This will save money, natural gas and electricity since I am also hoping to avoid using my electric oil-filled radiator. Cooking and baking will increase the electric bill if you normally do not cook or bake, but they have great rewards for your tummy. I can only look on with awe since my stylist is planning on not turning on his heat until November 15. If you take the challenge, what is your furnace turn on date?

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