So an ongoing experiment this winter has been to see just how little I can give the electric company to heat the house that I live in. In December I ran the heat pump and kept the temp low (55 F.) and was awarded with a dandy $186.00 electric bill. Well, up here on the mighty Columbia where electricity is cheap, that is not at all good.
So here in January I turned off the heat pump. We are now relying on two small ceramic heaters to heat the house when we are in it. So here is the skinny so far.
#1: Make sure that you keep your slippers and sweaters around. That is a huge difference right there.
#2: Cooking helps a lot. When you bake your own bread it really helps the warmth in the house. Firing up the oven will give you warm bread and warm heart. It doesn't really cost that much, an hour at 350F will burn up around 2-3 kW, cost you around a quarter, and raise the temp in the kitchen 5-10 degrees.
#3: Fires on the weekends will keep the house warm when you are in the house the most. An insert for your fireplace is a great investment.
#4: Blankets are nice to keep around, even downstairs. There was a reason for lap shawls and other such rot back in the old days. If you are pottering about the house doing chores, you stay warm. If you are trying to read or relax a bit, you get cold. A blanket/afghan over your legs and lower body makes you a lot more comfortable.
#5: Move around. You are a heating element yourself. Go up and down the stairs, pick up all the crap you need to pick up, bend over, clean the bathroom, sweep, mop, keep your house spiffy. When you are working you aren't cold.
#6: Beds are your friends. Because I have to wake up so darned early every day, I go to be early too. Warm blankets and comforters are great things. I think that I am actually sleeping a lot better when I sleep in a warm bed in a cold room.
All of this draws us back to an ongoing theme through all my writings. We will just be going back to a simpler time with less luxury. A good life does not need luxuries every day. When I talk with my mother about what I am doing, she just laughs and tells me that it doesn't sound any different that the winter's in my Grandparent's house when she was growing up. Granted, they were "poor" and it was the depression, but they all lived through the time and, even now, they seem to remember those times as being good.
Maybe we should start thinking that luxuries taken too frequently are a drug. I think that if you live within your means, when you have some extra for a luxury, it becomes that much more sweet.
So I will have a warm house tomorrow. Friends will be coming over and we will have four or five men drinking beer, three or four boys running around like idiots, the playoffs on and a big pot of chili on the stove. The furnace will stay off.
Now that is the way to heat a house!