Crunchy Chicken is on her second (or is it third?) Freeze Yer Buns Off Challenge. I didn’t sign up for it this year because I was on a blogging break for a while, but I joined it in spirit. I decided to see how long I could go into winter before caving in to the cold and turning on the central heating.
October was warm, even for here, so it wasn’t until November that it began to get noticeably chilly in the house. We have a large gas fireplace in the living room and since we spend most of our time in that part of the house, I started turning it on (with ceiling fan) and seeing how long we could go with just that. We turn it off when it starts to get too hot. So far it’s worked out so well that I have barely used the central heating at all.
And truth be told, everyone in the family except ME doesn’t seem to mind the cold at all. The kids are usually naked or half-naked and quite happy. I’ve got wool slippers and lots of wool socks and sweaters, extra wool blankets on the bed. When they said it would get really cold at night I worried for the kids, but I worried for me more since they seem so much more cold-tolerant than I am. So I had them sleep with me and their warm bodies kept me quite cozy.
Even though we had “Snow-mageddon” this year, I only turned on the central heating a few times. Temps have been unseasonably cold, some nights threatening to drop to minus double digits (Celsius)! On those few nights I set the thermostat to 10 degrees (50 F), though I’m not sure it kicked in at all. Mostly I wanted to guarantee I didn’t wake up in the night freezing.
I’m so used to it now that I don’t even think about turning it on. I just put on more clothes, and if I get that sort of chill that won’t leave my bones, I just go sit in front of the fireplace for a while. Or do some housework, lol. I do confess, however, that after running in this damp, cold weather I have a nice, long, HOT shower. Mea culpa.
Now I’ve heard that gas fireplaces are not efficient heaters. But the point is to only heat that one room (the living area). The back end of the house, where the bedrooms are, stays quite cool. And it’s not on all the time. Someone also suggested to me that it uses less gas b/c it only aims to get a yellow flame, whereas furnaces use blue flames which require hotter temperatures. I have no idea, but my guess is that just heating one room of the house with a gas fireplace is going to be less energy-consumptive (and therefore less expensive) than heating the whole house with a furnace.
We get our bills through the landlord and pay every 3 months, so I’m not sure yet how much this practice has affected our heating bills. Also, we share with a guy in the basement suite and I am quite sure he isn’t making much effort to keep his heat down. Still, it will be an interesting experiment in finances. I figure if we can make it through this winter with barely using our central heating and just the fireplace, then we’ll be in great shape!