Cold house challenge

14 degrees

We keep our sun room sealed off in the winter, and go in there on Saturday mornings only, especially if it’s snowing. Here’s the reading on the space heater in that room when I came in last weekend! Why am I doing this? A long time ago, I signed up for the Crunchy Chicken’s Freeze Yer Buns Challenge, 2009.

Um… what?

Essentially, a bunch of people pledged to turn the thermostat down a bit. I signed up, turned the thermostat down to 55 degrees, and forgot about it. Then a reporter from USA Today tracked me down to ask my why in the world I would do something like this. I told her it was more an environmental stand than a financial one, and that you get used to it. Her article can be found here. It was fun seeing my name in print, but I was disappointed she didn’t quote my story about telling the girls that baby elves die when they leave the door open.

Later I figured out why I was so cold when she interviewed me. The furnace was broken, and I didn’t even notice it. It was down to around 45 degrees. Brrr!

Now before you get all alarmed by all this, we have these awesome space heaters from Costco throughout the house. We use them. Warm up just the room we’re in, and let the parts of the house with no people get cold. What a concept… we’re not using energy to heat empty rooms! We also have mattress pad warmers in every room.

You might ask if I’m just transferring our energy use from an oil fired furnace to electric heaters and bed warmers. It’s a fair question. The answer is a resounding “no.”

Last year, we saved 200 gallons of heating oil compared to the previous owner, and at the same time, our electric bills were about $125 a month less. All told, we believe we saved a little more than $1,200 on heat for the 2008-2009 winter. This year, heating oil costs about $2 a gallon less, so it won’t be the same financial win, but we’re still going to do a little bit to help fight global warming. I figure in two years, we’ve spent about $600 on space heaters, mattress warmers, and thicker bedding. We’ll have saved over $2,000 in utility costs. You do the math.

How about you? What are you doing to lower your energy consumption?

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