Winter Heating Review   3 comments

Spring is here in Sacramento, and now I can look back at the winter season and how we did on gas usage this winter. Compared to last year, we used a lot more gas in December and January, less gas in February, and a little more in March. Honestly, I’m surprised our gas usage wasn’t even higher. We knew we would use significantly more gas in December than last year because this year my mother came here for Christmas, whereas last year we left town for a week and turned the heater off. Compared to two years ago, when Christmas was also in Sacramento, our gas usage was on slightly higher this year. I think that the main reason for the higher gas usage was the fact that in previous years the interior wall separating the two halves of the duplex was heated on the other side, whereas this year the other side was vacant and unheated. Also, we want to move out so badly that we didn’t have the heart to update our weatherization.

Instead of updating the weatherization, we dropped the thermostat again. Previously, when I lived alone, I could not set the thermostat below 65 degrees F, or I was too cold to function. After my husband moved in, we found that we could easily drop the thermostat to 62 degrees F before I was non-functional. So this year I challenged myself and we set the thermostat to 60 degrees F. (We have an agreement that I control the temperature in the winter since I get cold easily, and my husband controls the temperature in the summer since he doesn’t handle hot weather well.) Amazingly enough, I did fine! We added a blanket to my side of the bed, for a total of four blankets, and that kept me warm at night. And I had my sweaters, blankets, and wool mules to keep me warm-ish during the day. It helped that my husband does the dishes usually now, so I am no longer immersing cold hands in colder water every evening. I cannot really explain how I seemed to do better this year with the thermostat at 60 degrees compared to last year with the thermostat at 62 degrees, though.

Another interesting side effect of dropping the thermostat to 60 degrees was actually decreasing hot water usage. Usually in the winter I am so cold that when I shower I use 100% hot water. I know it is not good for my skin, and numerous times I have tried to make myself use less hot water with no success. This year, though, I had to turn on the cold water during my showers. I guess that I acclimated so well to the decreased air temperature, that I just couldn’t take the pure hot water showers any more. Mind you, I still took really hot showers, they just weren’t as hot as in years past.

What will we plan on doing next year? Well hopefully next year we will be in a house that does not have single-pane aluminum-frame windows and sliding glass door, and that maybe has some insulation. We anticipate using SIGNIFICANTLY less gas in the new house because it can’t possibly be worse to heat than the dump where we live now. But what temperature will we set the thermostat to? Maybe 60 degrees again, because while it was tough at times, I did okay. If the new house does have better windows and insulation then it won’t feel as drafty, too.

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Posted March 22, 2010 by mayakey in home, resource use

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3 responses to “Winter Heating Review

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  1. OMG! I use 68 F as a starting point and if I’m being honest, I usually bump it up to 70 if M isn’t home. I would be a popsicle in your house.

    Carmela Chavez Liberman
  2. That’s why we turn the heat up (to 65 degrees) when my mom visits. I fully acknowledge my (our) craziness. Mike doesn’t start to feel cold until the temperature drops below 55 degrees.

  3. I tried 60 degrees because several friends talked me into trying it but I could not do it. I start the day by bringing it up to 65 then it is programmed to keep it at 63 the remainder of the day. I put it on hold at 50 at night. My electric pad has it nice and warm when I get in bed and my comforter keeps it warm after I turn it off. It’s kind of complicated but it works for me.

    Sonia

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