Friday, February 6, 2009

Staying toasty - Revisited

As some of you may remember, in January, after receiving a gas bill that was double our normal, we decided to take a serious look at our heating choices (see January post here). The temperatures in Central Texas have varied, but for the most part, we've seen quite a few chilly nights. With the idea of lowering that nasty gas bill, we programmed our heater at 60 degrees. I often noticed, however, that the bedroom would get much colder than the rest of the house and we often woke to temps in the low to mid 50's. Now to someone who thrives on heat, that's pretty low. Keep in mind, that's the temp INSIDE the bedroom. 

Despite the fact that I have serious issues staying warm without external assistance, I managed rather well during the daylight hours by relying on periodic walks (to keep my blood pumping), and a combination of heavy sweaters, wool knee socks, the pile of blankets that line the back of our couch and regular cups of piping hot tea, though I have to admit I was still chilled much of the time.

The nighttime was, of course, my greatest challenge. Our winter bedding, in addition to sheets, includes an electric blanket, a thoroughly worn comforter (about 10 years past it's prime) and a nice thick blanket. With the heater set low, the heat rarely went off so the majority of our heat (at night) came from the electric blanket. Unfortunately, Dave's and my internal thermostats are WAY different, so most of the time, in addition to the electric blanket (set on low so as to not completely cook Dave out of the bed), I slept on top of a heating pad as well. Of course, getting out of bed in the morning (with bedroom temps in the low 50's) was BRUTAL...

Experiment Results: 

So, after a month of low-heat living, how did we do? Well just last week, we received our newest gas bill and (drumroll please) - we're back down to our normal bill (aka, we cut the gas bill in half). Sweet success!

But (and here's the ultimate question) is this something I can live with (this being cold much of the time)? Really, it's not as bad as I thought. Sure. I would be more comfortable with a few more degrees buffering me from Old Man Winter, but those extra blankets (and the heating pad at night) seemed to do the trick quite nicely. 

Regardless, there was room for improvement, so last week, we purchased a heated mattress pad to replace our electric blanket (it has duel sided controls so I can completely bake myself while Dave maintains a lower setting). We tried it out for the first time Tuesday night and it was HEAVEN! And of course, heating the bed is WAY more efficient that heating the entire house at night. 

Verdict? We stayed relatively warm and still got our heating bill down by 50%. I'd say the experiment was a success, although I'm still pining for a good Texas heatwave. Maybe next week...

Have a great weekend everyone. Stay toasty!

12 comments:

Seraphim said...

That was an interesting experiment :) My home doesn't have any heating. When we moved in, the old system was really inefficient and so we took it out and made the decision not to put any heating at all back in. We rely on blankets, slippers and good curtains. And not expecting to be able to walk aroundin a t-shirt in winter. I'm naturally a cold person but I haven't found it too bad... currently though with all the snow we have here, I'm trying to crochet more blankets at top speed!

I guess all I'm saying is that it can be done, to live a really low impact life, if we are prepared to be mindful and try. Its suprising what you can get used too!

Sera x

Green Resolutions said...

Ah, I miss my electric mattress pad!

If anyone else needs another option for heating just one room, my parents & grandparents use these:

http://www.eheat.us/

My dad just gave us one that he found on sale, but we haven't had a chance to put it up yet. I can vouch that it really works because I've been around them so much while visiting relatives. The fact that my grandparents use them means they must be super cheap to run, but they are a little expensive upfront.

Beany said...

Congrats Heather. I was thinking of getting a heating pad too in the rare chance that I have to sleep alone and don't have my walking, talking heather to sleep next to (aka husband).

Beany said...

My god! I've been leaving some really asinine comments lately. Need to be more mindful. I meant *heating pad* not *heather*

Heather @ SGF said...

Sera - Yikes. Snow AND no heat. Brrr! It's amazing how hard it is to give up the things we are used to. I couldn't imagine living without heat in TX, let alone somewhere it snows. Thanks for the perspective.

PS. I've been crocheting blankets these days too :)

Green Resolutions - Yeah, I'm addicted already. Heated mattress pad... Cozy! :) Thanks for the link. I'm curious to hear how you like it after you've used it awhile.

Beany - (He he). The heating pad is great for that extra umph. Plus, if I'm not feeling well, it feels wonderful on my tummy. At least in our house, it's a must have (even with a hubby to help keep me warm).

Farmer's Daughter said...

We have a heating mattress pad with dual controls. Although I'm usually cold, I found that I would get overheated at night with it which surprised me. My husband likes his warm, and I turn mine on to preheat the bed then turn it all the way down to low overnight. We've kept our heat in our bedroom set at 55, which is about 10 degrees lower than I thought I could go! But as you said, getting out of bed in the morning is tough, not just because it's early and still dark, but because it's so cold!

Green Bean said...

We invested in an electric blanket after freezing our buns off last winter. It makes such a difference to get in a warm toasty bed. I can stand the cold during the day just knowing that. Like Abbie, we have a dual control one.

Heather @ SGF said...

Farmers Daughter - the pad does get really warm overnight. I was surprised. I've had to turn it WAY down.

Green Bean - The dual control is definitely the way to go. Whoever came up with that is a genius!

Beany said...

Well I bought a heating pad, a pressure canner and some canning supplies. Canners unite!

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - Girl, you are ready to roll! I can't wait to hear about your adventures with the canner. Be prepared to be addicted!

lauren said...

What brand was the dual control heating mattress pad? I want one!

Heather @ SGF said...

Lauren - Here's the link to the one we bought:

http://www.amazon.com/Sunbeam-Imperial-140-Thread-Count-Polyester-Mattress/dp/B001CI6TTK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1234234755&sr=1-1