12.13.2013

staying warm while saving money





The entire nation is freezing right now. This is what the orange grove looked like yesterday morning on my walk at 10am.  And I do realize that there is a big difference between southern California cold and back east/mountain cold.  But nevertheless, it does get cold here.  So I thought I'd share my nightly ritual for keeping us as warm as possible while saving money.

When I'm ready for bed I turn on our electric blanket to 5.  I have a twin sized blanket that I layer between the sheet and comforter.  Did you know electric blankets are the most energy efficient appliance in our homes, costing on average just 2 to 4 cents per night to run?  You can read more about that here.  So while the bed is heating I take a quick (under 2 minutes) hot shower and then layer on my pj's and warm socks.  I've already set up my bedside table with a glass of water and reading material so I don't have to get back out of bed. When I'm ready to slip in, I turn the blanket back down to 1 and we're set for the night.

We don't run the house heater at all at night.  It gets freezing cold inside but we're toasty under the blankets.  When I get up I turn the heater on to about 62 degrees and turn the kettle on for tea. Then it's back under the covers for the most luxurious cup of tea of the day!

As soon as the sun is high enough and starting to shine in the windows, I open the shades and drapes to let the sun warm up the house.  By noon it will often be warmer outside than inside the house, so I open the doors to let the warm air in.  When the temp starts to drop I close the doors and will start closing the shades and drapes to trap that warm air.  During the day I don't have to raise the heater above 62 degrees.  We will wear a warm knit hat and gloves inside if we have to. Chores like sweeping and raking leaves or even taking a brisk walk also warm us up so if we get really cold we know we have to get moving.

Doing these steps keeps our heating bill around $30 a month during the coldest months.  I Hope you are all staying toasty too, and I look forward to hearing how you stay warm in the cold.




91 comments:

  1. I love my electric blanket, I put it on a hour before bed and I just love getting into it, I use it all year as I'm always cold.
    Heating bills in the UK have gone up, you wouldn't believe ours, it's horrific.

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    1. hi tabs! i love my electric blanket too. but def don't need it in the summer.

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  2. Your weather sounds much colder than I imagined it would be in Califormia.
    I am enjoying my morning tea in bed which is customary and a few moments of bliss while I read blog posts such as yours.
    Stay cozy Janet and fingers crossed the sun comes out in your garden today....we have rain in the forecast and the skies are cloudy.

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    1. i think everyone thinks it is 80 degrees everyday here but we are pretty close to the mtns and it does get v cold here in the winter. tea in bed is bliss. x

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  3. We keep our house between 58-60. We are in the East. I wear an hoodie, my beautiful sea foam green cowl hand knit for me by my brother's girlfriend, and ugg-like boots if it gets too terrible. They also have fleeced lined leggings now which sounds like heaven.

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    1. hi anon and it's so good to hear that you keep your thermostat that low...means i can go lower! fleeced lined leggings sound so nice.

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  4. brrr those icicles look COLD. Keep warm over there.

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  5. I guess in a way it's worse for you out there as you don't expect such freezes on a regular basis. Our thermostats are set at 60-62 in the day and 58-60 at night. We do get some passive heat from the sun as it's so low in the sky right now. Down comforter at night with a hot water bottle ( covered in cotton chamois-- Vermont Country Store). I always read in bed and has been cold enough to wear fingerless gloves. Silk long johns during the day and Polartec black pants.

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    1. hi lane and i love the sound of your hot water bottle, so cozy. i read in bed every night too...with fingerless gloves, i'm a wuss.

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    2. I'm too heavily influenced by my upbringing but Mom always was afraid a hot water bottle would leak all over the bed. Doesn't it sound comforting, though...something so warm to relax you? I made a rice sock once...fill a cotton sock with white rice and heat up in the microwave but I got it too hot and it burned me; I was numb from surgery and couldn't feel how hot it was; so stupid, really, but I was home alone and too drugged-up on pain pills. Never made THAT mistake again. I've seen hot water bottles with the cutest covers. Reminds me of how in "olden times" they would heat a brick and wrap it in cloth to keep footsies toasty on frigid nights. Did you read about that family who got stuck in the snow this past week, where their jeep overturned and they had to spend a night or two with children in sub-zero weather? The guy (Dad?) found rocks and heated them in the circle of a spare tire...thankfully he obviously must have carried matches although they had no provisions...lined with kindling he gathered and the reports credit his resourcefulness with saving everyone's lives. I've always hoped if I ever found myself in a bad situation that I could be smart enough to know what to do and save myself or somebody else. My fear is that I just wouldn't think of anything like that.

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  6. Interesting! I turn off the heat at night and sleep in nothing under a down comforter. Always have. Electric blankets make me feel ill.

    Isn't it amazing how different we all are.

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    1. lisa i have a friend that can't stand electric blankets either. your sleeping situation sounds...ahem, a lot sexier. lol

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    2. Yes, I know nothing about electric blankets. It's a prob for my husband and me...he's rail thin and prefers to sleep in the nude, always cold when I'm boiling hot (menopause/hot flashes...and I'm not rail thin...), so wants piles of blankets on the bed and just the weight alone is enough to make you have nightmares. I dunno...I grew up with a mom who had some kind of fear over electric blankets catching fire or something, so maybe I should get past that and at least treat my hubby to an electric blanket for HIS side of the bed; now I have an idea for a good Christmas present for him (hadn't gotten one yet; frankly, we've gotten out of the habit of exchanging a gift between ourselves, so this is a good nudge). Yeah, brrr...even to me...with temps again in the 30s here last night for us here north of L.A. & environs. If the wind keeps up, we keep from freezing...but it was still last night, so still (not a creature was stirring, not even...sorry, couldn't resist...).

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  7. Hi Janet! I have antifreeze in my blood having grown up in New England but now I'm in the Mid Atlantic and it is much milder here so I'm rarely chilled. (body fat helps also!lol) I do keep the heat set at a constant 68 because turning it off or up and down with our type of system only makes it work harder using more electric to heat a 2 story house back up to temp. Our memory foam bed also keeps body temps in and my hot flashes serve as the electric blanket!lol But the morning hot coffee is a must with a cozy fleece bathrobe. The icicles with the fruit peaking out is kind of pretty and I wouldn't have guessed this was in So. CA but I understand being that the Blue Ridge Mts. border us. Great Post!

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    1. hi jeannette, i think i have ice water running thru my veins b/c i'm always freezing. the summer heat doesn't bother me much but kills larry.

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    2. Janet, dear...you are cold because you are so slender. I read your past post about how you lost the pounds and, goodness, if you are only 115 lbs you have no body fat to insulate you. You're just like my husband. Don't get me wrong, I admire it...you are healthier for being slim but, yes, at your height and weight, you have to layer up. The rest of us...some of us...we've got the layers...ugh, sad reality...of blubber. Speaking for myself, of course. It's like our pets...I'll take the poor feral cats as an example...
      I try hard to fatten them up for winter outside with a hearty blend of dry foods to give them help with hairballs, digestion and to build up their calories. The more active, young ones burn it off and are lean; I know they are so cold at night. But I've got one old guy whose dancing days are over and he's getting downright obese...he's out there when no one else is, sitting on a bale of straw with the bird bath freezing over, because he has so darn much insulation; I swear he weighs 25 lbs but it's hard for me to institute weight control just for him because I feed multiples. Sigh...at least I don't have to worry so much about him in freezing temps as I do the others...

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  8. Recently we have had some pretty cold days and even colder nights (teens) here in Nashville. My strategy is a roaring fire in the evening (sometimes in both fireplaces), a preheated electric blanket and a pashmina wrapped about my head and neck. I find that if I cover my head, it keeps me warm and I usually have to turn off the electric blanket. I LOVE having only $17 heating bills! Now that I've gotten used to it, I can't stand a hot stuffy house.

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    1. hi anon and oh how i wish i had a fireplace. i so miss having one. love your $17 bill. woohoo!

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    2. I had my hair cut too short one year and my head was freezing. I would wear a little knitted cap at night and it definitely warmed me up; miraculously, even with tossing and turning, it stayed on. Maybe that's why we see old-time illustrations in books where the dad wears a nightcap...wears one, not drinks one. A stocking cap I think they called it. Old houses and castles would be so cold; I read that's why they'd hang big tapestries, to seal out leaky places where air could get in. My 90-year-old bungalow is tiny, just two bedrooms, but has a ridiculous number of glass doors and windows...they number 40...and we have extreme energy loss although I love the mullions and wavy glass; too much hot air comes in when it's summer and too much cold air sifts in when winter. You can feel the air swish at your feet and legs, seriously; my dogs just hate it and try to get elevated and off the floors. My last two houses have open floor plans for the main living area and my husband has always felt that we don't get good-enough heat from a fireplace to warrant buying the wood, etc. Really un-romantic, huh; I so love a wood-burning fire although woodsmoke gets to my asthma. When I was a kid, Dad would shut off other rooms so that the heat from the fireplace would just stay in the living room. Fondest memories, especially at Christmas, sitting around that fireplace. The dog would sit close to it and get so hot she'd pant but no way would she get up!

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    3. Pashminas are my winter staple. I've been able to get through several Austin and one Atlanta winter wearing that alone wrapped around shoulders and torso- no coat. In the house I wear them as a scarf to keep just my neck warm. I love your idea of using it as a head covering at night in bed!

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  9. I want to come live at your house. I love sleeping in a cold room, though I've never used an electric blanket. Definitely something to consider, but I don't think I could get the rest of my household to cooperate.

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    1. sisty if you like cold rooms then you'd love it here. :)

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  10. I keep our thermostat at 67. I could go lower but my 14 year old 5 lb dog gets too cold. She's so little she can't walk wearing a sweater! She's worth the extra heating expense :)

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  11. It's funny because here in Central Texas, it can go from 30 to 75 in a few hours. I run around the house opening and closing windows as needed. Hubby just laughs at me.

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    1. it can do that here too heather. and i do the same. :)

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    2. I know exactly what that is! I lived in Houston for three years. I'd switch between the central air conditioning and furnace heat in a day. I couldn't believe those spreads of temperature there at certain times of year. The heat index works in reverse in the brief winter...if it's 40 degrees, it feels like 4 degrees against your skin; humidity 12 months of the year there. Houston is mostly hot and clammy but, whoa, we had some weeks in January where I had to drive on black ice....no control, so scary, I had no idea what it was because I was a California girl...and we had icicles hanging off the back fence. Forgive me, but I do not miss the Gulf Coast. It's even worse where I have other relatives in Dallas and the Panhandle...they can have horrible white winters. I tend to associate U.S. cold weather with New England or the Midwest but I guess it can hit just about anywhere.

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    3. yes you are right vicki...cold is cold no matter where you are right?!

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  12. Would you believe that our heat bill on an average cold Nebraska month is anywhere from $250-400?! Of course that is setting it at 72 but I cannot stand to be cold. I do dress in layers and I do have a pair of fleece lined leggings ( they are the best ) but it seems like I am miserable if the temp gets under 70. This is a constant argument in our house as Chad would love to have it set at about 65! I am sick each month when I pay that bill.

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    1. Sarah - don't live in a rickety but lovely old house, we are double and i'm still in a hoody, Uggs etc.

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    2. that sounds like a/c bills here in the summer. ooo i would love a pair of fleece leggings.
      i wonder if tab has a pair?

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    3. I have a relative who grew up in Nebraska and he has told me about those severe Nebraska winters. He said he cannot ever go back there, even in retirement, because it's so cold it hurts and, yes, heating bills are astronomical. I feel for ya! The prices you quote are what I paid for air conditioning in Houston, TX!

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  13. Here in the San Fernando Valley we get cold too. I try to keep the thermostat at 60 in Winter. I love the idea of an electric blanket but I'm afraid of electrocuting myself while asleep! I know, it's a silly fear. We use flannel sheets and about 4 blankets on both our bed and our daughter's - including the down comforter's. The colder weather is my favorite (Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons) so I love bundling up!

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    1. anon you are not alone in your fear of electric blankets!

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  14. Sorry - I am with Sarah - we have been -15C for a week - we turn things way down, but much lower and all the pipes would freeze sadly, we pay even more than Sarah... Hmm - Cali is looking better and better...

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  15. Just checked - $850 a month . Yep.

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  16. We are expecting temperatures up to 40 degrees (celsius) this week so keeping cool will be my priority. I had to look twice at your photo and I realized it was ICE. It's an upside down world. Keep warm.

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  17. I have an electric mattress pad that we have hooked up to a timer. It goes on 30 minutes before we go to bed and shuts off an hour and half later when we are asleep, In the morning it goes on an hour before we get up. We go to bed to a warm bed and wake up to a warm bed, just don't have it running all night. Works for us here in Chicago. Love your blog!

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    1. i love your routine. and they say an electric pad is even more cost efficient. :)

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  18. We are in Minneapolis in our small townhouse. We are insulated on 2 sides by the other townhouses, and it helps to keep us warm. We turn off our heat completely at night and burrow under a down comforter and are perfectly warm. We turn it on for a while in the AM while getting ready for work and then turn it off completely when we leave. If I am not teaching that day, I do keep it on around 70 degrees during the day. Otherwise I flip it back on around 4 PM when I arrive home. Even in these frigid winter conditions, our highest bill is around $80 for a month or two. (natural gas) We lived in northern California for 8 years before we came here, and I was so cold out there in the winter! We had a big house and propane was expensive to use. Those cold, rainy winters just chilled me to the bone.

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    1. so interesting that california winters were colder than minneapolis. you sound nice and toasty now.

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  19. Remember well, first married, wearing down jacket + gloves + hat to eat dinner in the house in front of the fireplace most winter nites. Chicken was .29/lb & lobster went on special weekly. Champagne was the splurge.

    Couldn't afford lamps so we used flashlites to get around the house.

    Things aren't as dire now but looking back, they weren't then either!

    Still have the twin size down comforter my dad brought me back from Germany in 1977. Lite & toasty.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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    1. i agree tara. looking back on what i thought were hardships were some of the best times of my life.

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  20. I'm in Cleveland, Ohio. Our high temp yesterday was 16 degrees farenheit, in the middle of the day ! I thought I was economical, by setting the heat at 68 degrees during the day, and 64 degrees at night - but I can't beat most of you !! Excellent savings, wish I could do that - our winter gas heating bill is anywhere from $175. to $250. per month, depending on the temp outside and how often the heat kicks on with our programmable thermostat.....

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  21. At my age, I'm more concerned about not having A/C ;-) the cold doesn't bother me as much now. Just a tip to pass along to those who are "always" cold ~ I was like this for years...always freezing and summer heat didn't bother me at all. Turns out I have hypothyroid disease. One of the symptoms is feeling cold when others are comfortable. Who knew. And, it turns out that it's a quite common disease and can easily be checked for by a simple blood test. Really enjoy your blog Janet ~ stay warm!

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    1. Wow, that's interesting. Not me, but good to know, like if others describe symptoms to me...best to go to the doctor and get it checked out. What I've noticed in our SoCal unaccustomed cold nights of late...cold days, too...is how much I ache. I figured it out. It's like old-fashioned rheumatism. Anywhere I've had a bone break or a joint problem, I'm aching. My husband says, "We got old." I'd always heard people say something like, "I know cold weather is coming on..." or "I know when it's about to rain" because their elbow starts hurting, or their knee starts slipping, etc. I'm still going to talk to the doctor about it but, man, when they talk about bone-chilling cold, I think I now truly understand what they're talking about. I've had a lot of thoughts over time of retiring to a state where the cost of living would be better than SoCal's but I really don't think I could take the temperatures in those places...usually I'll hear of some annual listing of "10 Best Places to Retire" or something and there's always some caveat...some drawback...and for me it's usually something about the weather. I think to myself that I miss four seasons that I hear other people talk about but as I approach the age of 60s and 70s, I probably would be miserable anywhere but the normally-temperate SoCal. Janet, I live closer to the sea than you do, so I probably don't get your "mountain" drops in temperatures. Certainly what we're all getting right now in SoCal isn't typical on a year-to-year basis. We go years where I live without a hard freeze.

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    2. i've heard about that too. i'll have to ask the doc at my next physical and see what she says.

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  22. I'm new to your blog site, I am so happy to find you. Your tips on saving money resonate with us as we are trying to pay off some debt and save. We live in Southern California and keep our thermostat set very low, turning it off during the nights and days. We break the chill in the morning. I had no idea a heating blanket was so economical. I may have to get one.
    Karen

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  23. This time of year, we have to use the heat 24x7. I don't even pretend to be good about it, I hate being cold and I run the heat. We had to get a new furnace a few years ago, and this new one is much more efficient than the old one so that has helped the bills. My best warming-up trick is to do laundry, for some reason I get warm right away doing that!

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  24. I live in the central valley of California. It gets freezing in the winter and blistering hot in the summer. Since I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, I have to sleep with a CPAP machine so I don't stop breathing. The machine has a humidifier on it and it pushes air (an moisture) through my throat via a face mask. I have learned the hard way that I have to have a 70 degree room in the winter. If it is colder than that, the humidifier water condenses in the hose and drips into my nose. I can't sleep while that is happening. I use fleece sheets in the winter and I think that if I didn't need help breathing, I could turn the heater down. I don't like the heating bills but, obviously, breathing takes priority. I am lucky in that the bills are nowhere the amounts that those in the midwest and on the east coast pay.

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    1. glad you figured that out...breathing does take priority over Everything!

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  25. Hi Janet!
    Your concept of heat under the blanket reminds me of winter in Japan where people sit around a stove and cover their legs and backs with blankets.The stove is on a lowered ground, so the heat rises up from the feet.
    No electric blankets for me. I know to many cases where they started to burn.

    Sometimes I forget to turn on the heating in the bedroom when I come home from work. It would take too long to heat up the room, the walls are thick. That's when I go for the old-school water bottle at the bottom of the bed. Warm feet are all I need. It is very difficult to fall asleep with cold feet.

    Do you have a heating system with pipes in the wall or do you use mobile heaters which you move around the house? I would like to know more about the way wooden houses in the USA like yours "work".
    The city of Vienna supports thermoinsulation. Not that I am fond of these styrofoam-wrappings but they fulfill their purpose really well.

    What I could never do, is to close the blinds while there is daylight outside. It sounds ... depressing to block out the daylight during winter. I do so in summer: I get up at 4.45 (when the sun rises) and close every window, close the blinds. But those summerdays are so bright, the sun manages to come through the blinds.
    During winter I could not stand the closed blinds lets say for breakfast. Ok, we have a late breakfast, never before 8am. You probably get up much earlier. I would have to use electricity when I keep the blinds closed, which means I would actually still consume some sort of elexctricity. Is your strategy with the closed blinds durings day(light)time Dollar wise? Even when the sun does not "hit" my house, I like to see the colours of the sky, changing, reflections ...
    Don't you terribly miss the morning light in your house. It does not sound like a nice way to welcome a new day. Also I love to see how the sun sets and the reflections turn pink and yellow in the late afternoon.
    There are many other possible ways how one open the blinds during the day and still save some Cents. Groceries for example. Chick peas instead of Tofurky. Porridge instead of fresh bread rolls. etc.

    Our average temperature is a little above yours: 63 in the living room, 60-62 in the bedroom.
    Our bedroom is too cold to use memory foam matresses, because these matresses need a certain temperature to get soft. Especially the pillow I once bought stayed hard as a brick in our bedroom. I had to return it back to the store.

    I guess I already know the answer to my question: Do you have any electric Christmas lights inside or outside the house?
    http://tinyurl.com/qbgpscu

    Like others said: Stay warm!
    A nice way is to go to bed 15 minutes after your significant other and let them use your side of the bed while you are still in the bathroom. :-)

    You can see, I totally relate to this topic and I need 30 minutes in advance when my mother comes to our apartment so I can turn up the heating. Boy, you should see us after a "heated afternoon" in our apartment with 72, 73°. Total hangover!

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    1. hi paula. maybe i wasn't clear but when the sun comes up i open the blinds and when it starts going down i close them. i can't sit in a darkened house all day either. too depressing!

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    2. Pheeew. What a relief! :-)
      While I was making ginger tea (also a great source for heating, from the inside) I was thinking about your posting. And the comments. And how cool many of your reader's houses actually are!

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  26. Brrrr....I got chills just looking at that picture!

    Since we live inland about 20 miles from the coast, it dipped down to freezing a couple nights this week...We don't run the heater at night but we flip it on when we get up in the morning. I usually crawl back under the covers with my coffee and a magazine for about 20 min. until the house is warm and cozy. I don't have an electric blanket but we pile on the blankets and we wear thermals and socks to bed when it gets this cold. Our DOG however, is spoiled...we have one of those oil filled radiant heaters and she gets it all to herself at night. (she sleeps in the office) Lucky dog!!

    That's amazing that your bill is only around $30.00, about the lowest I have seen ours is in the $50 range, when the days are longer (using less lights) and I'm not running the heat or a/c.

    Have a great weekend Janet!

    Linda
    xo

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    1. i think the difference in our bills may be b/c my house is smaller? not sure but you have a good weekend too. :)

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    2. I figured that is part of it, although ours isn't huge...about 1600 sq. ft. Just curious, what is the square footage of your house? It's a 2 bedroom, 1 bath correct?

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    3. Funny because the house my husband owned before we got married in 96' was about the same size as yours. (he sold it and I sold my condo a year later) Every once in awhile he will say how much money we would have if we had kept his house. (he only paid $50K for it!) And you know what? He is right! :)

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  27. You are a saint, albeit it a cold one. It's 72 for me. I'm tiny, I sleep alone and me bed is right by the window. I don't run the air much in the summer except to sleep or if it's in the 100's. I like to be warm year round.

    Now I'm off to bed wondering where I put that electric blanket......brrrr.

    xo J

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  28. This year I invested in a new duvet (down alternative) and flannel sheets. What a difference! I'm toasty warm all night. We have a programmable thermostat which automatically turns the heat down at a certain time at time and turns the heat up in the morning so the house is warm before we have to get up. I love it. There are different settings for weekdays and weekends, in case one were to sleep later on Saturdays and Sundays. But with three dogs in the house who all want to be fed between 5:30 and 6 every morning, there's never any sleeping in for us!
    Claudia

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    1. o claudia your new duvet and sheets sound so nice and cozy.

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  29. Janet,

    I love that you share with us how you live! I wish my heating bill were as low as yours, but living in northern New England, I don't think that's possible. We keep the heat as low as possible (given the room, between 58-62) and usually have a fire going, but our oil bill is outrageous during these cold winter months! My house was built in 1805, so this isn't the best insulated house there is, but for me, character wins over function...at least for now.

    Tim

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    1. hi tim. i don't think our house has a shred of insulation either and i can't imagine how cold it'd be here if we had your temps. brrrrrrr.

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  30. We do an electric blanket too. Gets cold on these Colorado nights so we need it! But we also love our rice bags. It is simply a little pillow I made from quilting fabric with rice inside (do not use instant). We heat it up in the microwave. It's great to lay across your chest while watching TV, but great to bring to bed as well. It's the idea of a hot water bottle like one of your readers mentioned above. I make new rice bags each year and throw out the old ones. Its also great to put behind a sore back or on a pulled muscle. I also lay it across my head when I get migraines. Something about the heat and weight of the bag gives me such comfort. Mine measures about 6 x 15 inches if you are curious, but you can make them any size. And, you have to own a microwave, and I know some people are opposed.

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    1. oh emily this sounds so good, esp for the headache. :)

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  31. It's cold here in the Midwest and snowing. I turn the heat down to 59 at night and sleep under a down-alternative comforter and a mound of dogs. They keep me pretty toasty!

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  32. sitting here in the midst of a snowstorm with temps in the 20's. I am freezing even though the thermostat is set at 70. I am one of those people who can never seem to get warm. like Jane who commented I am small and slight and live alone. I wish I could save by turning down the heat but I get too uncomfortable. on the other had I have no problems with hot weather. I replaced my air conditioner at least a dozen years ago. I had a routine servicing last spring and the serviceman asked it it was new, since I obviously had not used it very much. hopefully it evens out in the long run.
    Darby

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  33. The downstairs of my home is always freezing and the upstairs boiling and is really hard to get regulated. A few winters ago I started using ceramic tower heaters in a few key rooms. Wow, what a difference. Now I rarely have the central heat on. I found them on sale at Costco for $45 each - they are ceramic, oscillate, have a timer and will auto turn off if knocked over. Love, love, love them. They seem to use very little energy and since I typically just use them to get the room warmed up, my heating bills have been really low.

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    1. i have heard about those heaters and wondered how they work. thanks for sharing.

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  34. I've been joking around here that I now understand where the word, "housecoat" comes from. It's about choosing which of your coats you can wear all day indoors and still maneuver. Since it's just the two of us and we rely on propane we've always kept the thermostat low. But, really, the times where I wear my down coat and stocking hat around all day for several days in a row? And what about cooking in my nicest, warmest coat? Not a great situation. I think my spouse has dropped it a few degrees without me knowing again. Time for another thermostat negotiation session!

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    1. haha, that's funny...thermostat negotiation. we have lots of those!

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  35. I live in the Northeast and we are below freezing many nights in winter. I can't use electric blankets either. After trying many different ideas, I stumbled on a solution one night when the electricity went out. I unzipped a sleeping bag to turn it into a comforter. This bag is rated for -35 degrees. We were as toasty as could be and it was below freezing outside! I now turn off the heating or keep it very very low - low 5os or even less at night. I made myself a polar fleece robe double lined, and wear polar fleece hoodie over t-necks during the day. It all works! Great post and great responses!

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  36. that is brilliant and we have good sleeping bags!

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  37. Well, i have been saving money for my kids in a mutual fund, and so far I think even without Financial Aid at least one of my kids will be able to go through college for a year or two. I found a calculator that helps me also save some money for my own retirement at: http://www.mutualfundstore.com/planning-and-retirement/tools-and-calculators

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  38. If your electric blanket ever dies on you, you should try an electric mattress pad. I like it even better than an electric blanket.

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  39. We usually keep our thermostat at 64. Your post has got me thinking maybe we could stand to go a little lower. I'm also gonna purchase an electric. It's been years since I've seen one, I forgot they existed. Thanks for posting!

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  40. Just a comment from Maine. Thermostat in the kitchen is set at 60. The other zones are all lower. Before we got a dog, we slept under the heaviest weight down comforter (LLBean) with the window open all winter. Oil heat runs $400 to 600 a month. And the house is very cold. We have down lab covers up to our chins while watching television.

    By the way, just found your blog and am working my way through the posts. Thank you for taking the time to write to all of us!!!

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kindness is never out of style.