Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jeering at Jack Frost

I'll confess the following is a tad hard to write today. It might be the middle of November in the snowbelt, but someone forgot to tell that to the weather. It's a drizzly day with streaks of sunshine trying to emerge, and it must be at least 58° degrees outside. The furnace kicked off last night and hasn't even tried to warm the place, as the inside temperature is holding steady at a balmy 68° degrees all on its own.

Be that as it may be, this Indian summer can't last, and eventually we'll have to face the cold. If the news is to be believed, this winter is going to be harder on most of us... environmentally AND financially. Doom and gloom reports of possible price hikes for heating fuel – gas, oil & electric all seem to be in-line to rise as high as 40% above last years already high costs. As the proud owners of a lovely old (re : drafty) home, the Prime Geek and I are urgently attempting to weatherize our home before the snow flies.

The temptation is to simply crank the heat and hang the consequences, but... well. I'm too cheap. I know, I know. I could gussy it up and say that I was attempting to limit my family's carbon footprint, that I am strenuously trying to avoid using our dwindling fossil fuels, that we have decided to be vigilant in guarding our little green nest from the evils of corporate plundering of virgin land for oil... but the simple fact boils down to the basics.

I'm cheap. So is the Prime Geek. Toss into the equation our home is older (see above re: drafty as a dowager's drawers) and even WITH the heat ratcheted up to “Swedish Sauna”... it's hard to get the old girl above 68°. Frankly a $200-$300 monthly gas and electric bills is far too much to consider for a mere 68°... and that was at last year's prices. I shudder to think what it would cost us this year to try for a heat wave.

At the end of the month, the Prime Geek and myself are hoping to finally have installed our new soapstone woodburner. This will be our primary source of heat (along with being our occasional slow cooker) and we plan to use the gas for just cooking, heating water, and occasionally running our dryer. After the install is complete, I'm sure the PG will once again hijack this site to wax lyrically on his new toy and his own cleverness in obtaining said toy. Until then, we are trying to get the house wrapped up for winter, and see what all we can do to keep ourselves and the four terrors warm and comfortable this year. Having lived in various chilly abodes over the years, I have quite a few nerdly tricks up my sleeve to battle the season. The next week or so of blogs will be dealing with simple (and let's not forget CHEAP) ways you can keep yourself warm.... without having to sell a kidney or dig a coal mine to achieve it. They will be ranging from odds and ends you can score at your local resale shop, quick do-it-yourself projects for those brave enough to face either a sewing machine or a hammer, and the odd investment that has proved its worth already.

Jack Frost doesn't stand a chance.


Mark said...

When you get the stove installed go the Lehhmann's and get thier woodstove fan. It's a fan that is powered by the heat of the stove itself and it pushes the heated air more into the room. It's a bit expensive but it does work fairly well.

kethry said...

can't wait to read your tips for keeping warm. We're trying to keep the heating off as much as possible, but we live in a modern ground floor flat with double glazing and filling stuff in the walls (i forget what its called) so it retains heat quite effectively. most of what we've done is things like lining the curtains, draught excluders, spare duvet underneath the sheets (which *really* works).

good luck with it all!

Anonymous said...

You know blankets and cuddling are great for keeping warm as well... Let me know when you want to get together... Shell