Thursday, January 17, 2008


I have made a list of conservation topics that I will blog about at some point. In looking at the list this morning, I have decided to blog about heating our home because I really like how we're doing things now, but it's about to change.

Currently we keep the thermostat set at about 62. We live in an older house with a centrally located furnace. Normally "central air" is a good thing, but our furnace isn't connected to any ducts. The furnace is in one of the walls and blows heat in exactly two directions, into the kitchen and living room. The further you get from the furnace, the colder the house is. The thermostat is in the living room, one of the warmer rooms.

When I woke up this morning the temperature in our room was 11.3 degrees Celsius (low 50s F). I think that is cooler than most people keep their homes, but here's the thing; if you're cold, you can put on a sweater or throw a blanket over your lap. During the day our room is generally in the low 60s while the rest of the house is just a little warmer (the sun through the front windows will warm the house to above where the thermostat is set). Last winter there was a day when someone closed the door to our bedroom and forgot about it most of the day. When we finally opened the door, it was in the mid 40s in our room. That was a bit too cold for my taste.

Our boys know that if they are cold they can put on more clothes, but generally they are active enough that they wear shorts and a t-shirt in the house and they're fine. Simple as it may be, I think it's important to teach kids to take control of their situation. If they are cold they know what they can do about it. They can either engage in a more active game or they can put more clothes on or cuddle up with a blanket. If they complain they are generally just told those options, unless they just came in from playing in the snow, then we usually turn up the temperature a couple of degrees and let the boys sit in front of the furnace until they are warmed up. Then we turn the thermostat back down.

We will be turning the temperature up a little in the next month or so when the new baby arrives. I think this is sort of funny. I am pretty sure that infants have brown adipose tissue which is metabolically active to keep babies warm, and I know that they have more UCP-3 to keep them warm. A snug blanket and being held close to a warm body is all that a baby really needs to stay warm enough in almost any temperature, but still, we will increase the temperature in the house for the baby.


Vertigo said...

It is much easier to keep a baby warm than to try to cool one off...

Vertigo said...

In Japan, we had no furnace at all, nor did we have insulation. The mindset there is that houses need to be drafty through the winter to keep the kerosene fumes from building up too high.

We would often be thoroughly bundled up inside and then add more layers to go outside, only to find it warmer outside. Fortunately it didn't get colder than -5 celsius or so. I can remember being able to see my breath as I crawled into bed.