Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Negotiating the thermostat wars

Okay, so you're not exactly negotiating "with" the thermostat, but with other members of your household. I had a discussion with a co-worker yesterday about this very problem.

I was telling him how I was interviewed last week by USA Today about lowering your thermostat to not only save money, but to lower your carbon footprint and he asked me how he can keep his thermostat low. At first I didn't know what he was getting at, but, apparently, his girlfriend likes to keep the thermostat at 74 degrees when she visits. At a minimum. He's happy with it at 68 or lower.

I suggested that he get her a Snuggie for Christmas so she had portable warmth. And to make sure she kept a pair of slippers and/or fleece jacket, etc. at his house. We talked a little bit more about his dilemma and then I told him that we use a space heater to warm up the rooms that we are in rather than heating up the whole house to a higher temperature. We saved about $800 last year by doing this. He remembered that he had a space heater stored in the garage and was ecstatic to try that out on her.

I hope I helped him resolve the issues he has with keeping his girlfriend happy and warm without having thermostat wars. And prevent risking that she not come back over again until the spring thaw. It's always amazing how these sorts of things cause strife in relationships.

Do you find that you are playing thermostat wars with your kids, roommates, spouse or others? Is it a losing battle or are you making any progress in convincing others that you can, indeed, survive in a house that is kept at less than 70 degrees?

43 comments:

Alex said...

Bobbles runs around barefoot in his 62 degree home. I compensate with thick socks and liberal sweatshirt borrowing.

Michelle said...

I do play thermostat wars some with DH but he gets better each year. I showed him a happy medium to keep the thermostat on in his "office" and that room is always at least 5 degrees warmer than the rest of that apartment (more like 10 degrees this week). I wouldn't mind him having the heat on more than I like except he forgets to turn it down again and I end up feeling the heat all the way in another room. Being in Seattle, you know how cold it's been in the Pacific NW this week, so even I have had the heat on more than I like just to keep the apartment warm enough.

knutty knitter said...

No thermostat here - just individual heaters which are used in the rooms we happen to be using. If you don't take it with you, you won't stay warm :)

NZ hasn't gone in for central heating. I don't actually know anyone who has it. Mostly it is night stores, heaters and wood burners. Heat pumps are popular too but we can't afford that at present.

viv in nz

Laura said...

Me and mine agree on keeping the thermostat pretty low (58-62, depends). We sometimes get frozen enough that one of us says they need it warmer. The other usually agrees and we up the thermostat to 61 or 62. Jackets, sweaters, slippers, hats, blankets, warm dogs, hot tea: these are the stuff we love. A nice warm laptop on you lap is kind of nice too.

We have used a space heater in the bathroom and bedroom the past week or so because it has been so durn cold.

Lee Borden said...

No thermostat here either. Just a wonderfully efficient wood stove in a 600 sq. ft. apartment. Cozy!

Lee and Amanda Borden
Longleaf Breeze

Kim said...

I personally believe that unless a room is above 70 degrees, I will be cold. So that presents a problem since I have a relatively large house and my parents keep it cold. What I currently do is try to go out as much as possible so at least I am moving. What I will do when I have my own place is make sure it's as small as is livable so that I don't have to pay too much to heat it to a comfy temperature.

knittingwoman said...

we have bought several more space heaters which we turn on for short periods of time in different rooms as needed to keep people comfortable where the heat from the wood stove doesn't reach.
I wear many, many layers including 2 pairs of socks.

Sue said...

we have electric baseboards, but primarily use the woodstove. We tend to run the woodstove in the morning on any day that the interior temp starts out below 60. Otherwise, we're too lazy to go get the wood. We do use the baseboard heaters at night in the bedrooms. We turn them on when brushing the kids' teeth. I usually set them for 60, but they're wildly inaccurate, so that could mean anything. Usually not about 70, though.

Melinda said...

We have timer on ours. It's in the 50's while we are asleep and low 60's most of the day but in the morning and evening kicks on to 67 or so, which feels very warm. I sometimes turn it up to 67 during the day if I'm super cold. We have separate heating systems for upstairs/downstairs (old house) so we don't have to heat both at once and we are constantly improving our insulation to keep that precious warmth inside.

Tree Hugging Mama said...

DH does like to keep the thermostat a bit higher than I do. But he is very good about wearing an extra layer. Also we bought a space heater to keep in the room we or the kids are in, so we don't have to heat the whole house.

Jen said...

Has anyone had any problems with pipes freezing since you are keeping your house colder? This is our first year in our house and neither of us has ever lived in a house with a crawl space. I'm thinking that we should wrap our pipes just in case. Any thoughts? We keep our thermostat set at 55 and then have our wood stove going (right next to the thermostat) so that it will only kick on if the fire goes out when we are gone or sleeping. Our back bathroom was 44 this morning in the windowsill! BRR

Cave-Woman said...

Yes, we play thermostat wars a bit. I find that (over time) I am slowly converting my husband to cooler temperatures.

I'll sneak down to the thermostat a lower it by a degree. Then over the next couple of days, I'll get it down another degree.

We have, over the course of a year, gotten our thermostat to hang on to a steady 66. That's 3 degrees cooler than last year.

Now, if I can only get us to be comfortable around 62 during our waking hours!

Give me another year or two and I think I'll get there.

In the meantime---an electric blanket really is your best friend.
It keeps our bed toasty warm while the house is cooler at night.
Very agreeable.

Paige said...

We're managing it just fine. I usually wait until the house is 60 before even considering the heat. Usually the woodstove get's fired up first. I've noticed the kids just naturally putting on layers, their shirt and jeans, socks and a sweatshirt. My little LOVEs his new fleece had and wears that(he hates being cold). So far so good. The test will be when hubby get's home from Afghanistan next month. He hates cold too, so the heater might go up. But at that point I'll have been faithful for three months and I'll let him have his way after that. After all he IS a war hero!

scifichick said...

We have electric baseboards, but we haven't used them this year yet. With the only exception being our tiny bathroom where I'll turn the heat on for maybe 10 minutes in the morning to warm it up. We did use a space heater last night when we were all in one area, it made it pretty warm. We don't normally have thermostat wars. We both like to keep the temperature low to save money on heating. Actually, my teenager sometimes complains that he's too cold to sleep. But then he wants the heat on and the fan on at the same time, so I don't turn the heat up unless the fan is off.

Julie said...

I am the girlfriend that likes it warm, or I used to be. But in keeping with my principles I had to change. So now my house is often as chilly as my boyfriends and I am quite comfortable if a little oddly dressed. Part of the trick is activity. Sedentary people need more heat ( I know this from personal experience ;-)

Aydan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aydan said...

I live alone, and my apartment is so small that I usually go visit people instead of the other way around. My only semi-regular visitor is much more cold-hardy than I am, and has only said it was cold at my place once.

I haven't had to turn the heat on yet, except when I had a fever. I'm surprised at how warm my apartment is staying.

And yes, what Julie said about being oddly dressed-- being warm >> being well-dressed! Blue slippers, pink fuzzy socks, and a black hat should totally be the new look of the winter.

Tigerlily said...

I've never lived in a house with a thermostat. In most of my apartments I haven't had control over the heat and growing up my parents heated with wood and a (large) propane heater. They have now removed the woodstove and use only the propane heater and a space heater in their bedroom. The house is constantly chilly (my mom swears its in the 50s but as a Canadian I'm no good at F) in the winter. Slippers are a must and so are blankets if your still. The favourite hang out spot is sitting directly on the heater. The 5 of us are constantly warring over who can sit there.

Terra said...

This is such a hard one. I'm cold all the time, but I'm more committed to keeping it low than my husband. And we have young children who either can't have blankets yet, or don't keep them on. We have a space heater for the girls' room and my husband built a "canopy" in our room over our bed, made of sleeping bags etc. to keep our warmth concentrated. And yeah, it looks like hell. We keep it between 62 and 68 during the day (depending on the wind, a little lower at night.

sunflowerchilde said...

We have been keeping the thermostat at 68 when we are home and awake (which is about 4 hours in the evening and an hour in the morning), and 58 when we are not home or asleep (we have a cat). I have to admit that I find 68 to be cold for getting out of the shower, so I do turn it up to 70 for about 20 minutes so I can shower and warm up again after. Then I turn it back down.

Kristijoy said...

no arguments here. this is our first year with oil heat (=P) and we have well insulated windows and house, even in the cold we've been getting in Oregon we keep it at 60, I think my partner could be fine at 55 but I get too cold when not moving around much. there is a space heater in the bedroom for dressing and stuff and the dehumidifier in the bathroom doubles as a heater too.
OF course 60 is plenty warm when you get home after biking home from work in the teens so that's a bonus.

Katy said...

We keep the thermostat right below 60 if/when it gets super cold. Both my daughter and I love putting on warm pajamas and snuggling uner blankets, but those days are few and far between in Houston.

Midnightsky Fibers said...

I keep the heat at 60 only when I am gone, otherwise it is 65 at night, warmer in the day (between 70 and 75). Even wearing layers, sweaters, socks, and slippers, I am still cold at 70 and will visibly shake. So warm it is :)

Farmer's Daughter said...

I would say knock her up! :) It's usually me that's too cold, but I'm willing to bundle up in the house because of the environmental aspects. But since getting pregnant, I'm HOT!

nir said...

This is our second winter with the thermostat at 58F, and the family seems to be taking it well. DH likes it cold; one of my sons complains a bit yet refuses to do anything other than walk around in a t-shirt and shorts(!), so no one is too sympathetic. My daughter, who was the worst complainer last year, is now married and can pay her own heating bills now :)

Terraphany said...

I'm renting a room in a house with random roommates, so for the sake of harmony and getting along with people that I haven't known for very long, I'm keeping quiet and deferring to the wishes of my roommates. I did, however, buy some air vent covers for my own room so theoretically to reduce my own personal energy use as much as possible. An imperfect solution, but it's the best I can do for now.

Katherine said...

The lower temperatures are fine when it's just my husband. I usually turn it up for company but this year I forgot over Thanksgiving. One morning my Dad got up early and when I came down commented, "the thermostat said it was 59 when I got up. I thought the furnace was broken." For some reason I found this amusing.

In the past someone would have turned it up, even if I had turned it up some myself, but this year everyone came with sweaters and down vests and blankets, and though some comments were made, no one touched the thermostat. Of course my native Texan in-laws would not have fared so well (I don't fare well in their summer heat either) - but mostly people just seem to need time to adjust to the idea. We are, in the end, creatures of habit.

Rosa said...

Jen, our pipes froze one time when it was (i think) -20 for several evenings in a row. They run up an uninsulated North wall and we keep our thermostat at 55 or 58. It's only happened that one time in 7 years - and it caused no permanent damage, but we had to buy a hair dryer to thaw them.

We have been luring our little boy out of bed in the morning by warming his clothes by the space heater in the bathroom, but in general I'm the one wanting to turn the heat up to 62. We do turn it up a little for guests, and when my folks come to stay we put it all the way up to 65!

Adrienne said...

I actually am having a war with the thermostat. I live by myself, but the crummy old thermostat that's been there since the building was built in the '70s doesn't function very well. The colder it gets outside the bigger the discrepancy between the actual temperature and what I set the thing to- so I just have to guess, if I set it to 65, will it stay at 62 in here?? I'm thinking of asking the management, if they will install a programmable thermostat for me if I buy it.

Jen said...

It has been so cold here this week (-20C) but we have managed to keep our thermostat on its normal schedules (70 when we are home, 68 in the evening, 65 at night)

Robj98168 said...

Luckily for me I have control over the heat output- except martins room. One time I went in there he had the heat full blast and his A/C on at the same time. I went ballistic. Hasn't happened since.

Darcy said...

No wars here. I am the one that wants to keep the temps down, but I am also the one that gets the coldest. However low I can go tends to work for everyone else. We keep the house at a constant 55 but because we have three heating zones, we are able to warm just the family room area to 65 in the evening for a few hours.

In order to handle the colder temps in our house, I tend to wear a thin down coat and scarf...sometimes even a hat in the morning while my son and husband manage in thin fleece sweaters. Yesterday when my husband came home from work and looked at me wearing my coat inside, he remarked that he can't tell whether I am coming or going now that I am wearing my outerwear nonstop.

Fake Plastic Fish said...

A nice thick sweater, a warm quilt, fuzzy slippers, yes. Snuggie? No way, man. Those things are a total waste of money. Cheap polyester fleece that feels yucky. Thin. And keeps falling off. My dad sent me one for Christmas last year. My kitty attacked it and tried to eat it. (She's addicted to eating plastic of all kinds. Ironic much!) After giving it a try for half a second, I put that thing in the Goodwill box and never looked back.

Just saying.

Crunchy Chicken said...

FPF - Keep yer panties on, darling. I was just kidding about the Snuggie :)

novemberjuliet said...

Good lord, I just walked out of my bedroom and was blasted with heat from the rest of the apartment. Checked the thermometer in the living room and it was 69. Funny that that felt so darn hot to me!

Can't complain too much because with the heat on, he actually cleaned.

Billie said...

My husband likes it warmer only because of the kids. But if the kids keep stripping their clothes off at 68 then clearly the temperature in the house is not affecting them.

That is what I said the other day and he hasn't complained since. The house hasn't gone lower than 67 degrees. Mostly, this isn't because of the furnace because I have only heard it go on twice since Thanksgiving. We are still trying to get the house cold enough to adjust the thermostat to its winter setting.

The Non-Consumer Advocate said...

Glad to hear that U.S.A. Today contacted you. I was also interviewed for that article and told the writer about your "freeze yer buns challenge."

This is the second year that I have done a "No Heat Challenge" on my blog, "The Non-Consumer Advocate." People are excited to take control over their utility bills and energy usage.

My family keeps our thermostat at 64 degrees during the day and 57 degrees at night and nobody complains. And let me tell ya', Oregon's chilly temps have been testing our resolve.

Keep cool!

Katy Wolk-Stanley
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

Karen DeLucas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Turbo said...

We had a few skirmishes here (generally, me in favor of less warm, J. in favor of more) until we reorganized the household finances such that J. pays the utility bills. Now, we seem to be astonishingly in sync. We don't have a furnace or thermostat, though, so that limits the potential for bickering over one or two degree margins.

The great peace-keeper here, also, is the electric blanket. Last night we went to bed at 47ºF/8ºC in the bedroom, but were cozy. 53F/12C in the kitchen this morning...

Anonymous said...

we purchased a wood buring fire place insert last year...saved lots of money and feels good to tell the oil producers, sffb (shit for brains bush) and the rest of the worthless politicians,and speculators to go to hell!

dougdigiacomo@sbcglobal.net

C.S. said...

Keep the thermostat low. Did you know that being a bit "chilled" actually burns more calories? So you can eat more, but not stay as toasty warm. Just a tip for anyone concerned about weight (as we all usually are to some extent.)

Allie said...

There are no arguments here about the lack of heating. Again, we don't actually believe the heater still works, but even if it does it's unnecessary. The coldest it ever gets here in Houston is in the high 20s, which makes it too warm for me to feel anything other than blankets, a small space heater with the door shut, and thick socks are a necessity.

Crunchyrie said...

well..a longer then expected run of unemployment has me notching down the temp to 55. You know what...because we were accustomed to 58-59 this isn't bad. You really do get used to lower temps. My daughter was helping a friend with homework and because that child's house runs a steady 80 ( I kid you not..it's like a dessert in there) I upped it to 65. I came home and nearly suffocated when I walked into the house and the poor kid was wearing gloves!!!

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