Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Monday, December 14, 2009

USA Today freeze yer buns challenge

It's not polite to pointFor those of you stopping by after reading about the Freeze Yer Buns Challenge on USA Today and you are interested in participating, you can sign up and pledge what you will be keeping your thermostat at for morning and night temperatures.

As mentioned in the article, we managed to save about $800 last year on our heating costs mostly by lowering the thermostat, but also by using less oil heat and using space heaters to heat the rooms we are in rather than heating the whole house. It doesn't make sense to spend the energy and money on heating rooms we aren't occupying, so if you don't like having a cold room, but are interested in lowering your energy costs, consider the space heater option.

If you are interested to read how people are negotiating the thermostat wars in their homes, you can check out this post. I also have posts on making your own draft dodger, bed warmers and information about winter window treatments to keep the heat in and the cold out.

Finally, for those of you concerned about the environmental impact of wood heat, most consider wood to be carbon neutral because during the lifetime of the tree, it has removed as much greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as it emits when burnt. I'm not exactly advocating wood heat since I believe there are cleaner energy sources that can be used (particularly if you live in an area that has a green energy program), but it's a common comment about heating with wood.

For my regular readers, do not, I repeat, do not read the comments on the USA Today article unless you like grinding your crackers. If this is a representative sample of the opinion of most Americans regarding our collective carbon footprint we're, well, doomed.


Robj98168 said...

Harumph- the article failed to mention that you have hunnerts of devoted fans sitting in their dark living rooms with Icicles running down their noses cause the snot froze- And where is my Icicle trophy *&@## ? J/K good article

Greenpa said...

"Finally, for those of you concerned about the environmental impact of wood heat, most consider wood to be carbon neutral because during the lifetime of the tree, it has removed as much greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as it emits when burnt."

actually- I'm about 88% certain that woody plants capture MORE carbon during the cycle than they release when burned. Long story. But think about the leaves falling every year- going into the worms- then soil- etc, etc.

Aimee said...

LOVE the photo (sure I'm not the only one) it cracked me up, since I run around looking like that day and night. Yup, we freeze our buns off over here. Actually, my old furnace conked out last week and I REALLY froze for a couple days until we got the new one - highest available efficiency. 33% federal rebate, here I come! New programmable thermostat - if I can ever figure out how to program it, that is. My default setting is 63.

Anonymous said...

Of course I had to go directly to the article to read the comments. :-) There were the usual nutters, but also some valuable comments--it is good for folks to make sure their pipes don't freeze and such.

Anyway, I hope the article generates lots of new participants. For anyone thinking about doing this--we've turned our thermostat WAY down, but we're not freezing our buns off in the slightest. There are tons of practical ways to stay warm--warm socks, long underwear, extra layer of clothing, sipping hot tea or cocoa, curling up with a rice bag, etc. It's also smart to turn down the thermostat a degree or two at a time and get used to it.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Rob - You want an icicle trophy? I can make you one, but are you sure you want one made out of snot? I may need to use the kids for that one.

Greenpa - 88%? I was thinking you would be more like 89.2% certain but I'm sure you are correct.

Either way, I think just getting the idea out is important since it's not very obvious to include inputs as well as the outputs.

Aimee - Yeah, I've used that picture before and it's so darn appropriate!

Jordan said...

I am getting better about not reading comments on the Internet. Today was not one of my good days. It's good to see this idea getting press, though. I think a simple question for those totally turned off by the concept should be, "Do you keep your heat in the winter higher than your air in the summer?" (That's not uncommon where I come from.)

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I'm wondering about the folks who turn off their heat and live in cold parts of the country. How do they keep their water pipes from freezing and bursting? My pipes froze when we turned the thermostat down to 58 during a below zero night. I insulated it after we got the water running.

Jami said...

Our heater took a dive early on this year, so rather than shell out the 1K+ to repair it, we've been heating our home with space heaters. Even during our no-hogher-than-15-degrees cold snap all last week, the living spaces in our house never fell below 57 degrees, which seems pretty darned comfortable compared to the arctic air outside. Sure there were cold spots inside, but it really didn't seem like a big deal at all. We left a 90W bulb burning in the crawl space, which kept the pipes from freezing (seemed more eco-friendly than having to replace all sorts of copper pipe and the subsequent lead-based soldering). Anyway, now that the temps are in the 50's this week, the house seems almost unbearably warm in the 60's (without any space heaters running at all!).
Your blog made heating this way seem SO do-able, so thank you so much for that! I never would have believed my family would so easily adapt to this, had you not been a bloggy pioneer!

Anonymous said...

Anyone else having mildew problems? My shoes and sports gear are getting moldy in the coldy...anyone have a green fix?

Crunchy Chicken said...

We've conquered our mildew problem (which we would have whether our heat is on or not) by getting a small dehumidifier for our bathroom/bedroom (they are connected). It's amazing how much moisture it pulls from the air - about a cup or so per day - and the energy cost to run it is low.