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!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Freeze Yer Buns wrap-up

The 2009 - 2010 Freeze Yer Buns Challenge has come to a close, although many areas (including Seattle) are still experiencing cold temperatures. So, even though the challenge is over, now's not the time to crank up the thermostat. Not that any of you are going to.

This year's challenge has been completely crazy, mostly because of all the press that covered it between USA Today, the NY Times and even the National Enquirer (see the media page for links). I think it's great that it got some coverage because it helps encourage others to give it a try and not feel like what they are doing is out of the ordinary.

It sounds really stupid to even say that, as if turning down the thermostat is some rocket science to saving energy and money, but there definitely are barriers to keeping your home cooler. Most of them are social. Nobody wants visitors to be uncomfortable and nobody likes feeling like they are weird.

One thing I learned during this year's challenge is that I like the temperature really cold at night. I'd say I prefer 55 at night, especially when I can cuddle under our down comforter. I rarely needed to use my bed warmer this year, just because of the down.

We recently switched out our blanket to our wool one because it's been warming up, but I still prefer the loft and heat retention of down. I think I'd much rather compromise with ├╝ber cold temperatures at night, just to keep the daytime temperature up a few degrees so it all evens out on the cooler side in the end.

I know some of you out there kept your thermostats very cool. How did that work out for you? Did you run into any resistance from family and friends or was it fine? Did you learn anything from this challenge by keeping the heat down (aside from lower bills)? Would you have kept it colder if you could (because of roommates, kids, etc.)?


Tracy said...

I'm a renter, in a house with very poor insulation. We keep our heat pretty low in general, just based on the fact that... it doesn't work. Even when it's cranked, it pretty quickly dissipates straight out of the vents. So we mostly turn it up an hour before we have guests over, so that people at least feel like they're walking into a not-freezing house. Unfortunately, this means that the rest of the time, while the thermostat itself is low or the heat is just plain off, all three of us are huddled in front of cheap, crappy space heaters in our bedrooms. Thank goodness we live in Portland and not somewhere REALLY cold, but it's still a bummer. Maybe someday I'll have a home where the (infrequent, thankfully) snow doesn't blow in through the cracks in the doorframe!

Aimee said...

We kept our heat low - 62 or so during the day, 58 at night-trying to stretch one tank of propane over the whole winter. Because of the mild winter we were able to. I so sleep under down and prefer the temp very cool at night but everyone else complains. I got them good jammies. I had to crank the heat to 67 or 68 when my sister came over and I felt like I was boiling up!

Robj98168 said...

Colder??? R U FRICKIN NUTS??? Nope We did just fine at 55/65 here. Ceptin that one week when I had the cold and needed warmth.

TheSimplePoppy said...

It was freezing, and I mean that literally, most of the winter here. Also, our house doesn't have great insulation. I do prefer it cold at night, and tried to put it down really low, but the man was sick about 2 weeks out of every freaking month this winter and he wanted/needed it warmer. All in all though, I don't think we did too badly for us, about 65-68 during the day and anywhere from 50 to 60 during the night. If it was really cold and someone was sick, it was on the higher end.

Brad K. said...

I cheated. I used an electric blanket. Set on 1, sometimes on really cold nights, up to 2 1/2 (it goes to 10). With three JC Penney type blankets, and a flannel sheet over the blankets. Many nights the electric blanket stayed off.

I have a polyester filled comforter, and couldn't find any way to be comfortable with it.

I sleep with socks on (recommended to improve circulation/heart).

The thermostat stayed at 57 days, 55 nights (programmable thermostat), until January, then 55 all the time.

My bedroom is north of the thermostat. When it is cold, especially with a north wind, my bedroom may be 5 to 7 degrees cooler than the thermostat/central part of the house.

Lisa said...

Winter in Western Wisconsin this year was snowy and we didn't get too many below-zero days which helped. We kept the thermostat at 57 overnight, 62 while away (would have liked to go lower but that makes for miserable pets), and 63 when home (that one degree does make a difference, at least in my mind). We put it at 65 or 66 for guests and always felt overly warm those times. I believe acclimation and mindset are a large part of successful Buns Freezing.

Aydan said...

I didn't turn my heat on. I live in a small apartment on the East Coast. I did insulate my windows with plastic and "cheat" with an electric blanket at night and a few times when I was studying. I also wore more layers. I don't think it got much colder than the upper 50s, but my thermometer gave me variable readings. Family and friends were concerned about my well-being and priorities.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

we had some days when I would walk in the house and it was just too hot, only to go over and see the therm was set at 64, and everyone else was comfortable so I would just put on a t-shirt.
The furnace has been off for a full week now and we don't anticipate turning it back on even though we are looking at a dip into the 50s this weekend.

I am up for the challenge again next year, and I would like to set the temp for 55 at night (I got it down there some of the time) and 60 during the day, 63 when the kids are home. That is my goal for next year.

Farmer's Daughter said...

After Joshua was born, we turned the heat up to 68, and people still complained it was cold. Perhaps it was my hormones, but people complaining got really old and annoyed me this winter. Especially when the complainers had on thin clothes or short sleeves, so I was sure to point out that they were cold because of their clothes, not our temperature. It made me think of your thermometer lady!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I kept the temperature set at 58. We got lots of snow in Ohio but the outdoor temp rarely dipped below zero including the wind chill factor, that helped.

I got only one complaint. My mother in law politely asked me in October if we needed her to knit us any afghans, because it was so cold (we don't turn on the heat until it gets down to 40 degrees outside.) We have afghans to burn and I pulled one for her from the hall closet.

I turned off the heat two weeks ago. Question is - what's a good middle ground temperature to set the air conditioning when the time comes?

Laura said...

FYB success at our house, I'd say. My partner and I generally agree on temp. If one of us is cold and whines to turn up the heat, the other is probably freezing too. I think we were at 62 for day and 58(or maybe 55) for night. He set the thermostat, and my memory is not awesome.
At home we used the shrink wrap plastic on the windows and closed the bedroom door at night. The bedroom got quite cozy even though we don't do down because my partner is allergic. I took down some of the plastic too early during one of Seattle's heat hiccups. The living room is a bit chilly now but we're making due.

I sit for two kids ages 4 and 1. I spend a 10 hour day hoisting kids, running and playing, and generally getting a workout. I also do some light chores; unloading the hot dishes from the dishwasher, unloading the hot clothes from the dryer. The family I sit for (*cough* the dad really) sets the 'stat at 72. 72! I have taken to just turning the temp down to 65 or so just to keep my sanity.
Really the adults (dad included) joke about it a bit. Still, 72 is just insane if you are moving anything more than your typing fingers.

Anna Marie said...

At the beginning, it was quite difficult to get my house mates on board- one wanted it to never get below 62 degrees. However, she got a space heater for her room, and our furnace has been off for about a month now, meaning temperatures around 50 degrees. It's been awesome, and our electricity bill is down $100 from before I moved in.

Anonymous said...

I used to think 67 was unbearably cold.

I die of heatstroke if the thermostat is set above 64 now.

Amy in Tacoma said...

We kept our heat off (in Tacoma) unless we were having guests or the temperature dropped close to or below freezing. We used small space heaters which we moved around: to the dining room while eating, the bedrooms at night, the bathroom during consecutive showers, and the rest of the time, in the family room only where we all holed up. We did this mostly because we are currently out of work and couldn't afford high utility bills.

It worked out well financially: our heating bill dropped 71% from the previous winter. But I've about reached my limit of dealing with the cold inside. I walk around the house in long underwear, sweats, coat, hat and gloves *all the time.* Even my husband, who normally likes the cold, has gotten to a point where he is sick of how cold it is in our house.

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

55 at night, 60 during the day. Anything over that and were hot as heck. I did use a heating blanket at night because I am always cold. Just recently bought a memory foam topper for our bed and it retains our heat very well and I have not had to use my plug in blanket anymore.
My kids are used of wearing socks and sweatshirts now and do not complain. My husband loves that our electric bill is cheaper.
We wear socks and sweatshirts to keep warm.
Plastic is up in the windows during the winter, they are original to the 1967 house but will be changed this year which should help.
Used our fireplace a lot which helped our electric bill too.
All in all it was a good challenge. I was not able to start the challenge because I stumbled upon it late but im a frugal person anyways and we already were doing a good job at it. I like a challenge though. Thanks Crunchy Chicken!

Allie said...

It went fine for me. I really like not having a heater running at all.

Next year I may have a new roommate, so maintaining no heat winters could be a challenge depending on how the potential new roommate feels about such things.

joules said...

This is the first winter in our current rental house and the bills were outrageous the first heating month of the year, so we kept it off for monetary reasons. We used a space heater in the bathroom a handful of days when it got to freezing, but other than that, we kept the the heat off. Houston only has two seasons, so it's already hot now. I have more of a problem asking the significant other to live without the a/c vs. without the heater - summer will be way more of a challenge than winter.

Tanya said...

Seems more efficient to raise the efficiency of the place you are living than to freeze. (seal drafts, add insulation, high-efficiency furnace etc) But keeping the heat up to room temp when you are out all day is just plain wasteful.