My Winter Thus Far Without Turning On The Heat

My thermometer tells me it's in the teens outside. Brr! This time last year my husband and I were scrambling to fix our ancient dinosaur of a heating system in our home and get it running. We did, but it didn't bring much relief. So this year, we're going without. Now where's my snood?

My husband and I are in the process of converting an old church into our home. With that comes many hiccups to normal life that most folks would never have to deal with. This isn't the time or place for that laundry list, but what I would like to talk about is our lack of heat (which is by choice).

You see, we actually have a fully functioning gas heat system in our basement. We got those old bones dusted off last year just in time for winter, but to be quite honest, it didn't provide much comfort due to other issues with the home (large poorly sealed windows). So this year, we're sticking to keeping the pipes warm in the basement and bundling up until we can figure out a wood burning alternative for next year.

So far the lowest our temperature inside has been in the low 40's, but we do warm back up to around 50 each day. Those same windows that let the heat out also let a great deal of sunlight in to make us toasty again — if you consider 50 toasty. It might sound scary to some, and sure we've had to bundle up and add on a layer or two, but it hasn't been completely horrible (although we always like a challenge).

We have a single space heater by the bed that turns on for a few hours at bed time and then one by the sofa for hopes of unfrozen TV watching. Because our ceilings are so tall (30 feet), the small heaters really only heat what's a foot or so away from it.

It's been nice to do all the housework, dishes, laundry and chores for the day and not break a sweat and to do them fast because it keeps you warm (and secretly I tell myself it's exercise) and get things done promptly. The hardest part has been getting out of bed in the morning. Fighting that urge to crawl back in bed once you've gotten up for the first time is a tough one. The only other downfall has been keeping the refrigerator regulated. Since it doesn't have to work as hard, we have gone through a few rounds of frozen solid foods as the temperature has gone down over the last several weeks.

In addition we've been able to keep some foods on the counter longer instead of the fridge and on the clothing front we've turned the occasion into a good time by treating ourselves with a few new pieces of fun fashionable outerwear (and underwear... sadly not the ooh la la kind, they don't make those in thermals). We do have two space heaters in the basement that are keeping our pipes from freezing and hopefully they'll hold out through the winter as the temperatures continue to drop.

Have you ever gone without heat? Have you been toying with the idea of doing so? Do you have any questions you'd like to ask? Hit me, I'm an open book and ready to tell you why you should turn down your heat (for real) and put on a sweater!

Image: Sarah Rae Trover

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