Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The heat is (not) on!

It had been going on for a few weeks. We'd hinted at it several times in our daily banter. But eventually, it had to come out. And I was the one to finally bring it up.

"It is too damn cold in this house!"

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

When we moved to his house in Jan 07 it was the 1st time we had a house with a buried tank of (propane) gas to fuel the furnace. Our previous homes had metered gas, for which you'd pay monthly according to your usage. With a buried tank, the gas company fills the tank (which should last the entire winter) and sends you a bill for your entire winter's heating cost at once.

In our case, the 1st bill was $860. WTF??? Apparently, the builder of our home had only put enough gas in the tank to minimally run the heat, so it was near empty when the gas company came to fill it.

Of course, we'd just bought the house and had paid $4,000. to have all our stuff moved here, and really hadn't planned on a bill of $860. It couldn't have come at a worse time, financially.

Then 6 weeks later the gas company returned to refill the tank, and sent us a bill for $580. WTF??? I believe this is the root cause of the situation in which I find myself now.

So, Spouse remembers those 2 ferocious gas bills, only 6 weeks apart, at a time when we could afford them the least, and has decided that this year we should not run the furnace. Instead, he wants us to run electric space heaters.

He's like one of those people who grew up during the Depression who now saves every little scrap of aluminum foil.

Now, I'm not opposed to using an electric space heater for supplemental heat. After all, during the day I am working in just one room, my office, for 8 hours. Why heat the entire house to a comfortable temperature when I'm only going to be in that one room? So I have been using an electric space heater in my office during the day, and its been fine.

But Spouse keeps turning the thermostat on the furnace down to 60 degrees - 60 degrees! - and turning on electric space heaters in the TV room and living room. The electric space heaters generate enough heat and are close enough to the thermostat to 'trick it' and keep it from turning on the furnace. In other words, he wants to use the electric space heaters - not as supplementary heat, but - to heat the entire house!

This wouldn't seem so astonishing if we lived in a 1,700 or even 2,000 square foot house, all on 1 level. But we live in a 3,770 square foot house on 3 levels.

I'm relatively comfortable in my office with the electric space heater on high, but when I walk out of the room to use the bathroom, eat lunch, get the mail, etc. its like I just walked into a meat locker. Its too damn cold in here! He's driving me crazy!

He claims its "more efficient" to heat with electricity than with gas. I countered that its also more efficient to wash the dishes by hand than use the dishwasher, or to light the house with candles than with electricity, but I didn't seem him doing any of that! And ironically, after the sale of our previous house in Sept. we are more able to afford the gas bill now than we were before.

Currently I have on jeans, shoes and socks, a thermal pull-over, and a flannel button-up shirt and my nose and hands are still cold. Remember, I'm wearing all this indoors!

At night when we're watching TV we both have on flannel pajama pants, t-shirts, and socks and then we both cover ourselves from head to toe with blankets. It just gotten ridiculous.

This morning after he left for work I turned the thermostat back up to a reasonable temperature. But I'll have to make sure I remember to turn it back down before he comes home in order to avoid an altercation.

See what my life has been reduced to? Reminding myself to turn the thermostat back down before 'Frosty' gets home from work. Sigh.

Fortunately for me, his family will be arriving tomorrow night for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I know he won't make his family live in such frigid temperatures. His mother, god bless her, is a very active 79 year old, but she's always cold. She keeps her thermostat even higher than I like it. So I know Spouse will have to raise the thermostat during his mom's visit.

I may actually thaw out.

Oh, and to add insult to injury? Our fireplace is gas, too.

Crush du Jour: Lee Pappas


truthspew said...

Believe it or not I have one of those space heaters doing the living, dining and kitchen which is easily about 650 square feet. The whole place is about 1,000 sqft.

The main area of the house stays at 64F or higher during the day since I have direct southern exposure.

There's another in the bedroom. Now that I've gotten Keyron to understand that they have thermostats on them and not to crank it to 90F they work very well.

The electric bill for last month was $185, which if I back out the nominal $120 a month that I usually get means the heaters cost $60 a month. That might go as high as $120 but it's still cheaper than oil.

I have a 275 gallon oil tank. Current oil prices are around $2.25 a gallon which means I'd be shelling $618.75 a month! Now you know why I use electricity, it's much more efficient.

mistress maddie said...

You may want Lee to keep you warm! You both have a wonderful holiday with that family of yours!

Jeff said...

LOL! Our families are very much alike! We, too, have 3 floors and Brad works at home. The top floor is electric baseboard, and the main and second floor are heated by electric forced air (via an electric furnace in the basement). Brad uses a space heater in his office during the daytime rather than heating the whole house to a comfortable temperature. I get him to turn the heat up about an hour before I get home, particularly on the days when I bike in the basement. He's raised the idea of turing the heat WAY down at night and heating my room (I generally sleep in a spare room because of my 'fragile' sleep patterns) with a space heater. I'm not sure I like the sound of that, but I guess I could give it a try. Generally, during the evening, we keep the temp at around 65 F.

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Mark in DE said...

Truthspew: Thanks for taking HIS side! Just kidding. Thanks for your comments! I'd write back but don't have an email for you.

Jeff: Wow, we really DO have similar home lives! Thanks for your comments! I'd write back but don't have an email for you.

Mark :-)

Nico said...

How relieving to see that I'm not the only one keeping the heat down! But I feel for you - my nose gets cold too, even colder, as I managed to turn the temperature down to 53 degrees (!). I had to wear a scarf, hat and gloves to sit at my PC and read blogs. 53 degrees is too cold.. so I turn on the heating in the evenings for 2-3 hours until the temperature in the room goes up to 60 degrees, which I find bearable. Then I turn it off and jump directly into bed. When I wake up in the morning, it's down to about 55 degrees again.

I wear two pairs of socks (cotton and woolen), leg warmers, pants, a cotton turtleneck, a woolen turtleneck, a denim shirt and a thick woolen waistcoat - all at once. It's quite ridiculous but it does help with the bills.

I recommend woolen clothing and woolen blankets for your bed, one under the bottom sheet and another on top of the duvet. They work miracles for me. Also, note your spouse might not feel the cold as much as you do because he's bigger and heavier than you, at least that's what he looks like in the pics. You might point this out to him ;-)