Part of me feels for these people, and part of me doesn't. I am sure that many families don't have the time or resources to look in to alternative heating methods. They just do what they have been doing their whole lives. Set and dial and count the days until the spring thaw comes. However, lots of these people could probably get by with a cooler temperature setting. Rather than hope that the market adjusts to fit your lifestyle, it is best to make changes to yourself.
My feelings on the matter aside, there are lots of great ways to save money in the winter. Unlike the summer, where you are battling with heat, you only have to deal with the cold. Cold is something that can be fairly easily combated. It is pretty easy to warm yourself up, at least compared to cooling yourself down. You simply wear more clothes and move around a bit more. The same can't be said of a scorching summer day. Strip down to nothing and you will still be sweating like you were in hades. A/C or good fan placement is about the only escape from summer heat.
So, having lived in Japan for almost 2 years, I have gained some insight in to how to stay warm without blowing your budget. Here are some things, that while no doubt many members here already use, should probably help some people save money and resources this winter.
First off, dress in layers. It is best to polyester base layers with wool (best) or cotton (good) on top. The more you can bear wearing, the better. I typically have 3-5 layers depending on how cold it is outside.
Second, turn down the dial. I can attest that living in a 50 degree environment is not only doable, but not as bad as you would think. As long as you are not a cow that sits in front of the t.v. all night long, you will be just fine at this temperature. If you need your t.v. fix, try out some cardio DVDs or pick up a Wii with all the money you will be saving on heating costs. (see bottom warning)
Drink warm things. In Japan, hot water pots (electric 24/7 devices) are commonplace. Every house has one. They are sold in America too by a company called Zojirushi. Mine uses 12 watts to keep the water at a piping 98 degrees Celcius. I keep the coffee and green tea flowing to make sure my veins don't freeze up.
Sleep with lots of blankets. I kid you not that I use upwards of 4-5 blankets -- and they are much heavier than the ones you would normally find in America. Sure it can feel like you are suffocating, but it keeps you nice and toasty warm.
Put down an electric blanket. Make sure you check the electricity draw on it though, as they can vary quite a bit between makers.
In Japan, where bath taking is a daily ritual, almost the entire population bathes before going to bed. Soaking in a bath can do wonders to warm up a chilled body. Definitely best done right before going to bed. Try to get the whole family to bathe in a row to get the most out of the hot water. Use a sheet on the top of the water to prevent the heat from escaping.
Change your eating habits. Eat hot foods that are wholesome and retain heat. Stews and chilis come to mind. Cut out that ice cream, and stick to warmer desserts like apple crisp. Mmm... apple crisp.
Who says that hats and gloves are only for when you go outside? I have no problem wearing a winter hat to bed. You lose a lot of heat through your noggin, and most people sleep with their head out from under the covers. Sounds like a great way to retain heat while sleeping. Gloves can be used anytime you feel like it.
Close off rooms. If you have multiple thermostats, set certain unused rooms to lower than the rest of the house. Better yet, choose a single room, and have the whole family jam into it. Sure you get no privacy this way, but everyone is able to use eachothers' heat and it makes everyone closer. Isn't that the whole idea of having a family?
Wear slippers to keep your feet warm. Invest in a good pair and never look back. Depending on rug placement, you could also just wear your shoes in the house. I, living in Japan, am not afforded such a choice, so my slippers see a lot of use in the winter.
The above mentioned tips are things that anyone can do. You probably already have all the necessary items somewhere in your house. There are no doubt many more things that can be done to save money and resources, but they have initial expenses.
Hope everyone is able to stay (somewhat) warm this winter without going broke.
**A big warning to the second suggestion... DO NOT TURN YOUR DIAL DOWN SO LOW THAT YOU GO BELOW FREEZING...EVER! Blowing a pipe out because the water sitting in it froze, will immediately kill any savings you get from living a more frugal life. If you live somewhere where the temps regularly fall below 40 degrees, then keep your thermostat set to combat this. This must be adhered to 24/7, lest you end up with a multiple thousand dollar bill from your plumber.
Clench you hit the nail on the head. Here at my complex everyone has a cellphone, internet, cable, etc. We have common gas utilities here because there are only 2 gas meters. We enacted a new policy here. Turn all heaters off during the summer and do not light again until nov 1st. Period! We have some tenants that do exactly as you say. Turn the stat up to 85f and then open a window while they sleep. What we did this year was install stops in the thermostats to prevent them from going past 75f.
I was raised with wood heat or no heat until I was 15. We moved into the back of our office building after that. There was a forced air gas heater for a while but we had to wall it off after the first year and then there was no heat again. I live in an apartment that stays 65-68f all winter and I consider that to be the lap of luxury. People complain that there HVAC isn't effective I often bite my lip. I was raised with precious few luxuries as a child and gave me a proper appreciation of the GOOD life.
When I was 11 we moved into a house with no heat in the bedrooms. It was an uninsulated farmhouse. When temps got below freezing the ritual was the same everyyear. Plastic over the windows. Plastic all the way around the house for underpinning. Bedtime in temps below freezing involved the following process. Make bed with 4-8" of blankets. Fill 2 quart jars with near boiling water, dry outside carefully, place one in the foot area and one where you back would be. Wait 15 minutes. Run to the bedroom(the running warms you body), remove socks and shoes just before getting under the covers. Pull only one layer of blanket over head(personal preference). Craddle warm bottle between your feet and sleep like a baby. In temps under 30f any glass of water on the bedside table will be frozen solid by morning.
02 Saturn SL
for pics click the link below
Without joining in the ranting toooo much, I would like to say that I have had quite a different upbringing compared to the other posters. I have never known the cold or extreme heat. My parent's house is over 6000 square feet, and every nook and cranny of it is set to a nice 70 degrees fahrenheit. My dad, being the frugal (and at times downright cheap) one, always tried to turn down the dial when I was younger, but these days he seems to be getting soft. Either that or he is being "coerced" by my mom. Either way, that I would turn out like I am is kind of surprising. I really have no idea why I care about resources as much as I do.
In any case... while it is fun to bash the idiots of the world, perhaps they are just that.. stupid. Or more succinctly, ignorant/uneducated. I have known people that open windows because their room is too hot in the winter. Perhaps they have just never had an explanation as to how wasteful it is and why they shouldn't do it.
If anyone has any good tips to add to what I said above, please feel free to post them.
Oh, and Japan too has a tradition like the one lovemysan described. The problem is, that you can get horrible burns that way if you aren't careful. Now people use a device that is electricity-fed that you place at your feet. It only draws about 10-20 watts, so it isn't nearly as bad as other heating options.
There is another area that we haven't explored yet... one that takes two people to make work the best. There is a reason why lots of babies are born in the summer/fall you know... hehehe...
I should clarify... my dad WAS frugal, or rather came from humble beginnings. He just seems to have lost the way over the years. Heck, he used to live in a trailer park, draft semis, and use off-road diesel in his car. Whether he wanted to keep up with the Joneses, or show off his money that he eventually made after establishing himself, only he knows. What I can say is that he regrets building the house that he currently lives in. Yeah, he did build it himself, with the help of building crews/plumbers/electricians...
The problem with a lot of people is that they look at money as the bottom line. If it is cheap, then you should buy/use it. If it is expensive you should limit your use. This, at least to me, is a pretty bad way of looking at things. Just because gasoline is cheap doesn't mean that you should be riding around in a huge gas hog. High fuel prices shouldn't be the catalyst that makes consumers look at their energy usage. It is a shame that this is unfortunately the sad truth for most people though.
I, while realizing the importance of money in today's society, see our responsibility to maintain a world worth living in as the main goal we need to strive for. Economics should be (as much as possible) put off to the side, and we should focus on cleaning up the world before it is too late.
Bah.. it actually probably is too late. All we have left is to count down the days until all heck breaks loose.
I, while realizing the importance of money in today's society, see our responsibility to maintain a world ...
... it actually probably is too late. All we have left is to count down the days until all heck breaks loose.
Well, I feel better... That's usually the way my discussions with others go too... Starting off with our need to take responsibility and actually be responsible -- and ending with something along the lines of an unavoidable crash.
Sigh. So what are the long term benefits, if any, of blissful ignorance? o.0
Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately it kills all its students.
I just thought of another useful winter tip. Use a knee blanket. Yeah, that doesn't translate very well... Anyway, sitting down, your pants are drawn tight against your upper thigh and knee. This helps heat escape. If you fold up a blanket and put it over this area, you can retain quite a bit of heat.
Women usually do this in Japan, but I have never really understood the logic of our sex laws, so...