thermostat wars

“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle. David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.” (2 Samuel 11:1, esv)

It is not spring right now. Far from it. But the fact that we are far from spring makes this a time when this household goes to battle over something a little less serious than King David and the Ammonites: the thermostat. Our house is just old enough to be pretty drafty, and so extreme outside temperatures (like today’s high of 6 degrees Farenheit) create a conflict in our overall vision of living frugally and comfortably. Not surprisingly, Aaron falls a little harder on one side, and I fall on the other. (This happens in the summer, too, and sometimes results in pillow fights.)

A piano mom told me the worst part of waiting for her husband to finish his PhD was eating Ramen noodles. I like to cook so we manage to eat pretty well;  the heating bill is one of our most noticeable spending cuts. I discussed these biannual Hummel Thermostat Wars with some students earlier this week. “Let me guess,” one of the young men ventured, “You want to be comfortable and Mr. Hummel wants to save money?” A cousin, familiar and sympathetic with our plight, mentioned that her friend from Wisconsin hosted an online quiz to see where other people set their thermostats in the winter. “The temperatures at your house were outside the range of responses,” she grinned.

thermostat warsSince I do agree with the overall reasons for conservative home heating for now, when it gets really cold, I have resorted to wearing an old fleece bathrobe and an extra pair of wool socks in the evenings.  In addition to my ridiculous thermalwear get-up, we drink lots of hot tea and make the most of our new electric blanket. I can usually distract myself and think cheerful thoughts even though it’s cold, but that plan falls apart when Aaron looks at me and starts laughing hysterically.

teaBut I must ask – do you have any other suggestions for battling the chilly house? Beside the most obvious answer, since our current temperature setting is actually a compromise already. How do the thermostat wars work out in your home?

12 thoughts on “thermostat wars

  1. Thankfully this is one area of no wars in our house! Jensen pretty much doesn’t care and I try to keep it on the verge of comfortable (which is 60 degrees right now).

  2. We are blessed to live in an area where heating costs are almost always paid for by the apartment complexes, so we can turn the heat up as high as we want. I’m sure we would also have thermostat wars otherwise! 🙂

  3. Glad to hear you have both been spared this battle! 🙂 I keep hoping there will be some inventive answer, like, “If you do XXXX or YYYY, it will keep you warm and toasty for FREE!” I might be reaching too high with that, though… 😉

    • I know exercise would help, too… it’s just that we actually shut the vents to the room with the tv where I could use some of my Jillian Michael’s DVDs so it’s even colder in there and the thought of taking off my regular clothes in order to put on workout garb is a little off-putting.

  4. We don’t pay for heat in our apartment but the living room has big old French windows that are sooooo drafty. Roommate and I a few weeks ago moved the curtain rod to hang from the ceiling and put thick drop cloth “curtains” up that hang from floor to ceiling across the whole French-window end of the room. They were the canvas drop cloths from Home Depot, something like $14 each. We plan to paint them eventually, but they’re a nice neutral as is and have finished edges, so it’s not hideous in the meantime. And it’s really helped with the draft through the windows!

    • Our curtains are just canvas drop-cloths, too! I keep saying I’m going to paint or stencil them, but at this point they obviously look OK since I haven’t been inspired enough to tackle the project yet. Pretty sure they’ll remain au naturale for the duration here. I don’t usually close them, but I’ll try it out this week and see if it helps!

    • Glad we’re not the only ones freezing in the winter – sorry it has to be you, too, though! Thanks for stopping by. I’m hoping we get good tips soon, too. I’m feeling more convinced that cardio is probably the key…

  5. See, ours is the opposite (James wants it warm) but really just because I prefer it cold. And at night (drumroll please) I have still been turning on the window ac unit — curtains closed over it of course — because I like sleeping with the sound of it. Last night I finally left it off because it got super cold and James was THRILLED.

    • I can’t even fathom this… I’m told we will switch our heating preferences later, perhaps in 25 years when I hit menopause. Are you still running? That might be the key… (Look at that body – you work out!)
      I can totally relate to the sound thing, though. I LOVE sleeping with a fan on in the summer. I would probably like the sound in the winter, except that it would send an extra chill down my spine.
      And it’s funny that you say James wants it warm just because you want it cold. I definitely wear my ridiculous bathrobe over my clothes in hopes that it will annoy Aaron enough to agree to turning up the heat. Also, our 63 setting is a compromise between where I want it (68) and he wants it, but I’m not convinced he actually would survive at his ideal temperature (58).

  6. For the record, the actual temperature is 63, and if that were the outdoor temperature, people would be walking around in shorts and t-shirts.

  7. Haha – yeah, the thermostat discussion is a frequent on here as well. I wear shoes all the time which helps (especially downstairs where we have fake wood and tile). I’m usually coldest in the evenings, but Jillian Michaels has been helping with that (for once a New Year’s resolution I’ve kept til the end of January!). I also have been known to make cookies or bread just turn the oven on and leave it cracked open while it pre-heats. 😉 I also learned in Waterman that if you turn on all the lights it helps (with warmth, not with bills ;)).

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