Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's November and the weather has finally realized that the season is currently autumn, not summer.

Up through the middle of last week we'd been experiencing a warm, dry autumn. In fact, the Rational Living household hadn't fired up the furnace until last Thursday - typically this happens around two weeks earlier in the season. Although our area had it's first official "hard" freeze last week, our own corner of the city did not, so we we still have peppers and basil (!) working their hardest to produce something worthwhile in the garden.

Now that the weather is more seasonally appropriate even the furnace doesn't keep the chill out of the house entirely. It's not that we have poor insulation or a faulty furnace - we have decent insulation and a modern, high efficiency furnace. It's mainly due to the fact that during the winters we keep the thermostat set at 62 degrees (higher if company is expected).

That is a full 10 degrees cooler than the wartime recommendation!

Why do we keep it so cool? Partly to curb heating costs, partly to conserve energy. On most days 62 degrees isn't too bad, especially if you're active (i.e., doing chores). If you're sedentary it does mean long sleeves, socks and maybe an afghan or two on the sofa. Nighttime typically isn't a problem since heat rises and the bedrooms are upstairs (the flannel sheets help, too).

Energy conservation during the winter was a big worry during WWII, since much of the coal reserves were needed for the war machine. There were multiple instances of families running out of coal mid-winter and not being able to secure more because of scarce availability.

Obviously, we don't have that problem today but we still feel a responsibility to use these resources judiciously.

So, friend...have you turned on your furnace? What is your thermostat setting?

--Rational Mama


  1. I caved last Thursday too. Our programmable furnace is set at 62 from 10 PM-6AM Monday through Friday. Sat/Sun it is at 62 until 7:00 AM. Monday through Friday 6-8 AM we have it at 68, and then at 62 from 8-4. 4-10 is 68. On the weekends it is at 68 from 7 AM- 10 PM. I am usually chilly at 68, but just wear a jacket or sweatshirt and use a throw blanket if I am watching TV.

  2. So they recommended setting the thermostats at 72???? That seems really high to me!

    We finally turned our heater on last week and that was very late in the season here as well. No complaints, though. :)

    We keep ours set at 68 during the daytime and about 64 at night (sometimes higher if it's a really cold snap). We have a programmable thermostat and it's nice that we don't have to adjust unless we feel particularly cold.

    We always wear sweaters or fleece jackets and long sleeved shirts in the winter. We also all have a pair of slippers to wear indoors and we make sure that we have socks on (although the little ones often pull theirs off).

  3. Ohhh, Brrr.... like the cold outside! I thought you were referring to the political environemnt in KS! HA!! Well, we turned it on late last week too. Thursday sounds about right. We have our set to 67 during the day. We've decided that feels too toasty at night. Now that we have a more effecient furnace, we are amazed at how low we can set it and still be comfy!

  4. I like my house cool so even though we live in Canada, we have not turned the heat on yet. It has even snowed a touch and we didn't. However, we live in an apartment so the neighbors have their heat up and we benefit from it. Their heating pipes run through our basement and we can feel a little heat come from our baseboards even when we don't have it turned up(heat is included in our rent). If it were up to hubby, it would be blasted all winter long but he usually wears layers and a heavy velour robe over his clothes (he's a wimp when it comes to being cold, lol!). I need to start clearing things away from the baseboards for when we will need it though.