January 6, 2011

Cold Heat

There’s no way around it. Our house is beyond cold.

Every corner of it often seems colder than the next. Upstairs, we heat the computer room with a space heater tethered at the long end of an extension cord which wanders its way into the bathroom. The bathroom is on a separate circuit. All the doors to the other rooms are closed.

Downstairs, right inside the front door, you will find another bit of extension cord snaking its way under the half bath door. That cords dangles down into the living room and it is attached to another heater. This is a little more problematical. The bathroom plug is on the same circuit as the microwave. Maybe having the kitchen lights, the refrigerator, and the oven on also cut off the power. Sometimes the breaker trips for no good cause. Some brave person has to march downstairs and turn it on while some other brave fool is rushing around upstairs in the dark turning things off.

Yes, we have heat. Radiant heating installed during construction in the early seventies is creaky stuff and the results are way beyond our budget. We knew about this problem before we bought the unit. Everyone told us not to use the heat and to turn the heat off at the breaker box. Then one year we used it.

It only took a short time to warm up the house for Christmas. The family crowded in and the house grew hot. It was lovely. When the bill came, I fell on the floor. The Geezer bravely wrote a check, and we waited a year to turn the heat on one more time for one more holiday. The following Christmas, we warmed the house again but turned it off while they were still with us. This time the bill was well over one hundred dollars and almost thirty bucks bigger than the previous year.

A couple of years ago the winter temperature routinely got down into the 40’s. This year, we have routinely been in the low 30’s….even twenties at times at our California beach condo.

Leaping into my husband’s car last night right after he got home from work, I was surprised to find it was warm. “Oh, can’t we just live in here,” I said. “The seats go back, and we can sleep toasty warm all night long”

He laughed. So did I, but there’s a grain of truth in there somewhere. Meanwhile, we now go away for Christmas.


  1. Well, at least you do have a heater. Here in Hawaii, it gets down to 55 degrees in January, and we don't own a single heater. So, we close all of the windows and wear a bathrobe and socks. LOL.

    But, we do have air conditioners that we turn on when it gets into the 80s. We have the thermostat set for 78, but it levels off at 75. Brrr. Need a jacket!

  2. Yuk! I hate being cold. My city apartment rent includes heat...free heat! Unfortunately that means there is very little. I miss my cottage which can be warm and toasty - and I get to control the thermostat. Love, love, love my car heater. Hope warmer temps arrive for all of us soon.

  3. Brrr, you have my sympathy. My 1923 house is cold too. This year has been frigid for us. Do have central heat but the house is colder than most year 'round. I have lots of wool socks. The bright side is that when it hits 90 to 100+ in the summer, I can get away with much less A/C or none than the houses around me.

  4. We use very little heat here in Oregon. I think we're finally adapting to the temperatures here. Also our apartment is well insulated with other apartments on each side and on top. In the summer we don't need air conditioning.

    Fleece clothing is a godsend here.

  5. I'm sending you warm wishes from up north, where we have just warmed up to 45 degrees. But I really recommend the southern hemisphere for Christmas!

  6. I can't imagine being that cold. Here in the Midwest, the heat goes on around October or November and goes off about May. And yes, the electric bills are sky-high as a result.

  7. Our house (new and well insulated) faces south and during the sunny days we are very comfortable in the winter...but it does make us hurry and start the wood heatilator fireplace when the sun goes down.

  8. Are those your Agapanthus blooming? Absolutely lovely. Look at the flowers to warm your heart and wear a sweater to warm your tushie.

  9. It is so cold here that the 40's sound warm. Of course, I think the difference is insulation and good windows. Our heating bills are routinely over $100 a month in the winter, and often that high in the hot summer. It is just the cost of comfort here. I usually say that I would rather be cold than too hot. There is only so much you can remove to cool off, but no limit to what you can put on to get warm!

  10. I had no heat in my house in Normal Heights. Winter temps were usually 45 degrees in the morning. Have heat in my house now. Much cozier!

  11. I know we should really spend the winter in the kitchen huddled round the Aga but instead brave it out in the other rooms with enormous picture windows and no double glazing. Brrrrrh!
    Aga - a large stove which cooks and heats the water.
    Double glazing - double glass at the windows to stop draughts.

  12. 1. Oh dear! It's no fun being cold. I'd hate to tell you what our energy bills are and we belong to a co-op!

    2. I love your house!!!!

    3. I love the agapanthus!! I tried to grow them here once but had no success. It's one of the many, many things I love about California. We're coming out in March and I can't wait to see blooming stuff!

  13. It was 65 degrees over on our end of the island (Oahu) and my mother was freezing. Having lived in Chicago for 35 years, Art and I were still in shorts and t-shirts, but poor mom. I'll bet she had her thermals on.


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