How to Keep the Furnace Off Until November

by Rocket Finance

Plonkee’s post entitled 5 frugal things about autumn reminded me that I have seven days left in my attempt to keep our furnace idle until November 1st. Not an easy thing to do in Wisconsin, USA. Last night the low was less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit – about 4 degrees celsius for those of you in more “enlightened” regions of the world.

Heating costs in our area are already astronomical and could increse by 10% this winter. Furthermore, as a household, we are using more and more energy as our children get older. A four year old turns on more lights, flushes more toilets and requires the use of more rooms per day than a 6 month old. Here are a few things that we are trying and you can do to try to save energy in general and keep from having to turn on the forced-air natural gas furnace until November:

  1. Put the kids to bed early. Really, it results in fewer lights on and my wife and I can stay bundled up better than the kids. The kids are all in one room with the lights off and under several layers of sheets and blankets. Plus, if the kids are in bed and it is cold in the house, it increases the chance that my wife will want me to keep her warm. Sleeping in also holds down energy costs, too.
  2. Use a small space heater. You will be surprised how much heat can build up in a room with just a $10 space heater on the lowest setting.
  3. Open the shades during the day. Solar heat really makes a difference – and try to hang out in rooms that are facing the sun. I know, it’s not always possible to avoid rooms away fromt the sun, but you might be able to adjust your routine a little.
  4. Wear extra clothes. I find that if my feet are warm, the rest of me is in pretty good shape, too. It might be different for you.
  5. Leave. Seriously, just make an excuse to go visit friends, family, go to the store, go to church or make a play date with someone else. Use their heat.
  6. Show your wife the heating bill and check out how much you can save. Then, promise her a percentage of the savings if she can keep energy usage low.
  7. Send the kids outside. They will have a blast and stay bundled up. No reason to have the heat on if you are outside, plus the house will feel warmer when they come back in.
  8. Put your 4-year-old in charge of turning off light switches. Sometimes they can be very ernest in their mission. They don’t mind running up or down stairs just to turn off a light. Plus if they are running around, they will stay warmer.
  9. Ask yourself often, do I really need a light on?
  10. Eat meals in the kitchen instead of the dining room, open the oven after the meal has been cooked. The hot oven will warm the room a great deal. Just  be sure to turn it off first.
  11. Don’t bathe or shower.
  12. Unplug the furnace, so that even if your wife turns up the thermostat, the furnace won’t turn on. You are at work anyway so if she calls, tell her that you will fix it when you get home. Then act like you aren’t sure what is wrong with it when you get there. You might be able to hold out for two or three more days if you play it right.

Hope you learned something, but if you have a good marriage, you might want to be careful in applying a couple of these suggestions. We here in Wisconsin are still holding strong. My lovely wife is a saint. How about you? How long do you wait to turn on the furnace?

I might be living on the street in a couple of days. . . but at least I won’t be using much energy.

You could save 5% on your heating bills this winter, if you pay with Blue Cash from  American Express. 

  1. 6 Responses to “How to Keep the Furnace Off Until November”

  2. By Pinyo on Dec 26, 2007 | Reply

    Great tips. I like #6. Although I don’t know if space heater is actually saving money over the furnace. Also, I don’t want to risk burning my house down.

  3. By rocketc on Dec 26, 2007 | Reply

    I’m not sure either – except it is very small and we are only heating the upstairs of our house – not the whole house. Also, electricity is a little cheaper than gas at the moment.

    Space heaters are pretty safe nowdays. I hope.

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