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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Mini Money Mustaches => Topic started by: shelivesthedream on August 15, 2020, 05:23:39 AM

Title: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 15, 2020, 05:23:39 AM
We need to spend less money right now, and with winter on the horizon we're contemplating how low it's reasonable for our thermostat to go with a toddler and baby in the house. We have several radiator thermostats, so can somewhat customise heat in different rooms and at different times. We grown ups are willing to suffer in, e.g. an unheated bedroom for as long as possible or an unheated sitting room after the children have gone to bed. However, I am concerned about the children's health and happiness - and especially their comfort at night. I want to sleep, not be woken up by a cold toddler at 3am!

How cold you do keep your house with small children? (Ideally in centigrade, not farenheit!) How do you dress them for that temperature? What do they wear at night, in terms of both clothes and covers? (ToddlerSLTD is still in a sleeping bag in a cot, but an upgrade to a bed is on the horizon.) How do you monitor them to make sure they are warm enough?

We'd like to experiment to find a reasonable compromise here but I'm not sure what to expect.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: ToTheMoon on August 15, 2020, 06:34:42 AM
I think the recommended sleep temp for young kids is 18-21 degrees C.  Baby in a sleep sack, toddler in light jammies with a mid-weight (Ikea) duvet on their bed (once they were in a regular bed of course.)  We found that if the room was on the cool side, everyone slept better. The kids would stay tucked in, instead of throwing off their blankets and then being chilled later in the night.  Babies hands would always feel cold, but if we reached in and checked their chest/back they were always toasty warm.

If the rest of the house is going to be cooler, could you find a thermometer that you can place in just their room to monitor the temp in there? I think there are a million on the market now! (My kids are 8 & 10 now - just for a reference point, and in case the recommendations have changed in the last 10 years!)
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Papa bear on August 15, 2020, 06:40:53 AM
In the US cold areas, typically the lowest you want to go is 55F, or around 13C.  Any lower and you have an increased risk of frozen pipes and house finishes that canít handle the cold. 

So. Go off that and make sure your kids wear appropriate clothes.


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Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on August 15, 2020, 06:58:03 AM
From the "back in my day" part of the conversation.  My childhood bedroom had no heating and there was occasionally frost on the inside of the window.  And yet here I am.

Children have grown up for hundreds of years without heating in the bedroom.  If the bed is warm to get into (electric blanket, hot water bottle, warming pan, etc.) and has warm enough bed clothes on it any member of your family will sleep comfortably and warmly.  The problem is that it's cold getting out of bed and getting dressed, but that could be solved either by heating the bedroom for half an hour in the morning or everyone getting dressed in a warmer room such as a bathroom.

TLDR: heat the bed not the bedroom for maximum efficiency and the children will survive just fine.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Blue Skies on August 15, 2020, 07:26:06 AM
When we had babies we kept the house at 18C overnight.  I could barely stand it.  I like it cold when I sleep (in winter, I'm not big on lots of air conditioning).  Once they were around 1 year old and could have blankets rather than sleep sacks I would go back to 15-16C overnight, which is where we have generally kept it. 
I believe my (now somewhat older) children would be fine with 13-14C overnight, but I don't like it that cold when I wake up, and when it gets that cold overnight then the furnace auto-heating the house in the morning wakes me up (I get really hot).
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: chemistk on August 15, 2020, 07:59:47 AM
In the winter we keep our house at 62F/16.7C.

My wife prefers to sleep in as cold a room as possible and has, in the past, opened the window in the winter. We also use cheap box fans for air circulation and noise.

Our oldest two are in normal beds - our oldest has been in a normal bed since 18 months and our middle since 18 or so months (yes, I know that's young!). They have fleece PJ's and have a sheet, comforter, and extra blanket on their beds.

Our infant was in a sleep sack until about 2 months ago (he's 9.5mos) and now he's just under a blanket in his crib (SIDS is not a worry, he's a belly sleeper and can take multiple layers off himself at night). This winter he will just be under a blanket with winter PJ's.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 15, 2020, 11:08:24 AM
So. Go off that and make sure your kids wear appropriate clothes.
/quote]

Right, but what ARE appropriate clothes for, say a 16 degree house, either in daytime or nighttime?

I think the recommended sleep temp for young kids is 18-21 degrees C. 

If the rest of the house is going to be cooler, could you find a thermometer that you can place in just their room to monitor the temp in there? I think there are a million on the market now! (My kids are 8 & 10 now - just for a reference point, and in case the recommendations have changed in the last 10 years!)

Right, but we're looking at going lower than that. Our baby monitors have thermometers on them that show on the display. Clearly kids have survived and thrived lower than that, and in our recent heatwaves they've been sleeping in 33 degrees.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: catlady on August 15, 2020, 11:56:58 AM
Heyyy :) I'm no expert but I would recommend wool (a woven vest) It is a breathable material and it will reduce sweating and also keeps babe really warm. My SO's mother knitted one for our son and he loved it.
We tend to put layers when we dress him rather than put one huge peace because it gives you the option to adjust it really fast. When they run they get hotter  and you can remove the vest etc...

I check periodically if his hands and nose are cold. Touch his back to check if he is sweaty.

Sleep sac 2.5 tog with cotton pyjama worked for us with 18įC.  If babe is still moving like crazy you might want to keep the sleep sac as much as you can.

Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Papa bear on August 15, 2020, 03:56:22 PM
My toddlers also tell me when theyíre cold.  They donít always listen to what I tell them to wear, but they are little people.  They know itís uncomfortable to be cold.


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Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: gaja on August 15, 2020, 04:29:28 PM
Official Norwegian recommendations are 18-21C for younger than 6 months, and 14-16C for everyone else. But daytime naps can be much lower - it is common here to let them sleep outside all winter, but the official recommendations is to move them indoors if it is colder than -10C.

Hands and nose are not good measuring points for well dressed kids in cold weather. It is better to feel their lower necks and tummies. Most parents have a tendency to put too much clothes and heavy blankets on their kids, causing them to overheat.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: GuitarStv on August 15, 2020, 07:52:11 PM
We've dropped the temperature in the house down to around 15C at night since our son was one year old and he had no problems or complaints.  We all sleep under heavy blankets in the winter quite comfortably.  Heat in the summer was always a problem with sleep, but cool temperatures never have been - they actually seemed to help a bit.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: ysette9 on August 15, 2020, 09:13:13 PM
In some ways it will depend on your kid. Our oldest didnít have heat in her room initially when she was little because we rented a crappy house with a single wall heater that only heated half the house. She was skinny and had a tendency to be cold, so even in a onesie, fleece pyjama, and two sleep sacks she was cold. The room probably got down to ~15C at night. We had to put a space heater in her room until she was old enough to stay under a down comforter because she just couldnít stay warm enough.

Contrast to my second who has always been a fluffy meatball and runs hot. She canít wear any of the fleece footed pyjamas we had saved from her older sister because she overheats and wakes up screaming, bathed in sweat. It is a fun challenge to figure out how to have them sleep in the same room. :)
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: waltworks on August 17, 2020, 12:03:05 AM
Your kids can tolerate anything you can, in terms of health/safety, basically. For infants you probably don't want to push it, but if you're even asking this question, your house is probably way warmer than it needs to be.

Our kids sleep much worse if the house is above about 55F/13C, as do the adults. In the daytime we "crank" the heat to 60F/15.5C in the winter, though I'll often turn it back down if I'm alone working.

-W
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 17, 2020, 01:22:13 AM
Sigh. I start to feel chilled to the bone below 17C, even what I think is decently dressed (long socks, vest, big jumper, leg warmers...) Thanks for the votes of confidence, though - I guess we'll just experiment and see what everyone can handle. Both children seem to run hot during the day but cold at night. It's 20-22CC in BabySLTD's room at the moment and she's in cotton pyjamas and a 1 tog sleeping bag because otherwise she feels cold on her chest and back in the middle of the night. I tend to be the opposite, though - overheating at night and frozen during the day!
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: daverobev on August 17, 2020, 07:59:24 AM
Remember the UK is damp, so you can feel colder than in dry cold. You don't want moisture buildup either as you'll end up with damp.

Honestly living in Canada opened my eyes to the beauty of a dehumidifier. Especially for the UK - not only pulls moisture out, but puts out heat too! Noisy, though.

Decent onesie, blanket. House at 15 degrees C, little oil-filled radiator to take the edge off in their room if needed (last year B&M had loads of them on sale - I got a 500W one for I think a fiver...).
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Laura33 on August 17, 2020, 01:08:46 PM
FWIW:  I was a kid during the oil crisis of the '70s, and we had oil heat.  As a result, we always kept the house at 50-55F during the winter (sometimes lower, as my mom refused to turn the heat on at all until November 1, and then would hang on as long as possible without turning it on until we flat-out pitched a fit over the cold). 

Most kids are furnaces and will adjust just fine -- I used to run around the house in short sleeves while my mom was cold with a sweater on.  Get them a nice, fluffy, warm duvet cover, and they'll be fine, really. 

(I should note that karma's a bitch:  now I'm the one freezing when DH wants to sleep with the window open all winter)
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on August 17, 2020, 01:31:23 PM
Remember the UK is damp, so you can feel colder than in dry cold. You don't want moisture buildup either as you'll end up with damp.

Honestly living in Canada opened my eyes to the beauty of a dehumidifier. Especially for the UK - not only pulls moisture out, but puts out heat too! Noisy, though.

Decent onesie, blanket. House at 15 degrees C, little oil-filled radiator to take the edge off in their room if needed (last year B&M had loads of them on sale - I got a 500W one for I think a fiver...).
The eastern side of Britain is actually pretty dry, it's only the western side that can be called damp.  And building regulations require windows that open in any bedroom and if you air the bedroom out every morning (even when it's cold, just for 5 minutes) damp won't be a problem.  Unless you live in a house built before cavity walls were a thing, in which case the house was always intended to be heated and a dehumidifier is useful if there isn't going to be enough heat.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: daverobev on August 18, 2020, 04:00:28 AM
Remember the UK is damp, so you can feel colder than in dry cold. You don't want moisture buildup either as you'll end up with damp.

Honestly living in Canada opened my eyes to the beauty of a dehumidifier. Especially for the UK - not only pulls moisture out, but puts out heat too! Noisy, though.

Decent onesie, blanket. House at 15 degrees C, little oil-filled radiator to take the edge off in their room if needed (last year B&M had loads of them on sale - I got a 500W one for I think a fiver...).
The eastern side of Britain is actually pretty dry, it's only the western side that can be called damp.  And building regulations require windows that open in any bedroom and if you air the bedroom out every morning (even when it's cold, just for 5 minutes) damp won't be a problem.  Unless you live in a house built before cavity walls were a thing, in which case the house was always intended to be heated and a dehumidifier is useful if there isn't going to be enough heat.

I grew up in the driest part of England (least rainfall I believe), and it was still pretty damp! Maybe sea air, so it was humid? Not sure.

I just mean really vs people in the US where it gets cold enough that it really is *dry* in the winter. It's different at +5 or whatever if, yes, you don't open the windows. Absolutely vital to air out, you're right.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Chris Pascale on August 20, 2020, 10:39:29 PM
I bought my home in 2014 and it was the first time I was paying for heating oil. When it ran out, it caught me by surprise.

We gave each kid an extra blanket, went to Target for space heaters and fleece bathrobes, and showered at the YMCA after a swim. We went from being sock-less in shorts to everyone having a housecoat. Tea was frequently on the stove.

Wednesday, we got the oil delivered, turned the thermostats to 60 during the day, and continued with the space heaters, turning up the thermostat to 64 at night.

We probably saved $2,000 a year.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: bogart on August 21, 2020, 04:50:39 PM
Hunh.  We kept our house at 20 DS's first year, as I didn't like getting out of bed and dealing with nursing and changing diapers when it was colder than that, but apparently we keep it at ~11 overnight otherwise.  I mean, I knew we kept it @ 52 F but hadn't done the math to convert to C.

In fairness, we don't actually keep it that cold, we just let it get that cold.  It usually doesn't where we live, unless things are really frigid out.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 22, 2020, 04:41:28 AM
Surely it makes a difference depending on the age of the child? I mean, given that we do now have central heating and therefore have more of a choice than in ye olden days. I'm interested to hear how old your children are, @Chris Pascale and others. Ours don't have the wherewithal to get themselves more blankets if they are cold, so they'd have to wake up and cry til we came and realised what was wrong. (A very difficult task in the middle of the night!)
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: waltworks on August 22, 2020, 09:07:25 AM
We have an 1 year old, 6 year old, and 8 year old, but we've kept the house quite cold since even the oldest was a baby. You just put more clothes on them.

It seems like you want a different answer than you're getting, but the reality is that kids don't need the house kept super warm, full stop. If you want to keep the house really warm for your sake, great. It's your life and your money. Just own it and don't blame your kids! :)

-W
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: starbuck on August 22, 2020, 11:21:11 AM
Two years ago we lost power for a few days during a winter snowstorm. The house got down to 55F (12.7C) and my 2 year old was completely unfazed. He slept like a dream. During the day we had him in a sweatshirt and warm pants and slippers/socks/whatever he would keep on his feet, and just under his normal winter weight blanket in his bed, and I don't even think he noticed. On the other hand, I was the one who was miserable and losing it over the cold during the day.

He is now 4 and is still a furnace. His petite sister (2 years old) is also a furnace. During the infant stage, we used fleece sleep sacks/swaddles, layered over fleece zip up pajamas. Everyone in our house sleeps better in the cold, and we keep our house at 60F (15.5C) at night, no matter the age of the kid.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 22, 2020, 11:47:22 AM
It seems like you want a different answer than you're getting, but the reality is that kids don't need the house kept super warm, full stop. If you want to keep the house really warm for your sake, great. It's your life and your money. Just own it and don't blame your kids! :)

It's not that I want a different answer - just a fuller one. There's a big difference in my mind between dealing with a cold eight year old and a cold one year old - so I'm glad to hear people do the latter with no problems! I think we probably need to get them some bedsocks and maybe some warmer fleece pyjamas (we just have cotton ones right now) but otherwise I think we'll just leave the heating off until we see problems. I'll try to remember to come back to report in a few months time :)
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: waltworks on August 22, 2020, 12:18:23 PM
Kids bodies *have* to be able to make lots of heat, because their ratio of mass to surface area ratio is way low compared to an adult.  So they have brown fat and fast metabolisms, and can generate body heat like nobody's business.

I did something like 800k of nordic skiing with our infant last winter in temps down to -5C or so, often with wind chill as well. In her snowsuit inside our ski trailer (thin plastic/fabric walls), she got hot - not dangerously hot, mind you, but certainly not cold at all. I often opened the side vents to keep her from overheating.

-W
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: SimpleCycle on August 22, 2020, 01:13:35 PM
The heat in our last house was not great, so DD's room was often around 15C.  We had her in fleece pajamas and a fleece sleep sack and she never seemed to be cold.  She also didn't sleep ever, but don't think the cold was a problem.  This was from when she was six months to four.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: sparkytheop on August 22, 2020, 01:48:20 PM
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ishįF).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Cranky on August 22, 2020, 02:10:14 PM
I wouldnít keep the house terrible cold for a tiny baby, but a 1yo will probably deal with the cold better than I will.

Layers - a onesie, a fleece sleeper, a sleep sack.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: gaja on August 22, 2020, 03:40:10 PM
I always dressed mine in wool rather than synthetic fleece. It kept them warm even if they sweated, and in my experience it is easier to regulate temperature in wool than in fleece. For years, my kids slept on sheepskins; long fleece in winter time and short in summer time (where we lived, summers were not very hot). They still have the sheepskins, and I sometimes find them cuddled up on them even though they are tough teenagers now. We don't use blankets, but duvets. But on the really cold days, there is nothing that beats a thick woolen blanket under and over the duvet. Knitted woolen blankets are best, but are far too labour intensive to make for adults. 

"Ull er gull" (translated; wool is golden). 
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: ysette9 on August 22, 2020, 04:45:40 PM
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ishįF).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.
Hatís off to you: that is a spectacularly brutal range of temperatures.

Cold in theory I can handle because there exists gear to keep one warm. As for heat, all I can do is suffer, so I avoid living or visiting hot places.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: GuitarStv on August 22, 2020, 05:21:39 PM
Damned Californians.  "I live in a place where outdoor temperatures range from cool indoor temps to warm indoor temps . . . "

I have weather envy.


:P
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: waltworks on August 22, 2020, 05:24:50 PM
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ishįF).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.

Ok, I have to know where you live. That's crazy!

I mean, I live in the high desert in UT, and we get -10C regularly/-20C sometimes in winter, and 35C in the summer on a hot day. But nothing like the range you describe!

-W
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: sparkytheop on August 23, 2020, 10:05:34 PM
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ishįF).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.

Ok, I have to know where you live. That's crazy!

I mean, I live in the high desert in UT, and we get -10C regularly/-20C sometimes in winter, and 35C in the summer on a hot day. But nothing like the range you describe!

-W

Believe it or not, the Pacific Northwest.  We aren't all rainy Portland and Seattle!  I'm really looking forward to moving.  The weather range will be close to the same distance, but cold will be colder and the hot will not be as hot.  Summer this year has been a little cooler, I think the hottest day was "only" 114.  Part of the problem is that it doesn't cool down at night (it will be 90 at 1 am) so you can't even get that little bit of a break.  100+ during the day isn't as bad if you can at least get nights to cool down into the 70s.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: rothwem on August 24, 2020, 01:41:36 PM
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 25, 2020, 12:32:19 AM
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

My energy company gives us a handy dandy graph on their website showing our gas and electricity use by month. We pay £100/month year-round, but I can see that our usage in "heating on" months is double that in "heating off" months.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: rothwem on August 25, 2020, 06:14:34 AM
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

My energy company gives us a handy dandy graph on their website showing our gas and electricity use by month. We pay £100/month year-round, but I can see that our usage in "heating on" months is double that in "heating off" months.

How is that even possible? I just looked up the weather in London and it hardly ever gets below freezing in the winter.  Are you running the toaster to get heat in your house? Opening the electric oven maybe?

I think the issue is your efficiency, not your usage in this case. Not that it really matters from a cost perspective, because it sounds like you pay the same regardless, but if youíre worried about the environmental effects, why not look into a more efficient system?
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: GuitarStv on August 25, 2020, 08:00:54 AM
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

That's probably because you're in a place like us.  Our heating bill is virtually unchanged by our consumption.  The vast majority of it (90%) is fixed charges, so we can double usage with almost no financial impact.  We still conserve for environmental reasons, but the charging of fixed rates rather than rolling everything into a per quantity used fee should be illegal.  It's a huge disincentive to conservation (which is why the companies selling energy are such fans of the model).
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on August 25, 2020, 08:26:30 AM
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

My energy company gives us a handy dandy graph on their website showing our gas and electricity use by month. We pay £100/month year-round, but I can see that our usage in "heating on" months is double that in "heating off" months.

How is that even possible? I just looked up the weather in London and it hardly ever gets below freezing in the winter.  Are you running the toaster to get heat in your house? Opening the electric oven maybe?

I think the issue is your efficiency, not your usage in this case. Not that it really matters from a cost perspective, because it sounds like you pay the same regardless, but if youíre worried about the environmental effects, why not look into a more efficient system?
My heating more than doubles the cost of the months it is off - but I only use 100kwh a month for 7 or 8 months of the year.  The reason for the big difference is not having air conditioning in the summer.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Moonwaves on August 25, 2020, 09:19:30 AM
How is that even possible? I just looked up the weather in London and it hardly ever gets below freezing in the winter. 
I just had this conversation with some colleagues the other day - it's hard to judge just on temperature.

In Ireland, for example, it doesn't often go below zero but it definitely oftens feels freezing in the winter. A big part of it is the damp air, I think. But similarly, by the time the temperature reaches about 16c (60f), it is pretty much t-shirts and short trousers weather. In Germany, at that temperature I would most likely be still wearing long sleeves outside, possibly even a jacket.

When you add into this the different methods of construction in different countries, there really can be big differences in real life that aren't really there on paper.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 25, 2020, 10:37:50 AM
Well, in the summer what energy are we even using? We run a Chromebook, boil the kettle (less often than in winter), use the hob, use the oven (less often than in winter) and run the washing machine and dishwasher. That's pretty much it except for very occasional other appliances like the printer or sewing machine. [ETA for total honesty: I've also remembered that of course we have a fridge-freezer, and charge two phones and run two baby monitors year-round.]

In the winter, we need to have lights on (admittedly negligible), use the oven and kettle more, and then heat the house. From my perspective you must be a massive energy hog on other appliances to NOT notice a difference when you turn the heating on!

(We do pay per kwh, it's just averaged across the year to £100/month to make accounting easier. We could pay for what we use month by month but then we'd have to submit more regular meter readings and I CBA to keep on top of that. Smart meter? Well, I'd like one but the waiting list is a mile long. We also rent, so while we can switch supplier we can't just install a different heating system!)
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Sanitary Engineer on August 25, 2020, 11:20:10 AM
We keep the thermostat to 55 (12.7 C) at night and 60 (15.5 C) during the day.  The Thermostat is downstairs and the air duct work for our oil hot air furnance is pretty wonky.  The kids room is generally the warmest room in the house, so probably around 58 F. 

When we had infants we slept them in sleep sacks.  We got a pretty thick one that claimed it was from a nordic country, so felt good about that.  I think it had a temperature rating on it.  Our youngest is now 17 months old and oldest is 4 years.  They wear whatever they want.  Usually footy fleece jams, sometimes they wear excellent Patagonia midweight capilene thermals and wool socks, but this is a pretty consistent outfit no matter the time of day or year.

We are in a cold climate, so they are pretty used to being outside in single digits.  I get a little nervous when temperatures drop below zero F because they aren't so good at keeping their mittens on.  Our middle child wears fleece jams or his thermals at night now and sometimes I can't tell if their diaper leaked or they just produced that much sweat. 

We got a good load of wood this year and I am fantasizing about dropping the oil heat even lower (45 would probably keep the pipes from freezing) and moving the family bed into the living room where the wood stove is.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: rothwem on August 25, 2020, 03:06:07 PM
Well, in the summer what energy are we even using? We run a Chromebook, boil the kettle (less often than in winter), use the hob, use the oven (less often than in winter) and run the washing machine and dishwasher. That's pretty much it except for very occasional other appliances like the printer or sewing machine. [ETA for total honesty: I've also remembered that of course we have a fridge-freezer, and charge two phones and run two baby monitors year-round.]

In the winter, we need to have lights on (admittedly negligible), use the oven and kettle more, and then heat the house. From my perspective you must be a massive energy hog on other appliances to NOT notice a difference when you turn the heating on!

(We do pay per kwh, it's just averaged across the year to £100/month to make accounting easier. We could pay for what we use month by month but then we'd have to submit more regular meter readings and I CBA to keep on top of that. Smart meter? Well, I'd like one but the waiting list is a mile long. We also rent, so while we can switch supplier we can't just install a different heating system!)

Iím not saying that I never use any additional energy in the summer and winter, Iím saying that the difference between uncomfortable and comfortable is much lower than I thought it would be. Youíre going to have the heat on some amount in the winter, most people donít enjoy 5c inside temps. I think that even if you bump the temp waaay down (to say, 13C?) youíre going to be disappointed at the amount of energy youíre still using until you go with a more efficient heat source.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: mspym on August 25, 2020, 05:02:54 PM
Merino wool sleep sacks. Get the sort that fasten over the shoulders like overalls and can be unfastened at the bottom and then the smalls can womble around the house all sleepyhead in the morning until it's feasible to dress them. Also that design lets you change nappies by pulling up the bottom half far enough.

This tip is brought to you from a country that doesn't "believe" in insulation and a city that was built on underground aquifers that turn into giant underground freezers in the winter, just radiating *cold* at you.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: ysette9 on August 26, 2020, 02:58:56 PM
Damned Californians.  "I live in a place where outdoor temperatures range from cool indoor temps to warm indoor temps . . . "

I have weather envy.


:P
And that is why it is more expensive to live in the nice parts of «A. :)
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Kmp2 on August 26, 2020, 11:56:48 PM
We keep our house at 15C in the winter. And I have camped down to 0C with <6 month olds... In the house (at 15C) they have a fleece sleeper, and then a 2.5 tog cotton sack, or a thick fleece sleep sack - we also have a down sleep sack. It's like wearing a comforter vest, but since the velcro is starting to go so we save it for camping at the moment (with socks, onesie, sleeper, fleece coat, and hat.. and socks over their hands!). In the house, meant just a light sleeper was enough to keep them warm.

I have the most trouble with keeping kids warm if it is warm when the go to sleep, but drops 20C by morning... so 23-25C at bedtime... but a low of 0C around 5am.  If the temperature is going to stay fairly constant - with 5-8C, then my kids were very adaptable. If they woke up it was usually for another reason.

My youngest is 2 now, and had no problem last winter with a cold house - in fact they all seem to sleep better. It's that awkward age when they aren't in sleep sacks anymore until they learn to pull up their blankets that seems to be the most trouble
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Sanitary Engineer on August 27, 2020, 05:34:11 AM
It was about 10c in the house this morning. Still is.
4 year old slept naked with a polyester comforter. 2 year old slept in clothes no blankets. 1 year old slept in a fleece onesie with a blanket.
I was cold in shorts and a tee shirt under the comforter.
Wool socks and sweatshirts are the norm this morning.
DW says we actually set the thermostat at 65 f last winter. I was comfortable in shorts.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Chris Pascale on August 28, 2020, 02:39:16 PM
Surely it makes a difference depending on the age of the child? I mean, given that we do now have central heating and therefore have more of a choice than in ye olden days. I'm interested to hear how old your children are, @Chris Pascale and others. Ours don't have the wherewithal to get themselves more blankets if they are cold, so they'd have to wake up and cry til we came and realised what was wrong. (A very difficult task in the middle of the night!)

When this went down they were 3, 5, 9 and 13.

The house was getting chilly so they knew that this was to be warm. Also, the 2 younger ones shared a pull-out captain's bed and may have (I'm not sure) slept together that first evening.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: waltworks on August 28, 2020, 10:14:41 PM
Summary: don't teach your kids to be sissies.

/thread

-W
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 29, 2020, 02:34:59 AM
Summary: don't teach your kids to be sissies. Person tries to make change, one poster decides to make fun of them for it.

/thread

-W

FTFY.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: waltworks on August 29, 2020, 11:31:24 AM
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be insulting. You've gotten a very consistent answer here, which is basically, let it get as cold as you want, your kids will be fine.

-W
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: ysette9 on August 29, 2020, 03:49:45 PM
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be insulting. You've gotten a very consistent answer here, which is basically, let it get as cold as you want, your kids will be fine.

-W
Just for the record, I am not in that camp
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: SisterX on August 29, 2020, 10:24:22 PM
@shelivesthedream - We tend to keep our house at about 15C in the winter at night (~18C during the day) (60F at night, 65F day) and the kids are fine. The whiner is my husband. :) The Demon runs hot so she's in just underwear half the time no matter how cold it is. Although, she will complain and ask for something warm to drink, but not put on clothes. Little Miss gets chillier. She likes long pants, socks, a t-shirt, and a sweater. If they're sitting for a while one or both might have a blanket over their lap. At night they'll wear jammies of choice (including flimsy nightgowns) but we've given each a pile of warm blankets to choose from, with the rest folded at the foot of the bed in case they get cold and need another layer. They have thick fleece blankets and soft fuzzy (but less warm) blankets. The Demon also has a quilt that was made for her. We let the kids decide how many layers of blankets, and which ones, they want. Generally it's 1-2 layers for each. The Demon throws hers off the instant she falls asleep to sleep in flimsy nightgowns in the cold air and seems to love it. Little Miss will be curled up in warm jammies (usually with socks, even under footie jammies) under her two layers but she's perfectly content that way and sleeps really well.

We also have slippers and a bathrobe for each of them, so early mornings and evenings can be spent in jammies with warm layers on top. (I'm usually dressed to match.) In the morning this allows the kids to wake up properly before getting dressed, and at night it allows everyone to get into jammies early so there's no moment of freezing right at bedtime. Also, on bath day they get right into jammies, slippers, bathrobes to warm up. The little one will have her teeth chattering by the time she's dressed but the robe helps get her warm quickly. We do baths before dinner, so they get a hot meal after. That also helps. And then they don't go to bed with wet hair.

We have rice bags for every bed in the house. Heat it up briefly in the microwave and it holds the heat for a while. Both kids ask for their rice bags to be warmed up at bedtime because the warmth is soothing. I think there are ways to also add lavender to them for aromatherapy?

We didn't have any of the sleep problems over the winter that we've been dealing with this summer. I think the heat and light are big factors, among other things.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on August 30, 2020, 02:35:35 AM
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be insulting. You've gotten a very consistent answer here, which is basically, let it get as cold as you want, your kids will be fine.

-W
Just for the record, I am not in that camp
Also for the record, I suspect that the "let it get as cold as you want" camp may be thinking of a cold dry climate.  In SLTD's location houses are designed to be heated as a means of keeping out the damp.  No child (or adult) of any age should be living in a cold damp house.  Houses differ greatly but SLTD should be able to find a fairly low level of heating, combined with airing out, that keeps the atmosphere in her house dry and the occupants healthy.  Layers of warm clothing and bedding take care of the rest.  Adults are more likely to complain than children, in my experience, so the question then is whether they are prepared to put up with it in order to save money and the planet.

I'm a big fan of the comfort of a hot water bottle at night as an aid to going to sleep.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Cranky on August 31, 2020, 06:45:19 AM
My house is dry in the winter because I run the heat, but unless I want the house to actually get below freezing, I've got to run the furnace - the question is how much?

But I agree that it will bother kids more than adults. Kids will run around all winter in underpants. I will not.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 31, 2020, 11:14:07 AM
Thanks for all the helpful replies so far. BabySLTD was kinda cold when she woke up in the night last night but I've got some ideas from here for different clothing combinations we can try as the weather really cools off.

I guess unthanks to those who think I'm making up the fact that our house gets cold and our kids might too? Awdry woke up absolutely frozen a few times his first winter, in our old house. He seems to run hot during the day and cold at night, and BabySLTD so far seems to go the same way.

I have to say, Awdry is NOT a kid who will run around in underpants and be happy. He only likes long sleeved tops, and introducing him to the concept of shorts this summer was a bit tricky. But he can also talk this winter, so there's that in his favour :) And he's always slept amazingly through heatwaves while we're tossing and turning.

One thing is that although we can preheat sleeping bags with hot water bottles (LOL, we're British, having one per occupant is pretty normal!) we haven't anything we could leave in bed with Awdry, whose room is particularly cold. (It's in a crappy extension on top of a garage with single glazed windows - worse construction than the original house!) I could easily make a rice bag but we haven't got a microwave and I don't want to fire up the oven just for that or, indeed, to cause a fire! Any ideas?
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Sibley on August 31, 2020, 12:22:55 PM
Heated mattress pad. Assume they exist in the UK? Also have heated blankets, heated throws, etc but for a small child something they can't get tangled up in is probably a better bet.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Cranky on August 31, 2020, 01:05:08 PM
So what temperatures are you talking about? I keep the house at about 16į at night in the winter and Iím pretty warm under the covers. (And I despise cold and am pretty chilly in the winter.)

Are you using a blanket sleeper? Socks? Cotton long johns? A toddler can have a comforter to pull up, yes?

(My kids are grown, but I buy clothes for my grandson, so Iím pretty familiar with tiny pjs again!)
Title: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: ysette9 on August 31, 2020, 03:13:57 PM
Heated mattress pad. Assume they exist in the UK? Also have heated blankets, heated throws, etc but for a small child something they can't get tangled up in is probably a better bet.
Heated mattress pads are amazing. In the old crappy house we rented with single pane windows, no central heat, and plenty of gaps in the walls I got an electric blanket to pre-warm my bed before I got in. There is something mentally exhausting for me about being uncomfortable and cold. I make no apologies for cranking the heat up to something mildly warm, especially for stepping in and out of the shower. It is remarkable how much decent insulation and double paned windows do for comfort.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: mspym on August 31, 2020, 05:59:04 PM
Or a sheepskin underlay, that's really cosy.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: GuitarStv on September 01, 2020, 08:02:24 AM
Or a sheepskin underlay, that's really cosy.

I prefer cutting open and getting into a fresh taunton a la Empire Strikes Back.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: joe189man on September 01, 2020, 08:47:52 AM
how much money are you saving by keeping the house cold? Is it common to keep houses cold (less than 60 F) in the winter months for folks on this forum? What do you do in the hot summer, no AC ever?

we keep the house comfortable year round,
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: daverobev on September 01, 2020, 09:04:08 AM
how much money are you saving by keeping the house cold? Is it common to keep houses cold (less than 60 F) in the winter months for folks on this forum? What do you do in the hot summer, no AC ever?

we keep the house comfortable year round,

Have you ever been to the UK? A/C not needed, though becoming more desirable with global warming in certain places... but really a luxury I'd say. There are gasps of shock and horror if we get to 30 degrees C...

Heating, eh no, I'd imagine most people turn the heat up to at least ~20 degrees C, 70 F in the winter... While it doesn't get "cold cold", it's pretty damp in the winter - you HAVE to heat your house else you'll get mold everywhere. Honestly I don't know why dehumidifiers aren't used more commonly, they make it hot and dry, just what you need.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on September 01, 2020, 09:57:55 AM
Thanks for all the helpful replies so far. BabySLTD was kinda cold when she woke up in the night last night but I've got some ideas from here for different clothing combinations we can try as the weather really cools off.

I guess unthanks to those who think I'm making up the fact that our house gets cold and our kids might too? Awdry woke up absolutely frozen a few times his first winter, in our old house. He seems to run hot during the day and cold at night, and BabySLTD so far seems to go the same way.

I have to say, Awdry is NOT a kid who will run around in underpants and be happy. He only likes long sleeved tops, and introducing him to the concept of shorts this summer was a bit tricky. But he can also talk this winter, so there's that in his favour :) And he's always slept amazingly through heatwaves while we're tossing and turning.

One thing is that although we can preheat sleeping bags with hot water bottles (LOL, we're British, having one per occupant is pretty normal!) we haven't anything we could leave in bed with Awdry, whose room is particularly cold. (It's in a crappy extension on top of a garage with single glazed windows - worse construction than the original house!) I could easily make a rice bag but we haven't got a microwave and I don't want to fire up the oven just for that or, indeed, to cause a fire! Any ideas?
Switch the bedrooms around?
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on September 01, 2020, 12:20:53 PM
So what temperatures are you talking about? I keep the house at about 16į at night in the winter and Iím pretty warm under the covers. (And I despise cold and am pretty chilly in the winter.)

Are you using a blanket sleeper? Socks? Cotton long johns? A toddler can have a comforter to pull up, yes?

(My kids are grown, but I buy clothes for my grandson, so Iím pretty familiar with tiny pjs again!)

Well, we can't turn the thermostat below 10C (both physically and rentally contractually). Last night Awdry's bedroom got down to 17.5C and it's only 1st September. So... somewhere in between those two temperatures? That's kind of the point - getting a gauge of how low we can go and what we might need to change about our current setup to get there. It's been interesting hearing what temperatures people are keeping their houses - and that everyone keeps theirs cooler at night. We've always done the reverse! I find it much easier to warm myself up during the day if I get a bit chilly than at night.

We currently have available for baby: cotton vests, cotton sleepsuits, 2.5 tog sleeping bags, regular jumpers, regular socks. Though I need to look in our next-size-up box and see what's in there - because it won't be long!
We currently have available for toddler: flannel button-up pyjamas, 2.5 tog sleeping bag. I have also just bought him a fleecy dressing gown and crocheted him some wool bedsocks. He hasn't had a comforter/duvet so far but my parents have given us a an old lightweight one of theirs which will be perfect for an additional layer, although it's single bed sized so I'll have to figure out how best to arrange it in the cot.

Or a sheepskin underlay, that's really cosy.

I've heard awful things about these and SIDS so I don't want to go there.

how much money are you saving by keeping the house cold? Is it common to keep houses cold (less than 60 F) in the winter months for folks on this forum? What do you do in the hot summer, no AC ever?

we keep the house comfortable year round,

Have you ever been to the UK? A/C not needed, though becoming more desirable with global warming in certain places... but really a luxury I'd say. There are gasps of shock and horror if we get to 30 degrees C...

Heating, eh no, I'd imagine most people turn the heat up to at least ~20 degrees C, 70 F in the winter... While it doesn't get "cold cold", it's pretty damp in the winter - you HAVE to heat your house else you'll get mold everywhere. Honestly I don't know why dehumidifiers aren't used more commonly, they make it hot and dry, just what you need.

Yeah, I have NEVER known ANYONE EVER who has had air conditioning in their ACTUAL PERSONAL HOUSE. Shops tend to have it, but in your HOUSE? That's super-luxury-level practically-private-yacht-and-servants living.

I think 21C is "room temperature" for your average Brit these days. (Not your average forumite Brit, I expect!)

I don't know how much money I'm going to save. "Some." I mean, if my energy usage doubles in "heating on" months and I halve the heating I use over the course of the year, then 1/4 of my energy bill? (I know it's not that simple.) I'll have to see, but I do expect it to have a noticeable impact on my bill.

I do keep hearing people recommending dehumidifiers, and we did notice a slight tendency to mould last winter. However, is it not going to be the case that for the cost of buying and running a dehumidifier I might as well spend the money heating the house instead? Please do correct me if there are some benefits I am not seeing or if the cost is wildly non-equivalent.

Switch the bedrooms around?

We have three bedrooms: Awdry's in the crappy extension, then ours and BabySLTD's across the landing. We couldn't fit a double bed in Awdry's so we can't move in there. There's no point just swapping him and her around, and I don't want them to share while she's so young (for waking-up reasons and safety reasons).
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on September 01, 2020, 01:05:29 PM

Switch the bedrooms around?

We have three bedrooms: Awdry's in the crappy extension, then ours and BabySLTD's across the landing. We couldn't fit a double bed in Awdry's so we can't move in there. There's no point just swapping him and her around, and I don't want them to share while she's so young (for waking-up reasons and safety reasons).
Bunk beds for you and Mr SLTD.  Sorted!
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: mlipps on September 01, 2020, 01:12:49 PM
Heated mattress pad. Assume they exist in the UK? Also have heated blankets, heated throws, etc but for a small child something they can't get tangled up in is probably a better bet.
Heated mattress pads are amazing. In the old crappy house we rented with single pane windows, no central heat, and plenty of gaps in the walls I got an electric blanket to pre-warm my bed before I got in. There is something mentally exhausting for me about being uncomfortable and cold. I make no apologies for cranking the heat up to something mildly warm, especially for stepping in and out of the shower. It is remarkable how much decent insulation and double paned windows do for comfort.

I also endorse the heated mattress pad. I live in an ancient apartment in Chicago (see prior posts about how to reduce my horrific drafty windows...) and it's gotten down below 15C on the worst nights. It's a bit too chilly for me no matter what clothes I put on, but buying a heated blanket made a huge difference. That being said, I've also slept on a heated mattress pad & I think it's way cozier, as the coldest part of my bed is always under my pillow near the exterior wall. My gas bill does seem to fluctuate quite a lot based on how much I run my furnace, but my electric bill doesn't seem to take much of a hit at all from the blanket, so it's been a great way to save money.

Also agree w/the recommendations that wool is more comfortable than synthetics esp. for sleeping. That said, unless you need it for other purposes, you might not break even on your heating bill buying wool clothing every year for growing kids unless you find a good source for it used.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: SisterX on September 01, 2020, 02:38:04 PM
With heated blankets and mattress pads you don't even have to keep them on for very long. We've used an electric blanket to warm things up before getting into bed, then turning it off to save electricity. That worked out quite nicely.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: dabighen on September 02, 2020, 08:04:28 PM
There is a saying in our house, "there will be no hear until trick or treat"....we live in New Hampshire.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Chris Pascale on September 02, 2020, 09:47:11 PM
My house is dry in the winter because I run the heat, but unless I want the house to actually get below freezing, I've got to run the furnace - the question is how much?

But I agree that it will bother kids more than adults. Kids will run around all winter in underpants. I will not.

I'll say 62 degrees, but everyone needs a robe, slippers, and a large selection of tea and cocoa beverages.

What do you think?
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Cranky on September 04, 2020, 02:55:00 PM
In the winter the thermostat is at 67 during the day, and I get a bit chilly sitting around though I do dress warmly. Once I get into bed, I warm up to the point that I need to take my (hand knit) wool socks off during the night. We have sheets, a thin quilt, and a down comforter. The down comforter is what really makes the difference. I never got out the flannel sheets last winter because I thought theyíd be too warm - it was a pretty mild winter. I donít think we had any sub 0 days.

I would not call NE Ohio a dry climate.

Anyway, Iíd experiment with lowering the thermostat a degree/week and see how it goes.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Villanelle on September 04, 2020, 03:15:17 PM
Is there a reason you can't just leave the hot water bottle in the bed?  Get one with a thick cover of some kind (or sew/make a cover), hopefully fleece.  You can leave off the cover to quickly warm the bed, then put it on and tuck it in bed with the kiddo.

I sleep with my hot water bottle in bed with me most nights in winter.  Why would it only be for pre-heating?

And once you own the cover, this would be basically free since it sounds like you already heat the water to pre-heat the bed anyway. 
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Cranky on September 04, 2020, 07:31:34 PM
My hot water bottle cover is made from a nicely felted sweater from the thrift store.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on September 05, 2020, 01:25:24 AM
That's exactly how we have our hot water bottle (complete with homemade cover!) but tiny fingers like to fiddle with things in the night and I'd also like to not be woken up by third degree burns. I don't know when I'd put a hot water bottle in with him all night. I guess when I think he understands and can reiterate my firm instructions about not opening the cover or hot water bottle - which is not yet.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on September 05, 2020, 02:27:48 AM
Would he leave it alone if it was at the end of the bed and under the sheet?  Or you could start off with it hot to warm up the bed and then expose it to the air while you are putting him to bed so that it is still warm but not burning.   I'm sure there must be some sort of answer that will make a hot water bottle work.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: MayDay on September 05, 2020, 05:46:07 AM
Definitely just get heated mattress pads. They are amazing. We did ricebags for ages and this is so much better!
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Imma on September 05, 2020, 07:07:16 AM
I grew up in the Netherlands (so similar climate to the UK) in a post-war 2 up 2 down on a council estate with single glazing and no central heating. We didn't have any permanent heating upstairs, just two gas heaters in the kitchen and living room. You can probably picture the type of home.

We slept in warm flannel pyjamas with a vest underneath. We also wore socks when it was cold. We had 4-season duvets with a cotton summer duvet and a woolen winter duvet and we also had 100% wool blankets on top of the duvet. We also had special flannel winter duvet covers. Of course back in those days no one was aware of SIDS. I know that when the babies were really small my mother used to let them sleep under a light weight blanket tucked in around the stomach and had special knitted sleeping cardigans that baby wore on the top half of the body. If it was really cold, the baby slept with my parents.

When it was freezing, my mum had an electric space heater that she dragged upstairs and ran for an hour before we went to bed. Back in the days those things were pretty dangerous and consumed a lot of energy. We also had hot water bottles for the younger kids. My mum was using a type of bottle that was impossible to open for us, put it in the cover upside down and she didn't fill it with boiling water, but with water the temperature of bath water. It would have been a mess if any of us had been able to open it but not dangerous (no one ever managed to as far as I recall).

As an adult my first flat was even colder (no central heating, single glazing and no cavity walls) and it was really just a matter of layer upon layer upon layer. That's when I started quilting! We now live in a pretty warm house where we don't need to run the heating a lot. I notice that as an adult, I can still tolerate the cold a lot better than Mr Imma, who grew up in a house with central heating. Our normal day temperature is 18C but for me 16+ is enough. If I turn on the heating I get hot quite quickly so I prefer to put on a sweater. We don't generally turn on the heat during the night, it's programmed to automatically turn on when it's 13C but that hardly ever happens. It's usually 15/16C when we wake up. For sleeping I prefer a crisp, cool 14-16C but Mr Imma likes it warmer.

Last winter we bought an electric space heater. These days they are pretty safe and cheap to run (Ä1/week or something if we run it for a few hours every night). I turn it on before we go to bed and it turns itself off after 3 hours. Ours is programmed to heat the room to a certain temperature and then keep it that temperature so it doesn't just run and run and run. I think it cost about Ä80 new. It's way more efficient than heating the entire house all night long. Our central heating runs on gas and can easily cost Ä10/day to run.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Villanelle on September 05, 2020, 01:45:39 PM
That's exactly how we have our hot water bottle (complete with homemade cover!) but tiny fingers like to fiddle with things in the night and I'd also like to not be woken up by third degree burns. I don't know when I'd put a hot water bottle in with him all night. I guess when I think he understands and can reiterate my firm instructions about not opening the cover or hot water bottle - which is not yet.

I don't put boiling hot water in mine (in my case simply because I don't like to wait that long for the kettle, and because it can feel too hot for me if I do).  Opening it would make for an unpleasant surprise and a wet bed, but no burns. 
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Luz on September 05, 2020, 08:48:36 PM
What about a 3.5 TOG? They're available in infant sizes and also 2-4T for toddlers who haven't yet mastered keeping the covers on at night. If you go below 14C, you can experiment with other layers besides the standard cotton jams underneath (fleece jams, wool socks, hat, etc). Most sleep bags (or sleep sacks as we call them in the US) come with a chart for recommended underclothes. I follow those for my kids and add different layers according to forecasted low temps (in F: below 40, 40-50, 50-60 etc).

For my olden days story: I grew up in Alaska with hippy parents who lived in a dry (no running water), uninsulated cabin when we were preschoolers. We basically lived in our snow gear day and night (long underwear, wool socks/sweaters/hats/mittens, down snowsuits). Plus lots of down comforters (pre-safe sleep). My husband grew up in a hot and humid climate without AC and said on really hot nights, he and his siblings would sleep on the ground.

Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Jon Bon on September 07, 2020, 09:47:45 AM
I feel like you are going about this the wrong way.

Sure you can wrap your kid up like a mummy in blankets and put hot water bottles under their bed to save a few bucks. But that seams like a huge PITA. What about when you have to change them in the middle of the night? They are going to be cold and PISSED when you take all those clothes off.

The solution, insulate your house, set the temp to whatever is conformable and be happy. No need to worry about all this. I did blown in cellulose in the attic and walls. Turned the heat up, and used less energy year over year.

Guilt free heat is nice!
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Cranky on September 07, 2020, 10:54:20 AM
I donít think thatís a viable solution when you rent.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: dashuk on October 15, 2020, 02:52:39 AM

I do keep hearing people recommending dehumidifiers, and we did notice a slight tendency to mould last winter. However, is it not going to be the case that for the cost of buying and running a dehumidifier I might as well spend the money heating the house instead? Please do correct me if there are some benefits I am not seeing or if the cost is wildly non-equivalent.

We bought one this time last year. It's handy for occasional use - drying things out after a few days where it's been especially wet/we've done a lot of laundry/we've not been around at the right time of day to air out by opening windows. But they do use a lot of power.

The first couple of months we had it and we're using it more often than that (in particular running it in the spare room when laundry was drying) but still not all the time by any means, it put about 30% on our monthly electricity usage - normal is about 170kWh, we hit about 230kWh.

Gut feel would be that airing the house out as best you can with the windows, judicious use of a dehumidifier, and running the house a bit colder would be considerably more efficient than cranking the heat up to achieve the same internal relative humidity. Especially if you have bad windows or other localised cold spots.

Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: havregryn on October 15, 2020, 03:10:53 AM
I grew up in a chronically underheated house (due to terrible building standards, not for the lack of trying) and I remember it with horror.
I don't know what your budget looks like, but saving on heating the home in a meh climate and decent quality food are the last things I'd go after.
Especially as I have a feeling it can't be that much money to save, I'm not sure where you live and how you heat but around here (Luxembourg) most sources of energy for heating have been getting cheaper (electricity, heating oil, gas, all of it).

I'm not sure that shenanigans to avoid feeling cold wouldn't end up costing you more than heating (like these merino wool thingies, I feel equipping your family with those will cost more than a winter of heating unless you're heating with some super expensive thing that I'm missing), can you post an overview of what numbers we are talking about here?
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Imma on October 15, 2020, 05:51:50 AM
I'm not sure about the UK but here in the Netherlands, heating is a very large bill every month, so I totally understand trying to save on that. I know a lot of people that pay Ä200-Ä250 a month. Those are average, non-mustachians with a dryer and a second freezer, but not people who heat their home to 25C in the middle of winter.

We pay Ä100/month (35 for electricity and 65 for natural gas) for our I think very modest energy consumption of 1500/kWh and 600 m3 of gas every year + Ä25/month for 90 m3 of water every year.

We are due to renew our contract so I hope I can get a better price soon, I've also heard that energy prices are getting lower, but I'm not sure if that will change anything to the bill. It seems like every time prices get lower, the government raises their taxes. No matter how much effort we put into increasing energy efficiency of our home, our bill has only ever gone up. We are still focusing on energy efficiency because of our green ideals, but financially it makes very little sense.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on October 15, 2020, 07:05:05 AM
A quick Google suggests that an average energy bill for a family of four in a 3-4 bedroom house might be £125/month. We've just switched energy supplier a few months ago so I don't have data on kwh, but I do know that we previously paid about £100/month. Our new supplier suggests a direct debit of £80/month but they are known for being off with their estimates so we will see. Also, we have switched to cloth nappies, so are obviously doing more washes a week, and the £100/month didn't really cover the general existence of our second baby (slight uptick in laundry, mainly, otherwise we all smell of rancid sick).

Our income has recently been cut by 40% cuz pandemic reasons so yeah, £20/month could make a difference for us in comfortably breaking even vs just squeaking by. I'm not sure why people feel the need to keep questioning whether saving any money at all on heating is going to be worth it for us. (Mumble mumble forum going soft mumble mumble consumer sukkas) This is not the only expense we are trying our hardest to minimise right now but it's the one I felt I could do with some advice on.

I do, however, agree that buying expensive extra things to cope with serious cold is not likely to be a good investment. Wool undercrackers are not in the budget for us right now.

Things we have actioned:
- Decided to keep toddler in cold bedroom and baby in sunwarmed bedroom - at least until March, then we can reassess. The cold bedroom faces the front anyway and he likes watching cars out of his window. This probably means keeping him in the cot until March - either as a cot, or doing the conversion to toddler bed - and keeping her in the travel cot. Otherwise it would be a squeeze to get a single bed into his room.
- Made what I feel is a sufficiently toddler-proof hot water bottle cover out of materials I already had and put the fear of God into him about opening it. Filled it with not-boiling water. Great success so far, and I've got mine back!
- Decided not to put any blankets into the cot while the sides are up because of irrational fears on the part of both parents.
- Allocated both children bed jumpers.
- Knitted bedsocks and legwarmers for toddler and purchased second-hand dressing gown. He is delighted with all three.
- When my parents came round and asked me to turn the heating on for the afternoon, put toddler to bed afterwards in 16.7 degree room and watched him on the video monitor throwing all his toys and hot water bottle out of the cot, pulling his sleeping bag off and putting that out of the cot, and then sprawling out fast asleep in just pyjamas and jumper. Felt a bit silly. Then he woke up crying at 2am cold as ice because it was 12 degrees again... but Mr SLTD dealt with it and gave him a Stern Talk.

Still wondering about a solution to all the condensation. Opening the windows helps a bit in our room but it's still there two hours later when I close them. There's no good time to open the windows in the toddler's room cuz naps.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Imma on October 15, 2020, 07:40:32 AM
Good to hear the hot water bottle worked out! That's nearly free and it really works. As long as he keeps it in bed of course.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on October 15, 2020, 09:53:18 AM
I think you just have to keep on wiping the condensation away with a window scraper and cloth each morning it appears.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: Cranky on October 17, 2020, 11:33:20 AM
I forget if youíve said - are the windows single paned/one layer of glass? When we had old windows like that, there was nothing that kept condensation from forming on them, and our house wasnít damp in the winter. Plastic over the windows helped.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: brycedoula on October 17, 2020, 01:15:10 PM
Still wondering about a solution to all the condensation. Opening the windows helps a bit in our room but it's still there two hours later when I close them. There's no good time to open the windows in the toddler's room cuz naps.

My first apartment had terrible windows that iced up all winter. The only way I was able to solve it was by pointing a small fan at them continuously.
Would that be a solution? Bonus points of the fan acting as white noise...
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: ysette9 on October 18, 2020, 07:58:31 AM
We had condensation on the inside of the windows in winter when we lived in the crappy rental house. Single pane windows that fit poorly and the whole house leaked and wasnít insulated, so heating it was an exercise in futility.

I would wipe the windows down sometimes but really, I found no solution because the cause is the temperature differential across the pane of glass.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: former player on October 18, 2020, 02:52:22 PM
Perhaps it would help to think of the glass as a dehumidifier?
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: daverobev on October 20, 2020, 07:59:34 AM
We had condensation on the inside of the windows in winter when we lived in the crappy rental house. Single pane windows that fit poorly and the whole house leaked and wasnít insulated, so heating it was an exercise in futility.

I would wipe the windows down sometimes but really, I found no solution because the cause is the temperature differential across the pane of glass.

Anything over the window to prevent air circulating helps. I've used clingfilm (saran wrap?) before, and it does make a difference.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: kanga1622 on October 21, 2020, 12:50:35 PM
Merino wool sleep sacks. Get the sort that fasten over the shoulders like overalls and can be unfastened at the bottom and then the smalls can womble around the house all sleepyhead in the morning until it's feasible to dress them. Also that design lets you change nappies by pulling up the bottom half far enough.

We used this with our kids and LOVED it. It is like a wearable wool blanket. Both my kids get too hot in anything but 100% cotton pjs even now. Any "fake" fibers meant they were drenched in sweat.

I am not one to turn down the heat much as I get chilled easily, but I can be layered under a couple blankets and my kids are walking around in their underwear. Their bodies just produce more heat.

I'd suggest dropping it 1-2 degrees for a few days to a week to see how everyone reacts. If everyone is fine, drop it again. You will find your point where it affects the sleep patterns or is just too miserable for the adults.
Title: Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
Post by: shelivesthedream on November 04, 2020, 12:07:35 AM
Just wanted to swing back here for an update.

Our sitting room and BabySLTD's room are on the sunny side of the house with good windows. They have had a lot of solar gain and minimal heating. We allocated her a bed jumper in addition to vest, sleepsuit and bag. She's been fine.

Awdry's room is on the shady side of the house with shitty windows, above the draughty garage. I crocheted him some bedsocks, knitted him some legwarmers, bought a dressing gown, allocated him a bed jumper and made him a hot water bottle cover. We blasted the heat while they were in the bath and turned it off when they got into bed. A few times he took his bag and socks off and slept OK until 2am when he woke up cold in a fourteen degree room.

HOWEVER. We haven't *really* pushed temperature because the house started to grow mould. Ew. Lots of mould. So the thermostat in the hall is now on fifteen and that seems to do OK on the mould front. The rooms we spend time in get sun, so on good days they get up to twenty anyway.

We as humans could be comfortable colder, but ew, mould.