Author Topic: Winter heat challenge  (Read 15387 times)

TrMama

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #50 on: October 23, 2015, 10:58:51 AM »
Well, I'm out. Zone 8 here, but the windows are soaked in condensation. It's not that cold (16C inside, 10C outside), but we're obviously at 100% humidity. I bumped up the setpoints on the thermostats (baseboard heat, so each room has it's own thermostat) so the heat will come on at night.

My weekend project will be to remove all the interior window screens for winter storage (helps prevent condensation) and bleach the glass and frames to frustrate the mold. Gah, I'd love the rain forest more if it weren't so darn wet!
Humidity is murder in my region, and vast quantities of energy are wasted on inefficient solutions.

We had some mold issues during our no-HVAC spring. Based on suggestions here, I just bought a 30-pint dehumidifier via CL for $20. So far so good. It's now a key part of reducing the duty cycle of our central air system from 6 months annually to more like 2-4.

Yeah, we have a dehumidifier too. However, it's a loud, ugly beast of a thing and I despise having it out all winter. I've tried to get quotes on having an air exchanger system installed in the house, but apparently none of the HVAC companies in town are interested in doing the work. These systems don't seem to be as popular on the Wet Coast as they are in eastern Canada.

enki

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2015, 01:42:05 PM »
Its gotten cold enough that I've had to turn mine on already. I do keep it set at 66F and last winter we blew a bunch of extra insulation into the attic. Three weeks ago when I first replaced the filter and flipped the switch it started up for a couple minutes and ran long enough to fill the house with the smell of burning electronics. I flexed my badassity by opening up the unit and finding the offending piece of electronics. I then went looking for replacements, on a saturday evening. I found a few options online, anywhere from $125 to $50 for the same item. I installed it myself and the system runs great. I'm sure I saved at least $150 on labor and probably more on parts markup.

I miss the apartment I used to live in during the winter because my roommate and I both liked it cold and we left the heat off almost the entire Michigan winter.

MoonShadow

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #52 on: October 30, 2015, 01:56:25 PM »
I miss the apartment I used to live in during the winter because my roommate and I both liked it cold and we left the heat off almost the entire Michigan winter.

My mother would do this (in Kentucky) in her condo, but her condo would rarely drop below 50 because there was a condo on either side of hers, so she was mostly free-riding off their heat loss.  She also made rather extensive & creative use of electric blankets and free-standing spot lamps.

snogirl

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #53 on: October 30, 2015, 02:25:34 PM »
I'm in Northern Vt near Canadian border & like to be warm.
It is one of my splurges. 
I am on natural gas & my house is pretty energy efficient.
Turn that thermostat baby up.
On the flip side, I do not use AC ever.
I do spend a lot of time outside in the winter, for I love it. 
The cold outside doesn't bother me, that is why inside I take advantage of heat.
My energy efficiency report (sent from my utilities) always has me below my most energy efficient neighbors.
If you can stand the cold go for it :)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2015, 02:27:25 PM by snogirl »

Mikila

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #54 on: November 03, 2015, 08:17:47 PM »
To all those still in this race, especially those up north, my hat is off to you.  Your stoicism superpowers are impressive.

At this point I am focusing on efficiency.  Got a new heat pump installed courtesy of the home warranty that came with the house.  We are optimistic about our savings.  I record the meter reading almost every day, so I will know in a few days!

zephyr911

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #55 on: November 04, 2015, 07:16:16 AM »
Bama report: HVAC off (aside from occasionally cycling the fan to keep the air fresh) since early September and still mostly in passive cooling mode.

Using small portable dehumidifier to avoid mold issues - it sucks some power, but nowhere near what the outdoor compressor does.

enki

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #56 on: November 04, 2015, 08:30:42 PM »
free-riding off their heat loss

We did this, third floor apartment. 4/6 sides of the unit were adjacent apartments. The downside is that it got very hot in there during the summer and the thermostat in the living room did a piss-poor job of regulating the two bedroom temps. Now I'm in a woefully under-insulated house that I share with my gf for a great price. I really really want to make sure my own house has insulation in the walls. Thanks Greatest Generation, for burning coal (we still have the chute) to heat your house with EMPTY wall cavities.

Lady Fordragon

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #57 on: November 06, 2015, 12:50:10 PM »
Still haven't turned the heat on, but then again DH and I are currently into our "no heat November" challenge.  On the plus side, the weather for this first week of Nov has been quite nice, thus allowing us to open the windows in the house for some air flow.  Unfortunately, this weather won't last and it's looking like it'll get colder next week at which point I'll be sure to bundle up while inside the house.

karaishere

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #58 on: November 19, 2015, 07:54:05 PM »
My household is bowing out. My husband and I are very cold. I'm wearing my warmest indoor layers and eating a lot of extra food in response to still being cold. At this point it's more cost effective to run the (cheap) heat a little than it is to buy extra food (and eventually new pants). I don't feel too guilty since the first winter storm front is coming through.

Good luck to everyone else!

Tom Bri

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #59 on: November 19, 2015, 09:11:26 PM »
It's been warm here (near Chicago) this year, so easy to keep the heat down. We keep it at 60F (about 15C) all day except for about 6 hours, in the evening when we are all up and home, then it is 65-68. May not even do that once I get the fireplace going. I usually start burning wood in late October, but it's been so mild this year I haven't felt the need.
Installed a new furnace this fall, a lot more efficient than the ancient one it replaced. Hoping for lower gas bills this winter, though it was more due to fear of that monster than any savings.

MoonShadow

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #60 on: November 21, 2015, 03:49:12 PM »
It's been going slightly below freezing overnight for a few days now. Still have not turned the heat on.

Slippers + blankets + flannel sheets + sweaters for the win!

What is the coldest you have seen your thermostat read inside your house?

Tom Bri

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #61 on: November 22, 2015, 01:24:47 PM »
Thermostat 60F. Thermometer 58F in the coldest room of the house. I am wearing woolly socks, long underwear, a sweater and fuzzy jacket, plenty warm and not bulky.

Now, here is a question for you all. We used to keep the temp even lower, but when we noticed that the refrigerator wasn't running and not cooling the food, we had a repairman come out. He said the fridge was fine, but that since the room was too cool, a sensor wasn't telling the fridge to kick on. Sounds crazy to me, but now we keep the house temp at 60F and the fridge has never had another problem.

Spork

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #62 on: November 22, 2015, 01:44:22 PM »
Thermostat 60F. Thermometer 58F in the coldest room of the house. I am wearing woolly socks, long underwear, a sweater and fuzzy jacket, plenty warm and not bulky.

Now, here is a question for you all. We used to keep the temp even lower, but when we noticed that the refrigerator wasn't running and not cooling the food, we had a repairman come out. He said the fridge was fine, but that since the room was too cool, a sensor wasn't telling the fridge to kick on. Sounds crazy to me, but now we keep the house temp at 60F and the fridge has never had another problem.

This seems odd to me.  I've got a fridge out in a totally unheated out building that regulates temperature just fine.  I'm not saying he's wrong.  But it sounds odd.

Tom Bri

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #63 on: November 22, 2015, 06:28:13 PM »


Now, here is a question for you all. We used to keep the temp even lower, but when we noticed that the refrigerator wasn't running and not cooling the food, we had a repairman come out. He said the fridge was fine, but that since the room was too cool, a sensor wasn't telling the fridge to kick on. Sounds crazy to me, but now we keep the house temp at 60F and the fridge has never had another problem.

This seems odd to me.  I've got a fridge out in a totally unheated out building that regulates temperature just fine.  I'm not saying he's wrong.  But it sounds odd.
[/quote]

Yeah, me too. Lots of people keep fridges in garages. Maybe just this particular model has a weird sensor? He didn't charge us, and the fridge works now...

Lady Fordragon

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #64 on: November 23, 2015, 01:52:16 PM »
Still haven't turned the heat on due to our "no heat November" challenge.  This morning the thermostat read the lowest temp so far this month -- 46F (~7-8C).  Since our floors are primarily hardwood with some tile and linoleum, it feels especially cold in our house.  We've been wearing socks with slippers and our robes around the house.  Getting out of bed in the mornings has been particularly difficult due to the cold temp in the house.  As much as I would like to continue this challenge into Dec, I'm turning the heat on come Dec 1st.  It's just really difficult to motivate myself to do things around the house when I'm really cold.  Best of luck to everyone who continues well into Dec!

lizzzi

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #65 on: November 23, 2015, 09:08:06 PM »
It was 55 in the house this morning at 7 when I got up. I had to take off my heavy wool socks to put on my Uggs, but my Uggs were so cold inside. Solution: Run the hairdryer on high/hot into the Uggs for just a short time while sitting on chair freezing. Uggs become nice and warm very quickly...jump into them...put on winter coat and turn up heat for the day (to 65). Go make coffee. Easy-peasy.

mohawkbrah

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #66 on: November 24, 2015, 08:32:15 AM »
pfft i've been living with no heating and windows open(to stop them from steaming up and causing damp) all the year for the past 6 years

temp throughout the years have been -8 at coldest (celsius) to 25 at the hottest (uk)

i simply just wrap up, sit in bed with multiple covers and eat hearty food.

maybe my body is just better adapted to it because i've been living in the cold for a lot of my life

Unless my extremities start going numb my mind just doesn't seem to get bothered by the cold. I still wouldn't try my lifestyle in somewhere like canada or sweden tho haha, id be an icicle
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 08:34:50 AM by mohawkbrah »

RetiredAt63

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #67 on: December 01, 2015, 05:59:18 AM »
As I wrote way up-thread, I had to give in early because of excessive condensation.  I was listening to a phone-in renovation show, and apparently in this area the houses do have a lot of condensation in the fall, because they are adjusting their total moisture content from warm and humid outside air (summer) to outside air very cold and dry (winter) - moisture starts to come out of everything that didn't feel moist, because of the much drier air.  Not happy I had to start up the heating so early, but at least now I know why.

Rightflyer

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #68 on: December 01, 2015, 06:58:45 AM »
A little late to the party. And we may not even be inside the "rules", but here goes anyway. (Please do let us know if we are disqualified!!!)

Zone 6a (Eastern Ontario) here.

No central heat used yet.
But.
We do have a wood stove in the living/dining room.

It gets to the mid-50s (F) in the bedrooms some nights. The main floor goes to 61-62F by early morning.

The best part is we didn't purchase any firewood this year. With the elm and ash (that was knocked down in the summer storms) added to a lot of old softwood we had lying around we should get through the winter.

Propane delivery this morning... $27.56!!!

RetiredAt63

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #69 on: December 01, 2015, 11:59:31 AM »
How much are you using the wood stove?  It isn't so much the type of heating, as to whether you are heating the whole house or just using a little supplemental heat for you.

You must be south and west of me, I am 5a (http://www.planthardiness.gc.ca/images/PHZ_2014_CFS_Map.pdf).  For me it wasn't so much how cold the house got, as how much humidity I was seeing first thing in the morning.  If you are OK that way, more power to you!

A little late to the party. And we may not even be inside the "rules", but here goes anyway. (Please do let us know if we are disqualified!!!)

Zone 6a (Eastern Ontario) here.

No central heat used yet.
But.
We do have a wood stove in the living/dining room.

It gets to the mid-50s (F) in the bedrooms some nights. The main floor goes to 61-62F by early morning.

The best part is we didn't purchase any firewood this year. With the elm and ash (that was knocked down in the summer storms) added to a lot of old softwood we had lying around we should get through the winter.

Propane delivery this morning... $27.56!!!

Rightflyer

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #70 on: December 01, 2015, 01:05:18 PM »
How much are you using the wood stove?  It isn't so much the type of heating, as to whether you are heating the whole house or just using a little supplemental heat for you.

You must be south and west of me, I am 5a (http://www.planthardiness.gc.ca/images/PHZ_2014_CFS_Map.pdf).  For me it wasn't so much how cold the house got, as how much humidity I was seeing first thing in the morning.  If you are OK that way, more power to you!

A little late to the party. And we may not even be inside the "rules", but here goes anyway. (Please do let us know if we are disqualified!!!)

Zone 6a (Eastern Ontario) here.

No central heat used yet.
But.
We do have a wood stove in the living/dining room.

It gets to the mid-50s (F) in the bedrooms some nights. The main floor goes to 61-62F by early morning.

The best part is we didn't purchase any firewood this year. With the elm and ash (that was knocked down in the summer storms) added to a lot of old softwood we had lying around we should get through the winter.

Propane delivery this morning... $27.56!!!

Hi Retired

We're right on the St. Lawrence.

The woodstove is going every morning. Absolutely love warming up in front of the stove with the firebox door open!!! On sunny days we get a lot of solar gain...enough to heat the house. On cloudy days I keep a small fire going all day.

The stove heats the main floor mostly. A small amount of heat percolates upstairs to the bedrooms. The walkout basement gets nothing from the woodstove...the walkout was at 54F this morning. Great for the potatoes, onions etc

So far no condensation, unless we have showers/baths and have the propane stove going. Even then it dissipates pretty quickly when I fire up the woodstove.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #71 on: December 03, 2015, 04:15:52 PM »
Mm, sounds lovely, do you take boarders?

Hi Retired

We're right on the St. Lawrence.

The woodstove is going every morning. Absolutely love warming up in front of the stove with the firebox door open!!! On sunny days we get a lot of solar gain...enough to heat the house. On cloudy days I keep a small fire going all day.

The stove heats the main floor mostly. A small amount of heat percolates upstairs to the bedrooms. The walkout basement gets nothing from the woodstove...the walkout was at 54F this morning. Great for the potatoes, onions etc

So far no condensation, unless we have showers/baths and have the propane stove going. Even then it dissipates pretty quickly when I fire up the woodstove.

LiveLean

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #72 on: December 04, 2015, 08:52:07 AM »
Living here in Central Florida for 18 years, it seems like we're able to pull this off every third year or so. Today is the first day we won't have a high of 80-plus since May or so. Our electric bill for November was 30 percent higher than last year because of the heat.

Maybe a no AC challenge for April or May would be better for us.

rulesofacquisition

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #73 on: December 04, 2015, 09:22:50 AM »
This is an awesome thread. We are in 7a/7b and only heated with wood for the past 2 winters. House was 39 degrees F at the lowest, and usually in the 50's due to the woodstove going out while we were at work during the day. We just put in a hybrid system and duct ourselves (heat pump with a gas furnace as backup) but the natural gas co. won't run a line to the house until we set a second major gas appliance, so the heat pump is not going to heat the house fully (will probably set it to 50 or 55 when it gets colder). Smaller second floor still unheated. It's set on 62 now, we are completely spoiled, maybe we'll join the challange next year.

MoonShadow

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #74 on: December 04, 2015, 09:28:39 AM »
This is an awesome thread. We are in 7a/7b and only heated with wood for the past 2 winters. House was 39 degrees F at the lowest, and usually in the 50's due to the woodstove going out while we were at work during the day. We just put in a hybrid system and duct ourselves (heat pump with a gas furnace as backup) but the natural gas co. won't run a line to the house until we set a second major gas appliance, so the heat pump is not going to heat the house fully (will probably set it to 50 or 55 when it gets colder). Smaller second floor still unheated. It's set on 62 now, we are completely spoiled, maybe we'll join the challange next year.

Just install a gas oven.  They are great to cook on anyway.  Or go with propane as your backup.  It is more expensive per energy, but if you only use it for backup heat, and you have a woodstove, you likely won't use much anyway.  Do you have to pay to have the natural gas line extended?

rulesofacquisition

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #75 on: December 04, 2015, 09:41:57 AM »
This is an awesome thread. We are in 7a/7b and only heated with wood for the past 2 winters. House was 39 degrees F at the lowest, and usually in the 50's due to the woodstove going out while we were at work during the day. We just put in a hybrid system and duct ourselves (heat pump with a gas furnace as backup) but the natural gas co. won't run a line to the house until we set a second major gas appliance, so the heat pump is not going to heat the house fully (will probably set it to 50 or 55 when it gets colder). Smaller second floor still unheated. It's set on 62 now, we are completely spoiled, maybe we'll join the challange next year.

Just install a gas oven.  They are great to cook on anyway.  Or go with propane as your backup.  It is more expensive per energy, but if you only use it for backup heat, and you have a woodstove, you likely won't use much anyway.  Do you have to pay to have the natural gas line extended?

We have the conversion kit for the furnace so we can get propane and use it. The gas stove is not an acceptable second appliance for the gas company. We can get a Noritz tankless water heater for about $1000 and put it in ourselves, so that was the plan. We are borderline on the distance the natural gas line has to run as far as having to pay for hookup. We haven't had them come out yet to look - wanted to get the heat pump set and some other things done in the yard before we had to dodge a gas line.

MWOverlander

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #76 on: December 10, 2015, 02:52:15 AM »
I'm envious of those who can keep their furnace set between 58 - 60F (which would be perfect for me). My DW has finally allowed me to set it at 68F this year, which is better than the 70F that i've dealt with over the last 8 years.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Winter heat challenge
« Reply #77 on: May 30, 2016, 09:38:48 PM »
It's now the southern hemisphere's turn :)

I've challenged myself to not use my heater until June (I have no central heating). Until a week ago, it was easy.

This morning (the 31st) it was 3C when I woke up, and that was a bit of a challenge.

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