How do you keep your pipes from freezing? I live in a 160 year old farm house in central Kentucky, and have been trying to live at 60 degrees (geo thermal forced air energy hog furnace), but froze a pipe. But my body is adjusting after living for years with an ill spouse who had to have it tropical. I am lucky enough to have a buck stove and lots of wood.
Hi! Found your blog after watching your story on ABC. I thought we were the only people doing this! We live in an apartment complex, while we search for a home, and we rarely have the heat on, even in blizzard conditions. The only reason we use it at all is because of our small children.
I found your story very interesting, and I’m glad to find a kindred spirit!
My mortgage requires that I keep my house no lower than 55 degrees. That’s probably to keep pipes from freezing and plaster from cracking, both of which could adversely impact the value of the house. I think, though I’m not sure, that intentionally keeping it colder than 55 degrees would void the terms of my mortgage and the mortgage holder could then foreclose on me (if they found out). I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone, so I suggest that you all check the terms of your mortgage or ask a lawyer to do so for you.
Just watched the piece on ABC here in Colorado and think this is a wonderfuly fun idea! I wish I could be as good as you guys, this is so important for everybody to prepare for and understand. Good luck.
i had no idea others were living like this intentionally – my cousin thinks it is hilarious how I saved $3k or $4k per winter, maybe more. southern NH.
Myself & cats I stay warm mostly via “waste heat” in my primary mancave in a monster house (>4000sqft and mostly unheated for this winter & last.)
i saved maybe $5000 per winter so far with my zone-heating/electric techniques – I heat only one room at a time (at most) , and have “shut off” inefficient part of the house (aka “the saucer section”) above the garage.
The tiny mancave is heated mostly with electronics/TVs/computers.
i’ve discovered that setting the basement propane furnace to 55 or so is more efficient than heating the one room entirely with electric and letting the ‘waste heat’ from that room heat the rest of the house to >32.
i had 3/4″ valves installed to cut-off-water & prevent pipes freezing in the unheated half of the house (the saucer section). another name for the mancave is “engineering”.
I also have an auxiliary-mancave ready for when my youngest boy stays here and I actually turn the propane/furnace heat to 60 or more.
a lightweight who actually turns on the furnace sometimes! (it’s going to be 4 Fahrenheit degrees outside tonight.)
Eli– that’s awesome! We have similar waste-heat reclamation strategies here, just didn’t have time to talk about it on TV. We get the heat back from dishwater and baths before it goes down the drain… working on showers, more complicated here. We have an extra room & bathroom out by the garage that are totally unwarmed– drained the plumbing there as it sounds like you did in the “saucer section”.
Glad to see I’m not the only one who is ‘camping indoors’…800 goose down helps me stay warm enough along with some fireplace heat. I live in the mts. of North Carolina (4,000’) and at times you’d think you were in Canada. -34 degrees is how cold it got here, back in the 1980’s.
When it is around 0 degrees outside, 40 degrees in the house seems WARM to me.
I also let the water run some on the coldest nights; but once came home to a frozen waterfall in the kitchen one day.
I like the ‘frugal’ lifestyle and wish more people could consider 62 degrees the new normal as opposed to 72……
“wish more people could consider 62 degrees the new normal as opposed to 72”
Amen to that.
“800 goose down helps me stay warm”
Before J. came along, my sleeping strategy was an old 20º-rated down sleeping bag, which I would “inflate” with a hair dryer for about 30 seconds before getting in it. It was absolutely fantastic. Not being able to fit J. in there with me, I had to go back to regular sheets and quilts. But really, that was the best strategy for one.
I live in a poorly insulated apartment building along the hudson river. my small 1 BR apartment was running me $300/mo for heat alone.
Three and a half years ago I decided to turn the heat off completely. I rather enjoy it. yes, in the winter the temperature is rarely above the 50s and yes I leave the faucets running, but I have really enjoyed the challenge.
The only downside is that guests have a really difficult time with it. But that is okay too.
Frankly, I was surprised that folks are amazed that we can survive without a living space that is constantly 72 degrees.
I’m so impressed with everyone else who’s been doing this for so much longer, and to greater lengths, than we have. And it is hilarious that people have come to believe that you absolutely cannot survive, or stay healthy, or safe, below 68 (or 65, or 62, or whatever.)
just saw you on TV..I had no idea there were more like us out there. My husband and I live in a house constructed in 1832. The cold comes right through the doors and windows. The floors are freezing. The heat is forced hot air which heats up nicely for a few minutes and then goes cold. When we first moved here we had a wood stove but got tired of burning wood. Our income is good but we have better things to do with our money then send it up the chimney so we and our two daughters got very used to a cool house…no higher then 60 during the day and 55 at night. Trust me that may sound like a nice temp range but it’s pretty darn chilly in here. My youngest daughter slept in a room with no heat since we had electric baseboard heaters in that room but the heater died and my husband never replaced it. The interesting part? My two daughters combined days out of school due to illness was 5 days. My youngest never missed a day of school due to illness after the inevitable chicken pox in 1st grade.
But this year we are in shock when the heating bill comes in. Our oldest daughter and her family which includes a 14 month old child moved in with us in September while they make the transition from living in California to Massachusetts. Hello? They are coming from CA where the temp is pretty balmy year round so we have had to transition them slowly to New England weather and they are doing very well but still I hear the furnace turn on in the middle of night which it only did at about 3am or later during the coldest nights when it was just my husband and I here. BUT I didn’t raise any stupid kids . My daughter also has no desire to spend a lot of money on heat so all in all they are doing well with the cooler temps in our house this year. We have dealt with frozen pipes but fortunately the type of cold that causes frozen pipes is usually short lived and just a very slow drip from the bathroom sink prevents having frozen pipes. But tomorrow my daughter and family leaves for NM and a wonderful solar home that my daughter’s in-laws own. That is the way to go without doubt and I wish it had been an option when we moved into this house 21 years ago. But I guess you can say I am the queen of recycling living in a house that was built 178 years ago.
Just saw this on the news. Maybe think of the things people take for granted. Sure, it’s obvious that people take a warm house for granted these days. But I’ve lived in unheated houses all my life… and as funny as it sounds, I’ve come to take the cold for granted. It just dawned on me how strange it seems to many people that someone would choose to live without heat. These are often the same people who have never considered wearing a jacket or sweater and knit cap indoors.
Eh… just interesting to think about, especially given the energy used (and generally wasted) to heat buildings. On that note, I’d be interested too to see people in hot climates go the other direction: no air conditioning.
“see people in hot climates go the other direction”
My friend N. has been pointing out how some people cool their houses in the summer to temperatures below what they say they could tolerate in the winter! (e.g., they heat to 71º in winter, but A/C down to 67º in summer) Which is pretty funny.
Here I am again, in my old Kentucky home, which oddly, doesn’t seem the least bit uncomfortable in August with 90 degree temp and 90 percent humidity. I think air conditioning can be very unhealthy.
When my neighbor asked if we would be going on a vacation. My reply was “no, we are already staying at the “the four seasons” aka “home”. My feeling is that folks would be much healthier if they would let their bodies “adjust” more to the seasons.
Friends and family call me crazy all the time since I don’t use the heather at home during winter time. I live at the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado and it gets cold around here. To my fortune my apartment faces SSE and receives sunlight (heath) all day long. Something to consider when building or just moving to a new place. Anyhow, you are right: the body gets used to low temperatures. I am confie at home in shorts and t-shirts and the average temperature in my place is 60F.
NIce to know about you and my best wishes to you ae well.
I spent a year without power of any sort in Ohio, in the winter I kept warm by surrounding myself with garbage, until my landlady found out and threw me out. I have still photos if any one is interested in buying….