It’s getting towards the so-called “heating season”. One friend has already switched her furnace on, and I know others are eyeing the switch and thinking of doing the same. It’s become instinctive, I think, for people to reach immediately for artificial heat the first moment the house is cooler today than it was yesterday. But I (and, I think, housemate) plan to resist the temptation again this year.
In fact, we’re moving to a new house which has no central heat at all! You might not be surprised to learn that we got a pretty good deal on the house—no one else, evidently, wanted to buy a house in Maine in September with no furnace. The present owner has been living with a propane space heater in the cellar, a pellet stove on the main floor, and no heat in the upstairs (bedrooms.) As part of the negotiations, however, I agreed to let him take his pellet stove with him. So when we move in, mid-November, we’ll have pretty much a blank slate, heat-wise. We may be the only people in New England who find that appealing.
What are we going to do? Well, I am not going to rush out and install $15,000 worth of central heating before winter. First, I
think, we’re going to get a small wood stove for the main room. Second, we’re going to employ strategies used last winter: bubble wrap on the windows… reclamation of dishwasher and bath-water heat… electric blankies… sealing off of often-used areas from little-used areas… minimization of indoor evaporative cooling… reduced toilet flushing… and just await the physiologial and psychological adaptation that I’m convinced comes along naturally. Thirdly, if needed, for the time being, we’ll make judicious localized use of electric space heaters. Then, we’ll see how we’re doing. There will be much to report!
Meanwhile I’m trying to rent out my current house. State law requires me to make a disclosure to prospective tenants of the house’s energy-saving features, or lack thereof, and of course each person asks how much oil “it takes” to heat the house and provide hot water. I tell them we used 200 gallons of oil from October to April, but they are going to use twice that.