Gradual Decline

You might be interested in this graph of our average weekly house temps since late October (seven weeks of data).

This gives a wider-angle view of what we’ve experienced here: a steadily colder house.  You could assume that it’s getting colder inside simply because it’s getting colder outside, and there is some truth to that.  But even in the first of these weeks we did have some fire heat, indicating that we (or at least one of us) felt chilly enough to want it.  Also, as you know, we don’t have a thermostat, so we didn’t make a conscious decision to taper our average temps down like this– it just happened that way, a result of how many times we lit the wood stove each week, and how many logs we threw on the fire.

So how is it that we “needed” heat when we averaged over 60º, if we are now just about equally comfortable below 53º?  I can only surmise, yet again, that we really do adapt.  A miracle happens, and lower temps no longer feel lower.  I believe there are psychological, behavioral, and physiologic components to this, but the exact phenomena are up for debate.  I can tell you with certainty, though, that the largest obstacle to adapting to a new set-point is refusing to start.  It’s not too late: start turning your thermostat down 1ºF every two weeks, and see if by spring you, too, aren’t handily living at 8º cooler than you are now.

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6 Responses to “Gradual Decline”

  1. Leif Says:

    … and halfway through the 16-week experiment the in-laws will come. The thermostats get punched up for the weekend, and our acclimation is reset.
    Only two solutions: keep the in-laws away all winter, or have ’em move in and stay all winter. Hmmmm.

  2. Leif Says:

    Could you add more lines to your graph:
    Average daily peak temperature, or
    Average temp from 5-9PM everyday.
    Would it be illustrative?

  3. John Says:

    Box and whiskers.

  4. J. Says:

    I would bet that the temps between 5 and 9 pm generally drop off. If I’m home for most of the day, I tend to light a fire right away and let it die out by mid-day/early evening. Could be wrong but I think the temps fluctuate a fair amount from day to day.

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