Freezin’ our buns off

A few weeks ago Ava inadvertently turned off our heat. As a result we had a very chilly night in our house. I woke up several times wondering why I was so cold, but in my freezing state I refused to get up and check the thermostat and instead tried to curl myself into a smaller ball to stay warm. Ava woke up several times too, crying out in her sleep, which I could only assume later was because she was too cold. I covered her up with her blanket each time, but she invariably kicked it back off again.

thermostatBy the time we woke up in the morning and Jody went downstairs to check the thermostat (I stayed in bed with the blankets pulled up to my ears), the temperature in the house was down to 58 degrees. Yes, it was downright cold, but it also got me thinking. If we wore socks or added some extra blankets, could we survive turning our thermostat down a bit at night?

For the last year or so (in the winter), we’d done 68 degrees during the day and 67 degrees at night. The reason I had balked at going lower than that (other than the fact that I don’t want to be the heat tyrant that my dad was, though I understand now why he was) was that the kids tend to sleep without blankets on. We cover them up, they kick it off. I didn’t want them to wake up as little icicles in the morning, so I hadn’t tried turning the heat down.

Crunchy Chicken has had a “Freeze Yer Buns” challenge going on this winter to see how low people can go with their thermostats in the name of saving energy. I haven’t signed up because I don’t feel like I can compete with the majority of people who are involved in it. “62 during the day, 55 at night,” and many go even lower than that! But our little Ava turning the heat off impromptu experiment proved that we can stand to go a bit lower at night – not 58 degrees, but lower.

I know it’s a little late in the season and spring is right around the corner (though we got a few inches of snow tonight), but I decided to reset the thermostat to 67 degrees during the day and 66 at night (update: Oops! I wasn’t giving myself enough credit, I just checked the thermostat and it was set for 65 at night. Just knocked it down to 64. Yeah, I’m living on the edge now. *wink*), and we’ve been doing fine with that ever since. It’s only a slight change, but I have to think that every little bit counts. The kids still stay warm enough at night this way and I feel like I’m contributing in a small way. In fact, per Crunchy Chicken‘s blog, “for each degree set below 68 degrees, energy consumption decreases by about 6 to 8 percent.” So our little change does make a difference! :)

What about you? What is your thermostat set at? Do you think you could lower it a degree or two? Will you? :) Not only do you save energy, you save money too!

More energy saving tips.

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48 thoughts on “Freezin’ our buns off

  1. Ours is set at 67 for the day and something like 64 at night! My kids tend to kick off the blankets too but they sleep hot. It’s been warmer here so that’s no big deal (I’m in CA) but a cold front came through a couple of days ago, the heat was off and I woke up to a 62 degree house. 58 is waaay cold! But we’ve been trying to conserve this winter and it’s helped.

  2. We do 68 during the day, and 65 at night. Our thermostat is right near the kitchen, so the downstairs is always very warm. Upstairs where the bedrooms are, stays a lot cooler. We never have been able to fix this- sometimes it is in the 50′s up there…BRRR… we have a portable heater for the boys’ room, but last year we did 66 at night, and this year we dropped it a degree. Can’t say I notice it that much, but I get cold too. I sleep in flannel PJ’s, have flannel sheets, and a down comforter.

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  4. I tend to lower our thermostat at night because if it’s too warm in the house, we can’t sleep because our noses get stuffy. But, seeing as we live in Northern New Hampshire, I can’t go to 55 LOL But I tend to keep it in the mid 60s. The other night, though, I turned it way down during the day and forgot to turn it up and we slept fine. But normally, mid 60s is all we can do, because our kids also kick blankets off, and they refuse pajamas!

  5. We do 61/62 degrees all of the time. We live in Western Mass. It does make the house a bit chilly, but we compensate by using electric heaters during the day only in areas where we are actually sitting right then. I know that uses energy, but not nearly as much because we are not heating the whole house.

    Also, we find that the cold temp at night actually helps our kids breathe better as well as me and my husband who both have allergies. My two youngest kids also kick off the blankets, but never complain of being cold at night and my oldest just snuggles up like we do. They get used to it.

    The trick is to have a lot of blankets on your bed and to make sure they are BIG enough for the bed especially if you sleep with someone who is restless (such as my husband). Another trick we tried with the kids is letting them sleep in their sleeping bags. It sounds kind of crazy, but they actually think it is cool like camping out and the sleeping bags we have (that we use for camping during the summer) are rated at 30 degrees and were only like 20 bucks a piece. The house never gets that cold of course, so it works fine. My son who won’t stay under normal covers will sometimes stay in his sleeping bag all night b/c he is zipped in and can’t throw it off so easily.

    One other trick for during the day/evening is to acquire lots of throws/little blankets to keep around the house, especially near/on the couch and chairs or in a blanket box close by. I have seen this all over New England in almost everyone’s house. You get coldest when you are not moving, so when watching TV/reading, you need a blanket, but really don’t need to turn the heat up. The kids have their own little blankets or cuddle up with us. Wearing slippers all the time is really helpful too as are area rugs for hardwood/tile floors. We have slippers for the kids too.

    Think about it, people used to live in really cold Northern parts of the US, like we do, with no central heating. They had all sorts of methods for keeping warm, especially at night.

  6. When it was just my husband and I, we kept it around 66 during the day and turned it completely OFF at night. We used an electric blanket though, which kept us plenty warm.

    Now that we have a little one, we keep it around 68 during the day and 64 at night. Our son takes after his daddy and sweats at night no matter what the temperature… We still use the electric blanket to “pre-heat” our bed, but turn it off when we get in since our son sleeps with us.

  7. I am participating in the challenge over at Crunchy Chicken’s, too, and I just wanted to speak up in encouragement. I don’t think you should view it as a competition with anyone else–it’s more of a competition with yourself. Every litle bit helps!

  8. Our place is so well insulated that our heat rarely kicks on. Makes for a really nice utility bill!
    Our bedrooms are all in the basement so it stays a pretty constant 68-70 down there. I think I have the therm set at 66, but it will only fall below that if we open a window.
    Before we lived here and the kids were babies, I used portable radiators in their rooms to keep them warm. We’d set the therm low and the babies would stay warm.

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  10. We have ours set at 65 during the day 62 at night at 67 in the morning when I am trying to convince people to get out of bed. I could easily have it set colder, but my hubby complains. I say just put another layer on. But, whatever.

  11. We have the thermostat set to 68 when we’re at home and awake and 62 at night or when we’re out. My daughter kicks her covers off and so I’ve bought her “footie” pajamas. Carters makes blanket sleepers up to size 6 and also brushed cotton ones. SnugAsABug makes footie pajamas for infants through adults. I grew up in a farmhouse with no central heating and like the cold for sleeping.

  12. We are in Southern Minnesota and we keep our thermostat set at 58 until 3pm when we get home then it goes to 64. It goes back down to 58 at 10pm for the night. We do put a small heater in DD’s room at night, because we don’t want her to get cold. After a while, your body adjusts. Our heat has gone out and we didn’t notice until the next morning when we got up and it was 45 degrees. That was a bit nippy.

  13. We have electric, baseboard heat so it’s a bit different as we have a thermostat in each room. We keep the main room at about 65 in the day (which is really warmer than 65…and heats the upstairs pretty well too) and the whole house 60 at night. I sleep SO much better when it’s cool, and the kids sleep in jammies and seem to get hot easily (???).

    This is one of my concerns with the new bb. I think I’m going to have to increase my thermostat so he doesn’t freeze at night! Not sure yet how we’re going to work all this out….and I honestly don’t remember what I did with the other kids. I think I used a blanket in the bed and somehow I’m freaked by that now…

    Anyway – I used to keep the house colder, longer, but kids…especially nudist kids…I can’t keep it that cold anymore!

  14. 60 at night and when I’m not home.

    Hey sorry about that – I forwarded that thing to you w/out even looking at it. Shame on me!

  15. We set ours below 60 at night but we use electric space heaters in the room, which brings the temp up. It saves money, btu I dunno if it’s more economical? I try to keep it at 62 or less throught he day, without space heaters. We’re in a big old house with poor insulation so even at 62 it’s gobbling up the gas. We’re moving in May to a much more energy efficiant place, so I’m looking forward to that!

  16. wow! i should not be surprised that many of you already have your temps set so low. you all are awesome! maybe we can stand to go a bit lower at night too. we’ll see what i can sneak in. ;)

    we already have throw blankets around the house and i am always wearing slippers and an extra sweater or jacket. the kids tend to go barefoot in the house during the day but still stay pretty warm. i wish i was as warm-blooded as them. :) and they wear footie pjs at night, though some are 2nd hand and are rather worn, so some warmer pjs might help too. i like the sleeping bag idea for older kids. maybe we can get one for ava. :)

    we’ve done the portable heater at night in the past, but our heater turns off and on as the room warms up and it disturbs everyone’s sleep. perhaps we need to look into a better heater.

    and generally speaking, we all sleep in the same room (though jody sometimes sleeps in another room) so it would be nice to only heat 1 (or even 2) room(s) of the house, rather than the whole thing.

    thanks for all of the great tips and inspiration. :) my readers rock!

    amy
    crunchy domestic goddess

  17. We survived at a range of 58-62 degrees all winter. We did not use the propane heat after the costs became staggering and switched to electric. We added more clothing and have blankets in every room.
    Now, we know we can survive, and a plus….we did not get sick or suffer. The flu bug was a normal thing that everyone had…nothing to do with our heat.
    Mind you we live in Wisconsin and had many below zero nights and days, and a lot of snow this winter.

  18. We tend to go low here in CT, too.
    I dress both kids warmly, day and night, and at night in fleece footies, with an undershirt if it will be a cold night.

    Will tends to mostly stay under his covers, and Henry, I just put a sleep sack on him, because I know the covers don’t stay on!

    I can’t stand being cold, so I insist on socks or slippers in the house in winter, and they don’t object–I guess they are like me!

    So, when we aren’t home, it’s at 57, and about 64 when we are home. Can’t wait for warmer weather!

  19. When we lived in NC in a very poorly insulated house we kept it at around 62 when we were home and about 58 during sleeping time. It was chilly, but we were cheap. Keeping it that cold meant that our heating bill was $150 a month rather than $300. Now that we are in South Texas we have had the AC on lately. We keep that around 78.

  20. We are in the upper midwest and keep ours at 66 during the day and 62 at night. Since it’s been near 40 the last few days, I bumped it down to 64 during the day and 59 at night. Luckily, our little one is a heater!

  21. we’re at 68 at night – hubs can’t take it any lower – he’s in hat and has extra blankets. I’m nekkid and kicking off the sheets.

  22. yeah i am the worse one about this. i am ok with me being cold and hubby is too but i dont want the babe to be cold so i keep it on 67 during the day and 71-72 at night. is that bad?? she also kicks off the blanket but she sleeps in really warm footie flannel PJS. do you think if we turned it down she would be ok?

  23. We had a similar situation last week, but it was *I* who turned off the heater in the day (to open the windows for an hour) and forgot to turn it back on! It took forever to warm up the house in the morning – we got down to 57 inside. We keep the house at 65 in the day, 67 first thing in the morning and just before bed, and 63 at night. With little ones, I’m not willing to go cooler than that at night!

  24. I love to snuggle under blankies :) We don’t have thermostat controlled heating in this house. We have a wood fire in winter and have to rely on blankets etc at night. Sometimes it has been known for us to wear beanies.

    Hey – maybe get something like this for the kiddos.
    http://www.merinokids.com/default.aspx

  25. We have a dual control mattress heater that heats us at night without heating our living room. It works wonders, don’t know if you would save much with multiple heaters.

  26. We have a dual control mattress heater that heats us at night without heating our living room. It works wonders, don’t know if you would save much with multiple heaters.

  27. Wow! I thought I was being energy-conscious by turning down the heat at night and when we leave the house (67). While we’re home we have our’s set at 70.

    Thanks to everyone’s testimonies! I’m encouraged to setting it much lower. We don’t have a programmable thermostat. Any suggestions on a particular brand/type?

  28. If my kids were older (aka not having a baby in the house) I would be willing to go cooler. When we were in university we went as low as 14 C (hmmmm 57 F) all day and night but that was COLD!

  29. If my kids were older (aka not having a baby in the house) I would be willing to go cooler. When we were in university we went as low as 14 C (hmmmm 57 F) all day and night but that was COLD!

  30. we are at 65 pretty much all day long. i turn it up a few degrees during the day if we’re really cold…i do run a little heater in the baby’s room because she’s the only one who doesn’t stay covered up and i worry…it can get even colder than 65 in her room… i haven’t signed onto the crunchy chicken challenge either…because 65 seems so high compared with her folks!

  31. We just bought an old house and they don’t have a digital thermostat (next year) but I’d say 65-66 Day and then 62 at night. We have two zones so we turn the heat off when we aren’t occupying a floor.

    That’s great that she was helping her parents conserve energy and save money ;)

  32. My husband hates the heat. I hate the cold, but I can certainly tolerate it in the name of saving money and resources. This makes my husband very unhappy. Good thing he doesn’t pay the electric bill :D

    Texas is a weird place, right now the days are randomly switching between winter, summer, fall, spring. Seriously. For the last year I have enforced a “Get used to it” policy. As long as the temperature is between 65 and 80, I will NOT run the furnace or the AC. If the temp is between 65 and 70, I close the windows to retain warmth. Between 70 and 74, I open the windows, and above that I run all the fans. Because, dear husband, I will not die from 65, and you will not die from 80.

    My electric bill now runs between $130 a month. Last time I wasn’t home for a week in the month it ran up to $180.

  33. Sammie did this a few weeks ago!!!!! I got up that morning and wondered why it was so cold! She had turned the heat all the way off hahahaha We had a long conversation about touching the thermostat!

    Anyway, in Atlanta, we had programmable thermostats and always set the heat to 64 degrees at night. Worked well :) I grew up in NY and we had no heat in our upstairs, so I was used to sleeping in the cold. It felt better to me! We just huddled under blankets!

    Here in the UK we do not have a programmable therm. so if I remember to turn it down, I do. Sammie stays under the blankets pretty well, but Alex is the problem. He does not like those sleep sacks and I dont want a blanket in with him quite yet. I usually put him in a onesie and a sleeper and he stays warm. If it gets really cold, I do keep the heat up some.

  34. Brrrr! Our house is older and drafty. We have doors that need to be replaced. I’m like you it’s higher then usual because the kids sleep without blankets. They both kick them off. We like it to be 66-67 during the day but when it’s below zero we do have to turn it up.

  35. I had no idea about the Crunchy Chicken blog! We here try to maintain a little below 65-probably no more less than 60! At night, we cover up with blankets while watching t.v. We live in an older house and our windows are drafty. We try to keep a pig sock in front of them to help keep the cold air out! We also have a down comforter for our bed and use our really nice cotton/flannel sheets. With 3 of us in bed, though, it can get really warm. Thanks for sharing the info! I’ll have to get involved next time- hopefully!!!

  36. We set ours at 69 in the evenings…we have a very drafty house and the upstairs gets hot and the downstairs is hot or cold depending on the room…it’s an old house. Sigh.

  37. Wonderful! I bet it is harder to do with kiddos to think about .. but way to go.. living on the edge ;)

    We keep it at 67 during the day and turn it down to 61 at night, but it never even gets that cold.. as we live in an apartment and have people below us and on either side of us… so we stay pretty well insulated. Warm in the winter and cool in the summer..

  38. When we are living in NC, that is how we do at night. I would rather it be much cooler so we can snuggle with the girls (yes we still co-sleep hehe) and put on the blankets. I’m a tyrant when it comes to electric bills.

    Now here in Florida, I have our AC set at 82 and have the windows open. Our power bill this month was 50.00 THANK GOODNESS. Last summer when we first moved down here and I was keeping it really cool in the house, it was almost 300.00 for the month craziness.

  39. 58 is downright balmy around our house! Because our heating duct system needs some serious help, the thermostat gets set to 58 at night, but I think our room gets down much lower.

    When we are gone from the house, I turn the heat down to 45. Needless to say, I keep my coat on for a while after we get home. But then again, we have oil heat (actually BioHeat) and it’s very expensive!

    The important thing to remember is to lower the temperature only a degree at a time and then keep pushing your limits. You set yourself up for failure if you go from 68 to 58.

  40. I have to wonder if there’s variation in these! Maybe that’s my excuse? ;) We have ours set at 67, and the heat rarely kicks on because our house is pretty well insulated, but when it’s windy…brrrrr. I live near Chicago, and my California/Arizona blood can’t imagine keeping the thermostat as low as some of these folks! i think we can definitely try tho. Also, our bill is not high at all, so I’m wondering if the heat is barely used anyway.

  41. 68, baby. I do great in the cold months…but, when it gets hot I keep the air on. BAD BAD BAD girl!

  42. My heat actually isn’t on in the winter at all, except for when it is unbearably cold and then it is only turned on in the room that I’m in at the time and once I leave, I turn it off. Every room of my house has its own thermostat, which is nice. However, during the summer I am horrible and keep the air on because I can’t stand the heat.

  43. Everyone’s houses must be so cozy and warm compared to our 60-62 day and 55 at night temperatures.

    During the day we’re generally set to 60, but sometimes if we’re out walking around and I’m cold when I come in I’ll throw caution to the wind and bump it up to 62. It’s only when we have guests that it goes as high as 64.

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