Saturday, January 8, 2011

HVAC and Clothing

How much you spend on heating and air conditioning your home is directly proportional to how you set your thermostat.

One area of money savings where I don't have to start an argument with my spouse is in setting the thermostat.  He likes the temperature down to 50 degrees at night, and prefers to pile on the down comforters and to wear bedclothes.  During the day, in cold weather, we wear shirts, sweaters, and even light jackets, indoors.  A wool knit hat can make you feel a lot warmer in the house as well.

In the summer months, we have the thermostat set to 78 or 80 degrees, and wear shorts and t-shirts inside.

Does it work?  Well, yes.  Our electric bill is about half our neighbors (under $200 as opposed to nearly $400).

Most folks pay a lot in utility bills, heating their house like a hothouse in the winter, and then wandering around in their underwear.  In the summer months, they wear sweatpants and wool and then set the thermostat to 60 degrees and wonder why they are sweating - and why their utility bills are so high.

There is an old Yiddish saying, "If your feet are cold, wear a hat" and it is very true.  Your body is like a heat chimney, and heat rises up over the surface of your body and out over your head.  If you want to feel "warmer then wear a hat.

Our ancestors, who had to heat their houses with fireplaces, understood this simple concept and wore a lot of clothes in the winter, including hats and gloves.  When they went to sleep, they piled on layers of blankets and comforters to stay warm.

Modern man eschews these simple and pragmatic approaches on the grounds that so much blanketry is "stifling" and instead just turns the thermostat up a notch.

But saving $200 a month on your utility bill is no small savings - it is enough to take two or three free cruises a year.

If you are sitting around in a t-shirt and your underwear and complaining it is "too cold" then put on some fleece and a sweater, socks and a hat, and leave the darn thermostat alone!