*Chillin' Out*
By: Stella
06 December 2005

As I am writing this, it's 50 degrees fahrenheit in my house. This morning it was 48. Several years back we had a big freeze (for the deep south anyway) and our electric bill was over $350 after running our heaters most of the month. We don't have central heating so we only stayed warm if we stayed in the sealed off rooms with the heaters. Well, I didn't see any real value of living in a corner, getting nothing else done for a month just to stay warm AND pay $350 for it. I live in a drafty old house with over 30 windows, all single paned and 3 doors, insulation is sparse, the house is big, no carpet at all ... you get the picture.

We are fixing it up slowly as our budget allows and as we build our skills. Anyway, after that bill came we just decided to bundle up, turn off the heat and hang tight. It's amazing what your body can get used to. I had noticed this when I was in sales years ago and would go to someone's house in the summer and they had no air conditioning, it was 97 degrees outside and must have been at least the upper 80's inside and of course very humid. I would be dripping sweat the whole time and the customer's face was not even moist. They were used to it.

So I started using my A/C less at home and in the car so I could slowly adjust and not be so uncomfortable in some of these homes. It worked! Most of the time I wait until it's about 82-85 before turning on the A/C and in the winter I'll turn the heat on if it's below 50 (although this morning I didn't bother).

I have on a sweat suit and a wool robe and shoes and it's chilly but I am pretty comfortable. Now we do it as an ongoing "let's see what we're made of" thing and we like being frugal. I realize that most people don't want to do this on a daily basis but it's good to test yourself every now and then to see what you can put up with in case of prolonged power failure, fuel/wood shortage etc.

It takes at least a few days for your body to adjust though. The lowest temp inside my house so far in the past few years has been 37 degrees. I admit I was COLD! But the curiosity was more powerful to see just how low it would drop. No need for a refrigerator then, the whole house was one big fridge!

Oh yeah, my kids are grown, doing this with little ones would probably be way too rough.

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