Saturday, January 02, 2010

Living comfortably with less heat

Our home behind the shop is north facing and every room has outside walls. It was bitter when we moved in 2 years ago and the central heating did very little to warm the place up. Our gas consumption was 3 x 47kg propane gas bottles every 10 days between September and March, so for 7 months of the year we used to get a delivery every other week. The heating was only on morning and evening and really just took the chill off the air. It was very cold but we also felt the cold as we had come from a centrally heated house.

Some improvements were made to the property when we installed loft insulation which required an investment cost of £ 900. We also had the boiler serviced last year and the engineer showed us how we could lower the control on the boiler as well as the controls on each radiator to reduce consumption.

The shop and the ground floor do have radiators but are on a second circuit which we choose not to use.Most of the year the shop door remains open. We did close the door when the temperature plummeted to minus 5 Celsius.Usually the heat given out by refrigeration units is sufficient to keep the place bearable.

The wood burner installed downstairs keeps the temperature cosy at around 21 degrees Celsius and the office is the warmest room. The heat rises to the lounge providing us with 2 rooms that are heated throughout the day. The central heating is only on to take the chill off the place early morning and late afternoon. There are plenty of afghans, duvets and blankets to cuddle under with a book and hand knitted woollen socks, sweaters and hot water bottles go a long way to warming us up when we need it.

This year, not only did the heating only go on in October but we manage 3 x 47kg propane bottles for 30 days instead of 10. Although the cost per bottle is higher this year I anticipate our costs to be less. In effect we have reduced our heating costs by 60% and have also increased our ability to withstand colder temperatures.

When we visit people with full central heating we usually boil very slowly and cannot bear the heat and upon investigation,their heating is on mostly during the day and night to maintain a steady temperature.

This is our way and may not be your way but from experience I know that by increasing personal and building insulation, reducing the overall temperatures required gradually can lead to an adaptation by our bodies and minds and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. And when power cuts happen, we still have the wood burner to keep us warm.

No comments: