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We Fired Up the Furnace Today


It’s a game that we play every fall – we wait as long as we can before turning on our heat. Recent weather has brought nightly temps in the 30/40 degree range leaving our house at 60 degrees when we wake up in the morning. That’s not too bad, but recent chilly weather during the day meant we couldn’t rely on the sun to help heat things up. My husband headed out to the store for a new filter and we fired up the furnace today.

Once the furnace is on, that means we need to get the plastic up on our windows. Our house is old, and so are the windows. Plastic on them makes a huge difference. We did our son’s room today and we’ll work through the rest of the rooms the next few days. We usually do not do all of our windows since some are in better shape than others. We happened to find a good deal at Walmart on plastic so I think we will be doing all windows this year.

I say this every year, but don’t end up doing it. I really want to take advantage of the sun this winter. I want to open the shades when it is sunny and close them when the sun goes away. I think if we could do that it would really help with our heating bills. Plus, our pets will be happy since they can get a little bit of sunshine.

I always dread winter bills, but in a way I don’t. I think my competitive side kicks in and I like to see how well we can do with getting them lower.


  • Reply Trixie |


    We try to wait as long as possible before turning the heat on too. We turned it on last evening. When I got home it was a chilly 57; boy did that heat feel good, even though it costs a lot:)

    We also do the plastic and wow, what a difference. I would hate to see what the heat bill looks like without it.

    Take Care,


  • Reply Mar |

    I understand what you mean about making it a contest to see how low you can keep the bills. I think it would be nice to win the lottery or some easy money, but part of me thinks it would be better to earn it through my hard work, money-saving activities, etc. If I won the lottery, I’m wondering if I would enjoy the money and the freedom to do what I want that it would supply or would I feel that I didn’t earn it.

  • Reply MadeMistakes |

    LOL..my husband looked at the thermostat this morning and announced that TONIGHT we would be turning on the furnance. My inner scrooge screamed “NOOO!”
    Thanks for the reminder, we always say we’ll put up plastic, but never do. I know it will help with the bills, so I will make sure we do it asap!

  • Reply Skyler Collings |

    I think this weekend will be the time for us here in Colorado. My wife tells me every morning, “You need to get the furnace running.” I guess this weekend I’ll be taking out the swamp cooler and lighting the pilot on the furnace. If I do that then I’m sure we’ll have an Indian summer.

  • Reply PK |

    Get this! I live in MN and never have to turn on my furnace! Living on the 16th floor has it’s advantages.

  • Reply DCS |

    Yup – furnace on down here too. MichCon is telling me the rate is up 20% from last year. Yikes.

    It helps if I put on a sweater, brew a mug of coffee, and sit quietly listening to the furnace run while watching the cold wind blow outside the window. That makes me appreciate the fact that I can set my indoor temp down to the degree with a twist of the wrist instead of a swing of the axe. Appreciating seemingly trivial (but really a pretty big deal) things like being able to comfortably afford central heating puts things we’re told are a big deal (but really are pretty trivial) like giant TVs and heated car seats in perspective.

    It does for me anyway.

  • Reply FruGal |

    Sorry if this is a silly question, but what does that mean, putting plastic on the windows? I live in the UK and I’ve never heard of that. And I’m always looking for ways to reduce my heating costs!

  • Reply Ian |

    We aren’t wuite that cold yet, but it’s coming. We are on dual heat pumps, which don;t always work too well. We may be doing the plastic thing ourselves. πŸ™‚

  • Reply alex |

    Im out in Seattle area and got a used pellet stove this summer in the downstairs rec room. In the cold mornings its around 60 degrees in the upstairs and it takes about 2 hours before i can get it to 70 degrees. I have not figured out the actual costs yet but a bag of pellets is $6 and can heat the house about 4 times with that. I am going to try to not turn my heaters on all winter. If it gets really cold I will burn a fire upstairs.

  • Reply MoneyBeagle |

    We turned on ours yesterday afternoon. I am interested to see if our usage goes down as I added about 8 inches of attic insulation during this spring, so I’m hoping for reduced usage, though the increased prices will probably offset any monetary savings!

  • Reply Frugal Dad |

    I feel the same way during the summer here in the south. It is nearly impossible to go long into the summer months with out using air conditioning. And when we do our utility bill skyrockets! Winters are the exact opposite–on many days we are quite comfortable with no heat, or only running it for a short time at night.

  • Reply Da Big D |

    I hear my house entirely with wood. Extra work for me, but no heating bills. Of course I have to fill the stove 3x or 4x times a day πŸ™

    If I had to do it over again, I would go with a pellet stove, instead of just wood. You can get self feeders for the pellets and fill up ever couple of days.

  • Reply Krystin |

    I don’t even want to think about when my landlords are going to turn on the heat! I live in an 1830s home that has 10 apartments. We share the oil bill. Going to have to polish up the ‘ole be respectful of your fellow neighbors…ie: Don’t Blast Your Heat!
    I also live in the only apartment with original windows, which means, INEFFICIENT!

    I think I’m going to get my landlord to put caulking around the pains of glass…and weatherstripping.

    All I know, is that if we all get another $350 oil bill for one month of oil, I’m not going to be a happy camper.

    Can’t wait until I own my own home and can yell at hubby for the heat. Can’t really do that to my creepy neighbor haha.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    Wow, you guys are making me appreciate my house. It is 3x as big as Tricia’s ideal small house but my furnace is still off despite having cloudy weather in the 40’s at night and 50’s in the daytime for the past week.

    It is currently 50 and bright(not fully sunshine but not dull like it has been) and the house is 66 inside. That’s down from 68 earlier in the week (when it was warmer outside but cloudier.) My bedroom was 63 when we woke up this morning but that was with two windows open upstairs. It occurred to me to close them and open the drapes when I was cleaning today and now the temp in the bedroom is up to 66. That will be the solar gain.

    Our house is well-insulated and we have energy efficient windows. We also have a fresh air exchanger that is bringing in outside air because our house is so airtight.

    Don’t know how much longer I’ll wait but I figure if the weather stays in the seasonal range we should be able to go a few more weeks and just use the gas fireplace to reduce the chill in the morning. Haven’t had to use it yet but have lit the pilot light since we turn that off during the heating season.

  • Reply Claire in CA, USA |

    I honestly can’t wait for cooler weather. It’s been in the 100s in my town the past few days. Miserable. It might rain on Saturday, and tomorrow is supposed to be about 74; I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Good for you, with using the weather as a challenge. We do that with the a/c every year. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Da Big D |

    I for one welcome the cold. I don’t have to use the AC πŸ™‚ Still haven’t started the wood stove yet. Nothing a sweater and blanket can’t fix.

  • Reply Qcash |

    Do you have a programmable thermostat?

    We use one in our house because we don’t like waking up with it cold, but are happy with it cold at night and during the day.

    We just set it to come on about 5:00 am and we get up about 6:00 am.

    We shut it off around 10:00 am.


  • Reply Prince of Thrift |

    seems a little early for the furnace. After 2 or 3 nights of getting down to the 40’s/50’s I closed the windows…but am waiting as long as I can before turning on the heat….so far it hasn’t gotthat low inside the house (here in Kansas)

So, what do you think ?