Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 176: The thermostat Nazi

This house was built in 1939. It's got a lot of typical charm for a pre-war home: hardwood floors, big windows, nice trees in the lot. It's located within walking distance of the campus, the main drag, a grocery store, the city's best park.

The downside: it's poorly insulated, the furnace is more than 40 years old, not a single floor is level, foundation cracks abound. In the summer the ancient water pipes finally gave way and required a massive rip-up of the yard (which still hasn't been restored... the steps leading to the front door are only barely usable and somewhat a health risk to the mail carriers).

I've added weather-stripping and taken some measures to watch the energy consumption. Our very first heating bill here ran $209. An upgrade of the furnace would be a good idea, but when you are a renter, you can only hope that the landlord is willing. And while he's at it, maybe a new fridge to replace the 26-year-old on hand?

Anyway I've earned the nickname "the thermostat Nazi" because in the summer I set the a/c at 80. It's worse in the winter. After the overnight house temperature dropped to at least 55 (could've been lower), I decided to turn on the heat for the first time this season to see if the pilot was still lit and it would kick on.

The holiday season is upon us, and with it come some wonderful aromas: pumpkin pie. Baked turkey. Fresh hot bread.

That first time you turn on the heater provides a seasonal aroma as well. Not sure why furnace dust, or whatever this would be called, has that particular stench. But it's unmistakeable.

I set the thermostat at 56. That's probably too low. I'm willing to consider 58, but only if I can annex Poland.

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