Tag Archive: thermostat


Well, week one of the family project ended with a bit of a bang – as I closed the windows despite the lower temperatures outside and turned on the A/C to allow everyone at least 3 hours of sleep. Despite being in the mid-60’s last night, the temperature inside the house stayed at a steady 77 degrees well into the wee morning hours. When I checked it at 2:00AM, it had actually gone up to 78, and showed no signs of going down.

I find it extremely embarrassing when one can almost feel the thermostat sticking its tongue out at you and mocking your efforts to save energy.

So, long story short, all the windows were closed, the A/C was turned on, and then and only then did the uncomfortable sounds of rustling around and searching for a comfortable position cease from the bedrooms. It may be because everyone finally slept in the cooler air. Then again, it might be because I was asleep myself after that, so I didn’t hear anything.

I am, however, extremely proud of the fact that despite not-to-cool temperatures yesterday, the A/C that had been turned off Monday night in an effort to save energy (and since the temperature was going down to 68) was not turned back on until almost 7:00PM, then off again at 10:00PM. The reason for turning it on at 7:00PM was because it was 84 in the house, and while the temperature was bearable and had been bearable all day, bearing it while standing over 3 burners on the stove attempting to cook dinner was just not possible, and I wimped.

But, other than that, all remains well – appliances are still unplugged 90% of the time, and I have even begun using the front door instead of the garage door (which used to be our main door) when I need to go outside for something, to avoid using the energy for opening the garage door. The only part of this project that is beginning to drag on people is the fact that it’s either/or for the TV and computer.  Something tells me that this rule won’t see it through until the end of the project.

Side note: updated recently on this blog was The Garden Chronicles, the ongoing saga of the 2011 Family Garden and all its escapades, as well as any bulk deals on produce/farmers market goings-on and what happens with it. Tune in for more later!

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Well, night two went a lot less smoothly than I hoped it would, to put it mildly.

At 3:30AM, finally tired of sweating through numerous pillowcases, sheets, etc., and having exhausted all tricks in my bag to keep cool (some of which will remain personal), I finally had to cave and lower the thermostat to 75 from 79.

Even though the thermostat reads one number, it should be noted that it is located on the bottom floor of the house, not the top, and the old ways of heat still ring true – it rises!

Nevertheless, as soon as all members of the house were up and functioning around 7:30AM, the thermostat was put back to 79. A gutsy move, honestly, considering as today’s temperatures are expected to set a record high, with a heat index peaking at about 110 degrees Farenheit.

Yet I am determined that, unless severe discomfort is arising, that thermostat should not move again!

Day Two

Despite the looming heat wave that makes one feel as though they are a cake baking in the oven upon exiting the house, Day 2 of the current family project didn’t go that badly.

The thermostat is still tuned to 78 degrees. It should be noted that it is a programmable thermostat, requiring very little in the way of complicated maneuvers to set it to the desired temperature. Previously (that is, to say, before yesterday), it had been turned down to 72 degrees. It remains to be seen what differences will be gained by having the temperature six degrees higher in the house. I only hope it doesn’t lead to “six degrees of separation”, as my husband is not that fond of hot weather.

To be quite honest, I find it pleasant in the house, at least a lot more pleasant than it would be outside.

All appliances previously mention remain unplugged when not in active use. Though it is somewhat inconvenient to keep plugging in, turning on, and waiting for things to warm up (e.g. the computer), I have noticed a side effect to this is that I don’t run for the computer every 5 minutes to update or search for something. I find myself planning and setting aside time to use the computer, so that when I am done, I can turn it off completely and go do something else.

Several measures have also been taken in the last two days that may or may not always be possible; for instance, dinner on both days has taken less than 20 minutes of energy on the stove to prepare and cook. Also, no household cleaning appliances have been run in the last two days, which will change tomorrow, as I cannot go another day without vacuuming the carpet.

Stay tuned for further updates – and to find out if the thermostat will ever come down!

I’m sure by now most people are wondering (should they be reading or following this blog), exactly what the project is that we’re doing and what it entails. Since we usually start a project sometime around New Year’s Day, and the last two projects that we’ve done have been on more of a long-term scale, it would probably help to explain the details of this one.

Simply put, we’re trying to see how much energy we can save over a 30-day period of time. That’s it. Sounds simple, right? Well, not when you think about the fact that even though we are a family of “only” three people in one house at the moment, one of those three happens to be a teenager – a teenager rabidly devoted to his gaming console. Since the advent of the purchase some 3 Christmases ago, we’ve seen a spike of more than $20.00 in our bills every month, especially when that console is left on.

Now, since that same Christmas we also purchased a chest freezer for storing large quantities of food, we’re not entirely sure that the gaming console is the culprit. BUT, since in this experiment/project/call it whatever you want, the gaming console will be unplugged and powered down when not in use, and the chest freezer will not, it might actually have more than one good result.

So, you might be asking yourself, what objects are in the house that use electricity or gas, other than the obvious (air conditioning, furnace, and hot water heater?

Without giving a step-by-step layout of the house, let’s just say…a lot. Microwave, Kitchen Aid Mixer, Chest Freezer*, Upright Refrigerator with Freezer*, Stove with Oven*, Toaster, Dishwasher*, 3 televisions, Surround Sound System, DVD Player, 2 Gaming Consoles, U-Verse Box, Parlor Organ, 4 lamps of various sizes, Electric Shaver, 3 clocks, 2 desktop computers, 2 laptop computers, printer, copier, and a fax machine…along with a partridge in a pear tree (no, just kidding, but I wouldn’t be surprised to one day see one!) 

Added to that is an automatic litter box for Mr. Kitty, our household mascot (but don’t tell him that), and a cell phone charging station that holds 3 cell phones…and usually a bunch of keys.

I have to admit, even I didn’t think about how much “stuff” we had that relied on power until I sat down and listed it all. Going from room to room really made me realize exactly why we might have the electric and gas bills that we have!

It is worthwile to note that in the list above, items marked with a * will not be unplugged at any time during this 30-day project, as the results would not be worth the money that could possibly be saved. Case in point: what good will it do to unplug a freezer that holds $500.00 worth of food? Answer: not much.

The rules for the very first part of this project are very simple: everything not marked with a * on the list above will be unplugged when not in active use by one or more people. That was actually done at 8:30AM today. I am proud to announce that most of the day was spent without having 90% of the electronics on in the house, including clocks.

To make things easier, some electronics located close to each other such as the DVD player and surround sound system have been connected to a power bar with a single plug, but even that will be powered down and unplugged when not in active use. Same scenario for things such as the desktop computers.

Laptops, cell phones, etc. will not be allowed to charge until they are fully depleted of battery, if they are used at all, and then only for the allotted amount of time needed to reach “full battery” as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. They will not run on plugged-in cords at all.

Mr. Kitty’s automatic litter box will also be unplugged, though it will be plugged in once a day to assure that it can run through at least one cycle.

Items that are connected to power bars but are not in active use will remain turned off until needed, then turned off after use.

We’re still figuring out what to do about the air conditioning, though as it’s July the heating system should not need to come into play at all! For the past two days I have been trying the thermostat at a balmy 78 degrees in the house, which has (to me) proved quite comfortable, though not to others. The dirty looks I’m getting might be a clue that this needs to be discussed and remedied, but for now, we’ll see how it goes. I must say, we picked a great time to start an energy project – right in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave!

Well, let’s see how the first night goes – more on this tomorrow! Night all!

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