Living Without a Furnace

Our first winter in our new home was spent without the comforts of central heating. I didn’t know the furnace was broken when I moved in, because they wouldn’t turn on the gas to find out since it was a Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac (one of those) foreclosure. But it was a dinosaur (the furnace), and the repairman said it wasn’t safe to use. Wary as I am about things exploding, I heeded his advice.

Of course, I had no money to buy a new furnace and have it installed that first year, so I had to make do. My neighbor actually gave me an oil-filled space heater that they never used, so we used that. In the beginning of the winter, November, we moved it from the bedroom to the living room. In the living room I hung blankets on the doorways to try to keep the heat in.

In December, that wasn’t cutting it anymore, so we just moved into the bedroom. It was tight quarters, but at least it had a door, and we could keep it warm. Actually it was quite comfortable. And not heating the rest of the house had the added benefit of making the whole thing into a refrigerator (and sometimes a freezer-it was a VERY cold winter), which was convenient, because at the time I only had a very small dorm-sized fridge.

Of course the downside was that the pipes froze up a couple of times. It got to the point., that I left the faucets dripping at night anytime the temperature went below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The upside was that I spent around $70 a month for electric and $0 for gas. The water bill was lower too, considering every time you took a shower, you had to get out into a freezing cold bathroom.

Somewhere around the end of February, my oil heater quit on me, and I switched to a fan-blown one. BIG MISTAKE. My electric bill jumped to $150 a month. Oil-filled space heaters spend less time actively heating, because they use the oil to retain the heat.

A fan blown heater is heating all the time. However it is useful for the times when you want heat right away–like in the basement while you are working. After Christmas that winter, I spent as little time as possible in the basement, because it was painful to work down there. I made the orders I got, and that was it.

But we survived, and it was actually kind of fun, in a way. Once the weather warmed up enough-that winter it was around April. We moved back downstairs during the day, and it took a couple of days for my son to get used to it. I think he got used to be closed in and cozy all day.

The next winter I was able to buy a used furnace and have it installed by my wonderful neighbor again. It was nice having a warm house, really, really nice. And I could use my tricks from the year before to minimize my heating bill. Although, last winter was so mild, I hardly needed them.


Tomorrow-NEW TOY Friday! This is a big one. One that people have been after me to make since my first Christmas selling toys. And there will be a discount for you followers…

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7 thoughts on “Living Without a Furnace

  1. We lived in a house where you had to light the fire each morning to get the heating working, it added a certain amount of ceremony to the start of the day, and when we moved to a house with proper heating I missed the fire, I did not miss all the black grit and dust over everything though.

    • It’s nice to have some ceremony to start the day-I like the way you put that. 🙂 I would love to have a wood stove, but the installation costs have put me off so far.

  2. thats amazing that you can share this with us! makes you really think about turning on the heater and what costs you are letting go… i always wondered about oil heaters!!

  3. sounds like our old house…it was so old it didn’t have insulation…and we would just bundle up in the bedroom the first year we moved in. So glad you have a furnace now 🙂

  4. I’ve been thinking about shutting up part of our home during the winter. At the least, I think I’ll close the registers in our bedrooms. Some heat will trickle in through the open doors but they should stay cooler than the rest of the house. You have an awesome neighbor!

  5. I have opposite experience. Ive lived with no air conditioner before in desert. I still remember It was a night with over 120degrees outside summer day no a/c. I thought i cant make it but I realized how human body is strong. Please keep post your story. So interesting. I’d like to be the lucky person to have ‘free give awya’ your lovely art pieces. If its not I still love to buy your art for my 6 months daughter name ‘Jupiter’. Pick me! 🙂

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