Thursday, 26 September 2013

Finally, our autumn and winter preparations are coming together...

Our long awaited and slightly overdue load of logs arrived, 2 cubic metres of hardwood, for £150. For us, that is a good deal as it varies anywhere up to £225 for the same amount. This had no delivery charge so that also helps.

Last year, the bulk of the delivery was of logs cut almost perfectly to fit our small stove. This time, only around a quarter of it was the correct size. DB says he will have to spend many Saturdays (don't know why he has chosen that particular day), cutting them in half or splitting the thicker ones down the middle.

Anyway, 1 hour and 10 minutes after delivery, I had wheel-barrowed them around to him, he had stored them and we had cleared up. We then moved my mini greenhouse away from the window (from which it receives drips during rain and makes a noise) and filled it with kindling.

Hopefully, we have enough newspapers, kindling, pine cones, scrap wood, logs and oil to take us through to next summer. Other than the rain, the weather for the next few days, is not set to be too cold (getting slightly cooler), so we shouldn't need to organise any heating or fires yet.

Our first port of call when cold is more clothing. Then we put on hand warmers. After that, we microwave bean bags. If using all three and we are still cold, the heating might get a half hour blast to take the edge off things. Once the weather turns nasty, the wood burner will be lit mid to late afternoon and we shall stay in the front room where it lives. Cooking the tea takes the edge off the cold in the kitchen and dining room.

Bathing can be a little dicey in the run up to and throughout winter, but generally, we find keeping the door shut whilst the bath is filling (on a timer), fills the room with steam, which keeps us just about warm enough. Once we have finished, the window is opened to vent the room but the door is kept shut. We dive into the front room and dress in the warmth. It's like going back to the 40's and 50's before homes had central heating and all activities took place in the front room - the only place to have had a fire.We have just finished our first year of metered water and used around 62 cubic metres - a huge amount less than before - more saving.

Heating and hot water in winter, is usually on for 45 minutes before 7:30am (when our cheap electricity switches off) and doesn't get used again unless it is very cold. Then it will be on for maybe 15-20 minutes to take away the chill, and so it goes all through the cold weather. Doing this for the first time last year, meant our oil lasted 13 months rather than the normal 6, when the heating used to be on and off all day. That is a huge saving in costs as oil is very expensive and we don't have gas in the village.


Using the heating and hot water less, uses less electricity. Lights are only on in the room we are in and generally our annual bill is around the £330 mark.

Obviously when we have guests, the heating is on for longer but not all day. We like to put it on for them late evening so the bedrooms are warm for undressing. When no guests are around, we undress in the front room then put our clothes on the bedroom radiators, where they are toasty warm come morning.  Luckily for us, the few guests we have are like minded which helps no end.


10 comments:

  1. I do admire your frugal living DC. It puts me to shame. However John now works a three day week so finances have been cut. So I shall be taking a leaf out of your book. Not sure about the heating though. I'm a very chilly person at the best of times, but if needs must.....
    Thanks for your advice about Bloglovin. I already have a gmail account and tried what you said but no luck. I went into Bloglovin's settings and ticked the box to be notified by email of any new followers, so only time will tell.
    Patricia x

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    1. Hopefully now, you should start to receive emails of new followers. I have no idea why they don't publicise the i.d. of followers in the same way blogger does. I find lots of new blogs to read simply by clicking on other blog's followers! My friend went through last winter on 15 C set on the thermostat but also had a fire. She needed to put more oil in but had loads of coal left. It is just a balancing act really. We don't like the idea of warming the whole house when we spend most of our time in just one room. By being careful (and not feeling hard done by) we manage most months to have a little left over which goes into savings for either a holiday or something we need.

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  2. We have underfloor heating downstairs and once the temperature drops low enough for us to feel cols all day it goes on 15c and stays there. The hot water tank is so well lagged that the airing cupboard is cold. I have oil filled radiators upstairs and they go on timer 30 minutes before we go to bed for 45 minutes but only when it is very cold. The cottage faces due south and gets warm with minimal sunshine. I had as much insulation stuffed in as was humanly possible when I bought it and that has paid off. My DD for power is £18 monthly.

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    1. Our bedrooms face south which helps and last year, the window was shut and the door left open. That helped keep the cold out overnight. Used to have an electric blanket but being 'the princess and the pea' had to give it up as I could feel the cables inside the blanket!

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  3. We're like you - we always opt for more clothing rather than turning the heating on. If we're still cold we wrap a blanket around our legs if we are sitting in the evening. I kept my old fleece dressing gown and pop that on over my clothes when I have a sit down during the day as I never use any form of heating until late afternoon. I'm usually busy so don't really feel the cold until I sit. I bought a lovely crocheted pure wool blanket for £1 at the carboot last weekend which is the perfect size for over my knees when I'm using the sewing machine. I'm expecting our bills to fall now that KL has gone to uni - fewer showers, less hairdrying and straightening and fewer gadgets to be charged.
    Nothing we do feels like a hardship, but I think that's because of our upbringing - we didn't live in a house with central heating until I was 27 - and even then it was only a partial system with 3 radiators upstairs and none downstairs.

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    1. Unfortunately for us, our front room is north facing. Lovely in summer but very cold in winter despite insulated walls, double glazing, thick curtains etc. I imagine you will notice a difference in all your bills, especially as you were often cooking for 4. Hope she is settling in okay.

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  4. I'm in awe of your heating and hot water bill only being £330 a year - I do my utmost to keep things to a minimum but it still costs me an average of about £75 per month. No cheap rate here, though, and we do work fulltime from home. Well done, I hope to greatly reduce my usage in 2014 now we have the new fireplace completed. :)

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    1. Don't be in awe, that is only the electricity! Put onto that figure, £150 for the logs and around £350 for the oil and that reflects the true annual bill for absolutely everything. If we had the heating on 'normally' the oil bill would be around £700 and the electricity around £500.

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  5. I am hoping that our woodburner will be installed this weekend on the barge. It is our only form of heating but should be sufficient, we are insulated overhead, underfoot and to the sides xxx

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    1. Can't beat a wood burner really as the whole things keeps hot for ages. We don't age any more logs after 8pm and it is still hot by the time we go to bed and the room is still warm in the mornings.

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