Do I really have to wear a sweater, scarf, and wool socks inside?
December 28, 2010 9:42 PM   Subscribe

How warm should I expect to feel in a house as opposed to an apartment? Is it normal to be really cold for the first hour at home? Does everyone else have to wear sweaters inside all winter?

I just moved into a free-standing studio (kind of like a carriage house) and I'm always cold! I'm used to living in big apartment blocks on high floors with landlord-provided steam heat --where you get blasted out of the place by the furnance and the heat rising from below and have to open the windows, even in the dead of winter. My new home, although lovely, has high ceilings, almost no insulation to speak of, and electric baseboards. When I get home after work, I'm freezing until the baseboards kick in, which takes a while, and I never feel really toasty warm. I'm considering my options for greater energy efficiency, but I also want to make sure my standards haven't been warped by living with mega-heat in apartment buildings.
posted by yarly to Home & Garden (39 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
If it's any consolation, I've been living in big apartment blocks for a while, and I've freakin' freezing every time I visit a "house". I deliberately bring an extra sweater or hoodie when my plans involves a house visit. And each and every time I'm at my parents house, my mom sees my extra sweater, rolls her eyes at me and makes some snide remark about how apartment living has made me a wuss :)

So yes, its my understanding that apartments in general are warmer, for all the reasons you mention and probably a few others, as well.
posted by cgg at 9:50 PM on December 28, 2010

Are you paying for your own utilities? Because baseboard heat is in-efficent and costly. But yes, you are right that a heated apartment is always going to be warmer than a poorly insulated house where the heat has been low or off all day. I hibernate a lot over winter in my nice warm bed. There are other heating options like radiant heat or you could get in the habit of exercising when you come home, have something like a stew cooking (oven heat helps warm your place too) and take advantage of any passive solar heat available.
posted by saucysault at 9:51 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: Are you paying for your own utilities? Because baseboard heat is in-efficent and costly.

Yes, and yes, it is! I'm trying to figure out energy saving solutions, like getting a timer and turning the baseboards on an hour before I get home, sealing the windows, space heaters, etc, but I also want to make sure I don't have unrealistic expectations.
posted by yarly at 9:56 PM on December 28, 2010

I wear heavy socks and a sweatshirt and sit under a blanket on the couch in my house.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:56 PM on December 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

Your standards have been warped by living with mega-heat in apartment buildings. Sorry. You won't be "toasty warm" in the winter in your new studio unless you spend a fortune on heating.

But it also sounds like your new place is on the cold side. Why do the baseboards only "kick in" after you get home from work? Are they on a timer, or do you turn the thermostat way down while you're out? Possible solutions include setting a timer to turn up the heat an hour before you get home from work or leaving the thermostat up all day.

A scarf inside is a little excessive, but yes, you should dress warmly. Wool socks and warm shoes or slippers (I favor wool clogs and sheepskin slippers), sweatpants or corduroys, and a merino sweater underneath a chamois shirt or wool cardigan is a typical at-home wintertime outfit for me. Turtlenecks are good instead of a scarf. Moving around keeps me warmer; when I'm sitting on the couch, I use a small lap blanket. Perhaps you should use your first hour home from work to do vigorous house-cleaning or exercise?

Finally, for warding off brief periods of chilliness (e.g. while changing clothes in a cold room), I like to stand in the blast of a small space heater with a fan, similar to this.
posted by Orinda at 10:05 PM on December 28, 2010

Was going to recommend a timer to start the house heating when you get home. You can also turn it down in the overnight hours, after you're asleep. Yes, the freestanding house is likely to be draftier, and baseboard heat isn't the greatest. Get some window-sealer kits and do those - they're easy and make a difference. Get some of those "draft dodgers" - long skinny tubes of fabric filled with sand or rice -- to place at the thresholds of doors leading outside.

You''ll adapt, and soon you might find hot apartments hard to tolerate. I rely on flannel PJs, shearling slippers, woolly socks, having lots of sweaters in different weights, maybe a robe, and a nice down comforter. As bluedaisy says, it's a good idea to have fleece throws and blankets folded over your living room furniture or at your computer station, to wrap around your shoulders or drape over your legs when you're not moving around. Use passive solar as much as possible, letting the sun shine in on sunny days. I do use a space heater at times but be sure you're really heating just one room or small space with it, not running it to heat the whole place.
posted by Miko at 10:06 PM on December 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

My first home was in New Mexico and in the winter, even though by most standards winters in Albuquerque are generally mild, they don't weatherproof houses like they do in colder climates... I was cold! After that house I was in a second floor apartment and toasty warm.

When I moved back home to Chicago a few years ago I was living on the first floor of a carriage house in Bucktown and there was little, if any insulation below the wood floor, which was above a large crawl space (ie, cold, damp) and while there was a furnace, it wasn't very efficient. I was ALWAYS cold for the first time in my life. After that it was back to normal apartment living in Boston and then in Denver.

Now I own a 100+ year old home and I sit here at my desk with a space heater warming my toes even though I have on socks and shoes.

So, yes, houses do seem colder to me. I recommend a space heater.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:06 PM on December 28, 2010

I found this little guy used to make my studio toasty warm - free standing, 2nd floor, no insulation there either.

I did a lot of research. That Soleus is a safe, small, ceramic heater and very very cheap to run. I still use it in my new place occasionally because the bedroom has stone floors. No significant increase in electric bills.

If you get something like this to supplement the heat, do consider rugs and/or a ceiling fan to circulate the hot air down from your high ceilings. It does sound like an insulation issue.

FWIW, all of my housemates in NZ used to wear winter caps indoors during cold weather. It's just what you did.
posted by jbenben at 10:18 PM on December 28, 2010

Baseboard heat is the suck, no way around it. If you live in a place where it's COLD and then the weather gets WARM, and doesn't bounce back and forth, then the 3M plastic window insulation might help a bit. I now live in Colorado, where it bounces between 6 and 60 for fun, so the large drafty sliding glass door remains a constant (non)joy
posted by cyndigo at 10:20 PM on December 28, 2010

I'd recommend getting a cheap $30 reflector space heater from amazon, the thing is amazing. I'm in an apartment but it's a very cold one (much colder than other apartments I lived in). I insulated the hell out of it last year and it was still cold. This year I got the reflector heater and I feel much warmer because it sort of warms you like a fireplace, directionally, and since it's very quiet, I turn it on for 10 minutes, it warms me up really great for the next 30-40 minutes, even though I use the lowest (400w) setting. It's much better than a baseboard or a fan heater if you don't walk around constantly, because obviously it only heats whatever's in front of it only.

#2 thing is warm soups. It's a very practical food, as well, but it also warms you up quite a bit.
posted by rainy at 10:22 PM on December 28, 2010

wow, this was exactly my situation. i bought a 500 sqft "studio" house three months ago that only had baseboard heaters and I hated how chilly I felt all the time. I bought a Fujitsu mini-split ductless heat pump:

I love it. It feels like a summer breeze, will cool the house in summer, is as energy efficient as can be without burning wood, is quiet, and heats my little house evenly and effortlessly. it cost about $4500 for the equipment and installation (although I did have to spend more than that to upgrade my electrical system). total cost around $3K when you factor in the $1500 federal tax credit.

an electric blanket for instant gratification at bedtime is also nice.

happy heating!
posted by macinchik at 10:23 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I bought a Fujitsu mini-split ductless heat pump

I lust after the mini-split ductless heat pump! But I'm renting and may not be able to convince the landlord to make the investment.
posted by yarly at 10:26 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. Radiant space heater.
2. Electric warming blanket. One for the sofa and another for the bed.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:27 PM on December 28, 2010

To clarify: this heater is absolutely quiet which makes it much more practical to turn it on for 5-10 minutes at a time; with a fan heater I tended to turn it on for a few hours to warm the whole room, because it's annoying to keep turning it on/off because of its noise.
posted by rainy at 10:30 PM on December 28, 2010

Best answer: Yes, your expectations are unrealistic. The only times I'm ever "toasty," in the winter, are either (1) in front of a fire, (2) under an electric blanket or on a bed with a heated mattress pad, (3) in the shower/bath.

I'm not some sort of ascetic, or uncomfortable; I just assume that in the winter, you wear more clothing around the house, and the goal is to be "not cold," not "warm."

"Toasty" seems like too high a bar. Go for "comfortable." If you're in your house, and part of your body feels honestly cold, first response should probably be: put on more clothing. If you're sitting there in layers of clothes and you're still cold, then by all means turn up the heat, but if you can train yourself to reach for an extra pair of socks rather than the thermostat, you'll save a lot of energy.

Also, the amount of clothing you need changes a lot depending on how much you're moving around. With the thermostat set at 65-67, you might be totally comfortable in a long-sleeved tee if you're moving around (walking up and down stairs a lot for me), but might start to feel really uncomfortable if you sit down to watch TV or read. Rather than either suffering or overheating the house, maybe try getting some nice warm blankets (wool or acrylic, not cotton) wherever you like to hang out, at least to toss over your legs and feet. (Nobody except you and God will know you're using that Snuggie un-ironically. Go for it.)

The only upside of having electric baseboard heat is that, since it's already about as inefficient and expensive as you can get, you're not going to be getting any worse if you start using plug-in electric heaters to spot-heat certain parts of your house. I'd invest in a couple of small electric heaters for key areas. Little forced-air space heaters can really work wonders in bathrooms (use GFI outlets, of course). No need to freeze when you're drying yourself off; it's cheaper to heat a bathroom to a balmy 80 once or twice a day than it is to heat a whole house to 70. You might also want to consider an oil-filled radiator, which are silent and less of a fire risk (no exposed hot coils) for your bedroom at night. Park it in the middle of the room away from exterior walls, where it has line of sight to the bed; it'll feel warmer that way.

Bottom line, it's better to heat yourself (with clothing, or with a personal heater like an electric blanket or mattress pad) than to heat the room; it's better to heat a small room than a big room; but it's better to heat any room than heat the whole house.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:37 PM on December 28, 2010 [7 favorites]

My new home, although lovely, has high ceilings, almost no insulation to speak of, and electric baseboards.

Well, given these factors, odds are probably in favor of it feeling COLD more likely than not. Baseboard heaters really suck, yet they seem to show up in places like the Northeast U.S. where everyone knows winters can be brutal. Never understood that.

How warm should I expect to feel in a house as opposed to an apartment?

No easy answer to this, besides getting a portable thermometer and seeing what your own personal version of "room temperature" adds up to. It appears to vary pretty widely by culture and temperament, so it's worth nailing down at what temperature you feel comfortable (perhaps when visiting a friend's apartment with steam heat) then comparing that to what your baseboards can crank out on a cold day. From your description, I'd predict there'll be at least some difference. Knowing exactly how much could help you more easily decide about options to consider as far as additional heaters, etc.

Finally, make a point of moving the thermometer around to different areas of your space and note how the temperatures fluctuate. Things can vary a surprising amount over even a short distance. In my house I keep the furnace at 69 most of the time, and the main thermostat for the floor is located in an inside hallway, no more than 15 feet or so through an open door from my desk/computer area, which is adjacent to an exterior wall and window. Despite the short distance and having had insulation pumped into the walls recently, there's still sometimes up to a 3.5 degree difference between over here and what the thermostat promises just over there. BRRR (but, for me, still within my personal definition of room temperature).
posted by 5Q7 at 11:05 PM on December 28, 2010

Normal winter daytime indoor clothing = (long-sleeved tshirt - you can buy these in wool) + (wool jumper) + (tracksuit pants or wool trousers) + (warm thick woollen socks[1]). Maybe a pair of wool-lined sheepskin boots if your feet aren't on the couch.

If you're sitting down, add one warm wool blanket.

If you are wearing all of the above, and still feeling unpleasantly cold, turn the heat up.

If you are wearing less than this, and still feeling unpleasantly cold, add clothing and have a cup of something warm to drink. If you still feel cold after 20 minutes, turn the heat up.

A need to wear a scarf/gloves/a hat indoors during daytime = a sign to turn the heat up.

[1] My favourite winter socks are Merinomink - a blend of merino wool and possum fibre. And, yes, it is ethical - non-native possums (imported from Australia) are destroying the New Zealand forests by eating everything in sight.
posted by with the singing green stars as our guide at 12:01 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

We lived all our lives in houses until 2004, when my husband and I moved into our first apartment. Since then, despite living first in Germany, then Denmark, and now Canberra, we have NEVER had to use the heater in winter at all! We feel like we get enough heat seeping through from our neighbours, and the insulation caused by having other apartments on all sides means the place never gets really cold even at night.

So I imagine that if the situation was reversed, we would never get used to how "cold" houses get.
posted by lollusc at 12:07 AM on December 29, 2010

a free-standing studio (kind of like a carriage house)

This is part of the problem. If it's really a carriage house, it likely was not built to even the standards of the main house at the time, which could mean it's virtually uninsulated, and probably more prone to drafty windows and so on.

If it's merely a detached office, still, you're talking about a small space that has virtually every wall surface touching the outside. This means a higher rate of heat transfer to the outside than a full-size house, in which many walls face another room (like in an apartment block, actually).

The bonus is that it's a small space and should heat up fairly quickly for all that.

Instead of an electric blanket, I recommend an electric mattress pad, with a good insulating blanket on top. Consider that heat rises. Also, allegedly, because it's in the mattress pad, it lasts longer as it tends not to get folded over and so forth.
posted by dhartung at 12:52 AM on December 29, 2010

saucysault writes "Because baseboard heat is in-efficent and costly."

Any kind of electric heat is 100% efficient.

Generally speaking houses are cooler because the people who control the thermostat are paying for the heat. If it's -10 outside then it is ~15% cheaper to set the thermostat at 15 vs 20 degrees. We wear winter weight clothing (jeans, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, heavy socks, often long underwear, slippers) and are comfortable at ~16ish degree room temperature during the winter months. Besides saving money dressing this way means more comfort when one goes outside.

PS: There isn't anything inherently wrong with electric base board heat. It has several advantages over forced air heat (less drying, quiet, easily zoned, cheap to install) with the only downside being that electric heat is generally more expensive to operate than fossil fuel heat. However because it is the cheapest capital cost heating system it is generally the product of choice in cheap rental properties where the owners aren't paying the operating costs. Electric base boards get a bad rap when really the problem is most people only experience them in cheap, shoddly constructed, poorly insulated buildings with inadequate air barriers. It's the buildings that are the problem not the base boards.
posted by Mitheral at 2:03 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you have electric baseboard heaters, you should be getting noticeable heat rising from them within 2-3 minutes of turning them on. If the baseboard units are equipped with balancing baffles (most are), make sure the mechanical baffle plate on or near the top of each heater strip is fully open (raised), as if it has been pushed down (say, during cleaning), little convection action will happen. Hydronic baseboard heat (relying on hot water to circulate) can take a bit longer to start providing heat, but even they will be putting out warmth within 15 minutes, in a properly operating system.

Baseboard units of either type need to be unobstructed by furniture, drapes, etc. If, for example, you've got bookcases all along a wall in front of baseboard units, your books are probably getting warmed, not you. Same for a couch, table, or other large piece of furniture. This can make it inconvenient to arrange furniture in a baseboard heated space, but do try to keep furniture at least a couple feet away from the baseboard units, to allow unobstructed convection air movement, on which they rely to heat room air.
posted by paulsc at 2:08 AM on December 29, 2010

This isn't a case of houses always cold versus apartments never cold.

Its a case of uninsulated dwelling cold versus insulated dwelling not cold.

You're house is cold because it doesn't retain the heat from your heaters. In you're last apartment, where heating the room was not you're responsibility this didn't matter. The solution is to insulate your house now!

You're house may not be amenable to every insulation measure due to its non-typical construction ( for what it's worth I don't know what a carriage house is), but you should be able to put down some kind of floor and ceiling insulation, and put in ad hoc secondary glazing. And plug all those draft gaps now!

if you need some ideas you could look here
posted by munchbunch at 2:17 AM on December 29, 2010

Mitheral is 100% correct. Baseboard is more efficient than any fuel based heater, if you are counting how much of the energy is wasted. It is not cost efficient however.

Further, almost all electric baseboard installations are under-sized. Especially if you are of the turn it down when you leave opinion. They are also radiant, meaning they heat all the stuff in the room, which in turn heats the air. That takes longer to get going.
posted by gjc at 4:12 AM on December 29, 2010

The temperature of your house is affected by two main things - the thermal capacity and the thermal resistance.

Thermal capacity is about how well your house stores heat in its construction. So if it has big concrete walls, it will heat up slowly, but it will also cool down slowly. If it has wooden walls, it will heat up fast and cool down fast.

Thermal resistance is about how well your house conducts heat. If your house is well sealed up and well insulated then the cold weather outside will have less effect on the inside temperature.

If your house is wooden and poorly insulated you may almost as well be living in the garden shed.

There are other things that affect how warm you feel personally, independent of the temperature in the house. If the air is more humid, you'll lose less heat through evaporative cooling so you'll feel warmer. Draughts will increase evaporative cooling. If you're touching surfaces that have low thermal resistance (concrete, steel, masonry) then they will conduct heat away from your skin quickly and make you feel cold. Surfaces like wood and carpet will make you feel warmer. Sitting on a sofa immediately stops most of the heat leaving your back.

Things that can make a difference in a rented house:

Stop all the draughts.
Insulate your house using curtains, bookcases, temporary secondary glazing, rugs, anything. Super thick carpet underlay is pretty cheap. Loft insulation could be worth doing.
Sit on chairs with good insulating properties.
Wear slippers.
Put rugs down on places where you'll be standing a lot.
Leave the curtains closed on any windows facing away from the sun and open them on windows getting direct sunlight.

It's completely possible to build a cosy house - but the construction of the house has a lot to do with it.
posted by emilyw at 4:17 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

...have to open the windows, even in the dead of winter.
...but I also want to make sure my standards haven't been warped...

Sorry, but as I load my woodstove I couldn't help but laugh at this.
posted by Area Control at 6:48 AM on December 29, 2010

I live in New England in a house I own, and unless I'm vacuuming the entire house or doing something else active, I wear long underwear under my jeans, a tank top, long-sleeved shirt, and a wool sweater or heavy hoody, and often a scarf if I need to (I didn't need one until I cut my hair short). That's normal for where I live, and I heat with propane, which is from what I can tell the most expensive possible heating method. My Brooklyn-dwelling sister, who has to open her window in winter to keep from sweating, thinks I'm completely insane, but of course, her heat's included in her rent.
posted by chowflap at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2010

I forgot -- yes, warm socks and slippers. It's really not that bad, I swear!
posted by chowflap at 7:44 AM on December 29, 2010

Best answer: Hey, welcome to my old carriage house.

I know how you feel. I experienced the exact same adjustment - I believe more than once I said "people can't LIVE like this!!" (it was a big surprise). After awhile, I adapted pretty well, once I accepted that it is what it is.

Follow the good advice above - and since your bedding will be cold, I really really recommend the heated mattress pad, which made a big difference in my quality of life.
posted by mrs. taters at 7:59 AM on December 29, 2010

Oh, and after the first year you adjust some, because I noticed that I no longer wanted the heat at work to be as high, and I wasn't as bothered at home. My wardrobe really hadn't changed, I think my body kind of reset itself?

If you have not gotten your first utility bill, watch out - it will be more than you think, even though you're freezing your ass off.

I have something like this, just plain grey though, and it helps to slip that on Mr. Rogers style right after getting home - it's not too bulky, it's easy to move or sit in, and it adds a decent amount of warmth.
posted by mrs. taters at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2010

My upper-floor apartment in CT, where I don't pay for the heat, never goes below 65 even if I turn my heat off entirely for days at a time. With my hot water baseboard heat on, it can easily be 75-80.

I don't know anyone who sets their house thermostat anywhere near there. Mid 60's are fairly normal. So yes, there is a real difference.
posted by smackfu at 8:11 AM on December 29, 2010

Any kind of electric heat is 100% efficient.

Regardless of the technical analysis, which I don't contest, in a poorly insulated house the experience is different (and poorly insulated correlates well with cheap heating choices by landlords). In a rental with a furnace and forced-air heat, the ducts tend to come through the core of the house and contribute heat all along the pathway from furnace to grating, and fill the centers of rooms along interior walls with noticeably warm air. With baseboard heat (whether electric or forced hot water), because it's often located alongside a poorly insulated wall and not always heatshielded, you immediately lose heat to the walls which are being constantly cooled from the outside. Though it may be technically a more efficient form of heating, given the same drafty old poorly insulated house, forced air is likely to feel warmer. I'm not sure if there are any fixes for this that a tenant can do, but it's definitely been my experience.
posted by Miko at 8:18 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your expectations are unrealistic for an older structure, and if you try to get apartment-building levels of heat you will be paying through the nose.

Yes, everyone wears sweaters indoors all winter. The good news is that you will acclimate eventually. Warm fuzzy slippers help a lot. Also, get a space heater that you can snuggle by until the heat comes up all over the house--that will help, too, as once you feel chilled it's harder to get back to feeling warm.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on December 29, 2010

It's normal to me. I live in a free-standing cabin in the woods, heated solely by a wood stove. I miss the days of living in an apartment, where the heat happened even if I was asleep or away!

I'm on the far side of the bell curve, for sure. But I'll tell you, paying for a load of wood, calculating the cost per stick (about 50 cents per log), and being super-broke really brings out the thrifty. You are saving SO MUCH MONEY by being a little on the cool side. And you do acclimate - I'm comfortable at cooler temperatures this winter than I was last winter, and the winter before that.

Typically when I wake up, the cabin's about 55 degrees. It takes a few hours to heat it up to 70 or so. Then it's a slow gradual decline until either I start another fire (my threshold for that is 60 degrees) or just go to bed.

And I work from home, so this is my office, too.

Right now I'm wearing wool socks, slippers, sweats, a t-shirt, a fleece jacket, and a wool scarf. Times like this I'm glad that I'm a knitter!
posted by ErikaB at 10:56 AM on December 29, 2010

I say use the window wrap stuff. Also the ECLIPSE noise and insulating window curtains work wonders. I use them at my condo. You might be able to find cheaper off brand ones.

Do some insulation of any holes. If its against you lease then just use tape to tape up any holes.
posted by majortom1981 at 11:00 AM on December 29, 2010

I live in a drafty duplex with no insulation between the basement and the main floor living area. I also wrapped the windows and did other weather sealing, but the main problem is the lack of basement insulation.

I practically live in my felted wool slippers all winter (I made mine myself, but that is the same pattern), however these sheepskin slippers are quite nice, and a friend of mine staying with us was sporting some down booties the other week. I find the key is to keep your toes and core warm.

And yes, figuring out some sort of timer would for your heat be awesome - my (forced air gas furnace) thermostat is set to 55 during the day, but starts warming up about 45 mins before I get home. I know some baseboard thermostats can be really goofy, but a programmable thermostat shouldn't be that difficult to install. Apparently thermostats are cheaper than slippers!

If all else fails, start baking a lot of bread. Good luck staying toasty!
posted by sararah at 1:43 PM on December 29, 2010

Best answer: The thermostat I linked to is non-programmable, here is a programmable one for $10 more.
posted by sararah at 1:46 PM on December 29, 2010

You mention high ceilings which are a flag for me. Homes with high ceilings are very very hard to heat efficiently. We have a very large living room which is called a "great room" due to the very high ceilings. As a result our home is always cold even though we generally keep the heat at about 70 degrees (F). If we kept it any higher our electric bill would be enormous and it's pretty high already. We definitely have to wear socks, pants and long sleeve shirts to feel comfortable and even then you'll still feel chilly in the main part of our house (living room, dining room, kitchen which are all open to each other) on days when the outside temp is very cold. On the other hand, the bedrooms and bathrooms, which have closed doors and normal height ceilings get quite toasty. To the point where I sometimes have to block off the vent in my room, because it gets too warm.

What did help a bit in the main part of the house was sealing the windows in winter with plastic. It does not look very pretty, but we keep the drapes shut most of the time anyways, so it's not too disturbing. We were losing quite a bit of heat from our windows. Check for condensation between your storm window and the inner pane. That's a dead giveaway.
posted by katyggls at 2:29 PM on December 29, 2010

I live in an uninsulated house and yes, it is constantly cold in winter. Even with the gas heater on full, and the temperature well into warm, the constant seeping in of cold air means that it is very hard to feel "warm". There always seems to be a cold breeze coming from somewhere.

One thing that I found useful last winter (I'm in the southern hemisphere) is to do some exercise in the early evening. Half an hour of cardio can warm me up for most of the evening, and works so much better than curling up into a smaller and smaller ball on the couch.
posted by kjs4 at 4:29 PM on December 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all! My plan is to readjust my expectations, but mitigate the cold with a heated mattress pad and programmable thermostat so I can get the baseboards going an hour before I wake up and an hour before I get home from work.
posted by yarly at 9:12 PM on December 29, 2010

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