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Keeping Warm in California Winter

Not all California homes are properly insulated or weather worthy, especially if they are older. This is the type of home I live in. It is also unfortunate that inadequate heating is also a problem.

A 6 foot gas heater built into the wall of the hallway is the main source of heat for the whole house, which throughout the winter, even here in California can waste a lot of energy with heat going up the flue! Also, by having a heater in the hallway, the hallway might get up to 80 degrees (26 degrees celsius) before the bedroom would get up to a comfortable 65 degrees.

I recall when living in snow country we often heated our homes to warmer temperatures. But, I'm fairly sure that is not the case today.

It is not unknown to have freezing temperatures where I live. I have a lemon tree in my front yard and there have been times when the lemons have been ruined because of it. One winter we had two full weeks of freezing temperatures, for example. Again with inadequate insulation (none in the walls) this can make it quite uncomfortable inside the house.

Nonetheless, I have decided this year to decrease my use of gas for home heating. I have had the pilot light to my heater turned off, so that I will not be tempted to use it. Plus, I will not have to pay for running a pilot light, which according to a friend, saved him 8 dollars a month, once he turned it off.

Having been raised in snow country, my logic is that I can live with the cold. Now that I am older, I can use some of the methods learned in childhood to keep myself warmer. Layer my clothing for example. And, when it is particularly cold in the house, I can stay in one room. By my presence alone, my body heat can make a degree or so difference from the rest of the house. Keeping my insulated, floor length curtains, closed as soon as the sun goes down helps to keep some heat inside as well. If I am watching television or using my laptop, I am aware that some heat will be produced by them. I don't think as much heat emanates from my energy saver curly light bulbs as incandescent bulbs would have provided. But, it's a trade off on energy costs, not only for the little bit I can do for the environment, but also for my utility bill.

One thing I have noticed is that when my bedroom is beneath 58 degrees, I begin to be uncomfortable. It doesn't help that I have arthritis. If I am sleeping, it doesn't matter much. Up until recently, I just piled on the blankets. It makes a big difference, also if one uses flannel bedsheets.

I have recently made two concessions for myself. I occasionally will use an electric heater in the daytime to bring the temperature in my room up to a toasty 62 degrees. Also, I bought an "energy saver" electric blanket to use at night, and have been quite comfortable even when the temperature in my room drops to 47 degrees, which it has done occasionally this winter. I haven't yet recieved my utility bill for the month of January, so I do not know if this has all been a sensible idea. Will my use of the electric heater be a detriment?

My utility bill is combined, gas with electricity. Gas usage is always less expensive than electricity. But, I am hoping that by not wasting gas, my bill will be considerably less. We shall see.

With my utility company, I can go online and compare my usage to last year, so I am looking forward to seeing if it will make a difference.


  1. We also use many of your methods: layering clothes, not heating the entire place, staying in a room in the evening, electric blanket and flanalette sheets in winter. Oh ... AND snuggling my floofy warm cats!

  2. Having Cats in the room definitely brings the temperature up more. I think they do it by purring!


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