Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Living without central heating


Hello Dear Reader,

I've had a few comments and a few emails from those of you who seem to think it's a feat of human endurance to live without central heating. Like millions of people, I grew up without any heating. The fire was lit in the front room on a Sunday and we sat in front of it with drying wet hair, eating sardines on toast and watching Songs of Praise. Like millions of other people, the immersion heater only got used on Sundays too. Bath over? Then off it went for another week.

I grew up in a house that had metal framed single glazed windows and no heating at all. We had frost and ice on the inside of our bedroom windows and we could see the breath in front of our faces when we spoke......indoors! Extra warmth was gained from hot water bottles in bed and all the blankets and coats we had on top of our beds. One gas ring was lit in the kitchen when we came down for breakfast, and any door left open would result in a verbal backlashing from my mother that would leave you deaf! We sat in bed to keep warm with a tray on our laps to do our homework. We also went to bed early in the winter to save the meter money which was being eaten by the lighting so that was turned off early too.




I've even had emails thinking that a lack of central heating would result in a tin bath in front of the fire. I thought I would assure you of my living conditions and how much they've improved. Even in the depths of the coldest winters we have ever had when it's been -5 outside, the house rarely falls below 15 degrees inside. My house is double glazed and has loft and cavity wall insulation. We have a wood stove in our living room and leave the door open so the heat permeates through the hall way and circulates around the house. This often takes the house temperature up to 20 degrees. This is the UK............we sunbath in 20 degrees!!!! 20 degrees requires flip flops and shorts! If I'm on holiday and it's 20 degrees then I see no need to sit in doors and everything can take place outside.



My house has big south facing window which capture all the heat through the day and the house always seems warm when I come home. I am quite happy to walk around the house barefoot and in my pyjamas and walk in and out of the bathroom and have a shower and I'm certainly warm enough. I must admit, I love the luxury of having a wood stove and especially the luxury of being able to dry my laundry on a rack in front of the fire and have it dried and put away in one evening.



I leave my office, bedroom and sewing room door shut in the day to trap the warmth of the sun and the rooms can often be stiflingly warm when I return home. I manage the heat I have effectively. Yes, my bathroom is cooler than other rooms but I soon warm up when I'm standing under a stream of hot water in the shower. I'm still warm as I get dried and I'm dressed again before I get cold. Living without heating certainly isn't a hardship and it never really gets that cold where I live. In comparison to the home of my childhood, I live in the tropics and I certainly don't need central heating.

Over to you Dear Reader. Have you ever checked the temperature in your house? Is it as warm or as cold as you think? Have you taken up the opportunity to have your house insulated cheaply or for free? Does anyone else remember frost on their windows and stepping out of bed onto cold lino? Share your chilly stories? Does anyone live where it gets -20? Does anyone live where you never need heating ever?

I look forward to hearing from you all,

Love Froogs xxxxx

92 comments:

  1. When I was growing up for most of the years we didn't have central heat. Bedrooms weren't heated at all. Daddy would get up an hour before everyone else and start a fire. The bathroom had a small gas space heater and was used during bath time. I often remember when we were younger getting dressed in front of the wood stove.

    You are right -- our homes now are much more "heat" efficient.

    I've learned to do another thing that helps keep the house warm during that transition time just as the sun goes down. I'll bake then. The heat from the oven seems to warm us up and we have something yummy to look forward to. By the time the baking is finished we seem more mentally prepared to snuggle in under blankets.

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    1. We had a couple of paraffin heaters and it was only lit in the bathroom when my dad had a bath.

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    2. I remember going down the road with my mum to get the parrafin to fill up the upright heaters which were used downstairs when the coal fire wasn't lit.
      Hot water bottles in bed and sitting with a blanket over us on the sette in the evening when watching the telly.We had wooden window frames so I don't really remember it being a draughty house, but I remember ice on the inside sometimes. We had an outside toilet, so at bedtime we had potties in case we got caught out in the night LOL.

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  2. Ours windows were like that too Froogs when I was a little 'un. Frost on the inside of the windows and Mum would tell us that Jack Frost had painted them :-)x

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    1. I used to like to etch pictures in the ice on my bedroom window or scrape a hole in the frost to see outside.

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    2. I was just about to comment that I used to love to scratch the ice with my fingernails and also the sense of achievement I felt if I could get it off in sheets! We had candlewick bedspreads over our pastel rainbow striped flannelette sheets and blankets. Cosy enough!

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  3. Having downsized from an uneconomical 70s detached house on a corner plot, we are already noticing how much warmer our 4 year old end terrace feels(clothes dry much faster and the loft is like a different climate zone it's so well insulated )but the next coming months will tell. A hot water bottle is always nice as it starts to get cooler xo

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    1. Good insulation makes such a difference

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  4. I, too grew up without central heating. No heating at all upstairs. I used to get dressed whilst still under the covers. I can remember constantly being asked if I was born in a barn. I learnt to close doors. I seem to have survived!

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    1. Ditto - I dressed and undressed under the blankets

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  5. Whan I was a child we lived in a thatched beamed cottage. When it was cold the wattle and daub walls shrank and in places we could see daylight between wall and beam. This happened quite frequently in winter in the oh, so cold 60s and, to add to the cold, we lived in a frost pocket. I remember that our breath used to make frost on top of the beds piled high with blankets, eiderdowns and bedspreads.
    There was an ancient range in the living room at this time that was the sole source of heat and provided hot water. We wrapped up in as many jumpers as possible and huddled over the fire to keep warm. We used to dress and undress in front of the fire (making sure that modesty was preserved - a bit like changing under a towel on the beach.
    We used to consume cups of warm drinks to warm up and the kettle was always on to top up the teapot. That meant, though, that we had to brave the cold upstairs more often to get to the bathroom!
    For all this, though, the deprivations seemed to make us stronger as a family as we all pulled together to be as comfortable as we could.
    Life is so much more comfortable these days!

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  7. I grew up without central heating. We had a gas fire in both living rooms and that was it. You don't need central heating. It's a pure luxury and essentially heats rooms that you are rarely in! You can get by without it if you insulate and dress properly.

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  8. Froogs, we must be related!! You described my childhood perfectly exactly in every aspect. I well remember being excited when Jack Frost had visited in the night and there were beautiful swirly ice patterns on the inside of those single glazed metal windows in the winter. I never felt deprived, it was just the way it was and infact growing up with those old thrifty values that were the result I think of my parents having gone through the war years as children and having it drummed into them to make every penny stretch till it squealed has stood me in good stead. I've always been frugal (more so now) but it made me resilient and self reliant in ways that I am truly grateful for. We never went hungry and we were loved and looked after. Sure some of the meals we ate were a bit strange as we ate leftovers and mums 'iffits' if its available.....but I'm in my 40's healthy as a horse and it certainly never did me any harm. Keep up the blogging and keep spreading the word and banging the frugal drum xx

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  9. There have been several winters where we were only allowed the heating on Christmas day! Electric storage heaters rather than gas heating meant that it would've put the energy bill up too high to pay! (Although in more recent years my parents were not quite as strict!)

    I have just moved into a small flat. The living room heats up nicely during the day, but the bedroom's getting quite chilly at night. We are about to ask the landlord's permission to change the curtains; the ones we have now as so thin you can see through them! I don't know what they're made of but it's not normal curtain fabric!

    An extra jumper and a pair of slippers will tide me over for another month with no heating yet!

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    1. my parents house had three open fires and on Christmas day, they would all be heaped up with coal and the parafin heater would be lit at the bottom of the stairs. heating was a treat

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  10. Yes i grew up exactly like that too..ice inside my windows,hot water bottles every night..quick bath on a sunday and early bed..my mum would stuff us with thick hot porridge in the mornings and spend ages knitting blankets and winter woolies for us.The house i live in now is actually next door to where i grew up and my mum and dad still live there..this house is wonderful,double glazing,thick loft and wall insulation,thermal curtains all over..the sun shines on my house from morning til night..it warms it up nice and toasty..the temp in my house is 19.4 at the moment and we haven't had any inclination to put the heating on...
    sara

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  11. We had central, gas fired heating, but the energy crisis hit the USA in the '70's so my Dad had 2 wood stoves installed. One in the cellar, another in the living room. I had the north facing, second story bedroom. I got ice inside my windows. I was warm, however, as I slept with many blankets, layers, wearing flannel nightgowns, and thermal underwear sets as well. I'd undress and dress in front of one of the wood stoves. : )

    Where I am in CT, really cold is minus 10 degrees F or -23 celcius. Currently, we have raw, damp, rainy weather in the upper 40's at night to about 50 in the day or 4.4 to 10 degrees celcius. I do put on the central heating for about 15 minutes in the morning, then it's lowered to keep the house at 15.5 celcius or 60 F during the day, when no one is home. Once home, it's back on for a bit, to get the chill off, then hot tea, an extra sweater until bedtime. Soon, the wood stove will be supplementing our evening heat. For now, we make do. I also have a huge wall of almost floor to ceiling windows (which leak) but they have a Southern exposure. I open up the blinds on sunny days and it is quite toasty, especially as we have a brick floor that retains the heat in this area.

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    1. CTMom, I haven't experienced really cold weather so my question is a query, not a criticism: why do you heat the house to 15 degrees C, or at all, when no one is home? Is that normal practice in your area? Will something happen to the house if you don't?

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    2. Lusindasans

      I've experimented over the years as to how low I could go. Tried 50 degrees F when I lived in a brick faced appartment building years ago, with a garden appartment underneath my 2 story, town house style appartment. A lot of my heat came up thru the appartment below, we had wall to wall carpets and sun streamed in thru large windows. We didn't even turn on the thermostat on the second (actualy 3rd floor). Fast forward and while I tried reducing the temp to 50 in a detatched home, we found that a lot of energy was used to heat the house back up to then 68 (I've since maxed out my heat at a lower temp). Both my former home and now this one is less than desirable as far as insulation is concerned. So, to moderate the inside temp, it's warmed up during the dark hours of the early morning, then dropped back down to 60, and hopefully won't come on as the sun is offerning passive solar while we are at school/work. By 3, someone is usually home, and once in, we kick the temp back up, as needed. We do have 2 indoor cats but mostly it is the result of the aforementioned experiment on dropping down to 50 then paying for the heat to hit 68, which took quite some time, esp if the winds were blowing hard. Many just keep their homes at 70 degrees or higher all day/night. Ack! Too hot for Should the heat be shut off completely, in the dead of Winter, water pipes can burst-not a good thing!

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    3. In prolonged cold weather, there is a fear of pipes (water) freezing and bursting, which leads to even worse problems/damage. Large houses can take a long while to warm up if the temperature outside is cold and there isn't enough of a warm "base" going into turning the heat on. I do the same thing (although slightly warmer) with my house. Our thermostat is programmed to turn on around the time we get home to warm the house up. It goes down at night when we are sleeping, turns on in the morning when we wake up and goes down again when we leave for work.

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  12. We never had central heating growing up - there was a coal fire in the back room where we undressed and put on our warmed bed clothes and drank our coco and on Saturday night - that was our bath night a paraffin heater was put on to take the edge off.
    There were 3 storage heaters downstairs but I can't remember them ever being very hot.
    Now I am a certain age I seem to be able to make my own heat at a moments notice! it certainly saves on the heating.

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  13. I grew up without central heating too. We lived in an apartment in Paris with only a gas heater in the living room and nothing more. I don't really remember being cold.
    We have gas central heating in our current home, but we only use it when it's really cold, otherwise we use the wood stove. We maintain a temperature of 17/18° in the living room and in the kids room, much less in our room, since I hate being too hot for sleeping and we have a very warm duvet comforter !
    I grew with the motto"if you are cold put another layer of cloth on" and I still do that...
    Currently, we still have a temperature of 20° in the house without any kind of heating, but we'll probably have to use the wood stove before the end of October.

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  14. I remember frost on the windows and no heating upstairs, we had an open fire in the kitchen with plates that swung over it for saucepans and the kettle, there was an oven in the wall with a fire underneath. there was another fire in the "front room" lit at tea time so the room was warm for the evening. We heated bath water in a copper in the wash house and did bath in front of the kitchen fire. I had an idyllic childhood and remember it fondly. I do not miss ironing with a flat iron though that was not nice at all.

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  15. No central heating as a child, used to dress for school in front of gas fire in the living room. Didn't experience the pleasure of the tin bath but husband did. Can't think of anything nicer than a hot water bottle and have a large selection to choose from.

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  16. I have had central heat most of my life. However, as my mother before me the heat is set at 53 during the day, goes up to the sweltering 58 in the evening and back to 53 at night. My friends and family think I am cracked. Sweaters, blankets, fingerless gloves, slippers all keep me warm enough.

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  17. I remember ice on the windows and sleeping in the front room where the only source of heat was.

    Last winter we saw temps of -20! I do use the ch to warm the house in the morning, then it switches off and I try to heat the house with sunlight and the woodstove. But with -20 outside, you have to be sensible sometimes and let the bedrooms warm up with the CH to allow the teens to hang out in their bedrooms.

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  18. I had never lived in a centrally heated house until I was 35 and, amazingly, it didn't do me any harm at all. Granted, I would not wish to go back to living in a house with very little heat but I would do it if I had to. I still have no heat in the kitchen in the house I'm in now - plus a quarry-tiled floor and single-glazed windows and door - it makes it mighty chilly first thing in the morning but we just get on with it. In the afternoon, when the sun comes round to that side of the house, it can get quite warm - even in winter.

    As a child I remember peeling the net curtains away from the windows in the mornings as they had frosted hard to the glass. And in the winter of 1981 / 82 the temperature got so low that the shampoo was freezing in the bottle in the bathroom (I think that was after some record-breaking cold night when the temperature got down to minus 20 or something crazy!!)

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  19. I think it helps a lot if you don't have problems with damp. One end of our house is single skin Victorian brick and condensation is a huge problem. It makes it feel much colder and, unfortunately, ventilation alone doesn't work - we need heat as well

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  20. People think it is warm in Sydney but our winters can be cold and a different kind of cold that gets through you. Our houses aren't really built for it and practically no one has double glazing. Most people don't have central heating but, for the heat that will shortly start, many people have airconditioning units. I am happy with a fan in summer, which is lucky as my husband won't get any airconditioning. I know feeling cold and heat is relative but I feel really cold when it is less than 10 degrees. And there are many nights when it gets to zero. Being in an old wooden house, what it is outside, it is inside. So I am glad we have ducted gas heating.

    Growing up there really was no such thing as ducted heating or central heating. In the 60s and 70s, like most of my friends and family, we had one room with an electric bar heater. In summer, a few people had little air conditioning units that fitted in the windows - noisy beasts they were. I think it would take me years to acclimatise to your weather, Froogs. That said, when we go to our snow fields, I always turn the heating off at night. Can't stand the drying, stuffy feel at night.

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  21. When I was a child we had metal framed, single glazed windows, thin curtains and no heating except an open fire in the sitting room and a paraffin heater on the upstairs landing. My older brother and I would complain after school about being cold but Mum would not light the fire until Dad was due home. It would warm up the sitting room while we ate in the kitchen, warm from cooking. My two eldest brothers must have done their homework in bed, like you. By the time I was old enough for homework, we had moved and I had an electric fire in my room; luxury! Now we have just central heating but I daren't turn it on yet. today it is 16 C indoors and I dearly wish we could have a woodburner. But this place has no chimney. I am thinking of getting an oil filled radiator for the sitting room in the evenings, though. We have an "old people's" bungalow but are in our 40's; we got it because I am disabled; our neighbours will mostly get help with winter fuel bills but we don't! I am trying to hold out until Nov 1st!

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  22. We didn't have central heating until about 3 years after getting married. I grew up with just coal fires, my dad was a coal miner and got his coal allowance free so we always had a nice fire burning in the kitchen. The rest of the house was very cold and the wind would whistle through the gaps in the windows and doors. During the winter months we had blankets up at the windows to stop the drafts and mum would warm our bed with the oven shelves wrapped in an old blanket. I would put my socks on in bed before stepping out onto that freezing cold lino but our clothes would be downstairs hung on the pully over the kitchen fire to get warm. Did anyone wear a liberty bodice on top of their vest? It was like a thick cotton body warmer you wore under your clothes. We always had porridge for breakfast too, the milk on the doorstep would be frozen and the top forced off with ice. Despite the cold we had a very happy childhood, thank you for helping me to remember such lovely times. These days it a cup of hot chocolate, a hot water bottle, thick fluffy slippers and an early night snuggled in bed with my kindle :-)

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    1. I wore a Liberty Bodice too! Was confused by the name- if liberty meant freedom, why was I so constricted? then I discovered it was because they were originally sold in Liberty's Store in London.
      and yes, I put my clothes on chair by the bed at night, so I could get dressed under the bedclothes in the morning.

      but I was happy because I knew I was loved. That kept me warm INSIDE

      happy memories!

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  23. I hardly feel qualified to comment on this topic because I have lived the majority of my life in the sub-tropics of the Southern hemisphere. I grew up in Brisbane, where the nights can drop close to 0C on a few occasions and we even get a couple of light frosts each winter. However, the daytime temperatures almost always reach 18 - 20C during the day in winter and I did not even know what central heating was until I read about it as an adult.

    I lived in the cooler part of southern Australia for about 13 years and we only ever used a combustion heater and 'lived' mostly in the kitchen during the winter.

    We are very lucky to live in one of the most temperate areas in Australia in a house which faces north, insulated walls and our only heating is a combustion heater fuelled entirely by wood salvaged from our property. The only cooling device is 1 small fan which gets pulled out of the cupboard to use a couple of times each summer.

    We chose to install the wall insulation when the windows were replaced and new external cladding was done. This is a few years ago and has made a significant difference.

    We have a thermometer /hygrometer servery bench near the kitchen and we refer to it regularly. I agree that 20C when the fire is on is too hot - 18C is my preferred temp. We also monitor the humidity closely - mould is a problem in our climate.

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  24. I remember when it was so cold the foil top on the milk was lifted by the frozen cream. My job was to fetch the milk bottles inside before the blue tits got to the cream. Those were the days.

    Dianne - Hereford

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    1. oh Dianne, you just bought back such memories...... I to remember the cream on top of the milk freezing and lifting the lid and being told to rush outside and get the milk in before the bluetits woke up lol x

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  25. Hi froogs
    this sooooo hit a cord with me
    I lived at the end of a row of bombed terrace houses we would have been 3rd up but Hitler decided otherwise! there was an outside loo a coal bunker and the smallest patch of grass and a long wide concreted corridor that we laughingly called the court yard.
    like you there was a coal fire and once a week Mum would heat water on the stove and pop it in a big blue plastic bath in front of the fire on Sunday . If she was feeling extravagant we would have a squirt of fairy liquid in it after we had washed ourselves off. My father has a million photos of me sporting foam beards and freaky hair styles. so grateful for that and for you evocation of an old old memory. Like you rarely put nn np3gf-~l heating as the house is wonderfully toasty.
    all the best
    Rachel

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  26. Long time reader de-lurking for the first time - hello :o)

    I live on the north coast of Scotland, 50 miles west of John o'Groats and about 20 miles from a place called Altnaharra which often gets a mention on the weather forecast in winter for being the coldest place in the country. We live in a 100 year old croft house with thick stone walls (so no cavity wall insulation, although the roof is done) and there's no mains gas, so our heating is electric panel heaters and night storage which are horrifically expensive to run (though not quite as expensive as an oil-fired system would be - our neighbour spent £4,000 on oil last year!).

    We're trying to avoid turning on the night storage for as long as possible. We have panel heaters in the bedrooms and the dining room and night storage in the kitchen, hall and dining room. We removed the one in the living room when we put the wood burning stove in. At the moment we're lighting up the stove between 5pm and 9pm each night and as long as we remember to shut the living room door behind us when we go to bed, the living room and kitchen stay warm enough to be comfortable in the following morning.

    We've caved in slightly and do have the panel heater in our bedroom timed to come on for 45 minutes before we get up, but other than that, everything else is switched off. I'm hoping we can get well into November before we need to switch any more of the system on, as there's only one tariff in the country that has a reduced rate for night storage (all the Economy 7 ones I've looked at specifically exclude it) and they're putting their prices up next Monday :o(

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  27. Same here, grew up with metal framed windows.I can remember drawing on the frosty windows and my brothers seeing if their tongues would stick to window as well.
    Mum used to put the gas oven on and open the door of it to warm us up before we went to school. This was in the dark in the 60's. Fire was made up and we too had a paraffin heater for the landing.
    We used to sleep with coats on top of the bed and encourage the dog on the bed, he was very warm :-) As well as a hot water bottle.
    50p electric meter, which we all learned to fiddle( this was when metric came in) before that it was a shilling.
    I can remember in the 70's the electric strikes, and i still have candles and torches in my cupboards just in case.
    No one suffered it made us hardy and everyone was in the same boat. I hated central heating, made me feel stuffy and still does. I find the hot water convenient but that's about it.
    My husband grew up in a centrally heated house and would happily have it on full blast all day and night if I let him. He has got used to it gradually going off for longer.
    We have put the fire on tonight as near freezing oop North. It will go off early though and maiden brought in with clothes on to dry overnight.
    Talking about getting dressed and undressed under the blankets-i remember my mum getting embarrassed when my brother went to school with the same clothes(which he slept in including underwear) a few days in a row. He told the teacher it was cold so didn't see point in getting changed and unchanged again-think it must have been a PE lesson and he refused to get changed. Fair point :-)Funny my mum didn't notice-but it was one of those funny family tales.

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  28. I'm a Lancashire lass - it was cold near Pendle Hill - no heating other than a coal fire in the sitting room. My parents moved south, temporarily into a big detached with free central heating - it was amazing! Short-lived though, we were back into a cottage with a coal fire within six months, but with an wall mounted electric heater in the bathroom - my Dad disconected it as he couldn't afford the cost.

    Many years later, now married, we moved into a house with a Calor gaz tank outside - the standing order to the bank was £120 per month AND THIS WAS 1988! I remembered my Dad disconnecting the 'leccy heater and so got rid of the gaz and put in an old wood burning Rayburn which heated the water and ran a few radiators.

    All these years later, and we still run a wood burner with radiators running off it. It is a bit erratic sometimes but I wouldn't swap my Bosky for all the tea in China. I cook on it, heat water, warm the house (but not very hot - it's a big house) dry the clothes etc.

    We will be downsizing eventually, but I will not go anywhere unless I can run a similar arrangement.

    Anyway, like they say, wood warms you more than once!

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  29. How strange, I have just been talking with my hubby tonight about how we are a bit unusual by not having the heating on (except for 20 mins when the kids get up in the morning) I have to be honest, I don't know of anyone except some of you lovely bloggers who also don't have the heating on. When I go visiting friends and family's homes I end up red cheeked and overheating as we are used to chillier climes!

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  30. How strange, I have just been talking with my hubby tonight about how we are a bit unusual by not having the heating on (except for 20 mins when the kids get up in the morning) I have to be honest, I don't know of anyone except some of you lovely bloggers who also don't have the heating on. When I go visiting friends and family's homes I end up red cheeked and overheating as we are used to chillier climes!

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  31. Oh yes, you brought back the memories for me.I was born in 1960 and lived in a council house till I left home after getting married. Frost on the windows all winter long. We had coats on our beds in the winter. That was in the days of wool blankets and eiderdowns. We had hot water bottles as well. Burned your feet when you got into bed and froze them when you woke up, none of these namby pamby hot water bottle covers that they have nowadays. We also had such badly fitted windows that when it was windy outside the curtains moved inside. We just thought everyone lived like that.

    Dad got hold of a paraffin stove and Mum would have that in the kitchen first thing in the morning. I still get nostalgic if I get a whiff of paraffin. Mind you, your in the balmy south. Up here in Yorkshire we get it a bit colder.

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  32. I am Canadian, though I now live in the UK, and our winters were very cold. When my husband and I first married we lived in a little house without central heating in Saskatchewan. One particular winter the cold was -70 in the wind. about -50 otherwise. It was so darn cold your eyelashes froze together if your eyes watered... which happens in the wind... despite being heavily pregnant and having only single glazed windows we were quite comfortably with only a wood stove. I'll be honest and say we did not only light it on a Sunday through the coldest months, however when the temperature rose to a balmy -20, we were outside in shorts as it really felt warm in comparison. I think it is amazing how the body adjusts. We simply don't need the level of climate control we worry we do. That said... is a hot water bottle, or sleeping cat on one's feet not pure bliss!

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  33. When I was very young, and until I was about 7, we lived in a very large, Georgian detached house in the middle of town, very run down and there was one little fire in our living room, no heating anywhere else in the house, the living room was so large it had two 12' square carpets and there was at least 8ft at each end and sides not carpeted, I think that was lino. The hall was stone slabs.

    One winter the cat had kittens in Mum and Dad's bedroom wardrobe and one of them froze to death. My gran made them each a dressing gown out of a blanket.

    We moved out of there into a modern house but there was still no heating. It had a bungalow range that had an oven that made the room toasty. It was cold upstairs though.

    Later, we moved to another house that had a Parkray, then later they had central heating installed, my Dad trained to be a Central Heating Engineer.

    My heating has not gone on yet, we have had the gas fire on at nights for a couple of weeks, since it went cold and damp. There is no way we could have a log burner in this house, unfortunately and the house is all open up to the first floor.

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  34. We had central heating and double glazing installed when I was 17 and just about to leave for University. Up to that point there was a gas fire in the lounge (rarely lit) and a portable gas-bottle fire that took the chill off the air.
    It was always cold in the morning, but my dad used to make a pot of tea and place mam's mine and my sister's clean knickers on to warm up. These were then delivered with your hot cuppa to the bedside first thing to slip on under the covers - bliss!!
    Simple things :-)

    We don't plan on putting our heating on until we absolutely have to this year - have patchwork quilts on the back of each sofa for laps.

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  35. Hi - we also used to fold up newspaper and push it into the edges of the window frames to stop the draught - can anyone else remember the curtains moving to and fro with the draught. What about holding a newspaper up to the fire to make it draw. warming your nightie on the fire guard? chilblains? we all had them and cold sores and every one permanently had a cold? ear ache and cotton wool in our ears? what were those drops our mums put in our ears? wooly hats in doors?

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    1. I can still draw a fire like that-hired a cottage with a coal fire and it was windy, but i managed to draw it and get it lit with loo rolls, and a paper over the front.
      Ear ache was cured with warm oil and cotton wool stuffed in, i can still remember that popping feeling. Mottled legs( no cold sores) and woolly hats and mittens mum had knitted. My duffel coat was always warmed up before i put it on-i still warm jumpers.

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    2. Oh and draught excluders made from old tights stuffed with paper.

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    3. Hi
      was prone to ear infections as a kid,and Nanny would warm our clothes in front of a calor gas heater when we stayed with her also the cold sores that hurt like the very devil sadly still get them now. But you learn to get on with it. I also know this I'm not dead! :) lol

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    4. The oil was warmed Olive Oil which came in a tiny bottle from the chemists. Did anyone have a little cloth bag round their necks with a piece of Camphor in to help breathe when you had a cold. Mum wouldn't let us have that I don't think she liked the smell lol but I was quite envious of my friends. Newspapers were used for allsorts of things including making paper sticks for lighting the fire before you added the wooden ones then carefully placing the coal on top so it didn't go out or you would have to start all over again. We still stand in front of the fire to get warm at my mums out of habit even though its been a radiator for about 5 years lol xx

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  36. OK, I might get slapped a bit here...but here goes.
    We live in Canada where it gets REALLY cold (-35C....unlike the UK's horrific -10C last year)and we don't have central heating..and we only have single pane windows and our windows are HUGE.We wear layers...in the winter I often go to bed in a hat..we get ice on the inside of the windows. We invested in log stove a couple of years ago which is great...it really kicks out cheap heat...but it goes out overnight. We have lived in this house for almost 10 years and we are still alive. Cental heating is highly overrated.
    Jane x

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  37. No slapping, just clapping. I don't rate central heating hence, I dont use it

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  38. Oh my gosh, I feel like a marshmallow. I am SOFT! It is about 62 in the house right now and I'm chilly! In my area of the US just about everyone has central heating (in fact I can't think of one person I know who doesn't) and lots have central air. It is almost unheard of to buy a new house without both!

    I have just turned off both the air conditioning and heating system so neither will run! This time of year we can go back and forth between hot and cold temps. But, it is a "damp" chill tonight...the kind of cold that goes right through you. I have pulled the shades down below the windowsills in my sewing room to keep warmer, am sitting with my lumbar pillow snugly between me and the chair (why do I always feel coldest in my spine?) and am wearing one of DH's old flannel shirts. I have nice warm slippers on my feet and I am just finishing a cup of tea. I think I will be making another! Because the cold severely exacerbates my fibromyalgia I have been sleeping with the electric blanket off and on for the past month. In fact, the heat of the electric blanket helps my pain even if the temps are high...so sometimes I am lying in bed covered to my neck by the electric blanket on high for pain relief, while the overhead fan cools my sweaty brow. Guess there is just no satisfying me!

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  39. I live in a very new modern house where there is no alternative source of heat other than central heating but we try to use it wisely. I also have knitted woolly blankets to cover up when sitting in the evening. I was born in 1946--a baby boomer! And I can remember well the post war austerity--linoleum on the floor, one coal fire in the living room to heat the whole house--and that was considered normal. But we all wore more clothes than we tend to do nowadays, vests, liberty bodices, and often a jumper and a cardigan--hand knitted of course, long woolly socks and a skirt and an underskirt. Frosty icy windows, dressing under the bedclothes,teeth chattering when you got out of the (weekly) bath,hot water bottles, a load of blankets on the bed, all weight and no heat! I used to sleep with my head under the covers because the bed heated up more quickly! I feel really grateful for my lovely duvet and my homemade quilt. However we all survived and none the worse for it. We used to sit round the fire and fight about who was getting the most heat and eat plates of toast and life was sweet.

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  40. It goes down to the -30C where I live for a couple of weeks every winter. -20C is bearable, -10C is considered a tropical January. I can keep meat and ice-cream outdoors without having to worry for about five months of the year.

    I keep the house around 20C. The dog doesn't like it any hotter indoors.

    You haven't experienced cold until you've had to scrape the ice off the inside of an old VW Bug while driving it!

    A couple of years ago, we had the dubious distinction of being the coldest spot on earth at -40something that day.

    We won't even discuss windchill.

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  41. I remember well the days of sleeping with coats on our beds to keep warm, with hot water bottles at our feet and scraping our names in the frost on the insides of the windows. Right now I live in the far north of scotland and our winters can be raw, it has hit at least -20 not too far away from us. I wear lots of layers, we have good insulation and a woodburning stove that heats more than just the sitting room. With the price of oil right now I doubt we can afford to run the under floor heating but we will survive without it like we all did in the past!

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  42. This reminds me of my childhood too. My Dad put in loft insulation when I was a teenager. The insulation was very thin by modern standards but made so much difference.
    I put the heating on for 30min first thing in the morning, today, for the first time this year. We try to limit this but can't allow the house to get too cold as we have an elderly relative living with us. We supplement the central heating by electric radiators in her room-if anyone knows of cheaper ways of keeping one room at least 6 C higher than the rest of the house, I would be delighted!

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  43. We dont get as cold as you do in Winter, but I still love our combustion fire. We get wood for free and plenty of it so no cost there. We shut doors to the rooms we dont want heated and have heavy blinds that are shut to keep out the cold. Some mornings can be as low as -3 but the days sit mostly around 16C but on occasion can dip as low as 9-10 degrees...fleecy sheets on the bed keep us toasty warm :)

    x

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  44. Well, I have central heating- forced air natural gas, but it is not cheap. We have installed the wood stove and started gathering wood last year, as we would like to retire some day. We also live in northern Canada. Many times it has been -40C for 6 weeks straight and don't forget the wind chill that makes it colder. Frozen pipes will burst, so we will always use the programable thermostate to make sure that the temp does not go too low, but we are determined not to use the furnace very much. It has been great to read all the comments!

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  45. I don't have central heating because I live in Queensland in Australia and it is generally very hot.

    No one round here has central heating that I know of but we all have reverse cycle air conditioners that do heating or cold air. They are prohibitively 'spensive to run though. In summer when I get home from the Coalface the upstairs bedrooms are always hovering at about 45 degrees which is BOILING hot. We would die without aircon in summer. Fans just do not cut it when it is that hot with 100% humidity.

    My parents live in the country where it snows and regularly gets to minus 15 and stuff like that. They don't have central heating they have wood burning fires and wood burning hot boxes and they tolerate the cold like no one's business. But the downside is they absolutely feel the heat when they are in a hot climate.

    Love the blog.


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  46. woodstove in our home in central ny usa. (cold!!!) mornings would be bringing your clothes out for school that day and hanging them behind the stove to warm and standing with one eye open waiting for the body to warm and smiling watching the cat and dog laying at the bottom of the stove right along with mom and I! I didnt and still dont see anything wrong with going without a central heating system.

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  47. This is not a tale of hardship, LOL. I'm surprised so many of you Brits don't have central heating. I was born in 1946 in a climate very much like yours, and we had central heating--in fact, no other source of heat was available. We went to bed early and the heat was turned down before we went to bed.

    Our house was built in 1938 and the furnace originally burned either coal or wood. My parents had no source of wood in the city and usually burned coal. During World War 2, you could hardly get coal. My dad would get off the bus every day on his way home from the shipyards and collect a bucket of coal along the railroad tracks, then get back on the next bus. I have told this story to others and discovered that collecting railroad coal was fairly common.

    After the war, my parents had the furnace converted to oil. It was not very efficient. It was in a small half-basement and my mother had clotheslines strung up around it. Our clothes dried very quickly because it lost so much heat. (She never did get a dryer). However, we had wood single-pane windows and no insulation, and our house was very drafty. My mother kept rolled-up throw rugs or towels up against the bottom of the doors, and stuffed the cracks around the windows with rags. She was still doing this when she moved in 1987.

    Since we bought our first house in 1971, I've had central natural gas heating in all of my homes (and central air in the last two) and I also turn the heat down at night (lower than my parents did--I have more blankets).

    When we built our vacation home, which we can use all year, we did NOT put in central heating or air. It is well-insulated with good windows. We have a propane stove and ceiling fans. We keep the heat at 50 degrees F when we are not there, because we live in a cold climate (typically in the 10s at night in winter and down to -20F) and don't want the pipes to freeze. The first night we are there on a winter weekend is always VERY cold, until the house heats up. This summer I found a terrific heater at a thrift store for $10, which I will put in my bedroom to take the chill off before I go to bed. I bought wool blankets at thrift stores (and was given some by friends who inherited them) and we have two for every bed. Since we have extra beds, this means we also have extra blankets--and I often use three! A West Highland terrier curled up at your feet is even better than a hot water bottle! I wear wool socks to bed, too.

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  48. I am compelled to comment. I live in the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois) and not having central heat and not using it is virtually unheard of in these times. During the winter temperatures of -30F (-34C) are not uncommon, plus when the wind is factored in, temperatures can feel like -50 to -60F (-45 to -51C). Add to that heavy amounts of snow and winter can be brutally long and awful. We've always had central heat and used it. My childhood home (about 2300 square feet) had central heat, a wood burning fireplace insert in the lower level/basement and a wood burning fireplace in the upper level (later converted to gas). However, the house was kept at 68F (20C) when we were home and the thermostat would be set down at night and during the day when no one was home to 62-63F (16-17C). One winter the furnace was on it's last legs/out, and we made due with the fireplaces and using the furnace sparingly at night.

    Currently I live in western North Dakota in a 2100 square foot house. Haven't yet experienced the winters here (typically dryer, but windier than what I am used to in central Minnesota). We have a programmable thermostat (set slightly higher than my childhood home as I am always cold and my husband works outside in the winter and is frequently chilled to the bone when he gets home), and have blankets on our couches, chairs, etc. I open curtains to let the sun in and close them to keep the warmth in. We still dress in layers.

    I simply can't fathom not using central heating. If we had to, we could probably get by if the winter was warmer than normal, but I don't think I could do it during a normal winter.

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  49. We live in the snowbelt in canada. With the windchill it can hit -35 or lower. We would freeze to death without central heat. Pipes would freeze as well. We do have a woodstove that we use on weekends. Natural gas prices are actually dropping here....thankfully.
    We have had to turn the furnace on a few times already as it is getting very cold over night.

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  50. Gosh, I'd forgotten about the paraffin heaters! We had one in our bathroom when I was growing up, (in a council house up in Macclesfield, Cheshire in the the 70's). I burnt my bum on it! I remember ice on the windows and being very reluctant to get up in the mornings as that initial feeling of ice cold lino on your feet was horrible!

    My storage heaters,(only two, in the living room and hall), have been on for the past fortnight as my sons are 'nesh buggers' but I hate being cold and will often have a hot water bottle tucked under my jumper if I'm sitting sewing. My mother is a very hardy soul and is living in central France at the moment in a stone build appartment with the very minimal of heating - I guess it really is what you get used to!

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  51. I'm laughing.

    My Mum had a similar childhood to yours. That's why she LOVES central heating. Interestingly her two children who grew up with it are happy to keep the heat right down: she puts on extra layers specially if she's going to my brother's.

    Sarah

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  52. My Mum's childhood was like yours. That's why she LOVES central heating. Interestingly her two kids are happy with minimally heated houses. She makes sure to put on extra layers and take her slippers every time she visits my brother.

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  53. My mum grew up without heating. I grew up with heating that was used infrequently and I remember icy windows on the inside and sitting with my blankets around me. And as a student I lived in a bedsit without heating and I used to have to sit in bed with an electric blanket on most days in winter. However for me, in 2012 heating is a necessity. I will go without a lot of things but I refuse to be cold!! Our house is a detached 60's bungalow and I had it insulated last year but it's still a cold house. We try to use our heating only when necessary unlike my neighbour who doesn't own a jumper as she keeps her house so hot one is not necessary! But would I go without heating by choice? No!!!

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  54. OMG I feel so guilty. we have always lived in a house that has had central heating. I have to have it on as I have a problem with my blood, and I have to be kept warm. Since the frost has come here we have had the heating on. I get sores and I still have to go into hospital to get my blood warmed. So I am so sorry. We tried it two xmas's ago and I ended in hospital for a month. So I do envy you. Alliexxx

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  55. We used to have hot air heating in our house, which was great except when it was really windy and then the pilot light kept being blown out. I don't know what temperature it was kept at but we weren't allowed to even touch the thermostat - my mum had her eye on that all the time. We even had the metal windows and I can remember scraping the frost off them, on the inside. Sam x

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  56. As far as I can remember, we always had central heating, although my parents tell a different story of their childhood. We live in a mid terrace house that is about 14 years old and have central heating. We dont have a fireplace or any other form or heating, although we do have cavity wall and loft insulation. We havent had the heating on yet and will hold out for as long as possible, but we do use the heating.

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  57. We have heating but we have never used it. We live in flats where there are junkies, disabled people and such below us,. They always have their heating whacked so high that along with that in the communal areas we never have our heating on. First time I visited here was Christmas and I had to borrow shorts and tshirts and we had the windows open.

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  58. We took advantage of the free loft and wall insulation, it does get pretty chilly up here as we are very high up. However we are lucky enough to have a south facing house so when it's sunny it's red hot one one side and freezing on the other !!

    Me and hubby remember having only coal fires and no central heating, I remember frost on the inside of our bedroom windows and running across the freezing landing to the loo in the night - brrr!!

    I also remember when we had central heating fitted and how pleased my Mum was not to have to beggar about making a fire every morning :)
    Twiggy

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  59. We had no central heating when I was little, in the small holding bungalow we had a raeburn in the kitchen, nothing in the rest of the house, the sitting room only had a fire lit on Sundays and Christmas day.

    When we moved into town there were two fireplaces in the sitting room, we had big wooden doors which were used to close half of the room off, so in the winter we lived in the front room with a coal fire. An electric boiler in the kitchen and one over the bath. The kitchen one was used on washdays and the bathroom one on Sunday night when we had a bath.

    My bedroom was the little one at the back, room for just a bed, tiny wardrobe and a chest of drawers. I had flanelette sheets, wool blankets and an eidewrdown on my bed, went to bed with a stone hottie to warm the bed. Ice inside the windows was the drill in the winter.

    We had an upright alladin heater in the kitchen and a small lamp was kept in the outside loo to keep the pipes from freezing up, both ran on paraffin.

    When we were first married we lived in a caravan which had a small coal fired stove in, it kept us warm right through the 62/63 winter. When we moved into a house we had a fir in the living room which ran a radiator in the hall and the hot water, No heat in the bedrooms. I have always been a cold person and worn pj's bedsocks and a cardigan in bed. Still wear socks cannot sleep if my feet are cold.

    As you know in the cottage we had oil heating which was horrendous, the little wood burner stove we had put in was fab it kept the sitting room toasty and during the day we left the sitting room door open and the eco fan on top pushed the heat out into the rest of the cottage.

    Here we have no choice its electric heating or nothing. The heater in the kitchen is on low, we are using an oil filled radiator in the sitting room, I put it on high when we get up and once the room hits 60c I turn it down so it just ticks over. Two heaters in the bedroom on for an hour at night when we go to bed. Have not had them on during the morning as yet. Our hot water is heated overnight wiith E7 I make no bones about the fact that we miss the wood stove very much. The apartment was built with thermo blocks so we cannot have wall insulation, we would end up with dreadful condensation problems. The windows are triple glazed, they are now 25 years old and some of the seals are breaking down. New windows are horrendously expensive. We live in a conservation area and the windows have to be specially made, the originals came from Finland. One of our neighbours had to have hers replaced last year at a cost of £5000 for 6 windows. The roof is well insulated both between the joists and the rafters. Even so our bill for last year was £700+ I do not use the main oven, just the hot plate, baking and roasting is done in my Panasonic combi microwave which has a convection setting on it. I only ever use the oven if I am batch baking which these days is not very often.

    I keep a close eye on our bill and read the meter every week. I have a spread sheet on the lap top which tells me how much we have used and if the DD is keeping pace. During the summer I pay £40 a month and increase it to £60 in the winter. The cost is going up this month and the DD is going to have to go up as well. I do not believe in paying the same amount through the year, the money is better in my account than theirs. Even so putting it up to £70 a month out of our pension is not going to be easy, but at our age being cold is not an option so we have to grin and bear it.

    We are fortunate in that we can afford to pay the bill, but how soon will it be before we are faced with the 'heat or eat' choice?

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  60. When I was a child, my parents, sister and I lived in an apartment that had no central heating. Since we live in North New Jersey (US), it gets really cold during the winter months. My parents had a kitchen stove which was a combination cook on top/heat on the bottom kind of stove where you could put gas heat on. Since the apartment was quite small, the stove really heated the whole apartment quite well. There would be chilly mornings but nothing that we couldn't stand. I now have central heating but I set the thermostat on 65 degree F or whatever we can stand. We have recently tested our furnace to make sure it works for this winter but haven't actually had the heating on yet. I have a small room heater that I put on in the evenings just to get the chill out of the rooms. So far, so good. When I was little, my mother had to light the water heater to get some hot water. It wasn't heated all the time, only when she needed hot water for dishes or our baths. This saved because it wasn't constantly being heated all day and night. I read that there is a "new" idea in hot water heaters now. It's a new kind of heater that only comes on when you need hot water. I don't know how it works but it is supposed to save you money by not constantly heating the water. I thought that was an old idea? Well, anyway, thanks for the memories.

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  61. No central heating in our house ... or double glazing, although we are having new windows installed very soon! The woodburner heats up downstairs. We have lots of jumpers and hot water bottles!

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  62. I too remember ice on the inside of windows, seeing your breath and getting dressed and undressed in bed.
    Our house now is an all electric house with storage heaters(20 years old and about to be changed) downstairs and panel heaters in the 2 bedrooms.We rarely put the heating on before November and then heat the living room to 16-18 degrees. The hall heater goes on low in November to keep the damp and condensation at bay. The kitchen rarely goes on. Bedroom panel heaters only on for an hour before bed and again before getting up. Last year we reduced our energy consumption by 20%. Any back up heat required comes from the Super Sur gas heater.
    Some of our neighbours have their heaters on boost all day long(ouch) and I shudder to think what their bills are.

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  63. As I am a lot older than you, I can clearly remember no central heating, and my eldest children did not have heating either. At this moment in time I am sitting in front of the log burner toasting, washing drying all doors open, we only have a small cottage so the log burner heats the whole house. I f it gets really cold, like last year, minus 15, then we will light the other burner in the dinning room, we dont get colds, sonot putting the heating on must help us to stay healthy.

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  64. We have a woodburner, but sadly until only this week, we had rotting-framed, single-glazed windows, where heat just leeched out, even with thick curtains. We replaced them and the draughty bay in the living room this week, but we are a Victorian end terrace, with no cavities in the walls. Having said that, we rarely have the heating on - two big computers, four monitors and a stack of other computer equipment keep the office pretty warm, and I'm quite happy to wrap a rug round myself if I'm cold.

    We've also just replaced the boiler, and installed a shower (as the old boiler was so naffed it couldn't provide a sufficient flow for a shower). We're spending a legacy on making the house warmer and cheaper to run, though even with the old stuff our gas bill was £25 per month, which ain't bad.

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  65. The climate in most of Britain is similar to the climate of the Pacific NW of the US (Portland and Seattle) and SW British Columbia (Vancouver). Not using central heating in those areas is very doable, EXCEPT most of the houses in that area were built after 1920 and came with central heating and, often, no alternate source. I'm not saying going without central heating in Britain is easy, but if you don't have central heating, you have some alternate source of heat...which our homes don't always have. And, the lady who lives in western North Dakota...I live in a cold climate in northern Idaho and I can't even imagine how cold it is there, day in and day out. (It gets that cold here occasionally).

    The deal is, we conserve fuel as best we can and save in other ways so we can pay for fuel.

    As for the Cornish climate, I'm a Doc Martin fan. Doesn't the sun always shine and the flowers always bloom in Portwenn? LOLOLOLOL I've noticed that Louisa's hair gets blown around a lot...and the pennants are always blowing like crazy at every outdoor school festival or event.

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  66. I do remember the ice on the inside and being able to see your breathe indoors Also my grandma had horrid metal hot water bottles which chased you around the bed and burnt you. Our house seems plenty warm enough with all of its insulation. I do put the central heating for the odd few hours on icier days ust to stop the pipes from freezing

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  67. I to grew up with metal window frames and no central heating, just a coal fire in the lounge and an old wood eating thing in the kitchen that my mum would light once a week to boil up me baby brothers nappies in a huge pot on top and boil up the sheets, the kitchen that day was always toasty but the damp air made the windows stream with condensation lol..... I remember scratching patterns in the frost on the inside of my bedroom window and having dragon breath as we spoke, but, I can never remember ever being cold...... Im determined NOT to use my central heating this year even though the 2 attic bedrooms when 2 of my sons sleep does not have any heating anyways... dont see the point of heating the rest of the house when the kitchen is toasty from cooking dinner or baking and my lounge has a roaring log fire most nights..... tonight there is no fire and no baking as Im home on me own, so just put on an extra fleece :) x

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  68. I remember the beautiful patterns that Jack Frost used to leave on my bedroom windows as a child. We would leave our clothes for the next morning close by the bed so that we didn't get out of bed to get dressed, but would pull the clothes inside the bed, get dressed under the covers and then emerge from bed fully clothed! (We always had a full wash down - in a sink of kettle boiled water the night before, so it's not as gross as it might sound today) I also remember the Sunday night ritual of a weekly bath then sitting with my back to the fire so that my hair dried before bedtime!

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  69. We have no central heating and don't want it either. Most people think we are mad but I don't want to be in tropical conditions indoors and then go outside and freeze. Also, we hardly ever get ill and I haven't seen my GP in ten years or more. Our gas fire in the loung has died so we have replaced in with a low energy oil less radiator which is on the lowest setting. We have wall mounted electric heaters in two of the three bedrooms but they only go on when it is very cold and only when someone is in the room - why pay for a warm room when no-one is in it. It is very rare that we are cold. We have double glazing and loft insulation which helps as well.

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  70. Just sitting reading this and wondered what the temperature was as getting a bit chilly, 17 at the moment. No heating on and the sun just disappearing. Oven going on in a bit and that will bring a bit of warmth. No central heating here the landlord has those expensive wall heaters and a gas fire in the front room. We make do as long as possible before the wall heaters get put on.

    Oh the frost on the windows brings back memories.

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  71. Hey Froogs. Last winter I had a pop can explode in my shack in the middle of the night, because my pop was on the floor and it froze. I woke up immediately thinking someone was shooting at me. I can't quite remember the exact temperature that night, but to see -40 celcius is not uncommon here at times. I've lived 3 winters in that shack now, but I am almost ready to transfer over into my new house, which still needs alot of work to completion, but I'm not going to be heating two buildings, so I'm moving in.

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  72. Like many on here, I well remember the heating arrangements in my childhood home: a coal fire in the living room and a paraffin stove that was lit occasionally on bath-night (this was the 50's and 60's). Nothing else ... anywhere. Last winter my boiler packed up within days of being called into action. As that November was unusually mild I delayed the repairs, and before I knew it, winter proper was upon us. However, having had already stuck it out for a few weeks I decided to persevere. The upshot was that I went through the whole season without any heating whatsoever, and I mean ... any. Yes, I live alone (unsurprisingly I hear some say), and I wouldn't recommend it for families with children, but the fact is that in our relatively mild climate (UK) the average person, with a bit of adjustment and the will, can exist perfectly well without. Gas bill? £5 for the quarter... result! This winter now approaches and my boiler remains defective (heating-wise - I have hot water): looks like I'm hooked.

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  73. hi,
    well i have really enjoyed reading this! a person after my own heart! so interrested in what has been said here, and i have a question:
    by saving on the heating, would i not be running the risk of frozen pipes though? my friends urge me to reconsider, as we are expecting such a very cold spell now, with temperatures well below zero...
    how safe am i to save my money? (do not want to have burst pipes....)
    i do not use my hot water heater at all, since the shower and washing mashine run independantly. i have electric storage heaters (which are off) - please help, it would be much appreshiated. and what a wonderful site! i am pleased i found it. thank you

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  74. Really great reading. I was beginning to think I was the only person who lived without heating. I don't even light a fire and right now in the house it is 3 degrees! I have now been living like this for 7 years and have become more and more hardy. If I said I never suffered I would be telling lies, however with rents sky high and other bills to pay it is a small sacrifice to pay. One day I hope to have my own house, however right now I have very little money as I am doing a PHD. I don't believe in loans and have never had any debt in my life. I am sick and tired of this credit card culture where people seek instant gratification. My motto is if I can't afford it I won't have it.

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  75. Top tip to save on hot water heating if your shower room is near your kitchen use a piece of string to Ty your shower head horizontal and use for instant hot water rather than use boiler to heat 10 gallons when you only need 2 keep shower head in this position for washing hands face & hair

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