It’s definitely getting to that time of year here in the North where night temperatures are dipping below freezing and it is high time to put the shorts away for the season. Tea is being brewed by the bucket and in our home, blankets, slippers and sweaters are being deployed with great enthusiasm.
But why, you decry, wouldn’t you just turn up the thermostat?
That, my dear fictional blog reader is an excellent question. I’ll even let you in on a small secret of ours: our flat has heating included in the rent. We live in a beautiful, panorama-windowed basement apartment with our landlords above us, and since their central heating system covers the entire house, there is no easy or cheap way for them to split the two. Hence we pay for our electricity, but not for our heating. Great for predictable bills year ’round.
Why then, is it, with such a gilded renting deal, do we not simply ramp up our thermostat as soon as the air gets a little nippy?
Well, the first is simply habit. Our previous places have not had heating included, and so we are used to the mindset of not roasting our living quarters up to tropic levels. Secondly, neither of us finds it very easy to concentrate when it is too warm. Plus, it is really nice to huddle up in the corner of the couch with a nice, big blanket wrapped around you and a cup of tea in your hand. That’s Scandinavian “hygge” at its finest. The only thing missing might be some candles or a roaring fireplace.
Of course, we do like keeping our apartment at a temperature where the pipes to not freeze and burst, nor do we enjoy waking up with frosted breath. We keep our flat at a nice 15C (about 60F), which is neither terribly cold nor uncomfortably warm. It is the perfect temperature to adjust your comfort level with the amounts of layers you choose to put on or wrap yourself in. On a similar note, we currently have no less than four blankets and freely offer them out to guests who might be visiting. Should we need more, there are always duvets.
When I was a young teenager, my mother worked nights and slept during the day. It was my job during the chillier months of the year, to light the fireplace as soon as I got home. The reason for this was that my mother insisted on having a house at 20-23C (70+F) when she got up a few hours later. No attempted argument from my side that I found 15C to be rather a comfortable temperature was ever paid much heed. Even though my parents heated the house mostly with wood, I am still sure they could’ve saved a fair chunk of money and firewood on accepting even just a few degrees colder indoor temperature.
There is no reason why you should walk around in a t-shirt or shorts inside at all seasons of the year, unless you live in those continually warm places I have heard about in myths and legend. But if you live in a place more like Scandinavia, I encourage you to dig out those oversized old sweaters and start snuggling. Remember, cuddles are an excellent way to share heat!