Winter is here well and truly and it’s time for an update on this years Brass Monkey Challenge 2016.
We’ve been experiencing minimums of 0 – 5°C (32 – 41°F) during the night, and daytime temps of 10 – 15°C (50 – 59°F). Whilst it may not be cold for some of you, it’s all relative, because in summer we have daytime temps of around 27 – 45°C (80.6 – 113°F).
So to save on energy bill, particularly natural gas, a couple of years ago Kim and I decided to give ourselves a challenge to see how long we could stand not having the heating on in the house. Could we handle it and use behaviour and passive heating to keep warm?
Well the answer (for the 3rd year in a row) is a resounding YES! It’s been quite easy. We even gave it a name. The Brass Monkey Challenge!
Our single wall furnace does not even have the pilot light lit, and we have managed to stay warm so far.
During the day we wear a few extra layers and use passive solar heating by letting light flow into the north facing rooms. This heats up those rooms and we let use those rooms in the evening.
At night we shut all the internal doors of all rooms which keeps the ones we’re in warm. We also pop on another layer of clothing and throw a couple more blankets on the beds for when we go to sleep.
With my office door closed and my computer turned on, the room heats up to a comfortable 18°C (64.4°F) in the evening. As it is also one of those north facing room with a double glazed window, it gets up to about 22°C (71.6°F) during the day.
Kim’s office is south-facing, so need an hour of heating first thing in the morning with the reverse cycle air-con, then that’s it. It stays warm all day.
It has been because we’ve invested in the comfort of our home as well. We fitted double glazed units to all the north facing windows. You can read about the double glazing installation here.
We also added extra insulation batts to the roof space. That has been a vast improvement of the heat holding properties of each room. The installation of the extra insulation in the ceiling was document here.
All external doors are solid wood and have draft strips that shut when closed. We also have draft snakes against the inside of those doors, just in case.
All other windows have closed pelmets fitted to stop cold air circulating behind curtains and have draft strips where necessary.
So there you have it. That’s our Brass Monkey Challenge 2016 and staying warm and cozy. Although we are not swanning around in T-shirts and short (and neither should you in winter), it is definitely possible to not have any heating on in a cool/temperate climate and stay warm. You also save on your energy bills as well and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wins and high-fives all around.
For other tips about how to stay warm in winter without the need for heating, have a listen to our podcast episode about our original Brass Monkey Challenge.
Have you tried a similar challenge at home? We would love to hear about it in the comments!
Sarwat AJ says
Where we live in a rental, I like to try turning the heating temperature down every so often, to see if I can handle it cooler. I start with 20degrees and go down from there. Our current heating also has a timer, so shortening the times the heater is on, ie starting with turning off 1 hour before bed or longer
Wow Gavin I applaud you on your initiative and cannot believe it gets below 0 in Australia. It is very easy for a Canadian to say it is easy to do the challenge at -5. 🙂 I hope you will be able to get a Tesla Model 3 and go full electric on your solar grid.
Mr Home Maker says
That is really good Gavin. For your readers that are renters then double curtains are a good trick to keep heat in along with all the other ‘portable’ tricks and tips you mentioned.