This winter I have been trying to do with less heat. Instead of running the HVAC through the chilly months when the temperatures plunge, we've only used a few space heaters to keep pipes from freezing. It has actually been rather liberating, but there have been a few drawbacks — all of which are in the kitchen.
I currently call a 100 year old church home and although we turned on the main heating system last year, we realized we don't need to heat space we aren't using at the moment. Because of the high ceilings and large open spaces, we can't exactly close off doors, so this year we chose to turn off the heat instead. Here's the hiccups we've experienced with temperatures lower than 45 degrees:
1. Refrigerator Mayhem: Earlier in the season I asked readers what might be happening with my refrigerator. It was freezing everything and long story short, it was chilly enough in my house that it wasn't having to keep things cool anymore and instead, was having to keep them warm enough not to freeze. We adjusted the dials inside in the opposite direction you'd normally keep them and things were functioning much better.
2. Did You Know Oil Freezes?: We didn't either. The first bottle we noticed the floating chunks in we tossed. It didn't look right and we went with our gut instinct. The next bottle did the same thing and we finally caught on to what was up. The icebergs in our oil were there to stay. Although it didn't seem to effect the taste any, it still makes you raise an eyebrow of caution. We wrapped a towel around the bottle and it's been fine ever since.
3. Doing Dishes Sucks: Dishes aren't high on many people's to-do list, but when your kitchen is cold, they're even more difficult to tackle. Not because the dishes themselves are chilly (which they are), but because once you get wet, any attempts at retaining your own warmth are out the window. I spend my days with a few thin layers for extra insulation, but when you take off the hoodie and push up your sleeves to get things rinsed, um... brrr! Sure you could use gloves, but I've still never found a pair that fit me well enough to use with confidence.
4. Baking Temperatures: We use a toaster oven for most of our oven needs and although it's the little oven that could, the cold takes a toll on it. It appears to run about 25 degrees less than it should during these colder days. It's not a big deal, but to get breads and cookies to come out correctly, it does need to be checked so it can be adjusted properly.
5. Flowers Like Dang: I'm not sure this could actually be called a pitfall. In fact, it's rather awesome. Because things are chilly, we've been able to keep the same bouquet of fresh flowers alive and well for weeks. Remember this bunch I showed you earlier this month? Well it's still sitting on my island a full 20 days later. 20 days people, how's that for a fresh, inexpensive investment for your home? Booyah! (Wait, do we still say booyah?)
Have you had any cold weather experiences? Share your own words of wisdom and caution in the comments below!
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)