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Chelsea Green Blog

Home Heating & Cooling: The Thermostat Myth

Remember the days when you’d snap a Polaroid picture, then shake it out to speed up the development process? Yeah, that didn’t actually do anything. You probably know that now—heck, you probably knew it then—but the impulse was just too strong.

It’s that same impulse that causes people to crank the thermostat as high as it will go on a freezing cold winter night, and crank up the AC on a hot August day. Well, I’m here to tell you: “telling” your thermostat to go faster, damnit! just doesn’t do a darn thing. I picked up this bit of myth-busting knowledge from one of our original Chelsea Green Guides: Natural Home Heating: The Complete Guide to Renewable Energy Options by Greg Pahl.

There is a widely accepted bit of thermostatic folklore that I want to lay to rest once and for all. Turning up a thermostat to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not cause your house to warm up any faster than setting the thermostat at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever your normal comfort level may be).

A thermostat is generally a simple on/off switch.Your heating system cranks out heat at the same steady rate until it reaches the temperature set on the thermostat, no matter what that setting is. So if your house is chilly, just set the thermostat for the desired temperature—and relax.

Same goes for the AC. If your house is too warm and opening some windows isn’t enough, peel yourself off the Naugahyde loveseat, set the air conditioning for the desired temperature, and make yourself a margarita, ’cause it’s chill time.


Get Ready, Get Resilient

Are you resilient? How about we put your answer to the test, literally. Now, we know that assessment is always an important, albeit imperfect, subjective, and incomplete tool. In order to understand one’s skill in living a resilient lifestyle, Ben Falk, author of the award-winning The Resilient Farm and Homestead, developed the following assessment tool. […] Read More

Happy Holidays from Chelsea Green Publishing!

Today we kick off our Holiday Sale — with 35% off every purchase at our online bookstore. Simply use the code CGS16 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Along with this great discount, we are offering free shipping on any order over $100*. Are there homesteaders or organic gardeners on your […] Read More

The 5 Rules of Lean Thinking

Are you ready to co-create the future? These 5 Rules of Lean Thinking are a useful tool as we set out to collectively invent a post-market future. Surviving the Future is a story drawn from the fertile ground of the late David Fleming’s extraordinary Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food. Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive […] Read More

Using Permaculture Principles to Design Resilient Cities

The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods, and even cultures. Author Toby Hemenway (Gaia’s Garden) lays out how permaculture design can help towndwellers solve the challenges of meeting our […] Read More
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