Monday, September 29, 2008

It's all about the (body) heat

As the leaves change color and the nights become cooler, my thoughts have turned to how to heat the house without spending the additional $2,000 it will cost just to keep it as warm as last year. I think I’ve found the answer: Entertain more.

According to one estimate, each additional guest is equal to a 175-watt heater. In other words, the more people there are in your house, the lower you can set the thermostat. Good news for those of us heating with oil, which these days is worth more than most U.S. banks.

At first I was a bit concerned I’d have to stand very close to my heaters, I mean guests, the entire night. Some might view such proximity as an invasion of personal space, which could be a problem. Winters are long in New Hampshire and I need my heaters/guests to come back.

But I'm hoping they can just circulate, heating my house wherever they go during the evening. I've considered inviting a balance of personality types: warm and fuzzy folks to counteract the more distant sorts. Then again, it’s not traits that matter – just body heat.

I was really excited about this party-as-heat theory until I realized I have to invite at least 8 ½ guests just to equal the output of a normal space heater. Therefore, we'll be hosting large parties instead of intimate gatherings--especially in January.

What about the additional expense of entertaining all these people, you ask? Fortunately, pot luck is acceptable, and often preferable, in my part of New England. Most people don't want to take home the leftovers, which will help feed my family for a few days and reduce the grocery bill. Thanks to NH’s pesky open container law, the alcohol can remain here, too, for the next event. And let's not forget forget that candlelight is not only festive, it cuts electricty costs.

Yes, I know the experts recommend saving heat by sealing leaks with insulation, caulking, weather-stripping, etc. I'm trying to figure out how to convince people these are party games.

In the meantime, I’m working on my list of excuses, I mean reasons, to entertain. And I’ll be shopping for new party clothes. Apparently layers of warm cotton clothing in dark colors absorb light – and heat.

Shall I pencil you in for Wednesday night?


Rowan said...

I've come across from Chris's blog - loved this post, it really made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I have heat flashes so I am opening up windows in the winter. I'll send you the next heat flash I have, Here it comes.