A Newborn’s Toll on the Thermostat

The baby toll: Not only does he need regular burpings, he also needs the thermostat on 78 all day. (image: UrbanDorothy via flickr.com)

It’s a running joke that having teenagers in the house raises the heating bills. But it’s the little ones, too. As the financial writer and new mom Lisa Schmeiser explained last week, adding a baby to her drafty old home bumped up the heating bills.

In a column for the San Francisco Chronicle titled “The Parenting Costs I Hadn’t Planned For,” Schmeiser explained a baby’s toll on the thermostat:

• Instead of the cat being the only occupant in the house for ten hours a day, we’ve had someone in the house every day since the last week of October. We’ve changed the thermostat programming; instead of the heat clicking on during the seven hours we’re home and awake on weekdays, we’ve programmed the thermostat to maintain a relatively warm (65 to 68 degrees F) temperature all the time.

• We’ve got an infant in the house. It’s one thing for adults to snooze in a house that drops down to 59 degrees at night, but that’s a no-go for babies. We’ve had to raise our nighttime temperature.

And, as Schmeiser continues, there was a lot more laundry to do with regular wardrobe changes for the baby, plus blankets, bibs, and other wipeys — which would also raise the bill on laundry rooms with a propane dryer.

Memo to all expecting couples: Along with the diaper budget and the college savings account, sock away a little extra for the uptick on the propane bill.

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