There is no longer any doubt that it is winter here in the Blue Ridge mountains. Last night the low was 17F accompanied by gusty winds; the wind chill was probably sub-zero in the wee hours. At nearly noon today, the temperature has only risen to 23F. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The cats blow their tails into huge round fuzzy cylinders when they step outside.
When this house was built in 1991, they owners cut so many corners that it is a miracle that the house is not round. The windows are of poor quality and leak air badly, especially when the wind rushes and roars outside (like last night). I have made many small modifications (such as spraying expanding foam around the electrical outlets and switches) towards halting this infiltration and surely the flow has been decreased but you can still feel the cold air that has snuck into the house.
On cold windy nights such as last night, the furnace would have run constantly to maintain an night time interior temperature at 60F. We couldn't afford to heat both this house and all of outdoors without the Century Fireplace Furnace in the living room. It is out of character with the rest of the house but the first owners actually spent good money for a good product. With less than a dozen logs in a twelve hour period, this marvel of engineering kept the ground floor at 70F. I cannot say enough good things about it. Thank goodness for it.