Heating up on the home front | AspenTimes.com

Heating up on the home front

Janet Urquhart

Isn’t shivering supposed to boost metabolic activity? I hope so, because I’m on the new heat diet. If it works, I plan to write a best-seller about it.Right now, the only thing that’s heated in my new home is the argument over which we should repair first – the fireplace or the hot tub.Though I was all for tossing a few logs and maybe some chestnuts in the fireplace and letting it roar, we prudently paid to have the thing inspected first, as the prior owners of our igloo claimed they never used it and could not attest to its functionality.Apparently, it could really heat things up. We paid a guy to stuff his head up the chimney and he left this report: FIRE HAZARD! DO NOT USE UNTIL REPAIRED.Nice.Now I’m clamoring to fix the just-for-show fireplace, but I’ve encountered stiff resistance from the let’s-get-warm-in-the-hot-tub contingent.Admittedly, this makes some sense, as we’re already paying to heat what is rapidly becoming a giant petri dish out on the back deck. Lacking any knowledge of hot tub maintenance, not to mention an owner’s manual, neither of us has any clue as to what to do with the buckets of assorted chemicals that came with our purchase.All I know is, the thing is starting to smell, and it will soon be too cold to drain it into the yard unless we’d like a backyard skating pond this winter. I’m pretty sure that won’t warm us up at night.So, we need to hire yet another expert – one who will come out and show us the ins and outs of hot tub care. I’m about to get soaked, no matter what.Meanwhile, we’re paying to keep that putrid pool of water heated to a comfortable 90 degrees for what I’m certain is an algae bloom beneath the cover, though I’m afraid to lift it up and check. Yes, that’s right. The warmest spot in the house is actually outside – in the yet-unused hot tub.I’d rather spend that money heating the house, frankly. The vintage furnace is, actually, quite effective at warming the place up, even though it’s a Coleman appliance. I feel like my home is being heated by a piece of camping gear every time I walk by the thing. I refrain from turning it up until I’m desperate, though, because I have no idea what this winter’s heating bills are going to look like, given recent horror stories about the price of natural gas.Anyway, I thought the whole hot tub-versus-fireplace argument might whittle down to which is more romantic until a new contender entered the picture. It was not, oddly, a suggestion to invest in storm windows to replace those that are missing.It was, rather, argued (not by me) that a new, wide-screen TV will emit some measure of heat as a byproduct of hockey viewing.It’s a good thing I’m not a fan. I’ll be squeezed behind the TV set, warming my hands over the vents.Janet Urquhart nudges up the thermostat when she wants to cheat on her diet. She can be reached at janet@aspentimes.com

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