Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been wintering in the Southwest all winter while the blizzards brew and blow at home in the Northeast. I appreciate not having to deal with winter driving and snow blowing the driveway. The problem is I am still paying through the nose to keep the home fires burning. My wife has a ton of plants and she thinks we need to keep the house heated all winter so they all survive. This is our first year and I am trying to convince her to let me winterize the house and shut the heat down while we are gone in the future. Is this normal behavior for snowbirds? I can’t stand the thought of paying high heat bills to keep houseplants happy. Please give me your two cents worth.
--Hot and potted in Payson
I know several people that leave the heat on, but I will never understand it. For what you pay in heat bills I bet you could find a plant sitter to keep your wife’s flowery friends warm, watered and even talked to on a regular basis. The other worry is long-term power failure while you are away. Once you figure out how easy it is to winterize most homes you will find it much more relaxing not having to worry about frozen plumbing. The energy savings will be significant, and the peace of mind rewarding. When you return home in the spring your wife’s plants will be so happy to see her they will probably all go blooming nuts.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink