Staying warm in LA this winter hasn’t been easy or cheap. Below-average temperatures have had Angelenos scrambling for heat — via furnace, radiator, electric space heater, or even bathrobe. Meanwhile, high gas prices have left many with sticker shock.
KCRW asked how you’ve been weathering this memorable winter and staying warm.
Maywood resident JC Garcia has kept his small but mighty electric space heater on just a few hours a day to keep his electric bill down.
“Fortunately for me, my landlord provides free electricity. But if for some reason, if the electric bill goes above my pay, then I would have to pitch in.
… My job doesn't really pay as much as it should. I'm a traveling caregiver. So my work hours are not stable. I have to count my hours. I have to pinch pennies.
… Turning the heater on and having it on for two, three hours makes me wonder iIs my landlord gonna bug me the next day and say, ‘Hey, dude, like our electric bill was up.’
… If my economic background was a little more stable, then I would be free to feel comfortable and happy to turn on the heater as much as I want and use the hot water as much as I want. But since I don't make as much … two blankets, three blankets could get me by just to feel comfortable.”
Mariana Vee in Echo Park lives in a historic apartment with sheath windows that are extremely drafty. She layered t-shirts, pants, and sweaters, and even relinquished her electric blanket for her cats to stay warm.
“If it weren't for the cats, I probably would not turn the heat on as much because I understand it's cold, and I'll just put more layers on and just work from home and keep on keeping on. But I can't explain to the cats like, ‘Hey, listen, it's gonna be cold for a week, just stay under the blanket.’ So because I feel bad for them, I actually turned the heat on.
… I am comfortable, thank goodness. Mostly I am trying to keep my gas bill low, so I really ride the edge. I'm reticent to turn it up higher than 68 [degrees]. … It's been a balancing act between how high do I want my bill to be and how warm do I want to be.”
Howard Vidal-Yuan in Long Beach has avoided turning on his gas entirely on cold days and nights.
“We've been just avoiding using our heater completely and just been bundling up — having socks on all the time, slippers, and even a bathrobe over helps a lot, bringing a blanket with us everywhere in the home. … We're finally getting a taste of how winter might be like outside of California.”