Saturday, 2:15 PM
(Globe File Photo Illustration)
If it gets this chilly, it's probably better to turn the thermostat back up a few notches.
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
Is it safe to turn the heat down yet?
Kathy Nicklas-Varraso of Quincy says, yes, definitely. She turns the heat down to its lowest setting every year on April 1.
"Unless it's snowing. If it's snowing I back down," said Nicklas-Varraso.
Her secret to lasting through the coldest April days? "I have quilts, many quilts. And probably going out a lot."
This weekend, turning the heat down will be a no-brainer. Forecasters are calling for glorious days, an unexpected taste of summer with temperatures soaring into the 80s.
But once the blast has cooled, many New Englanders will still be facing the annual decision of whether to turn the heat down (or, in the case of some systems, off). It's a ritual that arrives every year about this time. People take the leap full of fond hope for balmier days and visions of saving much-needed cash. But it also can leave their teeth chattering a few more nights.
Normal highs now are 58 degrees, with nighttime lows of 43, said National Weather Service meteorologist Charlie Foley. And tonight and Friday night, before the big warmup, temperatures are expected to be just that -- in the 40s.
The average date that the last 32-degree temperature of the winter is recorded is April 8, Foley said. But the chilly nights can persist into next month.
"It has been well into May at times that we've had freezing temperatures," he said.
Gardeners, Foley said, are still waiting to put in their more delicate plants.
Nicklas-Varraso said, "We've had a couple of mornings where you wake up and your feet hit the hardwood floors, and you go, 'Oh, no, this is too much." And sometimes, she said, her husband secretly turns up the heat.
But for the most part, she said, she's happy to save money and help the environment.
"I'm glad to have the money I haven't spent on heat. And I'm glad not to be so wasteful," she said. "I just don't like spending money on things that burn up."