COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Brian Chevalier is celebrating his third “No Heat November”—a personal test of how long he can go without turning the heat on.
While 12 News visited his two-bedroom single-family home, the thermometers read somewhere between 42 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I wear two pairs of socks to bed,” Chevalier said. “I have seven blankets.”
Chevalier explained the first year he tried to go without heat, he made it to Dec. 3. Highs of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or more for six straight days in November of 2020 made his task easier.
In 2021, he held out until Dec. 19.
“It was supposed to get down to 19 [degrees], and I said, ‘It’s probably time,'” Chevalier said.
He was able to hold out longer in 2022. Chevalier didn’t turn on the heat Monday and as of Tuesday morning, it was still off.
Chevalier previously lived in a drafty Quonset hut which had a wind chill factor inside, according to the Coventry man. His electric heater never warmed the space above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
“So, I thought it’s kind of silly to be running the heat and being cold,” Chevalier said. “What if I just bundle up and save all the money? That’s kind of the birth of ‘No Heat November.'”
Chevalier is a weather enthusiast, tracking temperatures daily—especially while his heat is off.
“This is not what you want to see,” Chevalier said while looking at a weather chart showing a cold trend in the eastern United States.
He started the Facebook group “Weather in RI,” where people share interesting weather photos. Kenny Sachs, who has been photographing every sunrise for more than a decade, frequently contributes to the page.
In the group, Chevalier keeps people up-to-date with his ‘No Heat November’ challenge.
“It’s more to challenge myself,” Chevalier said. “Saving money is a bonus.”
He saves between a couple of hundred dollars to as much as $1,000 in heating fuel. Chevalier heats his home with kerosene which he said is currently $7.99 per gallon.
“There’s a couple of times through the day when I am uncomfortable,” Chevalier said. “When I first wake up in the morning and get out from under the covers…that’s pretty terrible. I jump in the shower and that’s pretty great. And then I get out of the shower, and that’s pretty terrible again.”
While his house is cold, Chevalier warms up at work, stores, or local restaurants.
Before his interview with 12 News, Chevalier made himself some hot decaf coffee. The teapot whistled when the water started to boil. The relief on his face from his first sip of hot coffee was evident.
Chevalier layers at home, wearing gloves and a hat with ear flaps.
“The coldest is when I’m sitting on the couch just watching TV,” Chevalier said. “If I’m not moving, my blood’s not flowing.”
“I keep busy when I’m home,” Chevalier added.
He lives alone with no pets, saying his pipes are his babies. He keeps the water flowing with a slow drip to prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting.
“Basically one drop every second and that’s 5.7 gallons per day,” Chevalier said. “That’s my insurance policy on the pipes.”
Since he has already broken his personal record with no heat, Chevalier said he is not sure when he will turn the furnace on in 2022. The decision may come down to whether he is sick of the cold or wants visitors.
Chevalier said he may be able to get through Christmas with Friday’s warmer weather on the way.
“If we’re going to have some single-digit nights, that’s going to be game over,” Chevalier said.
Chevalier plans to participate in the New Year’s Penguin Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics of Rhode Island—taking the cold a step further.
While he’s happy to ride out the winter without heat as long as possible, Chevalier said he will never challenge himself to ‘No A/C Summer.’