We are weeks away from needing to turn on the heat here. Even during the four years we lived in Maine, we never turned it on before Thanksgiving week and a couple of years it wasn't until Christmas week. I expect it'll be the same here. It rarely gets very cold here, although I have heard from a few people that it can happen. We aren't there yet--it was 60-ish and stuffy today and last night we had to open the bedroom windows. If we ever do get to the point where heat is required, we will either google or ask our neighbour how we operate out electric "central heating" as it's called here. It isn't central heating as we know it, but rather wall mounted electric heaters in each room (in our case, two in the kitchen/sitting room).
There have been some people who have already been heating for a couple of months--you could smell the fires burning in August. It seems that lots of people have solid-fuel burning stoves. They burn wood, or peat bricks, or even coal (!!!). When we first arrived, I would smell this weird "something's burning and it isn't wood" smell. I wondered whether it was peat. I smelled it when we were at the B&B in Oranmore and I smelled it when we got to Ballinrobe. It was around quite frequently and while I knew that some people still go cut peat, I wondered whether there were so many of them that I would be smelling it all the time. It took some getting used to, because it was not a smell that agreed
with me. I can't honestly say I like it now, but my stomach usually
doesn't get queasy anymore as it did at first. Once Tesco changed their seasonal display in the entryway, I had a "DUH!" moment. They sell the stuff in bricks here, just like people in the US buy Duraflame logs or something like that.
As with everything, I will be doing my best to conserve energy and use as little of it as possible.