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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/4/2011

Haven't had much desire to do things at the house for the last couple of days with the bitter cold temps (it's gradually getting warmer though) but I did take a bit this afternoon to run some of the cleaned bedding and another load of books up to Tanglewood.

Things are in good shape; the ice and snow haven't started melting yet, (it's not that warm!) but you can tell it's getting close. With the turning off of the space heaters in the shed after my most recent AGM robustness discovery, the house is perking along just fine power-wise, and I think we may finally be past our period of "unplanned outages". The shed is holding its temps pretty well, as is the house, though at the moment with the bout of bitter cold and my still wanting to keep the propane usage at low levels, there's a lot of bundling to sleep up there at night. I'm looking forward to getting my waterbed installed and fired up soon; that will provide a toasty haven on which to spend an evening.

(Note that waterbeds are not normally associated with off-grid solar powered houses. The standard waterbed heater and installation can be quite the energy hog, eating up nearly as much energy as a space heater and running on average 12 hours a day... ouch!  Knowing that my waterbed would need to do better than that if I were going to be able to keep it, I've spent the past couple of years at Wyrdhaven improving its efficiency. I replaced the standard waterbed heater with a nifty digital heater that's much more energy efficient, and I've heavily insulated the mattress around its perimeter with soft foam bedding insulation. The mattress also has three layers of coverings on it before you get to the bedding proper, one being a thick insulated quilt that would normally be used as a sleeping blanket. I then put the waterbed heater itself on a timer, running it for 6 hours during the "daylight hours" when I know I'd get plenty of solar power and letting the bed's thermal mass and heavy insulation take me through the night. So far it's worked pretty well; I've tweaked the temperature and timing of the heater slightly, but that's about it. Once the bed is installed at Tanglewood, I'll take the opportunity of it being in pieces to install more insulation under the main bed frame and further increase its ability to hold onto its heat. It should work well, I think.)

Once I got back into town, I ran the extra cabinets I brought down the other day over to Lowe's and got them exchanged, also checking on the replace refrigerator doors while I was there. Swapping the cabinets was simple, and I now have a couple of merchandise cards I'll be using soon to get other stuff, while one of the doors is in with the other still on order. Once they let me know they're both in, I'll remove the existing dinged doors and take them over to exchange.

Warm weather is just around the corner, thank goodness. It's about time!


Steven in Colorado Springs

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