Friday, December 21, 2012

First Day of Winter

Here it is 11:00 AM and I should be freezing cold. Well, it's currently 21°F outside, and I'm sitting here in the morning sun sweating. That's true. The sky is crystal clear, and our solar furnace is on full blast. Heat needed to charge up our thermal mass for future cloudy days is streaming in. The thermometer in the hallway already reads 77°F and the humidity level is 34%. Early this morning the thermometer read 71°F and the humidity level was 39%. The air entering the plenum chamber is 97°F, because I last fired up the masonry stove at 6:00 AM this morning. Air entering from the cold-air tube in the back room is 65°F and from the cold-air tube in the kitchen it is 66°F. This is clear evidence that at least some of the thermal mass surrounding the house has not yet reached or exceeded the desired comfortable steady-state temperature and will continue to suck up heat escaping through the warm-air tubes.

Note to self: Don't fire up stove if sun is gonna shine full blast!

Last week the thermometer had gone as low as 66°F before I started firing up the masonry stove morning and night. The last few days were cloudy, rainy, and yucky, and the ground is now covered with snow. But the thermometer dropped only to 70°F and reached a high of 73°F. I expect that another week or two of firing up the stove morning and night on cloudy days will be sufficient to get the thermal mass charged up enough to where I'll only need to fire it up once a day. Or if the sun keeps streaming in like this, maybe I won't need to fire it up again! Then what will I do with all that wood piled up in the garage?


Here is a 2:00 PM followup. The thermometer in the hallway reads 78°F and the humidistat reads 35% relative humidity. The sun's rays are waning in the southwest at it descends behind the trees on the western hillside protecting us from the west and northwest winds that had been gusting up to 50 miles per hour yesterday and last night. Air entering from the cold tube in the back room is 66°F and in the kitchen it is coming in at 67°F. Air entering the plenum from the masonry stove is still a balmy 93°F.

The current outdoor temperature is 24°F, and it is projected to fall to 16°F tonight. Tomorrow's projected high is 36°F and low 23°F. And tomorrow is predicted to be as sunny and balmy as today. So I will probably start a fire in the masonry stove tonight but not in the morning. If tomorrow is like today, and if I were to fire up the stove in the morning, the thermometer in the hallway could potentially reach 80°F by afternoon. That's OK with me, but...

Pati has been complaining much too much lately that the house is much too hot. And it doesn't strike a good chord at all when I say that I would much rather be too hot than too cold. Heating a house the least expensive way appears to be much, much less convenient than heating it the old-fashioned way with precious gas or electricity. I tell her that you have to make hay while the sun shines; that is, we have to charge up all those tons of thermal mass when the sun's energy is freely available. Then you can enjoy that saved up energy when the sun is not shining and it is yucky cold outside. So we will eventually get a workable routine worked out; it will just take some time to learn the ins and outs of it.

In the meantime, please pray that we don't kill each other first. :o)

No comments:

Post a Comment