Polar vortex collapse fun

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Laura Ingalls
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Laura Ingalls »

Another vote for insulation might be cheaper than you think. Often times insulating attic spaces is cheap and easy and subsidized by the utility company.

I think we might add some to our house. We have ice dams and DH scooped the whole roof last weekend.

theanimal
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by theanimal »

For those of you with snow, shoveling snow on the sides of your house helps out BIG time. Natural insulation and drastically reduces heating needs. The higher the better.

Campitor
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Campitor »

DIY indoor storm windows can help keep the house warmer. They can be cheap to make.

https://youtu.be/tVTodq2pFKM

stand@desk
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by stand@desk »

Where we live it touched -55 C Windchill, -42 Air Temperature on Wednesday. I still ran 3km to work in the cold. 5 layers on top, 3 layers on the legs, 2 neck warmers, one hood, one toque, two pairs of socks.

Seeing the narrative in the mainstream media this Polar Vortex Plunge is due to climate change (what else could it be?) With that stated, what caused the similar record low temperatures in the 1970s, 1950s, Late 1800s? Was it just weather back then and now it is climate change? Or was the climate changing back then too? That part was not mentioned in the articles.
"The fact is, it's climate change, or global warming, that's behind this extreme cold."

jacob
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by jacob »


sky
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by sky »

Michigan almost had a natural gas failure. A main compressor station north of Detroit exploded/burned. Major industrial plants were shut down and residents were asked to turn down the heat to 65F. Apparently we have gotten past the crisis now.

I would recommend not relying on the grid entirely. Have another way to stay warm, for a period of time at least.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Another difference would be that 40 or 50 years ago, in the olden days when I was a child, the wind-chill was not routinely provided in the weather report. So, hearing those very low numbers has the anti-placebo effect of making it seem like it is colder than it ever was.

Also, the only reason I can come up with for why school has been cancelled this entire week is that children are no longer routinely bundled up in the winter. I was sent out to walk to school with plastic bread wrappers in between my boots and wool tights and snow pants, and with baked potatoes in my pockets. Since my parents also believed that it was healthy for children to be thrown outside to play no matter the weather, I can clearly remember being able to tunnel significant snow forts through the deep banks of snow piled up against our suburban home. That didn't happen nearly so often during my own children's childhood years in the 90s, early aughts.

@sky:

Yeah, I got the alarm and heard that GM was shut down. I am cozy, because camped out in center of multi-unit apartment complex.

J_
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by J_ »

Yes, we have snow from November/December until far in March, here in the Alps on ca 4000 Ft. On our roof is in winter a more or less permanent layer of 1 to 4 Ft snow. It's a perfect extra insulation. Our 3000 pp + 8000 hotelbeds village has an efficient central big "rocket heater" fueled by wood-chips/pellets. This installation is owned by the village. Most houses and hotels are connected by a public under-earth pipe-network, and a heat-exchange per connection. The wood-chips come from saw-mills nearby and from scrap-wood from the surrounding forests. A renewable cyclus. Heating costs for our 1 bedroom apartment of 700 sq Ft: €44 per month, hot water € 21 per month.
So our village is more or less autarkic wr to heating. And Austria as a whole is for a great part autarkic in renewable-electricity. Due to the numerous reservoir- water-pressure driven generators (Hydro-generators), solar and wind power. A 100% target will be reached in 2030.

So, unlike houses in Chicago the houses here can withstand rather extreme climate changes. If we ever build an "ere city" we could use this as inspiration.

George the original one
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by George the original one »

jacob wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:06 pm
Economically insulation doesn't make much sense (ditto PV) to make capital investments when our (heating and cooling) utility costs are already as low as they are.
So the obvious question for a planner to ask is how much do utility costs have to rise to make it worthwhile and how likely is that cost increase?

jacob
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by jacob »

A lot (3x+) on account of us not using very much (most of the outlay is in taxes and connection fees). The main reason to upgrade windows(*), etc. would be to "save the house" from further damage. That's the reason we installed advanced flood control on the main sewer line.

(*) As Augustus noted, most of our loses go through the windows. OTOH, as he also found out, if I make it too tight, the house will be under negative pressure (the furniture intake is inside) and it will start pulling air in through the windows, so unless I leave one window (in the basement) cracked open, there will be frost on the side of some of the windows. Given the cost, effect, and range of temperatures, it's not worth it to put in upgrades in these areas.

The house can easily deal with 60F differentials. It's at delta 80F+, it begins to get interesting.

Anyway, dealing with cold is easy enough. I'm more concerned about the other side of the temperature spectrum: A sustained 110F heatwave with blackouts and brownouts. I have considered installing a small (1000W) PV system in order to cool one room in such a case (prob the basement).

7Wannabe5
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Do you have an attic fan? It's too bad swamp coolers are less effective in humid conditions. I have been forced to resort to the wear a wet t-shirt solution during some hot spells.

Another option which I recently learned was very early adopted by settlers in our region*, including my great-great grandparents, is to travel north to rough summer camp. This can be very affordable if expense is spread across extended family or other such group.



* I think in good part due to fear of summer incidence of "swamp" diseases, which are also, unfortunately, not unlikely to come back into vogue. Of course, the Native Americans often did this too.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Kriegsspiel »

I put plastic on the insides of my windows ($37), which makes the house feel warmer, but the furnace seems to kick on just as often. I keep it at 63.

jacob
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by jacob »

In the RV (and also initially in this house) we used bubble wrap (standard stuff for mailing) taped to the windows with masking tape. It worked well.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Kriegsspiel »

Augustus wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:21 pm
It's the dead air space that adds insulation when you do the plastic on the windows. You can get the plastic wrap the seals around the window on the wall/sill which creates a dead air space and adds insulation. Applying it on the window itself wont do anything afaik. I think there's probably a good % of windows to insulate in this fashion, you need enough air flow but not too much. As I mentioned above though, I was able to cut heating cost almost in half when I did mine.
:lol: Yes, I used double sided tape, I didn't stick it directly on the windows. I did do one more window near my thermostat and I think that did the trick, the heat is kicking on less often now, although it is like 15 degrees warmer outside and the sun's shining. I'll take my wins where I get em.
I didn't have negative air pressure afaik because I didn't do all the windows/doors, but we had radon gas in the ground below the foundation, it was always there but it built up when I sealed up the house, so I had to start airing it out once a day to keep the levels low. Either way, big decrease in heating costs.
My house already has a radon mitigation unit in the basement. But I did leave some windows alone so that I could adjust the blinds if it's sunny out.

stand@desk
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by stand@desk »

Hearty Ere-ers can respect and handle the cold. Many can't.

We are still well below seasonal for the next two weeks. I'm surprised Natural Gas hasn't moved up more in recent weeks. If the vortex can't make that happen, then what can?

Campitor
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Campitor »

In the book 1491, the author mentions how some pilgrims abandoned their colonies to live with the indians. The indian lodgings were incredibly warm and well suited to winter. Basically they lived in a hoop house covered with water resistant fur in the winter and an adjustable opening in the roof to vent the smoke from the internal fire pit. At night they slept under multiple furs. In the 1800s canopy beds with drapes were used to help keep out drafts and retain warmth and people slept with night caps to keep the head warm.

If I lost power, I'd just wear multiple layers and sleep under 3 to 4 blankets. It's sad that so many people froze to death in their homes because there was no layers of clothing or bedding to be had.
Last edited by Campitor on Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Kriegsspiel »

I think you'll like this article: The Big Sleep.
President Sarkozy’s 19th-century predecessors . . . too, were worried by the snail-like progress of the French economy, and wondered how to compete with the industrial powerhouse of Britain. But they were faced with something far more ruinous than unemployment.

Economists and bureaucrats who ventured out into the countryside after the Revolution were horrified to find that the work force disappeared between fall and spring. The fields were deserted from Flanders to Provence. Villages and even small towns were silent, with barely a column of smoke to reveal a human presence. As soon as the weather turned cold, people all over France shut themselves away and practiced the forgotten art of doing nothing at all for months on end.

In the mountains, the tradition of seasonal sloth was ancient and pervasive. “Seven months of winter, five months of hell,” they said in the Alps. When the “hell” of unremitting toil was over, the human beings settled in with their cows and pigs. They lowered their metabolic rate to prevent hunger from exhausting supplies. If someone died during the seven months of winter, the corpse was stored on the roof under a blanket of snow until spring thawed the ground, allowing a grave to be dug and a priest to reach the village.

The same mass dormancy was practiced in other chilly parts. In 1900, The British Medical Journal reported that peasants of the Pskov region in northwestern Russia “adopt the economical expedient” of spending one-half of the year in sleep: “At the first fall of snow the whole family gathers round the stove, lies down, ceases to wrestle with the problems of human existence, and quietly goes to sleep. Once a day every one wakes up to eat a piece of hard bread. ... The members of the family take it in turn to watch and keep the fire alight. After six months of this reposeful existence the family wakes up, shakes itself” and “goes out to see if the grass is growing.”

Campitor
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Campitor »

The muscle atrophy must have been significant after such a prolonged period of lethargy.

Jean
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by Jean »

I spent the last winter close to hibernating. I wasn't that bad.

stand@desk
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Re: Polar vortex collapse fun

Post by stand@desk »

Current Vortex Temperature -24 C Feels like -35 C

Wife and I ran 8km together..started to get cold so we packed it in. Weather is not going to change much at all for the next two weeks.

Vortex is not going anywhere fast here.

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