Saturday, May 19, 2012

In warming the cockles of my house/heart

We moved to the Adelaide Hills in January, which is summer over here in Australia. South Australian summers are brutal - days above 40C, weeks above 30C even overnight. Winter up here in the Hills though is cold! Not quite Canberra cold, or Alpine cold, or Tasmania cold but it is cold enough that in April we were struggling with keeping warm. In particular we indeed to keep the small child warm. She likes having pants off, and the house is up on stumps so the floors are cold. We looked into a few options and consistently came to the conclusion that putting in any heating was pointless without solving the heat loss issues that we have because of the huge windows we have in our lounge, dining area, and bedrooms. Anything that solves this problem is going to be $$$ though - quoted several thousand for curtains and pelmets, which also wouldn't fix the heating issue. The house has (well, had now!) an oil heater that burned fuel oil for heat. Not only did it stink, it also was a fire risk, a danger to anyone at that height, and it was f'ugly as sin. I pulled the mantel off it one weekend, and when TheHusband came home he went to work and cut the pipes and pulled it outside!! It was awesome and gave us an extra metre of space on the floor, and gave us another wall to it the couch of unusual length against. Ok so one thing down, now we were left with only a wall split system c1990. Noisy, inefficient and wasteful! Plus it needs to be said that it takes up a lot of the wall as well. Not ideal when we're trying to reduce our green footprint and again we needed to deal with heat loss as well as heat generation. So we did the only sensible thing and got a quote for double glazing. It is c-razy that it is not more common here in the Hills, and in Australia! It would make a huge difference to heating and cooling needs for so many people and I don't get how the family who previously owned our house coped with the cold. It is being installed on Thursday so I'm pretty excited about it all. We went with Magnetite as they were able and willing to come and quote, and custom make rather than only being able to give us what sizes were in stock. I'll let you know how it goes past Thursday. But for now I'll be very interested to feel the difference. I also did a lot of looking into heating options - a quote for ducted was a loss because we have insulation in the ceiling that does not leave enough room for the bits and pieces and ducting required. A new split system would be lots of money ($1200 times 3!), and other options were not much more appealing. I did consider using an off peak heat storage option but we're often not home for much of the day so it wouldn't suit our lifestyle too well. In the end we found eheaters - they draw a small wattage (400W) and them combined with a timer means we now have heaters for the house! They are not very big and are easy to install onto the wall. That with a new curtain hanging on the doorway and it's cuddly warm here today for the first time. And the double glazing isn't installed yet either! I have bought exciting new thermal unders the other day - Merino wool ones in fact. And have dug out my long socks, bought new shoes (lace up school shoe types) and knit a new host. I refuse to be cold this winter. Wish me lucky,

1 comment:

Not Jenny said...

Awww! I remember feeling your pain. As you know, I live in a part of Canada that sees -40 windchills in the winter so I know a thing or two about how to keep warm!

When I was newly engaged my husband and I bought a beautiful heritage home that had single pane windows with storm windows that didn't fit and newspaper insulation. If you held your hand up against electrical outlets on exterior walls you could feel a breeze. We immediatly had to invest in new windows or freeze that first winter. I spent winters in that house clad in wool socks, scarves, fetching little hats and armwarmers (thank goodness I knit) There was only so high you could turn the furnace thermostat up before it became futile.

We heat our home with natural gas, but a lot of people around here (especially people who are bulding new homes) are doing geothermal systems. My mother in law heats her cabin that way. Where I live, that is the greenest option.

Stay warm! Would your little one wear legwarmers or is she completely anti-leg covering?