Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: When the Weather is the News

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  • Che Tibby, in reply to Emma Hart,

    that was my understanding too. the new ones:
    a: don't run on electricity (like 'clean' pellet fires)
    b: are really efficient. "smoke" is just carbon you haven't extracted the heat from yet.

    we have a 60 year old house (with good floor/ceiling insulation - thanks ECCA), and the log burner had the rooms at the end of the hall at 14C yesterday, while outside was -1C.

    i'd call that a win.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • RJW, in reply to BenWilson,

    I have to agree with Ben -- HRV plus proper insulation makes a huge difference to keeping warmth inside the house in cold weather -- and humidity out in hot steamy weather. Well worth the investment -- clean dry air, warmth retained, power bills reduced.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to RJW,

    only if you have direct sunlight to the roof, for a reasonable number of hours.

    we got a 2nd hand Moisturemaster and had it installed. the house is now dry, and cracks starting to appear between the scotia and the gib. #whitewhine

    we didn't go for the HRV because the salesman was a complete arsehole, it's more expensive, and consumes a lot of power doing the dehumidifying - something pointless for us (we're in cloud 3-4 days a month on average).

    that said, positive pressure systems are freaking awesome.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Chchch just keeps on giving….

    Is. Not. Fair.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18964 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Crikey, here in Chch the snow could get worse.

    Ian: with 3 cats, it should be easy to keep warm, right?? Except for the contrary ways of cats. Hope you get to see your Mum soon. And feel better. I was miserably sick yesterday, but much better today. Don’t know if I can handle another few days of being stuck inside and at home, though!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3468 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to 3410,

    How about setting up a donation thing for Haywood's power bill? I'm in for $20

    I would double that! Other than a cold wind, all this seems to have passed by the Waikato. Mt. Pirongia (959m), viewed from mny 4th floor office at the uni, is bathed in sunshine, without a hint of snow. But I am grateful for the wood mix of blue gum/macrocarpa/manuka/paulonia stoking the home fires.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2317 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'm very dubious about the power savings of HRV alone, which is what I had for the first year. Yes, it does use wasted solar power, which is of some value. But it turns the air over rapidly, which cools the house down any time the air up there is colder than inside, which is pretty much most of the time you most want heat. The main advantage is the dryness of the air, which can be heated more efficiently, and it's healthier.

    But the insulation has made an instant difference. I got the government partial subsidy, and bought the thing on tick, and it's still saving money. No brainer, really, don't know why I didn't do it sooner.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Did you go to the Billy T premiere, Geoff?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to BenWilson,

    buy a cheap greenhouse thermometer. run the cord up to the "outdoors" (ceiling), and you can monitor when it's too cool to vent into the house.

    works a treat for us.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to 3410,

    Did you go to the Billy T premiere, Geoff?

    Didn't get an invite so I went to a meal and a Film Soc screening of Costa Botes Candyman, with Costa in attendance. A natty little film!
    The premiere was at the new Hoyts all-singing, all-dancing, all-digital cinema at The Base at Te Rapa--and I avoid The Base for it has been the ruination of Hamilton's CBD.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2317 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Che Tibby,

    buy a cheap greenhouse thermometer. run the cord up to the "outdoors" (ceiling), and you can monitor when it's too cool to vent into the house.

    That's all automated in HRV. It ups the airflow during those short periods where the air in the ceiling is in the direction of the temperature that you want to go. So if it's warmer up there than inside, then it starts pumping down the warm air and you're getting solar powered heating. In the evening during summer the reverse happens, it cools the house down fast, without having to leave windows and doors open, so it keeps the mosquito factor down.

    But! Most of the time the heat in the ceiling is the opposite to the way you want it to go. At night, it's mostly too cold. In summer, during the day, it's too hot. At those times, it switches to the lowest air turnover it can. You can turn it off altogether, but I do believe that the dryer air has been beneficial to our health. We don't have any mold issues any more. It is not free, though, that actually costs money, because of the requirement to heat the air. Hard to say if the cost of mold damage outweighs this - having clothes rot in your cupboard can be expensive. But it's definitely gross and unhealthy.

    As far as solar power goes, I'm pretty sure that solar water heating is a better cost saver by a long shot than HRV is. But insulation had an immediate noticeable impact on power bills and the subjective feeling of comfort.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    this is the thing. we didn't opt for the automated version, and have a lot less trouble with power bills.

    if it's too hot we switch off the system, and if it's too cold, same.

    but, if it's cold, sunny, and there's no-one at home for the day, thing runs for 8 hours.

    i guess it's horses for courses.

    hopefully this thread hijack has been useful to people thinking how to improve their living conditions. let's just say our last power bill was <$200 for 110m2. we put aside money each month to go into the firewood account and purchase in bulk in late spring (also snooping up cheap/free wood whenever possible).

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to Deborah,

    I can recall snow falling some time in the late eighties - I was but a child so cannot be certain as to the year (not '87 as we were on sabbatical in UK), but it didn't really settle - so I think you and yours have been rather lucky.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart,

    Archival reports from the 1992 dump.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Canterbury-hit-hard-by-massive-snow-storm-1992/tabid/309/articleID/131508/Default.aspx

    I have to say these don't bode well for either the hillside or low-lying suburbs under the current conditions, as it all melts. Recalling from a geologist acquaintance who was up inspecting the cracks in the hills what is expected to happen once water gets into them.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Che Tibby,

    Che Tibby, in reply to Isabel Hitchings, about 2 hours ago

    Twitter

    we put in a wood burner last year.

    at the time it was way more money that i was happy with. but now? i would gladly spend every cent all over again if needed.

    i was smug fit to burst sunday/monday.

    anyone able to afford the cost should do the same.

    Duuude! On September 3rd I had a logburner. It was in the dining room and heated every room except the lounge. Last August we put in a heatpump so all our rooms could be warm at once. I have had much cause to be thankful for spending the money as our chimney fell down in the September quake. Last month some guys from Fletchers finally removed the chimney remnants and our dining room now contains an alcove where a bigger and better logburner will eventually go (but probably not this winter).

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Raining now, and the beautiful pristine snow now has acne scars....

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3468 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Lilith __,

    Raining now

    Yeah, the actual weather is seriously interfering with our snow-TARDIS-building plans.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Chukkkker,

    Since Nov 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Isabel Hitchings,

    for that i can only offer sympathy. :(

    other new zealand people. please don't put in woodburners. i don't want the price of fuel to go up too much.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Che Tibby,

    other new zealand people. please don't put in woodburners. i don't want the price of fuel to go up too much.

    I reckon it has more to do with those selfish people with those damn heat pumps, sucking all the good air from outside and making it colder for the rest of us! ;-)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2317 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    Had enough of that provincial attitude elsewhere, thanks.

    Just quietly, when big fat snowflakes were drifting down yesterday in Dunedin? We were out in it with big fat dopey grins too. (Just not so much today in the horizontal sleet).

    we didn’t go for the HRV because the salesman was a complete arsehole...

    Snap. Plus in Dunedin conditions it was basically a scam - I believe they were forced to change the claims in their local advertising.

    how much ti-tree ... I could get going in the Jetmaster...

    Burning natives - sustainable? Necessary? A non-issue up north? Google turns up plenty of firewood ads but only this appeal for a higher use for manuka/kanuka.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 204 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to David Haywood,

    Get a roll of bubble wrap as a temporary insolation tent, just tape it onto the inside of one room. I know people living in a big cold hall in Whanganui that have a bubble wrap room, that is roasty toasty.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2751 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    Just walked down to our beach in coastal Otago, and the storm surge is phenomenal - waves already running up to the base of the dunes with two hours to go till high tide and the whole bay, usually the "safest" of beaches, filled with crashing breakers.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Since it is not something I will probably have occasion to say again for many years after this current cold spell, I just wanted to mention that it is snowing heavily outside my window – again.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2096 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I had this wonderful heating system in England. Oil fired boiler driving the central heating, with logs stacked in the boiler room so that they had about a year to bake before being used in the woodburner.

    This is what we need here (can you even buy heating oil in NZ?)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

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