Heating up for winter
Oct 29, 2014
|Winter is approaching, and our prospects of heading South are looking dim again this year. We need to get our house rented, if possible, with a reliable party who would just pay the heat and power. What a deal, but I haven't run any ads, knowing what the response might be. So, it has been 'word of mouth' to friends around town. The first person I mentioned it to called me a couple of days later and said "I've got a friend who would really like to rent your house". "Great", I responded, "Can you tell me about him?" "Well," she said, "He's 40 years old and lives in his father's basement". The conversation ended right there.
So, Hazel and I will probably be here for another winter, I'll continue to try to find a good caretaker for the house, and the project of getting rid of 48 years of married possession accumulation moves forward, albeit slowly. I took about a hundred VHS movies to the thrift store last weekend, mailed some DVD's to some friends, with several hundred titles still needing a new home. Those big framed high school graduation photos, the Ducks Unlimited signed and numbered prints, and a lot of other family memorabilia, furniture, all of that, and what was left behind by departing children, needs to be addressed. Yes, it would have been easier to do last summer, but procrastination is a powerful force.
A couple of weeks ago, the long range weather forecast was for temperatures in the mid to high 60's, giving me a window of opportunity to order and install the UltraHeat holding tank heaters I so wished I'd had last winter. They glue onto the bottom of the tanks, coming all ready to go, just clean the tank bottom, pull the wax paper off the glued surface and press into place. This had to be done with temperatures at least 60°F to stick properly.
Installation was, as most projects that you put off are, much easier and quicker than I expected, and I had both tanks done in about 30 minutes, ready to plug in. The manufacturer claims the thermostats will activate at 44°F, and will turn-off automatically when temperatures inside the tanks rise to 64°F. A snazzy inside switching panel was offered as an option, involving some wiring from the fuse box, and that sounds like a good project for later. For now, I'll just plug the heaters in by using an extension cord.
I pulled my electric space heater out from a storage bin, only to discover the darn thing had died. I'd been thinking about adding the optional heat strip to the Coleman roof air conditioner, all the reviews for it on the internet were raves, and being 1/16th Scotch I ordered one from Adventure RV for $55 including shipping and no sales tax, about $30 cheaper than a local Minnesota buy.
FedEx pulled into the driveway yesterday morning, and after finishing my coffee and watching "The Price Is Right", I got right into it with the installation, breaking all my rules about having to think about something like this for several days or months.
I had it all installed in about 30 minutes, my air conditioner was new last year, and it was factory-ready to accept this new device, I just took the bottom unit off the ceiling, installed the heater where a big yellow sticker said "Install Heater Here", plugged it in to a socket that had been waiting all year for me, put the ceiling unit back together, replaced the knob with the new one that included the choice "Low Heat", and I was done. (I always wondered why the old knob had two "Low Fan" choices, now I know.)
I ran it for about an hour, and with an outside temperature of 44°, it did a good job of keeping the inside at 63°. Output temperature was about 80°, half what my LP gas furnace puts out, but the air moved by this thing is volumes more than any space heater could do. My surge protector LED screen shows the unit was drawing 15 amps, taking that times 120 volts equals 1800 watts. That would be 1.8 kilowatts times my local electric rate of 12¢ and you get about 22¢ an hour to run this thing, something to monitor carefully.
A friend reminded me again today that it would be, of course, a lot simpler if I would just get my act together, get rid of all my stuff, rent the house, weigh anchor and head South, getting out of town just before the first Arctic Clipper of the season attacks Minnesota.
Good advice, I promised to procrastinate about it.