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September 16, 2011 / 74

Time to Change the Lightbulbs

Well… it’s about that time again – time to change the light bulbs.

You see, we heat with wood here. And since the stove is in the living room, the back of the house doesn’t get a whole lot of heat. This is mainly because the people who design houses can only think of central forced air heating or electric baseboard heating. They never even consider that the owner of a house that sits on a property with over 60 acres of woods might want to heat with wood. Nope. So there are barriers to convective heat flow. Walls, halls, and offset windows and doors (not installed to allow flow through breezes in the summer).

So in such a poorly designed house, if the people who live there (like us) who want to use wood for heat, or instead of using air conditioning, they might want to just open the windows to allow cooling breezes to flow through the house, they’re screwed because it won’t happen. Due to the poor design, it CAN’T happen. Even on a recent 50 degree night, the house retained it’s heat because without fans to move the air, the air just doesn’t move. It just sits there and goes stale.

It works the same for fall and spring heating. You can have a heat source in one part of the house – like using the oven in the kitchen, and the next room toward the other end of the house is cold.

So at this time of year, when the temp is variable, when it’s cold at night (mid 40s last night) and warm during the day (supposed to be in the 80s by the end of next week), it’s really hard to find a way to provide energy efficient localized heat/cooling for each room without using electric heaters and fans.

Our solution is to change the light bulbs. I know – the US Govamint in it’s dubious wisdom has decreed that we SHALT NOT use incandescent bulbs. But they provide a low grade heat – so instead of cranking up a 1500 or 3000 watt heater, we just turn on the double bulb (200 w) fixture in the ceiling and the desk lamp – with incandescent bulbs in them. Within a couple of hours, with the help of the old desktop computer and keeping the office door closed, the office is nice and cozy.

And even when we have a fire in the wood stove (high efficiency – EPA approved) the office and back bedrooms get cold. CFL bulbs do not provide heat, so you either freeze your fingers off trying to type, or you must use a more expensive and less efficient heat source.

So there’s a flip-side to this whole light bulb thing. The energy you “save” is causing you to waste even MORE energy. This is a typical example of government “wisdom”, and a great example of the lack of sense of the GREEN movement. (Most of them probably live in California. When it gets “cold” there, they just put on a sweater.) It’s also a GREAT example of Jevon’s Paradox!!!

So… when it’s too warm to light a fire in the stove – and when the temps are swinging like the monkey in a Tarzan movie, but with the temps running as low as mid 30’s (night before last), and daytime highs in the 70s and 80s – we just change the light bulbs.

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