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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Opening the house



Back in October, I winterized the house and shut it down. Some snowbirds keep their houses heated all winter. When they get back in the spring all they have to do is restock the refrigerator and they are back in business. While that's convenient, I find it wasteful to heat a house with no one living in it. Not only that should something happen to the furnace the house will suffer extensive damage from freezing.

For me, keeping the house warm would eliminate a huge cost savings. That cost savings is one of the things that help finance my southern adventures. Of course, when I get home, there will be a lot more to do than restock the refrigerator.

The first thing I can do is to turn the electric power back on. My house is now totally off grid so power comes from solar electric panels and is stored in a battery bank. The inverter that powers the house was shut down, but the solar panels kept the batteries charged up and unfrozen. It's just a matter of throwing a few switches to energize the house wiring. With the power on, I won't have to stumble around in the dark.

The next thing to do is to get some heat in the house. When we get back it will still be winter conditions. In fact, inside the house might be colder than the outside. First I'll have to check the chimney to see if it's clear. One year ice and snow filled the bottom of the chimney, well above where the basement stove was connected. Fortunately, the kitchen woodstove was above the blockage so it was possible to use that stove. The heat from the kitchen stove eventually melted the ice in the rest of the chimney.

In few hours the woodstoves make the house nice and warm -right next to the woodstoves. It could take as long as 3 days for the house to be completely warm. The thermometer on the wall might be read 65, but the furniture stays cold longer.

The next fun thing is getting the water operational again. All the drain valves will have to be closed. The supply line from the well will have to be connected again. Last year the water had frozen deep underground and it took 3 days to get the water flowing. If there are no complications, it can take as little as 15 minutes. The plumbing is closely monitored for any leaks. Wish me luck.


With power, heat and water, the house is comfortable once more. It can take half a day, or it can take 3 days.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. The simple life isn't that easy sometimes but definitely worth it. Good luck...

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    1. True enough!

      At least it's interesting. :)

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  2. Maybe you should buy or build a chimney cap.

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    1. I haven't been happy with the one's I've seen. I went to a lot of chimney fires in chimney caps.

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  3. Wishing you just a half day.

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  4. You have done all you could do. Vacations are more enjoyable when you don't have to worry about the house.
    'Hope the warm-up won't take too long - ah well, that's what thermal underwear is for!

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    1. I'm going to be bundled up like crazy.

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  5. If the house is unheated while you are gone, why not place a cap or upside down bucket on the top of your chimney to keep snow, animals, and birds out while it is not in use? Maybe it is too hard to get to.

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  6. Good idea. I don't do it because it's a long long way to the top of my roof. It takes two ladders to get up there and I'm usually in a hurry to leave in the fall.

    However, if my chimney is full of ice this year, I'll seriously consider it.

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  7. This all sounds so familiar to our operation on the side of a hill in Montana...totally off grid and if you left to go somewhere in the winter drain all the pipes and off ya go!

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    Replies
    1. Yep, that's how it's done. Darn cold in Montana . . .

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  8. I always need a rest when getting home from vacation. Hopefully everything gets back up and running smoothly so you can just enjoy being home.

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    1. I'll be busier than a one armed paper hanger for the first week or two. Hopefully it slows down after that.

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