Monday, October 6, 2008

Preparing For Winter

Howdy folks. I have kind of fallen off the wagon with updating this blog.

We just moved into a gorgeous new house, and coinciding with our move has been some pretty cold fall weather. Due to large picture windows and a fireplace sans flue, we're looking to do a lot of winterizing to minimize our heating bill this winter. If you have ideas or suggestions, please comment on this post. Remember, we rent, so all steps taken have to be non-permanent.

We're planning to put that shrinkwrap plastic stuff over all the window, but are looking for a cheap source of the stuff. The flue has to be somehow closed off, preferably in an easy-to-remove way so that we can still have fires once in awhile. The house's heat is gas, and has separate heating units on the walls in each of the rooms. We figure this compartmentalization will be useful. What about the hot water heater? It's in the laundry room, which is likely to be the coldest in the winter months. What can we do to safely insulate it? Has anybody had success making super-insulating curtains on the cheap? And finally, what about a waste vegetable oil space heater of some kind? The designs we've seen look super hot and super dangerous for inside use. Maybe some sort of passive solar system would be more appropriate? Help!

1 comment:

Mikey Sklar said...

Windows - I have been using the reflective bubble mylar on my windows. It holds in heat and prevents too much sun. We have some terrible west facing windows that I like to block out the intense setting sun with. You can also use the clear packing bubble stuff for windows. Just put some water on it and the plasic will stick to the window offering excellent insulation.

Curtains - we ordered a roll of hemp fabric and made custom curtains for our windows and screen doors. We just sandwiched the bubble mylar between two layers of hemp.

Space heaters - there are lots of great designs for solar space heaters that can attach to any window. It will probably cost less than $50 in materials. I am making one with my renewable energy group on Wednesday. Very similar to a solar dehydrator or solar water distiller.

WVO heaters - I collect WVO and also make micro biodiesel batches. I suspect that a off the shelf kerosene based space heater can burn a b99 biodiesel. Simple add a little kerosene if the temperatures are so cold that the fuel gelling up.