Elimloth (elimloth) wrote,

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Winter Preparations

I returned last week from Skyote, my place in Santa Cruz, having made preparations for the winter rainy season in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and it appears I did so just in time as NOAA predicts some heavy weather this week - the mountains will experience heavy rains and gusting winds. I turned off the hot tub's heating circuit since the sun's lower transit crosses the tree tops relative to the house which reduces the total amount of sunlight onto the photovoltaic panels. I can't spare the 5-8KWHs required to keep the tub at temperature.

I must move on with the solar hot water heater installation project next year. I had hoped to use a parabolic sun tracking heating system, extremely efficient, but far too susceptible to wind damage. With winter winds exceeding 50 MPH, gusts at 60 MPH, I felt it too risky to venture. Instead, I will go with an evacuated tube system that sits snugly against the roof. I built the southern part of the roof to be at 37 degrees (the area's latitude), so the heater need not be place on spindly stays. If I can get a couple of units to produce 10,000 BTUs of heat for 3 hours that should be sufficient to provide both domestic water and hot tub needs. Ah for the want of a ZPM!

Sweeping a half a mile of road of leaves and redwood leavings is quite an undertaking, but it was worth it to prevent that detritus from clogging the storm drains. Though the drains are engineered with fail-soft spillways, water running overland will cause erosion damage. At least it will not run down the road and cause much worse damage. The gutters are cleaned out too, though the upcoming first storm will, no doubt, bring down more leaves and branches.

I also had to perform repairs on the front door. It seems the support post behind the door jamb has warped leaving a 3/4 inch gap. I noticed light along the door and the weather strip, so I had to realign the jamb. I would have just cut it out and rebuilt it but the walls are plastered and that would have proven an expensive repair. Instead, I removed the deck screws holding the jamb in place, cut oval holes where they were, and then inserted a screw, nut and washer assembly behind the ovals to force out the jamb and plumb it vertically again. The plaster returns were caulked originally so they tolerated the adjustment without cracking. Now I have a weather tight fit and the door closes better than before. If the post drifts again, I will be able to readjust the jamb anew. All I need do is scrape away the wood putty I used to conceal the oval cutouts then turn the screws.

Meanwhile, western Washington is getting its lashing of heavy rains and winds. Low lying areas are still flooded in the Snoqualmie valley, areas south of Renton also have flooding problems. I've come to learn that the area can handle a constant gentle downpour but its system of waterways cannot cope with heavy and prolonged rains. The house here is a little drafty which turns out to be the work of an uncaring installer. The Jenn-Air convection cooker has an outdoor vent that did not have a damper install. Wind blows through the duct and right into the kitchen. I have to work on that next week.

Meanwhile, I read about people discussing boneheaded ideas on how to avert global warning. Do they speak of dealing with the primary problem? No, they speak about way to deploy millions of tiny craft containing slightly reflective mirrors to reduce the planet's sunlight by almost 2%. Yes, that could reduce and offset the damage we've caused but at the cost of blurring out the view of stars at night and permanently disenfranchising everyone out of their solar legacy.

Idiocy: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061104090409.htm

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