Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ready for Winter

Here are some pictures taken with the cell phone just before I left for Block Island. I'm not planning on making this a life-on-the-island blog, but there may be some planning going on between now and May and I'll post that.

The first thing on the agenda when we return will be to pour the floor, and I've been thinking about incorporating the back-up heating system into the floor with the solar hot water system as a heat source. So, for example, if the house is empty in the middle of January, we can convert the solar hot water system to heat the slab instead of water. I've been going back and forth on the merits of heating the slab and had all but decided that it was overkill. My argument goes something like this: The house is designed to be passive solar and the primary source of heat to supplement solar gain is a wood stove. On a stormy day in January we fire up the wood stove. Heating the slab with propane was out of the question, and heating the slab with a solar system didn't make sense because the space would already be heated passively on any day that the sun would be capable of heating the slab. Why spend the money on a system that would over heat the house? The only problem with relying on a wood stove is that it only works when you're there to put wood in it. I had thought that back-up heat would come from one of the standard propane heaters vented to an outside wall. We would need two, one for the main part of the house and a very small one for the utility room. We were looking at spending about $1800 on the heater for the main part of the house. But if we run tubing through the slab and use the solar hot water system to heat the slab when we're not around to use the wood stove, we'd spend about the same amount of money and in the end the back-up system would be less reliant on propane. That's the real issue. I want the house to use as little propane as possible.


rodolph sheahan said...

Sounds well thought out. I would think you could test the efficiency by diverting the hot water to the floor while you were there. How difficult is it to by-pass the water heater and divert it to the floor?
Anyway all will tiur out well.
How about a BI blog for all us envious "land bound" folks.

old bill said...

You are doing a wonderful job.

You might look up my good BI friend Nicholas Battey. Maybe he has some work for you.