Well dear readers, I am happy to report that we are still going strong on this challenge.
The last few weeks have been cold, with a frost or two, but the temperature has not dropped below 3°C (37.4F). Kim has had her reverse cycle air-conditioner turned on at 21°C (70F) for about an hour a day just to take the chill out of her office, but other than that, we have had no other heating on at all.
We have been rugging up with an extra layer at night, but the house has been staying between 15-18 degrees C during most of the day.
Certainly very livable conditions, especially because we have been utilising passive solar heating in the north facing rooms to good effect.
I find that if I feel cold in the evening, I just put on my sherpa hat and I feel right as rain! I read somewhere that most of the heat from our bodies escapes through the top of our heads, so this extra layer of insulation works wonders!
Also, I have something quite weird to announce. We removed the natural gas wall heater from our living room. No we are not going crazy.
We just figured that because we were going to get wall insulation pumped, and that it was getting old and our plumber suggested that it was probably not safe to use anyway. We are down to one natural gas heater now, which is in the centre of the house. Not that it matters, because we haven’t even lit the pilot light!
We also discovered something that probably has saved us a lot of angst. We noticed that behind the heater was foil insulation that was nailed to the outside of the timber house frame.
It was not intact and had some tears in the foil as you can see in the photo above.
Through the tears we noticed that there was only about a 1cm gap between the foil and the outside brickwork of the house.
So if we were to get insulation into this gap, it would not make much difference at all. The R value of the new insulation would be miniscule.
We have decided not to waste our money by getting the blown wall insulation, and next time we get the lounge renovated and get double glazed windows installed, we will pull off the plaster gyprock and fit proper rock wool insulation into the cavity. This should reduce the heat entering through this north facing wall better than 1 cm of blown insulation.
Also we have made the decision to get the roof insulation topped up, which will cost about $2000. We will also get some additional draught proofing for doors, window frames, and other gaps that the ecoMaster audit found. We are just saving up for those items before we call ecoMaster back to do the work.
Anyway, that is my update for August. I am will be very interested to see our natural gas bill for the last two months. I realise that our gas hot water service has been used a bit more, due to the lack of sunlight for the solar hot water service, but it shouldn’t be too much because we have very short showers.
How are you going on your Brass Monkey Challenge? Coping well, or are the balls dropping off (the brass monkey that is)?
Getting up close and personal with my wood heater. 😉 But since we have insulated our house (it only had blue paper and gaps in that too) with Earthwool, in the ceiling, the walls and under the floor, enclosed our back deck in windows (passive solar greenhouse) and learned how best to burn the wood heater, we are finding it’s much more comfortable inside. I felt cool for the first time yesterday when the house dropped to under 18C. Since we all wear appropriate winter clothing (well I do – the kids apparently don’t feel temperature variables and choose barefoot and single layers in this weather) I added more wood to the fire. It was around 7C or 8C top yesterday though so I reckon that’s pretty good.
When I get up early int he mornings I top up the fire but it’s usually around 18-20C overnight and witht he heater, it can get to 22-24 near to the heater and 18-22 elsewhere I’d say. We also coo on the wood stovetop or in the oven and heat our hot water with it so it’s serving several purposes with the heat. 🙂
Still, I’m a little cool in flannelette and a wool jumper so time for a throw rug over the lap perhaps, and my woolly hat. 🙂
Gavin Webber says
Sounds very cozy at your place Jessie. Love the fact that your wood heater is also a stove, oven and hot water heater. Brilliant use of resources.
Veronique - sustainableholdfastbay.com says
Our coldest morning in Adelaide this winter has been 0.9C and we have had quite a few minimum temperatures around 2C to 4C. The heater has not yet been turned on this winter! Lots of hot water bottles in the evening and warm clothing; beanies are a must in the evening!
Gavin Webber says
Well done so far Veronique! Have a listen to our latest podcast episode. Kim and I talk about how we are coping during the challenge. x