OK, see last week it was minus 34F.
That temperature was measured on my shop thermometer. I live on a hill and often see more extreme temperature fluctuations than the official NOAA values recorded at the Palmer airport - which I think last week recorded a low of -22F.
Minus 35 or minus 22, whatever. It was cold. And I realized that my attached garage was really, really lacking in the insulation department. The garage is finished and the walls are heavily insulated, but the garage doors were not, and the seals around both garage doors and the side door had seen better days. Normally, I don't really notice - but there's an overhead Mohler gas heater out there and with the cold snap that thing was running nearly constantly, even with the temperature in the garage set to 45F. Understand this is the attached garage I'm talking about here, where we park the convertible and the jeep. The shop is a separate building with fully insulated commercial garage doors and heavy duty "super" wall and ceiling insulation, the shop has better insulation than the house.
Natural Gas isn't exactly free here in Alaska, despite what some outsiders seem to think, and we've recently had a significant (22%) cost increase. I try to be resource conscience, but that price increase combined with the cold snap really brought things into focus for me, and I realized that I'd better stop procrastinating and get things squared away. So, I bought insulation and new seals and some other things and spent a day upgrading the garage insulation. I covered the inside of both garage doors in flexible silverbacked 1cm insulation, added exterior neoprene trim type seals to prevent leaks around the edges and then I replaced the gaskets with upgraded neoprene seals on the side door. Total cost about $150.00.
Those upgrades made a big, big difference, right away.
The Mohler went from running four times an hour, to roughly four times a day. Wow.
So, of course, the weather immediately warmed up.
Today, here in Palmer, it's 46 degrees at the moment.
For those of you not good with math that's roughly an 80 degree difference. Eighty degrees, Fahrenheit, It's raining right now. On top of the ice. Slick doesn't even begin to describe the conditions outside, frictionless to a degree that simply defies all known physical laws is more like it. Also the wind is howling.
This is playing merry havoc with the National Weather Service who really isn't able to deal with Alaska, and especially the microclimes of the MatSu, very well at all. Example? You want an example? Ok, right now the NWS prediction for Palmer shows a projected high of 32F today, and projected low of 38F and the current temperature at 44 (that 46 degrees above comes from my own weather station here at Stonekettle Station which is about 6 miles uphill from the Palmer Airport tower). So the high is lower than the low which is a lot lower than the current. Confused yet?
Yeah, now you know why Alaskans carry boots, gloves, jackets, snow pants, rain gear, shorts, flip-flops, swim trunks, and a sun hat in the back of the truck all year around - and we usually don't bother to listen to weather reports unless we are in need of amusement.
Schools throughout Anchorage and the MatSu are closed (and schools in the MatSu are never closed due to weather. 300 "in-service days" those we got, but never weather). The Glenn and Parks Highways are nigh impassable. Businesses are shut down. My son is singing and my wife is working from home today (which makes me happy because I do not want her on the road into Anchorage. Really, I don't).
All of which means I probably won't be getting much writing done today.
Oh well. I figure it's a good day to do a few more upgrades. I'll pull the molding around the Kitchen window and fill the gaps with blow-foam. That window is due for a complete replacement next summer which we'll probably upgrade to one of those green house planter windows. I've been replacing the upstairs windows a few a time, as we can afford it and intend to the do the main floor next year.
And then I'll be in the shop turning for the rest of the day.
So, you, what to you do to save energy?