Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday chores

It was really cold last night, so I think I probably did the right thing by putting antifreeze in the pipes.  In Tucson,  27.8º F qualifies as really cold!  We're done with that for a while; the daily highs are forecast to go up steadily and by next week we'll be in the low 70's!  It may flirt with freezing tonight, but that's about it.

(Side note) -- I have electric heater wires on the exposed pipes on my roof.  They turn on and off via a WEMO switched outlet, which in turn is controlled by an IFTT recipe.  I've wondered how much that's costing me -- less than a plumber to repair a burst pipe, which I did do one year when it got down to 17º when I was away.  Well, now I know.  Recently I got a gadget called a "Kilawatt" which tells me how much power a given circuit is using.  The roof system, it turns out, pulls about 13 amps. The Killawatt also has an elapsed time meter which records usage over time in Kilowatt-hours.  Using this and my electric bill, I now know that it costs me $1.26 to run the system overnight.  Cool!  Not as bad as I feared.

I bought the KW to see how much power various units consume if I take them on the road and run them through the inverter.  That's the connection with this blog, if I need one.

I got a new toy for the rig, as I said I would.  It's a catalytic heater which runs off the same small propane bottles that my traveling gas grill does.

You can gauge the size from the whiskey bottles nearby.  It really does crank out heat!  The deal with catalytic heaters is that they consume oxygen.  As long as you provide a little ventilation, they're safe in a closed space, at least one as big as a small cabin or a duck blind or an RV.  And the RV has a propane detector and a CO2 detector and a smoke alarm in case of Idunnowhat.

This arrived at the house while I was puttering around on the rig down at the storage yard.  So it hasn't yet been tested in situ. I hooked up the solar panel and put some more juice into the starter battery, took an inventory of all the storage cubbies, and re-organized them.  I'd more or less thrown stuff wherever it would fit last summer, and not surprisingly that resulted in not being able to find hardly anything.  There's only one cubby which is the right dimension to take the solar panel when it's folded up, so that's what started my housekeeping burst.

I think the next step is to look at how the interior storage is being used, and maybe to figure out why the kitchen drawers don't slide smoothly. It'll be even warmer tomorrow, so maybe I'll spend time down there a bit again.  I might also take it for a short spin and fill up the tank with $1.99 gas!

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