Monday, January 24, 2011

You know it's too cold...

...when your Mac laptop won't even charge. Apparently the minimum operating temperature for these things is 10C.


Fortunately, other than charging, they seem to work fine at lower temperatures (at least down to 4C which is as cold as we've been here), and the CPU soon warms things up sufficiently for things to get back to normal. But jules wasted some time on various tasks like resetting the power management before we worked out what was going on.

This is what the conditions are inside our lounge, of course, both when we get up in the morning and when we come home from work. It's been a bit chilly recently, and with the fairly feeble hot air blower (air conditioner working in reverse, as a heat pump) it takes more than an hour to get the room - which is the only one we even attempt to heat - up to a comfortable temperature. Which isn't really that helpful, especially in the mornings. Why don't these things have a decent timer system so they can be set to switch on every day before we get up in the morning? (There is a timer of sorts, but it has to be reset every time in a "switch on in x hours" way which seems a bit primitive.) It's not even merely a case of getting a more powerful heater, as things are our fuse box blows when we dare to use the a/c, microwave and kettle at the same time thanks to the 4KW max rating of the WHOLE HOUSE. Yes, that's a fraction more than the equivalent of one 13A socket in the UK.

Rumour has it that in some colder parts of Japan, they have actually heard of insulation and heating. Lucky them.

24 comments:

Rocco said...

Why don't you buy an electrical timer switch?

James Annan said...

Got one :-)

But the AC is electronic and won't come on from a mains switch. I could get a different heater but the AC does have the advantage of being cheap and efficient to run, being a heat pump rather than just electric heat.

I used to use the time switch for our ridiculously underpowered kettle, so I could at least have a cup of tea without waiting 20 minutes. But I eventually found a more powerful (foreign-made) kettle, and as long as I'm careful, it doesn't blow the fuse too often!

Belette said...

At least you don't need curlers: http://www.notnormalforlondon.dreamhosters.com/2011/01/brass-monkeys-and-cold-irons/

James Annan said...

So maybe that's why jules' friends are envious of her naturally wavy hair...

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Green World lovely James.

James Annan said...

Green? It's hardly the fault of greenness. Mostly it's the result of entrenched (and deeply anti-environmental) building industry and attitudes that results in shoddy housing that is designed to be erected in a matter of days and pulled down again 30 years later. 5 sets of single-glazed french windows can hardly be thought of as environmentally friendly.

Anonymous said...

James, I merely meant to convey that the Greenies shouldn't complain about creature comforts, because if they get their way via propagating the biggest fraud in history every person on earth will share your experience.

Rocco said...

Anon: Every person? Nonsense. Members of the Party will live in luxury - at least that's what the NWO told me when I was hired.

James: Have you tried using something (UPS?) to stop the fuse from blowing?

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Paging Dr. Annan, paging Dr. Annan.

Curry has decided to trot out the old Italian flag again, using your paper as a whipping boy.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Oh yeah, forgot the link for that last one:

http://judithcurry.com/2011/01/24/probabilistic-estimates-of-climate-sensitivity/

EliRabett said...

Judy Curry is the Berlusconi of probability argument.

Hank Roberts said...

Have you noticed a certain desperation in the d*ist crowd lately?

Perhaps it's the lack of public attention? Except on blogs where the chum is free, of course, and there's plenty of action of their sort.

http://www.google.com/trends?q="climate+fraud"
http://www.google.com/trends?q=climategate

David B. Benson said...

But James, think of the energy you save!

:-)

jules said...

David:

Duh! ;-)

We don't save energy! With thin walls walls and huge panels of the most feeble single pane glass all we are doing is heating the outside. It is cold because it is uninsulated, not because we do not use energy. Essentially, our house is just a radiator.

Got it yet?

James Annan said...

Oh, we don't use very much power as things are. But we could both use less and be warmer if the house was better designed.

Curry...sheesh, thanks for the link, I think. Will probably write something about that...

Rocco, it's a tripswitch for the whole house (not really a fuse), there's not much we can do other than bypass it entirely and risk melting the wiring :-) In theory a UPS might save our (non-laptop) computer if it goes down mid-write but that's a risk we are taking. It doesn't actually trip more than about once a year if that, especially now we don't have rats chewing through cables and knocking live kettle plugs into basins of water :-)

EliRabett said...

Jules can always sew up a bunch of R20 curtains

jules said...

eli: ooo that's interesting....

guthrie said...

Decent lined curtains in front of the large lounge double glazed window meant a lack of drafts from it in the winter, since they greatly reduced the transfer of cold air from the cooler inner sheet of glass to the rest of the room. Always a good idea in cold places.

Hank Roberts said...

See also:
http://www.google.com/search?q=aluminum+bubble+wrap

We have sheets of this to fit temporarily in south windows on the hottest days to block summer heat and permanently behind furniture against north side outside walls for winter cold. We've even taken a roll car-camping to have little squares of true shade (heat goes right through most 'shade' tarps)

Treat it gently and it lasts for many years; beat it up and the aluminum flakes off. The 2-aluminum-sided kind is harder to find but better.

The insulated shades are a better idea; this is quick and easy.

capt dallas said...

Blankets over the doors will provide temporarty insulation.

I was reading your paper discussed on Curry's site. A range of S from 1.3 to 3.7 does not seem unrealistic to me. Are you considering a new paper of sensitivity by any chance?

Stay warm.

dallas

Kooiti MASUDA said...

Traditionally, houses in Japan (except those in the northern island of Hokkaido) are built to be comfortable in summer. Air is warm and humid, and wind is usually not strong. Thermal insulation was not pursued, because natural ventilation in summer was more important to control temperature as well as to control molds. In winter, people tried to heat just human bodies, or small space under a table ("kotatsu"), rather than air in the room.

Then (in 20th Century) came fossil fuel which enabled people to warm air in the room if they like. Later (around 1980s) came air conditioners (electric heat pumps) which enabled people to cool air in the room in summer. But these are newcomers in our cultural history which had not so much influence on people's notion of building. So we build houses which have ineffecient air-con, though the design of air-con machines themselves has become very efficient.

In the post-petroleum age, perhaps Japanese people should choose: (a) passive solar houses designed to utilize natural ventilation as far as possible, and (b) houses with modern, mold-repellent insulation with efficient heat pumps.

yea-mon said...

We use a kerosene heater to keep our little living room warm. Not sure if it's cheaper than running the AC - but it certainly warms the place up fast.

Steve Bloom said...

It turns out there's a hard place awaiting anyone in Japan who manages to escape the rock of winter chilling.

EliRabett said...

Oh goodie, the heating coil is out at work and the only warmth comes through the floor from the leaking steam tunnels. It is indeed the Milankovitch epicycle of hell.