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Utopia Talk / Politics / aaaaannnd it just gets better and better
The Children
Member
Fri Feb 19 13:39:31
They see me rollin'
They hatin'

My music's so loud
I'm swangin'
They hopin that they gonna catch me ridin' dirty
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty


http://twi...apped-mind-blowing-power-bills

ROFL

3rd world mudhut
The Children
Member
Fri Feb 19 13:41:05
scammerica!
Habebe
Member
Fri Feb 19 13:52:54
The real news shpild be that 1200 a year osntheir normal electric bill.
Sam Adams
Member
Fri Feb 19 14:22:31
1200 a year for electicity is pretty normal. Below normal even for a nice big house.
kargen
Member
Fri Feb 19 15:45:47
I'm guessing the power company and several other people in Texas are going to face huge fines and/or jail time. Texas has laws against price gouging. They can only charge a certain percentage above normal costs during emergencies. People selling water and other things at outrageous prices will get thumped.
Habebe
Member
Fri Feb 19 15:53:03
Sam, I meant that it seems cheap. Very cheap for a place that's normally that hot.
Habebe
Member
Fri Feb 19 15:56:32
Apparently thatnis about average...damn I pay 150 to 300 a month here.

PA it depended where, east greenville was astronomical, I had a roomate who cranked the baseboard heaters and I ended up with an over 600/month bill.
Kaylana
Moderator
Fri Feb 19 16:21:16
Texas was enjoying lower energy bills due to being on its own power grid and picking and choosing its regulatory requirements.

You know, until now.

My bill is usually $60-$100 a month. One hot summer might get it up to $200. The only time it risks getting crazy is during a cold snap because our homes are designed to have airflow and vent heat, not retain it.

But a cold snap below freezing here usually lasts a day or two, not weeks. And we've never had prolonged subzero temperatures before.
Sam Adams
Member
Fri Feb 19 17:11:51
Ya, texas has cheaper power than PA 99% of the time. Plus if home heating, a winter in PA requires a lot of power... usually more than summer AC in TX, unless you have a nice heat pump.
habebe
Member
Fri Feb 19 17:49:57
In SC I run a 24k but AC from mid spring til mid October....its so humid, my inner northerner cant take it.....Winter is fairly cheap for me, my parents went native and run the heat a lot, my sister has a fireplace, but her husband is a lazy drunk so that's just a pricy mess.
Forwyn
Member
Fri Feb 19 17:54:45
> Joining a unique power supply setup wherein you pay a small membership and then purchase electricity at direct market costs
> Complaining and using the ignorance of other users when market costs skyrocket

lol
Sam Adams
Member
Fri Feb 19 18:15:11
"my sister has a fireplace, but her husband is a lazy drunk so that's just a pricy mess."

Ya, especially if its just an open fireplace that wastes most of its heat.

A proper enclosed firebox and if you process your own wood = free heat. Speaking of which, time to toss a few more splits on the fire here. Ive got about a cord left for this winter... not quite gonna make it. Didnt think id be working from home this much when i put this batch out to dry a few summers ago....
habebe
Member
Fri Feb 19 18:29:43
In PA thenone place I was at had a fireplace, but it was huge, so we rigged up a wood burning stove inside the fireplace, it heated a large 3 story house, the original house was built in 1740.

My sister/husband are retarded. when he does get his own wood he gets shitty pine. Ive helped them out with wood from when I clean up the yard, but he always insists on a "roaring fire" with the flue open, so they go through wood quick and usually just end up buying it bynthe bundle.

which woildnt be so bad if he could hold a job or you could get paid for drinking.
Sam Adams
Member
Fri Feb 19 18:40:23
"but he always insists on a "roaring fire" with the flue open, so they go through wood quick and usually just end up buying it bynthe bundle."

Yup. Thats retarded. And godamn do i hate pine. If its gonna be that lightweight it should at least split easy right? Nope. At least not our pine species. When they talk about armoring old warships with oak i'm like hah... shouldve used this fucking pine im trying to split instead.
habebe
Member
Fri Feb 19 18:59:04
Now he is trying to go on disability for his "sciatica"...Im sure he is in pain from time to time....but its usually alcohol related...he has fallen off the porch numerous times, the last time he tries to work on the roof he fell off the ladder twice....hell when Imhim and I were winterizing my parents porch with plastic, he stapled his hand not once, nor twice but three times... he stopped going to work like a month before covid, he had a two month period whwre he worked at qvc but fucked that up....im at my wits end, I'm trying to get him to take that shot where you cant drink.Vivitrol.
TJ
Member
Fri Feb 19 19:26:28
If you can weather protect your wood after splitting in the spring it should be seasoned by October.

Pine is often hard to split by hand because it generally has a lot of knots. Because of the knots and the way it splits causes stacking problems if you have large amounts.

You would be lucky if you only had hard maple, oak or ash to split.
habebe
Member
Fri Feb 19 19:28:12
tj, We have oak here.
TJ
Member
Fri Feb 19 19:47:08
hababe:

Then you are fortunate in that respect.

Hedge is extremely dense and one of the best, but you need to be careful burning. It puts out a lot of heat and shrinkage pockets tend to spark. One stick added to the mix is good.

Soft woods create a lot of smoke.
Sam Adams
Member
Sat Feb 20 00:02:50
I wish we had oak. Our best wood out here is doug fir and a softer maple. At least it seasons fast and doug fir produces almost 0 ash.

Oh, and it aint pine, so thats a plus :)
Sam Adams
Member
Sat Feb 20 00:09:21
I'll even grab cottonwood and cedar if its close by, already in rounds, and free. But no pine. Down with pine!!
Habebe
Member
Sat Feb 20 04:45:25
#fuckpine
jergul
large member
Sat Feb 20 08:40:15
Rowan, then birch are my preferred types.

Excess air is incedibly important (generating CO gives a lot less energy that CO2). You will not get a complete combustion without a lot of excess air. Ideally from outside. Modern stoves have a vent adaption to connect by pipe to the outdoors. Limit combustion speed by limiting the surface area subject to combustion at any given time.

Quality wood (dry hardwood moisture content below 20%) allows for single burning chopped wood. with a properely dimensioned burning compartment.

Get a new stove. Modern ones have energy efficiency above 85%, compared to 50% for older types and 25% for open fireplaces.

Make sure the chimney is undamaged and swept regularly.

Of course, only burn wood in the stove. Starters like parafin wax newspapwer or milkcartoons are wholely unstuitable and give soot and tar buildup.
Turtle Crawler
Admin
Sat Feb 20 10:09:31
$9000/mwh or $9kwh is the market maximum, which it was at for several days, so they can't be gotten for price gouging.

Think of how much power you have to use at that rate to get those bills. That is like tripple my power usage on home half the size, they must not have insulation and be heating with space heaters.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sat Feb 20 10:43:09
Turtle Crawler, that's exactly what people were forced to do.

As I keep explaining, southern homes are intentionally designed to be drafty, to let air flow in and let heat out. If they were designed to retain heat, we'd never be able to cool a house in the summer.

So in the winter, on those rare occasions that it gets below freezing, we aren't cranking the heat up to stay warm, we're cranking the heat up to prevent our pipes from bursting and flooding the house. We're using space heaters not on ourselves, but under our sinks and in the garage by the water heater and water valves.

It's always preferable to pay a higher electric bill than to shell out thousands in home repair that isn't covered by home insurance.

It was so cold for so long that pipes were freezing even with the taps running full. And when we lost both power and water, there was nothing we could do to keep it from happening.

Kaylana
Moderator
Sat Feb 20 10:47:49
oh and when you leave the taps running 24/7, you have to run both hot and cold, which means the water heater is also running 24/7.

It's fine when it's 25 degrees for a night or two.

It's not fine when it's several days in a row of the high being 3 degrees (real feel -18) and the nights being subzero, and there's no sun.

We were colder than Siberia at one point.
Disgruntled
Member
Sat Feb 20 13:28:27
Sam Adams
Member
Sat Feb 20 13:31:23
"You will not get a complete combustion without a lot of excess air."

A modern 2 stage combustor or catalytic combustor can reduce the excess O2 requirements quite a bit. But ya, we are always going to want a little excess O2. I'd rather burn clean than have perfect thermal efficiency. Fuel is free after all. Not that a modern stove is inefficient by any means. ~75% thermal efficiency is pretty sweet for no electricity and very few moving parts.

"Limit combustion speed by limiting the surface area"

Yup. Nothing better than big dry splits.
Sam Adams
Member
Sat Feb 20 13:32:25
"And when we lost both power and water, there was nothing we could do to keep it from happening."

Get a wood stove :)
Kaylana
Moderator
Sat Feb 20 19:51:24
New homes are not being built with fireplaces and chimneys. It's more cost effective for me to get a gas generator, so that's on my list.
Turtle Crawler
Admin
Sat Feb 20 19:54:31
Interesting, modern construction is so air tight and insulated that you could go without power for days and still not get the house that cold, or have to use much AC to keep the house nice.
jergul
large member
Sun Feb 21 06:45:28
Kaylana
You may want to look into woodburning anyway. There are surprisingly affordable ways to retrofit woodburning stoves.

TC is correct on modern construction. They climate control easily. But that is a whole different kettle of fish.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 09:40:50
Modern construction between places that get snow and places that don't get snow are still very different.

I think that's even mentioned on every episode of Holmes on Homes.
TJ
Member
Sun Feb 21 12:35:49
More often than not minimum building codes are used in home construction, it doesn't matter where you live, or even if those minimums are different in geographic location.

Due diligence would include research and have your home built to personal specifications focused on year around temps to include for the unexpected. You'll be money ahead, even in the short run.

Just remember, a contractor is working to make himself money, not save you money, so avoid spec-model homes. They focus on eye candy to sell as quickly as possible and make as much money as possible.

You can't see comfort and efficiency.

Odd comparison, I know, but for clarity, think genetics.
Paramount
Member
Sun Feb 21 12:42:05
“My savings is gone,” said Scott Willoughby, a 63-year-old Army veteran who lives on Social Security payments in a Dallas suburb. He said he had nearly emptied his savings account so that he would be able to pay the $16,752 electric bill charged to his credit card — 70 times what he usually pays for all of his utilities combined. “There’s nothing I can do about it, but it’s broken me.”

http://www...exas-storm-electric-bills.html

Not sure if this is fake news or not. It’s NY Times (the enemy of the people) so it’s probably not best to believe this story.
jergul
large member
Sun Feb 21 12:59:11
Kay
Yah, its a big discussion. I am jealous of people and places that do not need to think about snow bearing loads.
Forwyn
Member
Sun Feb 21 13:22:14
"$16,752 electric bill"

Oh look, another Griddy user, who pays wholesale at market costs, and month after month has paid less than his neighbors.

Now that he's losing his gamble, it's national news.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 13:32:14
TJ, nice if you are in the upper income bracket, but most people can't afford a custom built home. Real estate has doubled here in 6 years, but salaries haven't budged.

I'm one of the luckier ones that can afford a nicer home and I sacrificed a lot of square footage and "pretty finishing touches" in favor of insulation, radiant barriers, double-paned high quality windows and better appliances, which I think went a long way as to why my house came through as well as it did.

But put any well built home in arctic subzero temperatures with staggering wind chills for 3 days straight without power or a fireplace and try and tell me the home is going to stay above 45F the whole time. I'll call you a liar for it.
Habebe
Member
Sun Feb 21 13:34:39
Or live where land and labor is cheap.

SC is dirt cheap for land, especially if you dont mind doing some work yourself.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 13:42:02
Habeas, not a lot of oil and gas jobs in SC. I'd be sacrificing my career at 40 years old.

"Don't like it? Just move" is an unrealistic and unviable solution to the working class.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 13:42:35
Habebe* sorry, autocorrect is a beast.
jergul
large member
Sun Feb 21 13:44:36
Kay
That would be true. A balanced home losses about 1200w by design. Otherwise it would overheat by people simply living there.

On the other hand, we have staggering windchils right now (a storm and minus 8C) and my heating panels are currently running at 1200W (they are app controlled by way of wifi). I might light the fire in a bit, but that would be for evening ambiance).

A quality wood stove with wall pipe professionally installed would set you back about 7k.

http://www...age-Shieldmaster-/162376994907

UK because I am lazy.

The reason it might be better than gas is that gas is not a completely independent heating source. What knocks out electricity might also knock out gas.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 13:46:10
Jergul, that doesn't sound too bad, roughly around what solar install might run me, maybe even less.
habebe
Member
Sun Feb 21 14:41:37
katana, In all fairness, It sucks down here anyway. I miss Philly.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 14:52:26
Yeah I like Philadelphia.
TJ
Member
Sun Feb 21 15:00:41
Kaylana:

It was all about affordability. You don't need a custom built home. You just need to talk to the contractor about the build specifics if you are buying new. As you said, decrease square footage, and add that cost into the construction efficiency. It is a matter of trading one comfort for another as you stated.

I imagine you are correct about why your home survived with minor issues when others did not. I'd sacrifice size any day for efficient quality, but I also realize comfort is subjective.

I do understand that most people decide because of circumstances beyond their control. It is also true that nature can out do our preparedness anytime it chooses. The storm you experienced is self evident.

Area, cost, and affordability go hand and hand for certain, especially so with land and construction in densely populated areas.
Paramount
Member
Sun Feb 21 15:07:24
I was just thinking that if there is a prolonged power outtage in my city, I would not be prepared.

My house is pretty well insulated, we had new windows installed a couple of years ago, and we also improved the building's insulation in the facade at the same time.

But I wouldn’t be able to boil water or cook food if there was a power outtage. I have some candles and safety matches so I wouldn’t need to sit in complete darkness, but I think that I probably need to buy a portable stove, and more candles. I should probably get a flashlight and batteries also, and a crank radio.
jergul
large member
Sun Feb 21 15:10:59
Para
Sivilforsvaret has a list for you.
jergul
large member
Sun Feb 21 15:14:01
http://rib.msb.se/filer/pdf/28494.pdf
Paramount
Member
Sun Feb 21 15:23:27
I remember that one. I got that brochure in my mailbox 1-2 years ago.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 15:27:47
I always thought I was well prepared too, I'm always shocked on batteries and slow burning candles, butane lighters and led torches. I have emergency batteries for our phones that I check on the charge once a month, too.

We would have been fine with everything if not for the cold and sanitation. I was not prepared for having no plumbing due to frozen pipes at the street level and no source of heat. Usually a non-issue in winter here. I'll be making changes before next winter for sure.
Kaylana
Moderator
Sun Feb 21 15:31:43
Stocked* jeebus. I've got to stop posting via mobile.
habebe
Member
Sun Feb 21 15:40:33
I only post mobile anymore.Mix that with autocorrect and...yeah.....its bad.
Sam Adams
Member
Mon Feb 22 10:59:41
We have a propane inverter that can run off the big home tank plus a kwh in batteries and I am experimenting with some solar panels now. Plus the wood stove. Figure we can heat and cook and keep some smaller devices charged until the gear itself fails... figure about 5 years.
jergul
large member
Tue Feb 23 06:57:48
Most people would probably do better with an off the grid cabin within a few hours from home than to try to long haul their primary residence.

I would look into how to disconnect your residence? Simply turning off the water main and unplugging your water heaters is good preventive maintenance.

A chemical or biological toilet in the garage is an inexpensive measure. It can just sit there until needed.

Sammy
There are some very nice new wood burning cooking and baking stoves. The smaller ones are best for most purposes.

How is your water supply? A ground water pump system and a septic tank may be worth looking into. You might even get some cashback if you do that water overflow into piss meadow thing water conservation suggests is good.

Your batterypack is underdimensioned. Ideally, you would want something that charges off peak and feeds the grid during peak to profit from electricity cost variations. But your grid system may not yet be set up for that. Though you would think Washington State would be a frontrunner in those things.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Feb 23 09:47:39
"How is your water supply?"

Ok... not great. There are a couple fresh mountain rivers about a mile away in multiple directions... so limitless fresh water but its a mile away.
jergul
large member
Tue Feb 23 09:56:41
Sammy
I was actually asking if the public reservoir is uphill from you. If so, then you will probably keep water pressure if electricity fails.

Having your own well is doable, but could easily put you back 20k. Areas that have been clearcut historically tend to have traces of arsenic in the ground water. At least on the west coast. I have no theory on why that is the case.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Feb 23 10:34:49
Public water requires electricity but has a set of good backup generators. In a really bad event those would fail or run out of diesel, and we would be going to the river or collecting rain, assuming we wernt nuked. Cant justify a 20k well with the ammount of rain/snow that falls here.
jergul
large member
Tue Feb 23 11:37:45
Sammy
I realize. Hence the "probably". Water is a lot less secure once watertowers and such like are in the mix. Way more failure points.

The only realistic problem is toilets. But that is a 500 dollar fix with a reserve chemical or biological toilet in the garage.
TJ
Member
Tue Feb 23 11:57:22
A catch system gravity fed sounds reasonably inexpensive. Hard to advise inexpensive ways to solve problems with no knowledge of property. Such as septic or city/county sewage.
TJ
Member
Tue Feb 23 12:29:03
I made an attempt to purchase 33 acres that had 25 acres of industrial cave. The price was only 160k. 4 acres of the underground had electrical service installed. The land was in Missouri near the Arkansas State line in the middle of nowhere, but zoned commercial.

I failed to get the zoning changed from commercial property or I would've purchased in a heartbeat. It wasn't being used, but the small community didn't want to give up the outrageous commercial taxes.

I've been searching for the right property since before covid entered the picture. I'll find it sooner or later.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Feb 23 12:56:41
We got a operational well from back when this well supplied parts of the community. It has an electrical pump, but it also has the same handpump (functioning) from when it was built. Used it to water some sensitive plants when it got dry last summer.

Did have a small scare this Winter, noticed we had no hot water (!), but the radiators were still warm (?). The boy likes to turn of the termostats, so the High pressure alarm turned the heatpump off and instead using electricity. Easy to reset, but once you shut these cool/heat pump systems off, all kinds of other problems can manifest. WSystem pressure too low, air in one of bathroom floor heating. I googled some stuff and read the manual, but some very critical aspects of a heat system can't be covered with the heatpump manual. Didn't feel comfortable messing around, so I called the heat pump people to explain.

Jesus Christ, it was even simpler than I thought, turn a KNOB and fresh water came in, raising the pressure. Here I was over thinking, WHERE DOES THE WATER GO???? Turn other knob, release pressure… I suspect it was easy, but I was not gonna turn knobs, have my wife come here and explain I had died in a heat pump accident. Who needs that? Not you guys.

The people who owned the house Before us, own a Construction Company, so they really thought about Everything, Everything is according to best practice and regulation. Not a single "my brother in law has done some electrical work and showed me how to change wires". True story.
jergul
large member
Tue Feb 23 13:30:35
That is Sweden for you. The water goes nowhere btw. Its in a circuit. Your son must have pressed the drain system button :).

That pump on the property is a pure luxury. Nice!
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Feb 23 14:15:08
Each radiator has a termostat knob, he turns (some of) them off, meanwhile the heat system is set on 20c and tries to heat the house with the remaining radiators. Heat pump guy confirmed what I found on google. He does this all the time, but when the really cold weather came, the reactor couldn't take it anymore, captain.
jergul
large member
Tue Feb 23 14:51:53
That sort of explains the pressure loss as radiator is part of the circuit. Shut enough down and the through stream will be less than what the heat pump is capable of heating. A bit odd though. It does not make sense in a way google could help with. Good call on bringing in experts.
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