Here are a couple fun new toys at the Cold House. Neither is really going to save much fuel, I think, but sometimes you buy toys just for… fun?
The first is a moisture meter (a Christmas gift from my brother & sister-in-law, which I just got around to putting to use.) These are only about $35– not “contractor grade”, but very functional. It’s pretty fun to just walk around the house measuring the moisture of this and that. You know, see which cat is drier, etc. Also it makes cool Star Trek-like beeps, with frequency proportionate to moisture level (so that even the blind can use it) (or you can use it in the dark?) Anyway, the real point was to monitor the moisture of home-cured firewood, with the aim to “burn no wood before its time”. If you buy “seasoned” firewood, this would also be very handy– you could confirm that the wood was dry before you accept delivery of it. I’m pleased to report that the maple we felled spring of 2010 is now down around 13% moisture, and the wood that came down later last summer is about 16%. This is all good to go! As you can see, my finger is not yet ready to burn.
Next, allow me to introduce you to the Toasty Tush. This is, basically, a low-wattage heating pad that affixes under the lid of your toilet, and warms the seat when the lid is down (also warms your back, if you’re sitting on the seat.) At $45, it’s far cheaper than toilet seats with built-in heaters. Why would anyone need a heated toilet seat at all? Well, I don’t really claim to understand this. I am told that as a man, I never will. But suffice to say, the cold toilet seat was the #1 complaint from others around the Cold House. So, we’re trying it out. Here it is in action:It has three settings; the middle one is about 20 watts (though it cycles on and off, so it might be more like 10-15W overall). To further counter its electric usage, I plugged it in via my digital timer/thermostat:I have it set so it’s off overnight. During the day, it turns on only if the bathroom temp drops below 60°F. So far, we haven’t had a really good cold spell to give it a full test. But it seems to work pretty well. And if warming one square foot of the house lets you turn down the heat on all the rest, well, that’s a good plan. Arguably, it will take forever to actually pay for itself, unless we start burning oil again. But I figure it will use less than 5 cents of electricity per day, so it’s not going to break the bank, either.