View Full Version : I'm a stupid man ( learn from me :) )

Joe (SoCal)
12-11-2002, 10:44 AM
OK as you all may know I have been heating my house with wood this winter. Its been A LOT of work cutting splitting stacking over 5 cords of seasoned hardwood. I turned my thermostats off and grinned when the oil company came by to fill the tank and said wow you hardly using any oil. I started to take pride in frugalness thinking I was denying OPEC and helping the war effort. I would chide my wife for even touching the thermostat telling her I spent a good deal of time stacking the wood and she should keep the fire going while I was out. The house has been toasty and if the temp really dips I just run ALL the woodburing stoves, the woodburing stove in the greatroom, the woodburing potbelly in the kitchen and the fireplace in the living room and I can get all the thermostats reading 70 + no problem. The last 2-3 days its been really, really cold 0 to 5 deg. Yesterday I get up and go to take a shower and turn the knob and bam nothing pipe frozen. This part of the house is kinda hanging on the outside wall of the house and is always cold there is a built in electric heater by the toilet witch makes it very comfortable when your umm in the office smile.gif I jump to tun on all the heat in the house twisting all the thermostats way up. That's when I realized 2/3 of the radiant baseboard units were cold. ARRRRRRG the problem I didn't count on was that although the core temp of the house was great the cellar and outside wall's and the water in the hot water baseboard lines FROZE. I got all the wood I could and lit all the fires and made them into bonfires got the core temp of the house up to 90 and thank God the outside temp rose past 40 yesterday enough to unfreeze the pipes. I checked the cellar and thank GOD no Burst pipes. I now keep the thermostats at 68 and still run the wood but Ill pay the Oil Bill and not have to pay for burst pipes. Whew. By the way SWMBO MADE ME POST THIS because she has said all along that she was concerned about the pipes freezing - SHE WAS RITE I WAS WRONG there I said it in public :D

12-11-2002, 10:55 AM
Yeah, unless the house is just so, it's a good idea to run both, for the reason you found out. But, at least you didn't awake in the night, wondering who left the water on in the bath tub! :D

Larry P.
12-11-2002, 10:55 AM
Joe your not the first one to do that. I remember one cold Christmas day when I was a kid. Fireplace and kerosene heaters kept the house toasty. 9:00 Chrstmas night no hot water. Dad and I are up till all hours with blow dryers and torches defrosting pipes. It was on of my best memories as a kid.


Keepinh the thermostat on 68 won't help if the woodstoves keep the house warmer than 68 the furnace still won't come on

12-11-2002, 10:57 AM
Nah, Joe, you're not so stupid. You merely went a little too far by turning the thermostats off. There's a happy medium that you will find by fiddling with temperature settings, where you'll save a lot of oil. A little foam insulation around the critical pipes in the basement will help, also. Until I switched to oil fired hot domestic water, I got it down to a gallon of oil, or two on really nippy days.

Wild Dingo
12-11-2002, 10:58 AM
Geeeeeeeez Joe and here Ive been sweatin my gronicles off all day!... Absoflaminlutely wonderous day at least 90f in the shade... beautiful sunshine not a cloud in the sky warm as toast... and here it is 11.50pm and Im sittin in the living room in shorts!! windows wide open doors wide open fan blowin in me dial and panting for a breath of cooling breeze!! :cool:

man yous fellas get cold up there... buggar that for a flamin joke!! aaggghhhhhh tongue.gif

Take care mate and make sure you dont go to the flamin office when its that cold!!! {at least warm it a tad prior to puttin exposed flesh on the seat!! :eek: }

Take it easy

G. Schollmeier
12-11-2002, 11:05 AM
;D Red Green would be proud of you. Your a man, you can change, if you have to. :D

Joe (SoCal)
12-11-2002, 11:13 AM
I LOVE RED GREEN I don't get to see it all that much but its a treat when I see it. You all have to understand I'm a city boy learning country living. I also grew up without the benefit of a dad around all the time to teach me how to be a mountain man all I have is you guys to help me out this late in life LOL smile.gif

Memphis Mike
12-11-2002, 11:14 AM
Joe, ya need to insulate your pipes at
least on the outside wall.

Keeping the faucets at a bare drip on
the coldest nights will keep your pipes from
freezing up.

If you have vents in the foundation, they
need to be closed for the winter also.

gunnar I am
12-11-2002, 11:22 AM
Hey Joe! City boy learning country living? You haven't lived in the country untill you have your septic line freeze solid , cause the hand dug ,stone lined, dry well won't leach anymore! And you don't even know where it is on that 23 d. below zero morning. :eek:

Joe (SoCal)
12-11-2002, 11:42 AM
Gunnar, Did that last year we had a big dinner party at the house after Christmas and before New Years after everyone left we put all the dishes in the dishwasher and watched as it all came back out the toilet bowl flooding the downstairs bathroom. Then spent the rest of the night cleaning and looking at property survey maps trying to locate the septic tank. Next day SUNDAY went out digging for it in frozen dirt, finally had to call a septic guy on SUNDAY he came rite a way wanna know why - IT WAS SUNDAY. He had a little electronic bug and dropped in the toilet tracked it to the septic tank with an electronic wand. Why don't they have a big bronze plaque that says here lies ye old septic tank DIG HERE. Anyway it was full and we had to pay SUNDAY RATE to fix it. smile.gif

12-11-2002, 12:02 PM
68 degrees? That's tropical...

I dont' think that my house will go over 68 degrees once this winter, and my pipes don't usually freeze...

I would leave the boiler water stuff at around 60, and that should give you a nice even heat in the house. Hell, I turn mine down to 51 every night. Sleep better that way.


12-11-2002, 12:07 PM
Frozen Pipes Story.

A dear friend grew up working at his parent's small town haberdasher. I worked there too, summers and holidays.

Steve grew to hate the idea that his parents (especially mom) cherished, that one day he would take over the business.

The summer his father, Herb, died Steve was home from school and Herb told a joke.

Two early retired businessmen are chewing the fat. One asks the other how he retired so early?

--Well, my lumber business burned to the ground. We were well insured and here I am.

--No. Well that's a shame.

--How bout you?

--Well my clothing business had a flood, everything was ruined and the insurance was paid, so here I am.

Pause...the lumberman looks at the haberdasher and says,

--So how do ya start a flood?

No more than a month later Herb was dead and Steve was on his way home, with a heavy heart, to run the store. Fall turned to winter, and I can remember many a phone call from Steve, going more than slightly bonkers. He'd been studying for a grad. degree in engineering, and this new arrangement had him chewing his toenails. But, he felt he owed it to his parents to give it a shot.

You can probably guess what happened next. A deep cold snap froze the pipes in the apt. over the store, late at night, and ruined all the clothing.

As Steve tells the story, he opened the store that morning, in utter shock at the soggy mess that used to be his stock. He was bitching and moaning and generally upset for a bit...until he remembered his father's joke...and that his insurance was paid up.

Steve can laugh with the best of 'em.

"So how do ya start of flood?", well timed, will still get him rolling.

Wild Dingo
12-11-2002, 12:09 PM
aaaaaawwwwwww geeeez fellas I gotta stop comin into this post!! Im gettin cold just reading this stuff!! :eek: and Im still sittin here swelterin... yes near on 1am and sweat is drippin of me forehead... did I mention the windows and doors are wide open and the fans blowin a gale in me dial?? :D

Saw a gekko a few minutes ago out the back door... poor little buggar was all done in had to get an icepack from the freezer to revive the poor thing!!!...

All this from a fella who has never been in tempreture below 20c!!!! and then I was wearing sheep skin ugg boots thick parka under me dryasabone and two pairs of duds!!! and still cold!... couldnt imagine bein so flamin cold as to freeze the dunny run!!! :eek:

I also gotta say teach... I has learnded from you mate!! I will not go where its so cold the doodoos freeze in the dunny runs... I will not go where its so cold the doodoos freeze in the dunny runs... etc etc etc

Take it easy

[ 12-11-2002, 12:11 PM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Ron Williamson
12-11-2002, 12:49 PM
you should think about wiring a timer on the furnace fan,so that it circulates the air better.If you run the fan all the time,you will feel cold.
If you do this,you can still save money on oil.

Alan D. Hyde
12-11-2002, 01:58 PM
Electrical heating tapes (wrapped around the pipes) are the most commonly seen solution in old rural houses. These tapes have their pros and cons.

The old Maine practice of "banking" a house for winter may make the tapes (or other measures) unnecessary, and has much to be said for it.

To bank a house, take a roll of visqueen around it, putting one-half of the width on the ground, and the other about 30" up on the clapboards and staple along the top, just under the projection of the next clapboard up. Nail some strips of wood over the staples to reinforce the joint. Then run bales of straw or old hay end-to-end around the house on top of the visqueen lying on the ground.

A banked house will be much warmer, and pipes in the cellar will be much less likely to freeze.

But take the banking off once the winter is over, to prevent harm to your clapboards which may occur if the plastic remains during spring and summer weather...


The house wall is "o's." The visqueen is "x's."
The bales are "b's." This is an end-on view:


[ 12-11-2002, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

gunnar I am
12-11-2002, 02:19 PM
Well, ah Joe? I gotta place in Texas ,so I don't really have much problem with heatin pipes'n all, course mah dad's gotta place in Maine, but he don't have a problem, welp, cause he uses oil ta heat the place, but, make no mistake about it, I know what it's like to have a messah stuff goin ta hell all at the same time. Well what ah wanted ta know is,says here yer stupid and I can learn from ya'll and I just want ya to know ,when it comes ta stupid you cain't teach me a dang thing! If you'll excuse me now .I got's pressin busines ( scuse the pun ) in a nuke-u-ler kinda way. Yours thruthlessly, George

Joe (SoCal)
12-11-2002, 02:23 PM
:D :D :D

12-11-2002, 02:38 PM
Dont feel so bad Joe! I came home one evening to a flooded basement, a pipe had frozen and split. Want to know where I had been all day? The Canadian Environmental Exhibition ( otherwise known as the Plumbing show, and plumbing as some of you will know is my business). Now my main water gets shut off if no-one is around for the day, if we plan on being gone for longer than a day I shut off the power to the water pump and the hot water heater.

12-11-2002, 03:07 PM
Hey Joe; does your furnace heat the basement? If so, then leaving it set to 50 is more then good enough to prevent pipes freezing and saves a lot more money than setting it to 64.

Dingo, you're in Perth right? Heh - you have no idea what "hot" is until you've spent a Christmas up at Exmouth. Try the high 120's (49C) every day and a few excursions over 130 (54C)! A mere 100 (37C) was cool after days like that! :D One Christmas Eve it was 128 (53C) at midnight (lucky me had an outdoor watch guarding against marauding 'roos that night) and that was really awfull! Fortunately, I was there for only 2 Christmases. Good too was the berthing spaces (barracks) cooled to a pleasant 85 (29C) using chilled sea water pumped up from way under ground - the Aussies living in town had no a/c at all!

Chris Coose
12-11-2002, 03:31 PM
Pickle the system with that antifreeze that won't kill ya.

When all of us back- to- the- woods hippies went to wood heat back in the good old days, huge hot water systems (including radiators) got busted.
18 years @ 6 cord+ / year. I'd go back to it if I had to but it would be a toss up between that and becoming Oyster's neighbor.

12-11-2002, 05:42 PM
Ever considered putting a small, efficient wood stove in the basement? I have one I use when the power goes out in the winter. The big stove upstairs burns pretty much constantly from Oct. to mid April... In January I crank both stoves up until they start to glow, put on my shorts and a tee shirt. Bob Marley on the stereo at volume level "Brain damage". and ice cold Guinness for me. Old Oak and Coke for my wife. Palm trees and cool breeze come to life in a small house in Connecticut...

km gresham
05-12-2005, 08:32 AM
:eek: it has to be! :eek:

Joe (SoCal)
05-12-2005, 09:24 AM
posted 12-11-2002 10:44 AM W :eek: W Mike you dug for that one :D

[ 05-12-2005, 10:24 AM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Joe (SoCal)
05-12-2005, 10:38 AM
Yea and you had another Screen name I still have the same ;)

Tell him yourself his email is still valid :D

You know who I miss in this thread WAY more than Stan I am ? I miss gunnar I am, he was funny and cool. Last I heard he was rowing the entire Rideau Canal

[ 05-12-2005, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Joe (SoCal)
05-12-2005, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by MIke:
By the way, what is the update on your PM feature coming? ;) Ya know the time I got Scotted before the last time ;) Its hard being opinionated AND choosing to keep your old screenname :D I asked Scot if he could restore my PM function and he did lickety split. This time I never asked and ya know what I don't miss the feature at all. My email is well known and I prefer using that. It's a matter of choice. Trust me you know better than most should you want to get in contact with me I'm fairly easy to find :D

Last time I saw Gunnar he was eating BBQ on my deck. Nice guy ;)

[ 05-12-2005, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

05-13-2005, 11:50 AM
Hey Joe; FWIW, now is the best, cheapest time of year to buy (green) firewood: the woodcutters are looking at a long slow summer and prices tend to be cheap. You buy it green, so it's even cheaper and then you let it season all summer-long at your place.

Also, not a bad idea in case something happens with the oil supply and prices shoot up.

Something my dad taught me...

[ 05-13-2005, 12:51 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

05-13-2005, 05:40 PM
Joe ....this is a query from a guy who knows NOTHING about living in a cold climate .Do you guys have really big houses ? Seems the easiest way of reducing heating bills and effort ,no matter what the fuel is to have a small house.I remember buying a book in the 80s when oil prices where a lot higher that now ,in real terms.

Just found it ..."30 Energy -Efficient Houses "
Alex Wade.
Full of interesting and very good looking ,thermally efficient houses.1000 square foot to 3000.Are these designs still popular or did it all get forgotten?

Ron Williamson
05-13-2005, 09:05 PM
I have that book.
We don't build many houses under 2500 sq.ft.(plenty of which are second homes or 'cottages' :rolleyes: )
Lots of these people also air condition( :rolleyes: :rolleyes: it's summer,dammit,it's supposed to be hot) for the two weeks of really warm weather that we get.

John Gearing
05-14-2005, 12:32 AM
Saw an artickle in the NY Pest today announcing that the venerable Downtown Athletic Club (the folks who award the Heisman trophy) building is to be turned into condos. The units will range in size from 500 to 1000 sq feet and will cost $1000/sq foot. Yes, you read that right. $500,000 for a 500 sq foot place. Add to that the monthly "carrying costs" of $500--1000 per month. Livin large in NYC, or what??
Oh yeah, I almost forgot: owners will have rights to use the gym, the lounge, and to have free breakfast every morning. Considering the cost of the units, I'd expect a truffle omelet....heavy on the truf!!