Sunday, December 19, 2010

Heating Up This House

We planned our house to be simply passive solar heated.  It sounded so simple when I read about it.  Passive Solar Heating:
Make sure your windows allow the sun in.  Invest in double windows and well insulated walls, and your home will be pleasant all winter long, except when it rains and the sun is hidden by clouds.
We didn't use any special materials, and almost all of our windows face the east and south.  When the house was full of kids and guests it did seem warmer than most.  In those days most of our neighbors had less efficient heating and insulation than we did, so the house was more comfortable in the winter.  But over the years they invested in more heating appliances.  Also, those books I read mentioned nothing about the strong winds from the south in the winter.

Now our house is very empty and cold.  I think it's connected.  For the past few years, we've been heating with electric, oil-filled radiators.  I now keep one on low in the living-room all the time, so the room doesn't cool off.  We skipped all sorts of heaters and heating system fads that others have invested in.  The popular one nowadays is the heater-air-conditioner combo.  Hot or cold air blows around the room.  It's OK for cooling, but I don't find my body heated by it when I'm in homes that use it.  It dries out the air and respiratory system which can be dangerous.  Israeli tile/stone floors stay freezing cold, unlike when you heat with a radiator.  Within a short time off it gets cold, so the machine keeps switching on and off, and you can hear it.  Our radiator stays warm for a while after being turned off and is totally silent.

I guess my house would feel warmer if I had a rug in the living-dining room, but then I'd also need to invest in a vacum cleaner.  All this would cost money, which we don't have.  Would we need to spend less on electricity for heating?  And cleaning wouldn't be sweeping and then "sponja," the Israeli wet-mopping floor-cleaning method/system.


Jennifer in MamaLand said...

Brr... as frugal as we are during the week, the heat automatically goes up to 20 on Shabbos so we won't freeze at the table.
At night, the heat goes off and the back bedrooms get VERY cold. Space heaters are the only option.
I found the BEST one in the trash this past summer: a DeLonghi model I could never afford, which makes my room SO cozy... and it's completely silent!
Sending warm thoughts: just think of how hot you were just two months ago!!!

Elena said...

Yes I think space heaters are the only long-term solution for a good night sleep.

Batya said...

Jennifer, we also got a couple that someone else had been throwing out. My son fixed them and they worked for a nice long while.
Elena, I love my nice down blanket. I use it all year long.

Hadassa said...

I've never used a space heater in Israel so I can compare them to air conditioning units. I can compare the electric radiators to the air heating/cooling units. The units are more efficient and are capable of heating a much larger area. They don't dry the air any more than the radiators do and the noise suffered is worth being able to properly heat the house. I never noticed the radiator heating the floor other than in a very small radius. The units also cool the house during the summer. As far as a rug is concerned you could do what friends of friends do: sweep frequently and when the grandchildren come, flip the rug over and sweep well after they leave.

Batya said...

A big difference is the purchase price.

Hadassa said...

Buying a used air conditioner is a good deal if you know a technician whom you can trust to recommend the store or seller and inspect the unit. This is from experience. People upgrade, move etc., so there are valid reasons for selling a well functioning unit.

Batya said...

That's the type of thing my son-in-law sometimes finds. We're just not good at it.