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Author Topic: Extreme weather  (Read 50236 times)

Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #120 on: July 15, 2019, 11:51:02 am »

LOL, I did the same calculation.  We used to have regular power outages because of tree branches snapping power lines.  The local utility was forced by the county to engage in an aggressive tree trimming plan and this seems to have worked.  We went for three years before having a 2 hour outage last Thursday because of a bad storm with high winds.  We would also have problems in the winter because of ice storms also snapping off branches.  One year we were out of power for four days in February.  It was weird because right after the ice storm a warm front came through and temperatures outside during the daylight hour were higher than those in the house.  We keep the house at 68F during the winter and after the power went off (furnace is gas forced air and requires electricity for the blower motor) the house went down to about 53F rather quickly.  We sent the girls over to friends who had power so they would not complain and we just added an extra quilt to the bet.  I kept simmering pots of water on the stove in the kitchen to keep it somewhat warm.

I never felt the need to get one of the generators you mention.  Up front costs and maintenance for maybe two days a year isn't worth it. 
We lost power for 4 hours last week when a transformer in our community burned out.  My wife goes nuts insisting on an emergency generator.  So I say, do you want a generator or do you want to go on a cruise?  That quiets her down. 

Rob C

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #121 on: July 15, 2019, 12:21:59 pm »

Mallorca seems to be an island where building is associated with the holiday dream. My place, as with pretty much everything except old stone buildings, consists of a single thickness of hollow cement bricks or blocks, or whatever the correct term for them is. In winter the heating passes straight through and keeps the gardens happy and me cold. And the bills astronomical. In summer, the heat comes in unless you balance that out with cunning use of wooden shutters and glass windows, where your objective is to encourage the air from the shaded side of the building to flow inwards and the heated side to embrace it outside. Do that at night and you get mosquitoes.

I have thought of double glazing, but as I have no wall insulation...

I have air con in the office from when, in the 80s, it doubled as a now-and-then darkroom. I never use it; I rather become acclimatised. The same holds in the car, where unless on the motorway, I keep the driver's door widow down. Air con may be essential in some climes, but Mallorca ain't it. Yet, everybody gets one unit at least.

Rob C

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #122 on: July 15, 2019, 12:24:30 pm »

We lost power for 4 hours last week when a transformer in our community burned out.  My wife goes nuts insisting on an emergency generator.  So I say, do you want a generator or do you want to go on a cruise?  That quiets her down.

Do you actually take her or just threaten? You could not pay me enough to make me go on a cruise. Had he the desire, then perhaps Mr Gates might.

No, I love yachts, the bigger the better; it's not the boats nor the seas.

mbaginy

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #123 on: July 15, 2019, 12:31:18 pm »

    ...The last bad heat wave in Europe (ten years ago???) saw over 100 deaths in Paris IIRC.
The summer heat wave of 2003 was made responsible for over 70,000 fatalities in Europe.

Roughly four weeks of temps in the high 30s and some days over 40.  Nights offered no cooling.  I recall working from my home office dressed only in swimming trunks.  Luckily I didnít have any skype meetings, just phone calls.  Was called to a meeting at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg.  They were displeased with details of a project and demanded my attendance.  Elevators were inop so I climbed the four or five stories to the meetings room.  Thought I would faint.  No greetings, no refreshments, just 20 minutes of verbal attacks.  Then I was dismissed and delighted to return to my car and a (very warm) bottle of water. The five-hour return was a pleasure thanks to aircon.[/list]
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #124 on: July 15, 2019, 02:59:16 pm »

By the way, the compressor outside your home is to circulate the liquid Freon  or Puron refrigerant through coolant piping.  It doesn't circulate air at all. That's the function of the HVAC system fan in the duct.  Unless you actually look at the ductwork to check if there's a fresh air intake, you really don;t know what your system is doing.  You could have fresh air or not.
Perhaps new builds might have an air duct to the outside but I doubt it.  All the AC units I'm familiar with do exactly what you describe above.  Ours uses the furnace blower to push the cold air through the house.  The furnace burner (new Lenox model, 3 years old) has a sealed burner in the heat exchanger and cold air for combustion comes from the outside and is exhausted back out of the house.  One of the reasons they now require a carbon monoxide detector is that there is no fresh air coming into the house and if the heat exchanger has a leak you will get CO in the house which is life threatening.  They installed one on our upper level when the furnace was installed.  they also put some ventilation grates on the door to the laundry room where the furnace is located.  That was also a requirement.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #125 on: July 15, 2019, 02:59:47 pm »

We lost power for 4 hours last week when a transformer in our community burned out.  My wife goes nuts insisting on an emergency generator.  So I say, do you want a generator or do you want to go on a cruise?  That quiets her down.
I tell my wife to go out and take a drive in her air conditioned car.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #126 on: July 15, 2019, 03:46:26 pm »

Do you actually take her or just threaten? You could not pay me enough to make me go on a cruise. Had he the desire, then perhaps Mr Gates might.

No, I love yachts, the bigger the better; it's not the boats nor the seas.
We went on a cruise out of NYC a few months ago to the Bahamas and FLorida.  The NYC port is only a cab drive away from us.  Very convenient.  No planes.  Just drop your bag off and relax.  We had a problem on our last cruise.  First the thing tilted in a 100 knot wind.  I thought were capsizing. It was pretty scary. Then my wife's clothes somehow got wet in the luggage.  So they gave us $100 and a special pass to get off the ship when we got home.  It took only 20 minutes from our cabin, off the ship, collecting our bags, and through US customs to our cab.  That was sweet.
Here's someone's video of the ship tilting.  Come to think of it, maybe we'll take a bus next time.
https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/05/us/norwegian-cruise-line-ship-passengers-hurt/index.html

Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #127 on: July 15, 2019, 03:50:03 pm »

Perhaps new builds might have an air duct to the outside but I doubt it.  All the AC units I'm familiar with do exactly what you describe above.  Ours uses the furnace blower to push the cold air through the house.  The furnace burner (new Lenox model, 3 years old) has a sealed burner in the heat exchanger and cold air for combustion comes from the outside and is exhausted back out of the house.  One of the reasons they now require a carbon monoxide detector is that there is no fresh air coming into the house and if the heat exchanger has a leak you will get CO in the house which is life threatening.  They installed one on our upper level when the furnace was installed.  they also put some ventilation grates on the door to the laundry room where the furnace is located.  That was also a requirement.

I added a combination CO and natural gas sensor in my laundry room adjacent to the hot water heater.  THe three other ceiling smoke detectors in the rest of the house also monitors for CO. 

Chris Kern

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #128 on: July 15, 2019, 03:57:19 pm »

Perhaps new builds might have an air duct to the outside but I doubt it.  All the AC units I'm familiar with do exactly what you describe above.  Ours uses the furnace blower to push the cold air through the house.  The furnace burner (new Lenox model, 3 years old) has a sealed burner in the heat exchanger and cold air for combustion comes from the outside and is exhausted back out of the house.

Our house, which was constructed in 2013 and is also in Montgomery County, Maryland, has a fresh air intake for each of its two ventilating systems.  I was under the impression that was a requirement of the version of the building code that was in effect when our permits were issued, but in any event our construction manager told me an outdoor supply was necessary because the enclosure was so airtight.  (Technically, each state in the United States maintains its own building code, but my understanding is that the basic requirements are essentially the same everywhere in the country and the differences involve local additions based on particular regional conditions: e.g., earthquake resistance in areas near fault lines.)

My wife has relatives in Singapore.  Their house has air conditioning, but they only use it when they have foreign guests.  Office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, and other commercial spaces in Singapore are air-conditioned, so it's not as though the family finds it unusual or unpleasant; they just don't seem to feel the need for it at home.

My sister and her husband live in Frankfurt, Germany.  During the recent severe heat wave, I asked her whether they would now consider retrofitting some form of air conditioning, and she said all they planned to do was install some exterior blinds on some second floor windows and interior blinds in a bathroom that gets a lot of sun.

Of course, what we in the Washington area would consider normal mid-summer temperatures have been quite rare in central Europe until recently.  On the other hand, Singapore is as hot and humid all year as Washington is in July and August.  Expectations are a major factor in determining how people react to weather.  People in London and Vancouver seem awfully blasť about the rain from my perspective.

Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #129 on: July 15, 2019, 04:08:14 pm »

Our house, which was constructed in 2013 and is also in Montgomery County, Maryland, has a fresh air intake for each of its two ventilating systems.  I was under the impression that was a requirement of the version of the building code that was in effect when our permits were issued, but in any event our construction manager told me an outdoor supply was necessary because the enclosure was so airtight.  (Technically, each state in the United States maintains its own building code, but my understanding is that the basic requirements are essentially the same everywhere in the country and the differences involve local additions based on particular regional conditions: e.g., earthquake resistance in areas near fault lines.)

My wife has relatives in Singapore.  Their house has air conditioning, but they only use it when they have foreign guests.  Office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, and other commercial spaces in Singapore are air-conditioned, so it's not as though the family finds it unusual or unpleasant; they just don't seem to feel the need for it at home.

My sister and her husband live in Frankfurt, Germany.  During the recent severe heat wave, I asked her whether they would now consider retrofitting some form of air conditioning, and she said all they planned to do was install some exterior blinds on some second floor windows and interior blinds in a bathroom that gets a lot of sun.

Of course, what we in the Washington area would consider normal mid-summer temperatures have been quite rare in central Europe until recently.  On the other hand, Singapore is as hot and humid all year as Washington is in July and August.  Expectations are a major factor in determining how people react to weather.  People in London and Vancouver seem awfully blasť about the rain from my perspective.

I can understand Germans.  Because of their switchover to solar and wind (40% of their energy), the cost of electricity has skyrocketed so it's 2 1/2 times the cost of what we spend here in the USA per KWH.   They still produce about the same amount of CO2 however as they did before.  Can you imagine what their costs for electricity would be if they installed more AC's?

Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #130 on: July 15, 2019, 04:13:35 pm »

Interesting article on ventilation codes for homes in the US.  Of course the issue is trading off a tighter house that saves energy vs. the need to breathe better air, air quality, and safety concerns regarding gases that might choke you to death.
https://www.energyvanguard.com/blog/2018-building-code-makes-change-in-ventilation

Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #131 on: July 15, 2019, 04:32:39 pm »

Our house, which was constructed in 2013 and is also in Montgomery County, Maryland, has a fresh air intake for each of its two ventilating systems.  I was under the impression that was a requirement of the version of the building code that was in effect when our permits were issued, but in any event our construction manager told me an outdoor supply was necessary because the enclosure was so airtight.  (Technically, each state in the United States maintains its own building code, but my understanding is that the basic requirements are essentially the same everywhere in the country and the differences involve local additions based on particular regional conditions: e.g., earthquake resistance in areas near fault lines.)
One learns something new every day.  I did a simple Google search on 'fresh air intake hvac' and came up with multiple hits showing different approaches.  I didn't see anything mentioning building code but perhaps it might be a local requirement.  Our attic is ventilated at both ends so there is fresh air up there (albeit hot in the summer and cold in the winter).  We have an antique AC compressor up in the attic that was separate to the heating and AC system we have now.  That compressor failed at some point during the previous owner's occupancy.  We have the old vent system for the AC in the ceilings of some of the rooms and the attic air can come in through that route.  I would certainly want a fresh air intake system in a new house if I had one as they are so air tight.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #132 on: July 15, 2019, 04:51:09 pm »

One learns something new every day.  I did a simple Google search on 'fresh air intake hvac' and came up with multiple hits showing different approaches.  I didn't see anything mentioning building code but perhaps it might be a local requirement.  Our attic is ventilated at both ends so there is fresh air up there (albeit hot in the summer and cold in the winter).  We have an antique AC compressor up in the attic that was separate to the heating and AC system we have now.  That compressor failed at some point during the previous owner's occupancy.  We have the old vent system for the AC in the ceilings of some of the rooms and the attic air can come in through that route.  I would certainly want a fresh air intake system in a new house if I had one as they are so air tight.
New building codes usually are "grandfathered".  They don't apply to existing installations. They only affect new construction and renovations.  If you're doing a renovation, be careful to follow codes. Otherwise, you could have big problems when you try to sell your house.  The prospective buyer's home inspector will probably pick up the violations.  Then you'll have to correct them before you can sell the house.  If the renovation requires a building inspection, pay for it and have it done when you do the work.  If work requires a license, ie. electrical, underground fuel oil tanks removals, plumbing, etc. make sure it gets filed by a licensed contractor.   If the local building department didn't sign it off, you'll have to inspect anyway and open yourself up to problems of non-compliance holding up the sales and costing a lot of money after the fact to correct.  It's also nice to know that the work was done correctly.

Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #133 on: July 15, 2019, 04:59:09 pm »

Also, filed the work with the local building department before it's done.  That will require a licensed contractor at a minimum or PE depending on the work and locality.  Work has to be filed for the inspection to be scheduled.  It may be simple, such as the licensed electrician filing a list of the fixtures he's going to install.  No drawing may be required.  It cost me only $75 extra paid to the bldg's department when my electrician installed high hat lights throughout the house, extra power line, switches, dimmers, and a few other things.  When he was done, I called the inspector who took 20 minutes to inspect.  There was actually a change required.  The electrician installed a non-childproof tamper resistant receptacle that's not allowed any longer.  It's this kind of thing that protects you while you're living in the house and when you want to sell it. 

Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #134 on: July 15, 2019, 05:59:27 pm »

New building codes usually are "grandfathered".  They don't apply to existing installations. They only affect new construction and renovations.  If you're doing a renovation, be careful to follow codes. Otherwise, you could have big problems when you try to sell your house.  The prospective buyer's home inspector will probably pick up the violations.  Then you'll have to correct them before you can sell the house.  If the renovation requires a building inspection, pay for it and have it done when you do the work.  If work requires a license, ie. electrical, underground fuel oil tanks removals, plumbing, etc. make sure it gets filed by a licensed contractor.   If the local building department didn't sign it off, you'll have to inspect anyway and open yourself up to problems of non-compliance holding up the sales and costing a lot of money after the fact to correct.  It's also nice to know that the work was done correctly.
Our 1955 home is a tear down.  I won't even bother listing it as nobody these days wants a 1955 split level.  I get two letters a month from builders who will pay me straight cash (no broker fee) for the home and lot.  We have 13K square feet inside the DC beltway, walking distance to NIH and Walter Reed Naval Medical Center where there is also a subway stop to downtown.

I had lunch with a former colleague today whose house was badly damaged by a neighbor's oak tree that fell on the back half.  The neighbor was incredibly irresponsible as they were told on several occasions over five years that the tree was damaged and would fall.  Their neighbor's insurance company ended up on the hook for the damage.  My friends have to rebuild the back half of the home with a new foundation.  Front half is OK according to the engineers though the foundation has to be stabilized when they start building.  Your correct about the code compliance.  Since this is a major renovation they will have to do a lot more than if it was a simple room addition.  they will have been out of their home probably for almost 18 months depending on the speed of construction which won't start until next month.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #135 on: July 15, 2019, 06:02:38 pm »

Also, filed the work with the local building department before it's done.  That will require a licensed contractor at a minimum or PE depending on the work and locality.  Work has to be filed for the inspection to be scheduled.  It may be simple, such as the licensed electrician filing a list of the fixtures he's going to install.  No drawing may be required.  It cost me only $75 extra paid to the bldg's department when my electrician installed high hat lights throughout the house, extra power line, switches, dimmers, and a few other things.  When he was done, I called the inspector who took 20 minutes to inspect.  There was actually a change required.  The electrician installed a non-childproof tamper resistant receptacle that's not allowed any longer.  It's this kind of thing that protects you while you're living in the house and when you want to sell it.
We had our kitchen redone about 12 years ago.  No major build out other than removing all the old cabinets, counters, appliances and floor.  We still had to have the electrical line to the kitchen upgraded and a new breaker box installed to meet the code.  It was all pretty painless and the paperwork was all handled by the remodeling company.
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Rob C

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #136 on: July 15, 2019, 06:17:18 pm »

We went on a cruise out of NYC a few months ago to the Bahamas and FLorida.  The NYC port is only a cab drive away from us.  Very convenient.  No planes.  Just drop your bag off and relax.  We had a problem on our last cruise.  First the thing tilted in a 100 knot wind.  I thought were capsizing. It was pretty scary. Then my wife's clothes somehow got wet in the luggage.  So they gave us $100 and a special pass to get off the ship when we got home.  It took only 20 minutes from our cabin, off the ship, collecting our bags, and through US customs to our cab.  That was sweet.
Here's someone's video of the ship tilting.  Come to think of it, maybe we'll take a bus next time.
https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/05/us/norwegian-cruise-line-ship-passengers-hurt/index.html


Cruises, in the sense you mean, are the province of widows and widowers looking to catch and get caught. The fact of communal dining tables, whether the Captain's or not, fills me with horror (in fact, his would  be worse because there would be the expectation of gratitude for the honour) as does the thought of sitting at bars and being nice to total strangers; I'd rather go feed the friendly white horse I chat to every day - more or less. She has no conversation, but beautiful eyes. The eyes are the key to the soul, which tells anybody who's looked that cats don't have one any more than lions, tigers, sheep or goats.

Gorillas have one, but boy, are they pissed off! They would also be heavy drinkers, given the chance. It's all there in the eyes, no need for crystal balls or stethoscopes.

Alan Klein

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #137 on: July 15, 2019, 06:31:23 pm »


Cruises, in the sense you mean, are the province of widows and widowers looking to catch and get caught. The fact of communal dining tables, whether the Captain's or not, fills me with horror (in fact, his would  be worse because there would be the expectation of gratitude for the honour) as does the thought of sitting at bars and being nice to total strangers; I'd rather go feed the friendly white horse I chat to every day - more or less. She has no conversation, but beautiful eyes. The eyes are the key to the soul, which tells anybody who's looked that cats don't have one any more than lions, tigers, sheep or goats.

Gorillas have one, but boy, are they pissed off! They would also be heavy drinkers, given the chance. It's all there in the eyes, no need for crystal balls or stethoscopes.

Communal dining  is passe if you don;t want it.  All the cruise lines offer "open dining".  If you eat in the main dining room, you go when you want and can eat by yourself.  No more dress codes.  If you rather not deal with a waiter at all, they have smorgasbord type dining where you pick the food out and go find a table to sit at by yourself pondering if your ship will be the next one to capsize.

LesPalenik

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #138 on: July 15, 2019, 07:52:07 pm »

I can understand Germans.  Because of their switchover to solar and wind (40% of their energy), the cost of electricity has skyrocketed so it's 2 1/2 times the cost of what we spend here in the USA per KWH.   They still produce about the same amount of CO2 however as they did before.  Can you imagine what their costs for electricity would be if they installed more AC's?

I don't think, it's the cost. I have family and friends in Germany, they are simply not used to AC. Maybe the young generation will expect and demand it, especially if the summer temperatures keep climbing, but the baby boomers lived all their lives without it, so why to switch now?
 
This summer, I have used AC in my house just north of Toronto only on two days. Fortunately, most nights were cooler, so the house cooled down overnight and in the morning, and then I closed the windows and drove for the afternoon to a nearby lake.

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Extreme weather
« Reply #139 on: July 15, 2019, 08:10:48 pm »

I can understand Germans.  Because of their switchover to solar and wind (40% of their energy), the cost of electricity has skyrocketed so it's 2 1/2 times the cost of what we spend here in the USA per KWH.

If that's the case (for which you've shown no evidence), then it may have to do with the fact that the cost of fossil fuel is subsidized and/or doesn't reflect the real cost to society.

Cheers,
Bart
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