Monday, January 14, 2008

Happiness Is A Warm Toilet

Ok, so I took a little bit of liberty with that song title but it works anyway and does actually have something to do with this post. I don't actually have photos of the toilet ( I know you are disappointed) but I think you can imagine what I am talking about. I have been trying to observe the effects of the sun on the house lately and over the weekend I had a good chance to watch things. Yea, I had the weekend off finally! Anyway, I was a little surprised to realize that the sun does not start coming to into the house until about 9:00 a.m. Being down in a valley delays this and speeds the suns retreat in the afternoon. Not by much but some. Of course, the sun first enters through the east windows but moves quickly to the south facing ones. I basically have 2 rows of south windows; one high and one low. The clerestory windows sun the living room and the low ones in the kitchen and dining area sun the kitchen and parts of the living area. In the photo above you are seeing sun around 10:00 a.m. I am having one small problem though. If you look close at the sun in the lower corner there, you will see that it has a lot of shadow in it. I have 3 fairly large oak trees on the south side of the house and one of them ( the closest to the house) insists on keeping it's leaves as long as it possibly can so it is actually blocking about 50% of the sunlight coming through the clerestory windows. If you look up at the windows at the right time this is clearly visible but I could not get a decent photo of this. So....I may have to cut this tree. I have plenty more back there and actually might not have room for all of them when they begin to get bigger and spread out.
But back to the title of the post. By afternoon the sun is coming into the bathroom and bedroom windows, warming those rooms before going down for the evening. Just by chance, the sunlight falls directly on the toilet seat for a good amount of time and I have to say, that really feels nice. It's a small luxury but I have read about people who pay big bucks for toilets with heated seats and here I get mine for free! Of course, like all good things it doesn't seem to last long but it's nice while it's there.
As far as technicalities, the temps this weekend were in the 50's and the house regular maintains an inside temperature, in the daylight hours, of between 65-70 degrees with no additional heat source. I think if I install ceramic tile in the kitchen (walls and floor) this will help the temps stay up longer because the kitchen really gets a lot of sun. I still have not insulated the floor so this may help also, and installing siding on the house. The walls are not up to the best R-value yet. My power bill for this past month was $64. I was not real happy about that. I know it's that crappy hot water heater. I must start saving money for the solar water system. Also, it looks as though my yearly gas bill will probably average about $65-70 a month (although most of it will be used in the winter). Not really happy about that either so I am looking into some additional solar heating ideas. At any rate though, my house is beautiful and wonderful and I am very happy and thankful for it.


Richard said...

Think long and hard before you cut the tree. You still get light in, just not bright sunlight. You will be glad to have the shade in the summer to keep the house cooler.

karl said...

i know that it might seem hypocritical but i say live with the tree for at least a year and two would be better. the apex of the sun will change throughout the year and so will your attitude toward the trees. i have cut down so many trees around here i thought that the lorax might visit me in my sleep.

a south facing attached greenhouse might just do the trick. i am collecting use sliding glass doors for ours. starting seeds in the spring will be fun in something like that.

pablo said...

Yeah, I see it as a work in progress right now.

edifice rex said...

Hey Guys! You all make a good point and I am in no hurry to cut the tree. I figure I will watch things for a few more seasons and see what happens. One of the main reasons that I would consider cutting the tree is because there are 2 more (same type and size)within 20 feet of this one so I am also concerned that they will all begin crowding one another as they grow. It's something that I will think about and consider for a while.