Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Deep Chill

I like my cold drinks very cold, but even I have a limit. But my fridge doesn’t care – sometimes my Brita water jug freezes solid in my fridge. My juice, iced tea, hell even the Cole slaw froze up!

I’ve adjusted the temperature several times, turning it up over the course of a day or two to see what happens. It works for a while and then a few days later – ice is back in the fridge.

I think my fridge has a mind all it’s own. It must – it thinks of ways to piss me off.

Or, maybe it is just the extreme heat we’re having here. Today, it was a steamy 35C, but it felt like 41C with the humidex. I do have air conditioning, but I try to conserve power when I’m not around.

I set my air conditioning to go off during the day, and on an hour or two before I get home from work. I don’t pay for electricity – it is included in my rent. But, I still try to do something for the planet and for us. They say if we don’t conserve our energy, they’ll do it for us by having rolling blackouts. I’d rather have power on all the time, when I need it, so I’ll do my bit.

Getting back to the fridge with a mind all it’s own – maybe because I do conserve power, the fridge is actually working overtime. See, when I have the air conditioning on it is nice and cool – room temperature all the time. When I have it off, it can get boiling hot in here. All the heat from the rest of the building rises up, plus the heat outside through the closed windows – all adds up.

So, my fridge probably is running extra long and hard to keep out the extra heat. Makes sense, and that’s probably why my water sits on my counter as I type this – thawing out.

It is kind of cool to have ice crystals in your iced tea. But it isn’t cool to have a block of water you can’t drink until it defrosts.

Maybe I’ll just have to go against my environmental consciousness and run my air conditioning when I’m not home, to keep my water in a drinkable form.

Most people probably run their air conditioners, lights, and many other things when they aren’t home. It’s natural to be lazy, to not care about anything or anyone but yourself. We live in a society of “me’s” instead of a society of “we’s.”

That’s why we’ll all be sitting in the dark this summer – as the rolling blackout rolls through your neighborhood. Well, some of us will be – I’m setting up an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system for my vitals at home. I’ve already installed energy efficient light bulbs on most of my lights, and I’ve got power surge protectors on all outlets.

The next phase of my scheme is to get battery backups on all my lamps, phones, radios, televisions, computers, Internet and one on the fridge and another on the microwave. I’ve priced it out at about $2,000 to get everything properly backed up.

The battery pickups will provide me with light in the event of a blackout for between 20 to 24 hours, and I’ll have almost as long running off batteries on most of the other appliances. Meaning, I’ll be well on my way to securing my home, in the event of lengthy power outages.

The government warns we should be expecting more severe storms thanks to global warming. They are telling us we need to be able to survive for 72 hours, in the event of a natural disaster, because that’s the average length of time it takes to mobilize relief efforts for such things.

I’ll get there eventually. I’ll eventually have dual battery backups with solar charging panels to provide the 72 hours worth of power, plus the ability to recharge and run off batteries indefinitely. While one set of batteries is charging, the other set would be in use. So essentially, I could run forever off of this arrangement.

The solar panels won’t be in this year’s plan. I have to figure out exactly how to install those things without taking up too much window space outside. And there is the cost factor – a few grand a pop.

But I should be able to get one set of batteries in this year, and so I’ll be halfway there.

I guess the “me” world works after all, because while most will be in the dark – I’ll be watching TV in the light.

No comments:

Post a Comment