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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome to the Shoulder Season

It's a beautiful 14C day in Halifax and we've been enjoying a steady stream of sunny days over the last two weeks. March has been unseasonably nice and today students are wandering campus in short sleeves and bare shoulders.

This is one of the two shoulder seasons for the heating year, a term I'm appropriating from the tourism business. Due to cloudy and deep cold, there isn't much opportunity for my pop can solar furnace to work during December to February. But in March and April, and again in October and November, there is the perfect combination of sunshine and mild temperatures. The last few evenings have been cold, sometimes dipping below zero. I haven't had to use electric heat or even start a fire because the solarium has been hot enough to warm the house to 22C or higher. The pic above is the temperature in the solarium (32C!) just after opening the door around 5pm. The heat drifts into the rest of the house, which, now insulated, holds the heat quite nicely for the entire evening. By bed time, I slide the door to the solarium closed to minimize any drafts and the process is ready for the next day. I expect to see some serious savings on my next power bill.

Of course, I will have to remove a few of the pop can solar furnace panels by the end of April. The room will simply too hot by then to be enjoyable and the heat won't be needed in the house at all. If only I could store it for the winter...

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