Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Continuing to Insulate the Cabin

Things are continuing to tick along here in the middle of winter at the homestead.
We have been treated to a return to the colder weather.  Yesterday we woke up to almost 31 below (grandpa's thermometer read 34).  This morning I am up early, and reading the outdoor thermometer I see it is 27.6 below, and sure to drop before the sun rises.

One silver lining to these temperatures is that they usually go lock step with clear skies.  That's nice for generating solar power.  Of course, it also means that the batteries are very cold, and don't hold much charge.  If it isn't one thing, it's another...
Mind you, yesterday the batteries spent over three hours in absorption, and yet we still pumped water and did laundry. Yes, we officially had at least one day in February where we could get water from the well to the sauna!  Joy of joys - I only had to schlep buckets from the sauna to the cabin, not from the neighbours like last year.
I did have to pour a stock pot of hot water into the well to precipitate this event, but I'm still happy to do that.  Again, this summer, a second well nearer that cabin may be in the cards, budget permitting.

Hang on a second while I pour myself a cup of tea - twenty minutes ago when I first got up, it was 16.8 degrees in here, now it has risen to 17.1 after throwing on a few logs and opening the stove vents.
Sorry for all the temperature heavy statistics right off the bat.  If you were here to see me in my track suit with our "butter blanket" (so named by my sister and a very well received Christmas gift) draped over me like a toga, you'd understand.  Perhaps you'd snuggle under our second blanket on the Chesterfield, grab your own huge, steaming mug of tea and enjoy listening to the soundtrack from "O Brother, Where Are Thou?" by lantern light.

So, getting back to the title of this post - I have been plugging away at continuing the insulation project here indoors.  I have managed to finish the last of the walls that I intend to actually insulate.

Of course, there was some disruption in proper television viewing while the main floor was being addressed.









I did both loft rooms upstairs, and then returned to the main floor to do the pantry.

The pantry we have reorganized somewhat, which is remarkable considering how small it is and how everything fit just so the first time around.
Initially we had the refrigerator against the bedroom wall where the outlet was conveniently located, with the shelves against the bathroom wall side of the room.  Donna began to point out that having the buzz of the inverter on one side and the intermittent hum of the fridge on the other was not conducive to her having a restful sleep.
So, with a short utility cord in hand, we switched the two items around.  This worked remarkably well.  There was slightly more room between the wall and door on the bedroom side, so the shelves aren't quite so tight to the door opening.  There isn't an issue with the fridge being on one side or the other, and the small window is still easily accessible if we want to open or shut it as the season dictates.

It was reassuring to continue to find cold draughts as I worked my way across all these walls.  I would caulk or chink them shut, and then put up solid core foam over top.  This HAD to be improving things dramatically, didn't it?
Of course, this optimism was tempered by the cabin still coming up rather chilly many mornings in spite of us going to bed with quite comfortable nighttime indoor temperatures.

Well, there is still the east wall to complete, which will only receive a vapour barrier and then pine paneling.  Why no insulation you ask?  It was not designed with the inkling of insulation ever being in the cards, and so I made the fireplace clearances exactly enough for just a panel and nothing else.
I like to convince myself that even the air barrier and paneling will make a large difference - and I should point out that this is the south east exposure, so it does receive a fair bit of sunlight on its own.
I'm sure you'll find out after the paneling goes on over there how it ultimately works out.
The finished wall with the shelves and contents replaced.

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