Sunday, November 15, 2009

Going Solar

Over the last few weeks, there has been a bit of home renovation/repairs/improvements and minor disasters here at chez Annie, aka world headquarters of Smoky Mountain Fibers.  The most interesting piece has been the installation of a solar water heating system.  Once the new roof was on (and the roof infrastructure was brought up to code), Sundance Power installed 2 solar panels on my roof facing in just the right direction.  In the mean time, a big honking water heater was installed next to my regular electric hot water (aka Old Faithful) and pipes containing glycol (basically antifreeze aka solar juice) threading from the basement to the attic and back again. 

So when the sun heats the panels to a certain level, the pump begins to circulate the solar juice in the solar water heater.  When it get hot enough, it starts circulating hot water over to Old Faithful which then provides hot water to my house.  If there is enough sun, the element in Old Faithful won't kick on and I'll use solar hot water.  If Mr. Sun hides for a few days, I'll just use vintage hot water.

The funny part was that we fired up the system as tropical storm Ida was dumping a couple inches of rain in our region.  So we not only had ZERO sun for about 4 days and actual rain water oozing into the basement.  Chilly, non-solar heater totally natural water.  The kind you sweep into the floor drain with the big, wide broom.

But then on Thursday morning I was sitting in my office computing away when I realized that the sun was out.  My first thought was, Hey, we're making hot water!  I checked the readouts when I got home and saw that, yes, even in the early evening, the system is up and working. Yestredays warm temps were even more exciting!  Because of unrelated plumbing issues, I haven't spent every sunny moment doing laundry and dyeing fiber.  But that will soon be all better.

Annoying knitting content: Having finished the sleeves, I cast on the body stitches for the Knit Picks Classic Lines Cardi last evening as my trip knitting.  I knitted from Asheville to Charlotte, in the Charlotte airport and as we were preparing for decent into the DC area, I admired my inch and a half or so of fine work.  Every knitter can tell what comes next: there was a twist!  The kind that doesn't come out.  Sadly, out it came.  I have cast on again and am about to check the cast on edge. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Mulchandmore said...

Ouch, I hear your pain on ripping the twist out-I hate mistakes that can't be fixed without undoing:)
Your solar energy looks interesting, here part of the year would have to be spent sweeping snow off, I think wind power would work better....