Joshua Myrvaagnes

pollinator
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since Mar 20, 2014
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kids trees urban
Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Recent posts by Joshua Myrvaagnes

Hey by the way if you do do this, please post a comment here to let folks know.  That gives it more momentum.
I'll check Craigslist now to see if people  have.

Thanks.

ote=Joshua Myrvaagnes]Dear Permies,

I never really took it that seriously when Paul talked about how natural gas can explode.  It's so easy to just wall out things in the news.  But there is something I believe I can do to help.  So I bought a copy of the plans from Ernie and Erica and posted the link for it on Craigslist in the Merrimack, MA listing.  (Just to be clear--one person can get the plans with that link, it's not free for everyone.)

For those who haven't heard, there was a major explosion yesterday, one killed and 12 hospitalized.  Over 30 explosions, if I'm recalling.  One gas main problem could cause such widespread destruction.  And as usual it was in the poorer community that this happened.

There is a safer and I believe cleaner alternative.  I've gone back and forth with the numbers, the particulates, etc., but even New Scientist, a fairly conservative source, said in 2017 we needed to strongly consider wood heat.  A wood pile could catch fire, but it will never explode.  And Paul is freaky right about things, I've found, so I take seriously the idea that rocket mass heaters are a solid way to go.

I don't know for a fact if Lawrence, MA allows you to build a Rocket Mass Heater currently, but there is no law against knowledge.  Laws can be changed if they can protect lives and serve the people.

Will you join me in purchasing a copy of the plans and donating it to people in Lawrence? 



https://permies.com/t/64029/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Plans-Annex



If you select "purchase as a gift" then you can post the link they give you up on a posting, and then that gives one copy to the first person who uses it.  It's $20 for the plans, and Ernie and Erica deserve the money.

Here's the craigslist area you can post in:

https://post.craigslist.org/k/VsrDp0m46BGHsftNOw287Q/LrPD7?s=edit&lang=en&cc=us   ;

(if that link doesn't work, this one is the area you want to post in--lawrence>for sale>free stuff"):

https://boston.craigslist.org/d/free-stuff/search/nwb/zip


(I also contacted a non-profit that had the courage to state the obvious, that having potentially lethal explosive gas in pipes in all our houses is not a safe idea--Cambridge Energy Efficiency something--to see if they would collect donations, I'm doubtful they're really set up for that.)

Many of you know that Ernie has his famous leg problem.  I only learned after podcast xx how he got it--diving in front of an oncoming vehicle to save someone's life. 

You all inspire me to be a better person.

In community,



Joshua
3 days ago
Dear Permies,

I never really took it that seriously when Paul talked about how natural gas can explode.  It's so easy to just wall out things in the news.  But there is something I believe I can do to help.  So I bought a copy of the plans from Ernie and Erica and posted the link for it on Craigslist in the Merrimack, MA listing.  (Just to be clear--one person can get the plans with that link, it's not free for everyone.)

For those who haven't heard, there was a major explosion yesterday, one killed and 12 hospitalized.  Over 30 explosions, if I'm recalling.  One gas main problem could cause such widespread destruction.  And as usual it was in the poorer community that this happened.

There is a safer and I believe cleaner alternative.  I've gone back and forth with the numbers, the particulates, etc., but even New Scientist, a fairly conservative source, said in 2017 we needed to strongly consider wood heat.  A wood pile could catch fire, but it will never explode.  And Paul is freaky right about things, I've found, so I take seriously the idea that rocket mass heaters are a solid way to go.

I don't know for a fact if Lawrence, MA allows you to build a Rocket Mass Heater currently, but there is no law against knowledge.  Laws can be changed if they can protect lives and serve the people.

Will you join me in purchasing a copy of the plans and donating it to people in Lawrence? 



https://permies.com/t/64029/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Plans-Annex



If you select "purchase as a gift" then you can post the link they give you up on a posting, and then that gives one copy to the first person who uses it.  It's $20 for the plans, and Ernie and Erica deserve the money.

Here's the craigslist area you can post in:

https://post.craigslist.org/k/VsrDp0m46BGHsftNOw287Q/LrPD7?s=edit&lang=en&cc=us   ;

(if that link doesn't work, this one is the area you want to post in--lawrence>for sale>free stuff"):

https://boston.craigslist.org/d/free-stuff/search/nwb/zip


(I also contacted a non-profit that had the courage to state the obvious, that having potentially lethal explosive gas in pipes in all our houses is not a safe idea--Cambridge Energy Efficiency something--to see if they would collect donations, I'm doubtful they're really set up for that.)

Many of you know that Ernie has his famous leg problem.  I only learned after podcast xx how he got it--diving in front of an oncoming vehicle to save someone's life. 

You all inspire me to be a better person.

In community,



Joshua
3 days ago
Cliff Missen, WellSpring Africa, has open source plans for digging a well with percussion drilling.  I searched and didn't find "Cliff Missen" anywhere on permies.com, so just in case people don't know about it, here's the link:

http://www.wellspringafrica.org/

Cost: about $300 for all the parts.  (in fact, the organization will sell you the "tricky bits" for $300 plus shipping, and you can weld them yourself)

My experience with this:

I dug about 2 feet deep through laterite.

Why that's important:

--I didn't get a chance to dig in the real hole spot, so this was just for testing.  Lots of people showed up to help (kids--wanting only a little pito beer for their labor, and basically really happy, joyous people to work with.)  It is easier with lots of people.  Neighbors.  Meetups.  I understand that in AMerica, kids do not simply appear to help when there is work to be done, but beer works well in places other than West Africa!

--The big gas-powered drill rig failed.  It was a donated thing, kept breaking, got its drill head stuck in teh borehole eventually.  This will never happen with the hand-powered thing unless you ALL got interrupted by an emergency in the middle of bailing out the muck and didn't have time to pull the bailer or the bit out.

So, overall score, it was handpowered 2, gas-powered negative 15.

It can go through rocks, even bedrock (really slowly, but you'll get there eventually).  It's the kind of project you can just leave set up for people to come and work at for a few minutes here and there when they have time, though it's much easier with at least 5 or so people pulling the rope.

The quick version--you have a rope and pulley, with a bit that's heavy you drop down, pull the rope to raise, drop it, pull the rope to raise, drop it, repeat.  Then after a while you pull the bit out and untie it, pour water in to make a slurry, tie a bailer to the rope, drop that down in and bail out the slurry.  The bailer has a simple hinge valve at the bottom.  When you're done bailing, you untie the bailer and put the bit back on and go back to step 1. 

With 5 or more people (my guesstimate) it's easy as pie to pull the rope, and you get in a rhythm with it.  Then you can dance and get funky.  Or meditative.  Or just work on your abs.

They should start gyms in far-flung places like Missoula, Montana, where people can come pay a monthly membership for the privilege of getting a full-body workout (after being blindfolded and driven somewhere in a van, of course... ).



Destiny Hagest wrote:So glad to hear of the success with this project - it's a ray of hope for those of us that have seen the price quotes for having a well drilled by a company before 

reviews of the 300w heat lamp: the fuse blew, but the heating element kept working.  short version: you could just replace with a better fuse and have it continue to work...or a circuit breaker.

When looking for loose connections somewhere, I discovered a small in-line fuse under a wire covering that is not visible unless the covering is removed. This was the problem, with mine anyway and probably with others as well. It is a small in-line 10amp fuse that blows once, and then it's done. At 110 volts or so, a 10 amp fuse should allow a bit more than 3000 watts to pass through it without blowing. This little heater is supposed to be around 300 watts... ten times less than the fuse blow-out point. It blew out anyway. I suspect a batch of bad in-line fuses has been installed on an assembly line in China and inadequate quality control has been the problem leading to many returns and unhappy people. Replacing this fuse with a Radio Shack available replaceable in-line fuse has thus far fixed my problem heater. It's working fine again now. I might get another if the ni-chrome element hangs in there. Time will tell. Optimus needs to invest a little in better components and QC... then this will will be a real winner.



Cactus Bob2 years ago

The fuse that you had fail was a combo fuse that fails from over temp or over amp .
Most likely yours went open due to over temp. almost all do.
just make sure it's clear in front of the heater and the reflector is dust free .
I have had a few of these fail and all where due to the reflector getting dusty and not reflecting the heat , allowing it to back up into the small compartment where the fuse is .
the heating element never fails and i have one i use heavy for the last 6 years. it just goes and goes.
6 days ago
Anyone have a low-budget replacement for light bulb that's less bright?  "heat lamps" from the reptile store are about $4 per bulb, I'd like to get at least 3 bulbs for that price.  And it looks like those reptile bulbs are just incandescent lightbulbs anyway.   I just don't want there to be a bright light in someone's eye from the lamp shining in their face.

Is there an advantage to using an incandescent lightbulb over using a small bit of resistance wire in a coil in open air? what is the resistance value of a lightbulb??

I'm also going to look into the heat pads that Paul linked earlier, but we have a wire tripping hazard problem to consider.

6 days ago
That's awesome!!  Very hope-inspiring.  Thanks for sharing specific numbers.

So I'm gathering its 3x14kg propane per year.  If that's different bc "liquefied" then it's more, but I see 3kg co2 per kg propane, so 106kg about 200-250 lbs.  An eighth of a ton.  Nice job!

Air travel is a huge co2 producer.  At least some renewables (biofuels) are bringing things closer to balancing the books soon, I've read, but that's a tough one.

I want to live in an intentional community in large part because I want to be able to live my values--youre way ahead of even Dancing Rabbit's covenants.

Rebecca Norman wrote:As long as we're comparing ourselves to "other Americans," I'm an American and my daily life uses very very little energy.

My house is passive solar heated, with a seasonally attached greenhouse that gives me green vegetables all winter, too. For 20+ years my only back-up has been a hot water bottle kept on my feet in bed, heated on the gas stove.

In my new house I installed 400 W of floor heating cable in the living room, which I might use as a temporary bedroom if the upstairs bedrooms get too cold in January, but I think it might not be needed, because my new house has better insulation and weatherproofing that my room at the school did.

The hot water in my new house is a simple thing on the roof, evacuated wall glass tubes with an insulated tank attached, a popular model here. It gives me scalding hot water, even in the morning or on a cloudy day. I'm in the high desert so I've got the ideal solar situation. It came with a backup electric element which I haven't plugged in yet, but I haven't spent a winter with it yet.

I cook on "liquified petroleum gas" using 2 or 3 14 kg tanks per year, so that's not much at all.

My car is a compact Japanese car, but I drive it very little, probably 200 - 300 km per month.

Now that I'm living in a separate house from the school where I lived for years, I have a fridge, so that's a solid usage. The power goes out for hours or days at a time frequently.

I lift water with a 6 hp pump, about 15 minutes every two days in summer, less often in winter.

My lights are all LEDs, so lights, phone and computer are minimal loads.

My grid supply (such as it is!) is from a fairly benign hydro dam in our region, that didn't submerge any habitations or even any significant habitat. At the school our electricity is off-grid solar, so I didn't have a fridge when I lived there, and the water there is lifted by solar panels and an electric pump.

My biggest energy use is probably international air travel, once or twice per year. Phooey! Probably dwarfs all the rest of it combined.

1 week ago

Jeff Sullivan wrote:If you're dealing with radiators and very few heat zones, you might want to look into thermostatic valves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermostatic_radiator_valve

They operate on each individual radiator, essentially giving you more heat zones without having to replumb the house.



Thanks, we have individual valves on the radiators, the big knob and a mini-knob.  I'll look into the link you sent tomorrow, gotta go to bed now.
1 week ago
Mass average:

3164 kwh
723 therms
                     x 29 kwh/therm =
20967 kwh
—————————
Mass average:  about 24000 kwh  (for household)



My house’s total, approx:   10x365x29 = 105,850
We have a problem. 
We just had our furnace fixed a year or two ago too.  My landlord gets some kind of subsidy for fuel too, so the money doesn’t reflect the actual cost.
Well, looking at the numbers again, it’s more like 16+2/2 + 12+2/2 + 11+2/2 + 6.5…. about 7.
That’s 7x365x29=74,000kwh .  3 times the Mass. average. 
I don’t think comparing with the Jones’s really matters anyway, even if we were at 10% of the Mass. average it might still be too high…what it should equal to is a reasonable amount of share of the whole planet’s pie.  I don’t know what that would be at the moment, but I’m sure 74 megawatts is way above it.

I am going to bring this up at the next house meeting.  I don't know what we can realistically do about it. 
Even 2 therms/a day (summer levels) seems exorbitant.        
I feel sad.

I really wish it were legal and insurable to have a rocket mass heater where we live.
1 week ago

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Thanks!

Well, my natural gas usage is much worse.  I've decided to turn my heat all the way down in my room again this year and borrow the massage chair butt warmer, if that's OK with my housemates.

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but as I recall it was 2 therms a day for the house (5 people) in summer, and up to 16 a day peak in winter.  I'm gonna make a really rough average of 10 therms a day, times 365 days/5 people is about 700 therms, x 29 kWh/therm = 20,300 kWh. 



So, about 2 therms a day of our house of 5 goes to cooking and the gas dryer, and about 14 in the coldest days is going to heating.

I really want to change this.  I live with an elderly person, so there's hesitancy.  But we all do care about sustainability.  A rocket mass heater would be waaaay illegal...but maybe we could at least turn the heat off in rooms where no one is?  or come up with some other solutions?

I want to look up the data for the year I turned my radiator all the way off and see what impact that made on our gas bill.

It's weird, when I looked up data for electric appliances, I think an electric furnace was 20kw, so 24 kWh/day wouldn't be much higher than what we've been doing...and I doubt that the electric is running constantly at full wattage. 
1 week ago

Jeff Sullivan wrote:We're also in the Northeast and use natural gas for cooking and heating, so when I'm looking at our energy picture, I convert those therms in kwh and add it together with the electricity. Since so much of the US uses electric for heating, I think leaving that out biases your estimates if you're looking at a truly nationwide average.

Our household of seven uses 4,000 to 7,000 kwh of gas + electric per year, but the mix varies a lot over the year. This summer, with two window A/C units running as needed, sometimes our energy was > 50% electric, while in winter months it can hit 98% natural gas.



I think I follow what you're saying, the average is based on people who heat with electricity plus people who heat with gas. 

Is there any national average of sum usage of electricity and gas combined?
1 week ago