The $1000 radiator bill

The heat is on
The heat is on

I recently installed ducting to all the bedrooms, putting the air intake near the woodheater flue.

It was an easy job, assembled using an eBay kit and a few extra parts, with the wiring left for the pros.

I had them install a cheap bar-style radiator on the wall under the air intake for when I had no firewood, or for when a really cold blast hits.

The radiator was doing a great job on its own so I left it on for much of the time over slightly more than month.

Then the quarterly power bill came in – $1000 above normal!

I can’t say the increase was solely from the radiator, as I used the wall panels a little more than usual, but I suspect it was the bulk of the cost.

The scary thing is that my radiator is wired into the heat tariff circuit, which is less than a quarter of the cost of the standard power.

The unit came with a standard 240v plug, which means most people would just connect it to the expensive standard tariff.

I know – radiators use a lot of juice and I should have done the maths first yada yada – but it was still a shock.

I think of folk on pensions who buy a similar radiator and plug it into their wall socket in winter, and are then hit with the bill. Ouch.

Any doubt about firewood providing cheaper heating has been dispelled, even after the cost of chainsaws, chains, oil, petrol and time.

I’ll continue cutting my own firewood as it is the cheapest way to go.

Heat pumps are of course best for electrical efficiency, but there is a big spend required up front.

Lastly, under the current tariffs my 5.5kw solar system is near useless, just $150 off the bill. I don’t know why people would bother with new systems now in Tassie, although the return is better during the long summer days.

I am considering building a small wind turbine to power the radiator.

If only we could tap into all the hot air coming out of politics these days.

Observations from a Huon farm

Rain anomalies for the two months before September
Rain anomalies for the two months before September

This winter rain has finally put water back into the soil of our farm after two very dry years.

I dug a post hole last week and the soil was wet to the bottom.

Our top dam, which dried out last summer for the first time in our 10 years here, is now full.

It has been a great time to dig trenches for water pipes, as the soil is soft and workable instead of rock hard.

What does the Weather Bureau data say about the winter rain?

Surprisingly, the anomaly map shows that the past two months of rain in the Huon region was below average.

It also shows that the severe dry trend on the once sodden West Coast continues.

I am chuffed that it has rained, as all the tanks are full.

There has been a lot of life in the forest too, when it warms up the birds are singing and there is a real evening chorus.

Other nights it is dead quiet.

The snow that falls during cold fronts doesn’t seem to last long on the Snowy Range these days, but maybe that is just me worrying about global warming.

Or maybe it is because of global warming.

A La Nina weather pattern is developing as I write this.

La Nina tends to bring flood rather than fire to Australia.

The Top End has had two terrible rainfall years and barramundi fishing has been hit hard.

La Nina tends to bring a good wet season to the north.

It remains to be seen what it brings southern Tasmania, but hopefully it will be a wet, fire-free summer.

Meanwhile, I filmed two big devils on our nightcam, and both were free of the facial cancer.

One of them was huge, being about the same rough size as the grown Bennetts wallaby carcass it stood by.

I also filmed a couple of small ginger quolls and an eastern bandicoot.

The big black quolls don’t seem to be around here as they once were.

There are many wallabies and possums, and wombat poo everywhere.

There’s a lot of life here, we are lucky to live in this paradise.

Winter and spring is a good time here.

Tasmanian Life