Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Okay, Great Joke, Now Stop With The Extreme Cold

     It's -11°F this morning. Nearly -24°C, if you prefer.  I'm not impressed.  Cold air pours out of the electrical socket where the fridge is plugged in, as though it had started to back up and send cold down the wires.

     Such is my dislike of the cold, my car has sat for two days and there's some question in my mind if it will start.

     So I'm going to try -- try! -- to get an early start myself.

     Later:  Nope.  Dead battery.  Messed with it for too long, then had to beg a ride to work from Tam.  Bought a replacement battery but cold and dark stymied me tonight after (eventually) getting the bracket out.  So, fun project tomorrow morning!  Oh, yay.


waepnedmann said...

Men are cowards.
We don't come right out and TELL a person what to do.
Thus the invention of the Cautionary Tale.
Such follows:
My brother-in-law, who lived in Alaska, headed out to work one frosty AM, and his car would not start due to the cold.
He built a fire under the oil pan and repared to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.
The garage was a total loss as was the car.
The local FD saved the house.
He had stuff like this happen on a semi-frequent basis.

Jerry said...

I learned a few things during 13 years in Minnesota.

Outlets? You have to insulate your outlets. Here's what they look like.

Starting a car in -40°F (-40°C) is as much art as science. There were a number of common modifications.

1. Put in the right weight oil.

2. Block heaters. You plug the car in overnight.

3. Battery heaters. Cold cranking amps (CCA) declines with temperature. Keep the battery warm to maintain CCAs.

4. Replace the battery with the maximum CCAs that will fit under the hood. I had a 1,200 CCA battery in a Honda Civic. I could almost drive to work on the starter.

Oh yes, don't work on the car in subzero conditions. Take it to a heated garage. I replaced an alternator in -20°F. Took the terminal nuts off, lifted the wiring harness away and watched the insulation flake off and fall to the snow.

Roberta X, remotely. said...

My battery was old. I have ordered a replacement and will pick it up tonight. Tam may let me use the garage to install it. Maybe.

Minion Beta said...

Methinks $WeatherDeity is finally getting annoyed at all the primates claiming that "Global Warming" is a Real Thing[tm] and is giving us the cold shoulder.

Or it could just be, y'know, weather.

Anonymous said...

While a thermal imager is great for detecting heat leaks, they are still expensive.

An alternative is a $20 IR thermometer and Freakishly Cold Weather. Aim it at various points on your walls, and insulation deficiencies become apparent.

Ya know, make lemonade and all that.

Samsam von Virginia.

Will said...

Don't even need "Freakishly Cold Weather". I was checking my bedroom walls with my Horror Fright IR Thermometer, and before sunrise, they are the same temps as the outside air. I think the walls were filled with that blow-in insulation when it was built, as the attic space has it. Stuff now looks like cotton candy that got sat on. Probably just a few inches of it left, mounded at the base of the studs in the walls. I wonder what it cost to have the walls drilled and re-filled?

Those foam outlet cover liners work well on outside walls.

Zendo Deb said...

I second the foam outlet covers https://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-King-Foam-Electrical-Outlet-and-Wall-Plate-Insulating-Kit-OS12H/100184290

Zendo Deb said...

Foam insulation is expensive, but so is having no insulation. Not sure if you can have non-foam insulation blown in after the fact.

Roberta X said...

House is not built in a way that would allow blown-in insulation. It was built with a big, hot coal furnace in the basement, and the walls are open at the basement end and have very tight slit vents into the attic (and originally to outside) at the top. Warm air was supposed to flow up them in winter.

Fridge wall is on a tiny stub extension. It's a cold wall -- almost entirely lined with cabinets and the fridge, a pretty good dead-air space.

I have lived in old houses most of my adult life. This one is pretty good as such things go.

Roberta X said...

"Take car to heated garage." Ha! For what that costs, I have heated garage take car, where they stick new battery in it, and overcharge me. Kids, lemme tellya, a woman can know all about cars and garages nearly always try to pull a fast one. I'm not always in a mood to deal with it.

Unknown said...

Ma'am, good luck with the battery. The one in my Impreza actually dead-shorted on me back last spring, luckily just before I pulled out on to the highway, and had to be replaced while the state trooper watched me try not to curse too much in public.

Not that it'd be of much use in this situation, but I have found those lithium ion jumper packs to be quite, quite useful. The aforementioned Subaru doesn't get driven as much as it should because I recently bought a ridiculous little pickup that's too much fun to leave at home, and the battery packs have cranked that boxer 4 every time I've let the main battery flatline. I also use them to run my astrophotography rig, when I have time to go someplace with actual dark skies.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. Garage door issues sidelined my normal vehicle. Fortunately, the 30-y/o one-ton out back started on the first try.

Will said...

Sounds like my grandfather's home. When we moved into it ~1965, it was converted to oil fired/water baseboard heat. The large grill in the dining room floor got paneled over. I don't recall what the wall construction looked like, other than plaster/lathe. The cellar got quite larger without the coal crib.

You know the trope about the cobbler's kids don't have shoes? My grandfather's business was installing and maintaining forced air heating systems. My dad gave me one of his diagnostic tools, a handbuilt setup to record when a heater started and stopped running. A clock with an attached dial that a solenoid actuated pencil would draw arcs on when power ran through the box. Might be a hundred years old. He may have also built his own mercury switches, as his home cellar workshop had a large stock of that.

Will said...

" Kids, lemme tellya, a woman can know all about cars and garages nearly always try to pull a fast one."

It just occurred to me that I never heard any of my sisters make that complaint, when they lived near where they grew up. Dad was known by everyone in the auto business, it seemed. Once, I spun the tires within sight of a service station. I heard about it at supper. Might have helped that the oldest girls occasionally drove his towtruck on errands when mom's car wasn't available.