Archive for the 'heating' Category

Measuring inflation

September 30, 2013

I get frustrated when I hear about how little inflation there is;  measured how, I want to ask.

One of the ways I see the cost of living increasing is the replacing of a higher quality item with one that doesn’t function as well.  The sticker price may stay the same or even go down, but the value isn’t the same.  Is that measured by indices of inflation?  It’s not just about enjoying a better quality immediately, it’s also about the longevity of the item.  As I understand it, chained CPI as a measure of inflation actually does the opposite, assuming cheaper substitutions are adequate and don’t create measurable loss.  I think it’s an underhanded way to avoid coming to grips with the impact of inflation without seeming to do so.

This morning I was thinking about the quality factor, though.

I have my thermostats turned down, because, like many around where I live, we just don’t want the heat to turn on until we are deeper into the autumn season.  Temperatures warm up outside during the day, so some chill at night and in the early morning doesn’t seem so bad.

But I don’t like being cold either.  I find a thick wool sweater is a big help.  They have gotten expensive.  Many sweaters for sale are now blends, often including synthetics, and I don’t find them as warm or as helpful in maintaining my physical comfort — I can become both sweaty and cold wearing them.

When I went to Town Day last weekend, I bought a big heavy wool sweater for $35.00.  I put it on this morning and went, “Yes!  This is what works!”  It’s warm, but it breathes.

But it makes me wonder whether one has to head back to some sort of more rudimentary economy than our mainstream one in order to maintain this sort of way of life.  Because I bought my sweater from a small vendor.  In cash.  No shipping, no bricks and mortar store, no advertizing, no separate sales tax (I have no idea whether such vendors pay it to the state nonetheless).

I don’t have the time to buy all my things this way, it’s not a very efficient way to acquire what one needs.  That cost in time and energy is not measured by economic indices, either, I don’t think.  But these are the realities.

Anyway, the sweater also amuses me because it is a little too loud and a little too big, but it does have a zipper and pockets, too.  It’s grey, but with burgundy, red, greens, and white in a pattern at the yoke and at the cuffs.  Kind of like a Norwegian sweater.  The pattern involves zig-zag stripes and fleur-di-lis.  And it was a one-size-fits-all deal.  Which will actually come in handy in the winter, when even with the heat on, I need to wear layers to keep warm — this will fit over them all.

It’s a nice way to beat the cold and inflation.

Interference

April 26, 2013

I was mildly curious to hear about the claim that the Boston Marathon bombers had planned to bomb Times Square subsequently.  I had seen some headlines, hadn’t read much, and thought I’d catch it on the evening news.

I turned on the PBS NewsHour at six p.m., and just as it was getting started, Gita telephoned.  By the time we were done, it was almost 6:30, so I figured I’d try the network evening news casts, I tune into one, and then my furnace decides to kick on (it heats the hot water, as well as providing room heat).  This is a process that can take a long time as we near the time for the furnace’s annual tune-up.  While the furnace is in that ignition process, it apparently draws enough electricity to interfere with something in the process through which I get my television signal.   (I have a funky electrical system, which I don’t think is unusual for an old house, and the lights dim a bit too during the furnace ignition process.)   So again, no news for me on this lead story.

Maybe I don’t need to hear this news?

Degree days

November 9, 2011

If turning back thermostats is such an energy-saver, why isn’t whether or not one does, and if so, by how much, part of the oil company’s algorithm for determining with their computer program when to schedule the next oil delivery?