Saturday, January 8 2005
Gretchen went down to the city today to celebrate her January birthday with her two closest women friends, who both have their birthdays in January also. Meanwhile I made use of my "alone time" in the usual way, watching home improvement teevee and drinking gin and tonics tempered with pseudoephedrine. I also got started on a project that will add a heated bottom shelf to a bookshelf I'm building beside the chimney in the teevee room. This heated shelf will consist of a single large slab of bluestone and will be intended as a wintertime napping place for cats. The heating of the slab will be achieved by some additional plumbing in one of the zones of the household hydronic system.
This evening, after a trip to Lowes, I built the heating system's additional plumbing as a single unit to be attached later. It's a heavy assemblage of copper
consisting of two parallel thirty inch copper pipes, each a full inch in diameter. These fork from the three quarter inch hydronic supply and then reunite two and a half feet later to resume the hydronic system's usual three quarter inch diameter identity. When hot water flows through these new parallel pipes, it will tend to slow down and linger, storing and radiating heat into a large thermal mass (the piece of bluestone).
This system is admittedly a rather elaborate undertaking for such modest anticipated results, but more than anything it's a test of the feasibility of thermal-mass additions to a hydronic loop. Ultimately, I may want to build some sort of small foot warming system under my desk in the laboratory. Targeting heat there would allow me to run the laboratory's thermostat at a much lower setting.
When Gretchen left for the city today, she took Pitunia back to the shelter so she could receive visitors and perhaps find a someone wishing to adopt her. We were sad to lose her, but our efforts to set her up with someone we knew appeared to have failed after a week of fostering her. During her stay with us, she'd been a fairly good dog, especially considering her age. She did destroy an issue of The New Yorker and two books, but both of those were books that Gretchen had planned to get rid of anyway.
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