When you have more, you spend more.

It’s an iron law.

Three months ago I doubled the Lair’s battery capacity – tripled it, really, though two of the six batteries aren’t connected to the inverter – and so now I can run more electrical appliances if I want to.

And after the now-fading heat wave we all just suffered with, I wanted to. A neighbor was getting rid of an old ceiling fan that had seen better days cosmetically but still worked fine, and I snapped it up.

An hour’s ladder work and a newly-wrenched shoulder later, the Lair sports a ceiling fan nearly as big as its visible ceiling, capable at full speed of sucking the cooking pans off the kitchen wall. The blades just barely clear the top of the bathroom wall (they laughed at me for insisting on partial walls) and actually would tangle in the Gadsden flags until I pinned down the bottom hems of the flags.

I put that socket up there from the beginning, knowing all along that at some point I’d at least try to fit a fan into the cabin. But the power system started so laughably and improved so gradually that saving electricity became part of the lifestyle. I needed a waiver from my inner Lightswitch Nazi before I could go ahead and do the thing – but it does work.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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14 Responses to When you have more, you spend more.

  1. Claire says:

    Good for you, Joel. Both for snagging that fan and overcoming your inner lightswitch Nazi. Keep us posted bout how the Lair’s power system handles the new load.

    We hit 97 degrees here in the coastal PNW yesterday and I blessed my ugly ceiling fan. I nearly tore it out shortly after I bought this place. Because ugly. And because unlike you I don’t have high ceilings. Have since had many days of being glad I kept that thing. With your high ceilings and higher temperatures, even better than you have a fan.

  2. Tennessee Budd says:

    Fans are wonderful items. When I was a kid, Dad installed a whole-house fan in the hall ceiling. That thing would straighten out every curtain in the house! That was fine in spring & fall, but in the TN summer, Dad was gonna run the A/C, period.
    I’d put a similar fan in this place, but the damned power panel is full from the addition the folks built on (1/3 again the volume of the original house, with all the attendant wiring).
    The inner lightswitch Nazi is actually good to have around, to keep us from going overboard. Just have to occasionally tell him to sit on his pickelhaube & spin.

  3. coloradohermit says:

    We had a ceiling fan above our bed at the off grid house. I put a timer switch on it so it just ran an hour when we first got in bed on those rare hot nights. My light Nazi accepted that compromise.

  4. Judy says:

    I like the timer switch idea of Coloradohermit’s. Here’s another idea if you have the wiring and light switch, install an extra light switch handy to the sleeping loft for turning it off-n-on from the relative safety of the loft in the middle of the night.

  5. Joel says:

    CH, that’s a darned good idea. I just figured I’d shut it off when I go up to the loft – on the other hand I’m planning to repurpose the sleeping loft entirely, and the bedroom will be a small space with windows on all sides, so probably it won’t matter.

  6. Ben says:

    The loft will become a storage space?

  7. Claire says:

    “small space with windows on all sides”

    Not quite picturing how you’re going to manage that. Even windows on three sides seem difficult to work out if you’re going to have as much closet space as I’m picturing.

    So. When are you going to show us your plan drawing?

  8. JayNola says:

    What’s the draw? Or did you just go for broke?
    5 amp @ medium after it’s steady state?

  9. Joel says:

    Claire, The plan drawing I posted is out of date now, of course. Suppose I should draw a new one.

    But picture that, with the window on the long side lined up with the entrance door. The exit door has moved to the cabin rear, in line with the entrance to the closet. The closet wall has moved toward the center, so the closet is 6X8 and the bedroom is 10X8. There are windows on all three sides, and the closet wall is only partial, not going all the way to the ceiling. It’ll also be vented at the bottom in some way TBD.

    It’s on the windward side of the cabin so it should be a small but airy space, which can be closed up tight in winter.

  10. Joel says:

    Jay, I’ve no idea what the amp draw is. I have a Kill-O-Watt, which lets me measure the draw from plug-in appliances, but I don’t have a clamp multimeter.

    It doesn’t draw much after it gets up to speed, but I don’t know how much “not much” is. Like any electric motor I wouldn’t be comfortable leaving it on all night though I doubt it would actually kill the system.

  11. Ben says:

    Joel, why your closet design will give you great ventilation, it will almost double the winter heating fuel consumption because you will be heating a larger volume.

  12. Joel says:

    Ben, on the contrary! The main purpose of the window in the closet is not ventilation in summer (though that too) but solar gain in winter. When I replaced the small vents in the Lair’s bathroom with a big picture window, I learned that I’d been throwing away a great heat source. The winter sun beats through that window enough to heat the whole Lair, but the summer sun passes over the roof and the bigger window isn’t obnoxious.

  13. Ben says:

    OK heat gain is a great thing, but at night when you are running your furnace your expensive heat will spill over that partial wall where it will only serve to keep your clothes toasty.

  14. jon spencer says:

    And in the winter that fan will move the heat from near the ceiling to where it should make you more comfortable.

To the stake with the heretic!