Save money on heating in the winter?

Someone I knew once suggested an idea a few years ago that I’m going to post here for your comments. I’ve thought about the idea a bunch since then and I’m not convinced it will work but who knows, maybe one of your comments will stir something up…

As you know, your water supply comes into your house via a pipe carrying cold water. From there it’s distributed to your hot water heater and your boiler for your heat (assuming you have a gas heat system).

In the winter the water coming into your house is insanely cold and your boiler and hot water heater have to do a lot of work to get it to a useful temperature. My friends idea was to add a tank or bladder into the mix and put it between the cold water source coming in from outside and the heating systems. This way the cold water presumably would have a chance to come up to room temperature (or at least rise a bit in temperature) before it goes to be heated with the gas. This could make a big difference in the winter when it’s 60+ in your house and it’s 0 outside. Instead of a bladder you could convert right away to a flexible hose and just have a few hundred feet or so of it up in your ceiling.

To me, this seems like a good idea but I wonder a few things. First, how much temperature gain would you get? It would depend on how much time the water is sitting there not being used and also how well heat transfers into the tank/bladder/hose. Secondly, is it possible for the huge amount of near freezing cold water to actually lower the ambient temperature in your basement (where the tank/hose would be)? Thus making the heating system need to do more work?

Hard to tell w/o experiments.. What do you guys think?

It’s time to start discussing sterilization

I read a story on philly.com today that really was tragic and made me really sad. It was about a parent brutally beating his son. I urge you to read it and then come back here for my opinion on the matter.

Setting aside the fact that the store security should have alerted police to the abuse by the father, I want to take a second to talk about what I consider to be a big problem in our society today that nobody seems to discuss: There is a cycle here that needs to be broken and nothing we are doing is breaking the cycle.

I would wager a fair amount of money that the father was abused as a child and I would wager even more that the son will end up abusing his children (if he has any). In my travels around the city I see parents hitting children all the time for minor things. I’ve seen parents wheeling their children around in strollers while completely doped out on heroin. I’ve seen all kinds of things that seem so obvious to me are part of a cycle. I’m certain that these parents got this way by the way they were raised (or not raised). And I’m certain the children I see are going to end up repeating the same things again.

Could we fix this problem with better education? Perhaps there is a chance. Could we fix this problem with better mental health programs? Or better drug programs? Maybe all 3 of these things could help.

But I feel that we need to do some more drastic things. And they all involve sterilization. Before you start calling me Hitler, you have to agree that it makes some sense to sterilize obviously bad social people. Drug addicts, criminals (especially sexual abusers, animal abusers, murderers) and the like are obvious bad actors.

I’m not saying that the urge to be an abuser is genetic, I’m just saying that these people should not be allowed to be parents. If you don’t want to sterilize, then you take the babies away when they are born.

Yes, I know what you are thinking : How do we decide who is a bad actor and who is not? Where is the line drawn? How do we measure? And if we establish a line, how do we ensure it doesn’t move? I don’t know the answers to these questions but perhaps with discussion we as a society can start to answer them.

Another thought that came to me and I know it is a tragic one, but what about this child? Do we think he should be allowed to have children? What kind of a parent will he become after all the abuse he’s most likely suffered?

Lastly, look at the comments on the post. From those alone you can see that we are creating a society that is going in the wrong direction. The commentors who are saying “good job” to the father. Seriously?