January 23rd, 2013

It is…

…bloody cold in New England today.

I knew it before I even glanced at the weather report. How did I know? Well, it got quite warm in my place. When it gets really really cold outside, even though I keep the thermostat at the same level as always, the heat seems to crank up more to compensate.

Why is this, oh ye engineer types?

13 Responses to “It is…”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    “How cold is it?”

    “So cold that bird farts fall out of the sky like snowflakes.”

  2. Paul A'Barge Says:

    Why is this, oh ye engineer types?


    Why does the heat come on and stay on when it gets really cold outside, even though I don’t change the thermostat?

    In related news … why does crime go down when the incarceration of criminals increases?

  3. Kentucky Packrat Says:

    Why is this, oh ye engineer types?

    If you have a heat pump, it’s simple. The heat pump gives up trying to air condition the outside, and your thermostat switches on the electrical coils (or possibly the gas burner). The real heat kicks in. Of course, your meter also tries to turn itself to butter from spinning so fast, but that’s another story….

    Heat pump “heat” is the coldest heat I’ve ever felt. That said, I have refused to switch furnace types twice now, because the heat pump is still cheaper than gas heat, where I’m on city electric.

  4. John Says:

    There are a number of things which can cause it, but here’s a guy explaining the most common one:

    Basically your thermostat is actually outdoors…


    I’m not an expert but I seen the problem a lot in different situations. A small apartment building I know with an old clunky out door thermostat will become extremely overheated on a cold clear winter day. You can drive by and see the tenants all have the windows open even though it is ten degrees outside… I think thermal “momentum” has a lot to do with it too. The weather where I live changes very quickly and many of the buildings are heavy masonry construction. An unheated building will lag the outdoor temperature by a day or two. Add an out door thermostat to that and it is very easy to over heat the building.


  5. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Unless you are living in an extremely well insulated house, heat is more rapidly being lost when it’s much colder outside. If your thermostat is in a location that senses that, it will keep the furnace running longer and some areas of the house will get warmer than normal. At least that’s my guess.

  6. oldflyer Says:

    This is our first winter in SOCAL and it is very weird. A week or so ago the night time temps were in the low 30s and the TV chatterers thought the next ice age was upon us. Yesterday the high was around 80. Very confusing.

    I keep an eye on the Northern Va temps. Looks like a pretty mild winter in the mid-Atlantic. I am sure the AGW crowd will jump on that and ignore the areas of the world that are experiencing record cold.

    Agree on the heat pump heat. It was seldom comfortable. That is one advantage to SoCal; gas is warm and cheap. That advantage is offset by Gov. Moonbeam Brown and his greedy little fingers, allied with all of the other confiscatory Trolls in the Legislature.

  7. holmes Says:

    It’s really warm here. I’m wearing short sleeves. 🙂

    And totally off topic, a lot of blue state liberals keep pointing out how much federal money goes to red states. I keep asking them where the money is going? In all likelihood, whatever data they’re citing, is reflecting the fact that most retirees go south and we spend more on social security and medicare than any other programs. And yet they bring it up like they resent it; as if they are personally paying more than I am for these people. I hate liberals sometimes.

  8. holmes Says:

    Oh, related because those retirees go South to escape the cold.

  9. physicsguy Says:

    Ok, you asked for it. 🙂 the energy “flow” is dependent on the temperature differential, or as we like to call it, the “delta T”. The greater the delta T, the quicker energy moves from the warmer region to the colder region. Right now the delta T at my house here in New England is about 60 degrees F. The higher you keep the inside of the house the more the energy flows through the walls, windows etc. to the outside and the more your heating unit has to resupply the interior of the house. Solution: sweaters, down comforters, and lower the thermostat. Sucks to live in New England.

    My daughter returns to college in Florida on Saturday and is very happy to leave. At least we have parents weekend to look forward to in the third week of February when we get to visit her there.

  10. RigelDog Says:

    Funny, I was just noticing the exact same temperature mystery. I have a 25 year old wood-frame and siding house, with a gas furnace and forced hot air. The thermostat is located in the dining room, which is not drafty.
    I keep the thermostat at about 68 degrees during the day, and lower while sleeping. Anyway it’s frickin’ freezing here in Penna. now, Mr. Bigglesworth, and my furnace is not just kicking on more often, but it’s keeping the temperature at about 73, despite the thermostat staying at its 67-68 setting.

  11. Sergey Says:

    Yes, this must be the placement of the temperature sensor. If it “sees” a window, for example, it will be affected by radiation temperature of outside landscape. This is the same problem that makes temperature measurments used in climate studies so unreliable: inadequate placement of weather station can drastically skew the results.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    sergey: in my case, the thermostat is nowhere near a window or any other source of draft. It’s odd.

  13. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    ” sergey: in my case, the thermostat is nowhere near a window or any other source of draft. It’s odd. ”

    OK, … mmm, … maybe it’s cold BEHIND the wall where the thermostat is located. So your furnace is cranking out hot air; the air circulating in the rooms can’t get to the cold voids behind the walls; and the thermostat says “I’m still cold, I WANT MORE HEAT.”


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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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