Saving Electricity: Hot Water Bottle Economics.

It seems that you either grow up in a hot-water bottle family, or you don’t. Mine wasn’t a hot-water bottle family and so I never used them. Not that I have anything in particular against them, it would just never occur to me. Janneke, on the other hand, is from a family of notable bottle-philes that approach any signs of cold weather armed with several heated hot-water bottles. In spite of this influence on me old habits die hard; I shunned the bottle. Until recently.

A couple of months ago I fell prey to a fairly nasty case of the ‘flu. In this weakened state, the magical abilities of comforting aches and shakes presented by the hot-water bottle that Janneke offered me proved irresistible. So much so that she gifted me a brand new hot-water bottle I could call my own.

Once I had recovered from the ‘flu the bottle found a resting place in a bottom drawer, forgotten for the moment. Winter approached, and so did cold evenings. While I very seldom use a heater during the day, I usually run my little fan heater in my bedroom about an hour or so before I go to bed. Helps to keep the bed-chills at bay. Not excessive, but like most South Africans post 2007, I’m always thinking of ways to reduce my electricity usage.

Then it struck me: if going to bed with a hot-water bottle avoids the need for the pre-warming of my bedroom, I would be exchanging an hour of heater running with the equivalent of about 2 minutes for boiling the kettle. Being of a somewhat empirical bent I decided to try it out. And voila! It worked like a charm!


So, if want to reduce your bedwarming electricity costs by a factor of thirty, try a hot-water bottle. Oh, and thanks for my hot-water bottle, Janneke!

Taking Chances

This post is something quite different from my normal fare, dealing with financial decisions rather than gardening or food. May make for interesting reading though. In short, I’d like to be able to retire when I’m 40. Well, perhaps not properly retire, but at least be able to, say, wander the earth for 5 years without eating my capital. I would like to do this in spite of having gotten a late start (long academic careers do that to you), being somewhat lazy and also being quite risk averse. But, often times, taking no apparent risks is itself not merely risky but in fact downright reckless. By taking no chances now, I’m pretty much guaranteeing that I won’t reach my goal.

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