Heating Solutions

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asthmatic camel
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Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

So, it's 13 years since we installed our gas central heating/hot water system based around a condensing boiler. While it's been fantastic to date, only requiring one repair, the engineer who came to give it its annual service this week informs me that some replacement parts have already become unavailable, (fortunately, ones that are unlikely ever to fail), and it's probably time to start thinking about our options for a new system.

As things stand here in Britland, new gas heating systems are only allowed in properties which already have them, with new-build homes required to be 100% electrically powered, and I can see the time coming when they're banned outright. They're also expensive to install, maintain and generally not very environmentally friendly, however efficient they might be.

Time for some research.

Here, gas is almost four times as expensive as electricity, so, thinks I, maybe I can look at home-based renewables, perhaps with a Tesla battery thingy. I did. How much??? Either way too expensive and/or impractical for our place. Storage heaters? These used to be the preferred alternative to gas, as you could charge them up cheaply overnight when there was an oversupply of electricity and a special tariff was available. Now that our coal-fired plants are being decommissioned, however, (you can't turn them on and off easily, hence the oversupply problem overnight), this is coming to an end. Not a viable option. Oil-filled electric heaters? Convection heaters? Cheap to buy but way too expensive to run, (I've tried.) Looks like I'm stuck with gas for the foreseeable future, then. Or am I? Think, think think. What was it my old Mum was rabbiting on about at great length that I nodded and smiled at while paying little attention the other day? That's it! Infra-red radiant heating panels!

A quick Google later and I think I have the solution. These things. Simple to install, little to no maintenance required, fairly cheap to buy and, (allegedly), relatively cheap to run.

Image

Not being one to rush into things, I've ordered one unit to experiment with over the Winter, (I'll need five in total). If all goes well, I intend to install them in every room, rip out the old central heating radiators and just use the existing boiler for hot water, which should extend its working life by a few years.

Any thoughts? (I should probably have asked sparks for some advice but he's a cunt, so I didn't. :D )
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Doctor X »

You have central heating in the UK?







What?

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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Rob Lister »

I cannot imagine a world where that is a good idea. 450 watts is half a clothes iron. Just buy an iron. $30 bucks tops. Twice the heating. 100% efficient.

Seriously, you Brits have fucking issues.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

What is this "heating" of which you speak?
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Re: Heating Solutions

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Those are some sexy legs right there.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

Rob Lister wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:10 am I cannot imagine a world where that is a good idea. 450 watts is half a clothes iron. Just buy an iron. $30 bucks tops. Twice the heating. 100% efficient.

Seriously, you Brits have fucking issues.
Hence my decision to only buy one. Electricity is so expensive because the energy companies have been forced to fund renewable energy projects and have passed on the costs.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

Well, it's arrived. I intend to use it in my roughly 4x3 yard den, where I tend to live during the winter. Heating it alone with an oil-filled electric radiator is only marginally cheaper than heating the whole house with gas, so I'll see whether it's worthwhile.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Rob Lister »

Send it back. A watt is a watt is a watt. Whether you fill it with oil or fill it with shit, it's still a watt.

Buy a clothes iron. Plug it in. Twice the heat a half the price.

watt?
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

A Watt is a Watt, sure, but some methods of heating are considerably more efficient than others and there are maintenance costs etc. to consider. I pay an additional £14 per month insurance to cover any boiler repairs, which can be monstrously expensive. I had to pay £180 to replace a tiny circuit board for example.

Here we go, installed and working in five minutes. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I need a bit of trunking to tidy the cable away, and the place could do with a coat of paint. Stop nagging already.)

Image

In the spirit of SC scientific inquiry, I turned everything else off and checked the smart meter for running costs. This is costing 7p per hour, my 1800 w emergency oil-filled radiator comes in at a whopping 26p per hour and the central heating system, as expected, comes in streets ahead at a measly 2p per hour, almost exactly in line with the review I read here.

Does it work? Well, it's 24C today, so not great for a test run but it certainly heats up quickly and appears to chuck out a decent amount of warmth. If it keeps my den comfortably warm in the Winter, I'd seriously consider adding a thermostat and kitting out the rest of the house with suitably sized panels.

Watch this space, oh ye of little faith...
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

My place is a Victorian, brick-built terrace dating from around 1885. Originally it would have been heated by open coal fires but these had all been removed and replaced by a gas central heating system long before I bought it. Most who could afford to switched to gas systems back when I was a wee spud and cheap North Sea gas supplies became available. There are still considerable amounts left but with current environmental concerns, I can easily foresee future cash-strapped governments increasing taxation to bring prices into line with those of electricity.

I'm trying to plan ahead, Abdul, hence my proof of concept project. (Do I get to spend a night in the box for saying that?)
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by shemp »

Why don't you burn peat? Isn't England just a giant peat bog? Get a shovel and get to work!
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

There's plenty of peat around locally, shemp but A) I don't have any open fires or stoves to burn it, B) I don't have a car to transport it and C) if I turned up with a shovel in the Peak District National Park and started digging up the grouse moors, I'd be in a whole heap of shit.

Peat is burned as fuel by some, but it's not a practical solution for most and it's not exactly a p.c. option.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

I thought that gas was very clean
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by sparks »

Rob Lister wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:10 am I cannot imagine a world where that is a good idea. 450 watts is half a clothes iron. Just buy an iron. $30 bucks tops. Twice the heating. 100% efficient.
Common sense says nothing is 100% efficient. But if the object is to convert electrical into thermal energy, what's being wasted and in what form?

Just Googled and found that "electrical resistance heating is 100% efficient". Then there is this on infra-red heaters: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-choose ... er-4132344

In Russia, heaters heat you, not space.

"(I should probably have asked sparks for some advice but he's a cunt, so I didn't. :D )

You're welcome. Limey wanker. :)
Last edited by sparks on Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by shemp »

asthmatic camel wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:07 pm There's plenty of peat around locally, shemp but A) I don't have any open fires or stoves to burn it, B) I don't have a car to transport it and C) if I turned up with a shovel in the Peak District National Park and started digging up the grouse moors, I'd be in a whole heap of shit.

Peat is burned as fuel by some, but it's not a practical solution for most and it's not exactly a p.c. option.
There's your solution: Get into a whole heap of shit and burn that!

And Sparks is right: limey wanker!
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

Abdul Alhazred wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:55 pm
ed wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:38 pm I thought that gas was very clean
Clean burning means no monoxide, fly ash, etc.

It's clean, but the issue is CO2.
So wind is dead birds and cow from production of copper. So?
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Witness »

Electrical heating has one snag: thermodynamics sponge off ~ 2/3 of the energy to get from heat to 'tricity (less for gas-fired plants). Converting it back to heat makes that just a loss, not an investment in "noble" energy. (Neglecting the distribution problems, of course.)

But wind and solar change the picture. Wind is heat already converted to mechanical energy, and solar cells convert directly light to electricity.

Got me thinking.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

But wind kills birds.

Why do you hate cute penguins Witness?

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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Witness »

Image

And penguins are a bad choice as they don't fly. Perfectly safe frolicking around the turbines. :roll:
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

Not if the Turbine, due to design flaws and payoffs to politicians, falls over and crushes them.

What about that?

You are an uncaring lout.
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Re: Heating Solutions

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Sacrifices have to be made. E. g. Florida to rising sea levels. :twisted:
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Re: Heating Solutions

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He is so fucking wrong I just want to kick him. But he is a bit bigger than me.
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Re: Heating Solutions

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sparks wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:46 pm
Rob Lister wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:10 am I cannot imagine a world where that is a good idea. 450 watts is half a clothes iron. Just buy an iron. $30 bucks tops. Twice the heating. 100% efficient.
Common sense says nothing is 100% efficient. But if the object is to convert electrical into thermal energy, what's being wasted and in what form?

Just Googled and found that "electrical resistance heating is 100% efficient". Then there is this on infra-red heaters: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-choose ... er-4132344
So you just wasted bits to tell me I'm right?
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

You're right and wrong at the same time. The far infra-red panels heat the objects in the room rather than the air in it, as conventional convection heaters do. I checked this out last night when the temperature had dropped and can feel the heat from 3 meters away; it's similar to being able to feel the sun on a cold day. So, yeah, it's using the same amount of power as a 450-watt convection heater but it's using it more effectively.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

Witness wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:02 am Sacrifices have to be made. E. g. Florida to rising sea levels. :twisted:
That is when lake ed become ed shores. A place of dreams for investment or retirement. :-P
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Re: Heating Solutions

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Rob Lister wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:23 am

So you just wasted bits to tell me I'm right?
There a rule against that? :De_Bunk:
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ceptimus »

Anything that uses electricity in your home heats it just the same - unless you're deliberately sending that energy outside (such as an electric searchlight with the beam directed out through a window).

So if you want 450 watts of heating, you might as well use an appliance that does something useful on the way to coverting that electrical energy to heat. A 450 watt computer will heat your home just the same as a 450 watt heater - and you get the benefit of having the computing power available for free: you could use it to mine bitcoin or watch porn in super HD or whatever.

Or you could install 450 watts worth of lamps and grow your own weed under them (though of course that would be illegal). :x
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ceptimus »

It may not project/distribute the heat where you want it as well as a properly designed heating system. But if you're just putting a space heater into a room, then any electrical appliance of the same rating (Watts) will do an equally good job of heating that room. Even a fridge.

A true radiant heater may warm you across the width of a cold room by infra red. But heaters where you can touch the hot surface without burning yourself don't give off much useful infra-red. That includes so-called 'radiators' of central heating systems which would be more accurately named 'convectors' - and the electrical heater discussed in this thread seems to be similar, even though the advertising calls it a radiant infra-red heater.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Rob Lister »

Abdul Alhazred wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:20 pm Because there really is more to proper heating than amount of photons emitted (watts).
Actually, there's not.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ceptimus »

And convection heating doesn't emit many photons - the energy goes into speeding up the average velocity of the air molecules - i.e. making the air hotter. Of course, all objects that are hotter than absolute zero give off some photons, but for convection-type heating, only a tiny fraction of the energy consumed is radiated that way.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

ceptimus wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:27 pm It may not project/distribute the heat where you want it as well as a properly designed heating system. But if you're just putting a space heater into a room, then any electrical appliance of the same rating (Watts) will do an equally good job of heating that room. Even a fridge.

A true radiant heater may warm you across the width of a cold room by infra red. But heaters where you can touch the hot surface without burning yourself don't give off much useful infra-red. That includes so-called 'radiators' of central heating systems which would be more accurately named 'convectors' - and the electrical heater discussed in this thread seems to be similar, even though the advertising calls it a radiant infra-red heater.
It does get hot, though...

Image

There's also the fact that convection heaters are very good at heating the ceiling but not so good at warming your toes to consider.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

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So you installed it sideways?







Fag.

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Re: Heating Solutions

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ed wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:50 am That is when lake ed become ed shores. A place of dreams for investment or retirement. :-P
Better stock up on ammo, or you'll get overrun by desperate retirees. :P
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Witness »

asthmatic camel wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:49 amit's similar to being able to feel the sun on a cold day.
Either you'll have to rotate regularly, or be warm on one side and freezing on the other. Keep us posted when it gets cold (if New Climate© allows). :P
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Re: Heating Solutions

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Witness wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:50 pm
asthmatic camel wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:49 amit's similar to being able to feel the sun on a cold day.
Either you'll have to rotate regularly, or be warm on one side and freezing on the other. Keep us posted when it gets cold (if New Climate© allows). :P
Well, as I said, this is an experiment! So far, I'm sufficiently confident of success that I've bought a 720 watt model for the bedroom and two plug-in thermostats. If I end up freezing my nuts off this Winter, then I'll be down £230: not a biggie in the grand scheme of things. If all goes according to plan, it'll cost me another £300 or so to sort the rest of the house. I'd be looking at much more than that for a new central heating system.

Watch this space...

:)
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Witness »

Wise man!

I presume you have checked that your wiring will be up to the new load if you go full electric?

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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

I have indeed! These won't even come close to the 30 amp capacity of the average domestic ring circuit. As Listy helpfully pointed out, an iron draws more power. :)
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

Witness wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:45 pm
ed wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:50 am That is when lake ed become ed shores. A place of dreams for investment or retirement. :-P
Better stock up on ammo, or you'll get overrun by desperate retirees. :P

Nah. I'll just pull up the wheelchair accessible ramps.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

Witness wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:50 pm
asthmatic camel wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:49 amit's similar to being able to feel the sun on a cold day.
Either you'll have to rotate regularly, or be warm on one side and freezing on the other. Keep us posted when it gets cold (if New Climate© allows). :P

Hmmmm gave me an idea for a product. I'll name it after AC

The "Asmat-o-Spit"

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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by ed »

asthmatic camel wrote: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:12 am I have indeed! These won't even come close to the 30 amp capacity of the average domestic ring circuit. As Listy helpfully pointed out, an iron draws more power. :)
Listy reccomended:
1 The Homesman
2 Freezing a disk drive to "fix" it

please recall that Listy has something of a ... whats the word ... puckish sense of humor.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Anaxagoras »

I'm kinda surprised that Bruce hasn't weighed into this thread yet. As a professional chemist I would think he knows all about heating solutions. Have you considered a Bunsen burner?
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Witness »

Why not a typically British fake fireplace?

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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Rob Lister »

And there's a spot on the top for making your tea.
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Re: Heating Solutions

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AC may ride fagocycles, but he's not a pussy.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Witness »

What a delightfully sparksian sentence! :)
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Re: Heating Solutions

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I blush to the roots of my mostly white hair. :)
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

Witness wrote: Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:28 am Why not a typically British fake fireplace?

Image
The real ones are increasingly popular and it's something I considered, as my brother's still gardening and produces logs by the ton: in fact, he has trouble getting rid of them without paying trade waste charges. Consequently, both he and my mother heat their homes largely with wood burning stoves.

They are, however, a massive pain in the arse. :D

I'd need to buy one, (they're not cheap), reinstall a fireplace, install a flue, reopen a chimney etc. just to get started. Think £2000 or more. Then, there's the fag of sawing up logs, carting them around, finding enough space to store a Winter's supply, lighting them, waiting for them to get hot, then being so warm that you have to open the windows, cleaning out the ash and disposing of it, finding and paying a chimney sweep...

All to save less than a tenner a week.

Fuck, as we have it in the vernacular, that. :mrgreen:
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by Doctor X »

Where is the 50P slot?

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asthmatic camel
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

Long gone, sadly, (I had one in my first flat.)

Image

Time marches on... and you're fucked if you're so poor that no-one will give you a credit card.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Heating Solutions

Post by asthmatic camel »

Abdul Alhazred wrote: Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:36 am How hard are those to tamper with?
Technically, quite easy but they had tamper proof seals which were almost impossible to get hold of. Also, landlords and the energy company would quickly become wise to anyone on the fiddle.

My pal used to reverse the connections on his mechanical gas meter occasionally so that it ran backwards. Luckily for him, it was never in this condition when the meter reader called. :)
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.