Monday, August 6, 2012

Microblog: When crude oil burns by the tankload

When oil refineries are on fire and the news says "if you're in the smoke, shelter in place with tape around the windows and wet towels under the door,"  it's a very very good reminder that you should move the whole "making house more energy efficient" thing higher up your fix-it priority list.

Because the house across the patio with its all new double paned windows? Only had to shut its door to keep out what turns out to be quite smelly smoke indeed, while my husband and I got to spend an entire hour slapping painter's tape over every single huge leaking window seal in the house. When window salespeople and energy companies and Al freaking Gore list all the good things about energy efficient windows, they always seem to miss this point.  Leaky windows are a pain in the arse, come giant oil refinery fires and shelter in place orders.  I think someday I'll point this out to Andersen windows, and their sales will skyrocket.  And then they would reward me with free! new! woodpaned! double-panelled! windows for my whole house.  Let a girl dream: it's the only way I'll get them in the near-term.

On the bonus side, my window are now festively decorated with stripes of bright green and blue.Except where my husband used masking tape in the bathroom, which just clashes with the cream walls.  Thanks, love.  Also, that's not going to come off easily and we'll have to entirely repaint the bathroom once the smoke clears and we try to take the tape off to open windows.  I'll make sure to choose a paint color that goes well with masking-tape-dun, for next time.

Only think how useful good windows would be, in, say, chemical warfare.  Then you'd really be wishing you'd listened to Al Gore.


  1. Crikey! A burning refinery near you? I need to check the news.

    Leaky windows! Mmmm, I guess that would be a problem with noxious fumes outside. Though on the flip side, old houses like ours don't respond at all well to being hermetically sealed, the sash windows and doors having historically let in the drafts that keep the place aired and fresh. We've seen newly-windowed historic houses start to turn rancid once all the sealing up has rendered them unable to to breathe. Nothing is as simple as would make a one-rule system work in all scenarios.

    Really sorry to hear of this business, and the re-decorating that will result from the masking tape. Hope your lungs are remaining squeaky clean and un-smoked.

    1. Hi Clive,

      The fire's out this morning without too much evidence left on our property, just what my son describes as "a feeling on the back of my tongue," and a whiff of oily scent on what is otherwise a glorious summers day.

      But I know exactly what you mean re windows. We lived in an old craftsman once, and if you closed the fireplace flue in the water, all the windows would get so foggy that water drops would start running down the panes. Houses must be built to breathe. I'm not sure how we do that with modern construction.