Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting gradually colder

Big news: major hot water pipeline broke in Vantaa last night. 150 000 homes were without heating. They say flats cool one degree in 3 hours (tells something about insulation, and why we have double doors and triple windows). Detached houses cooled faster, but most of them have an alternative heating system or at least a sauna.

Heating homes with hot water is a very typical way to heat Finnish urban areas. The same powerplants which create electricity, also create hot water, and that runs to offices and resident buildings (usually each block of flats has a closed system which exchanges heat with the central system). Nowadays, the returning lukewarm water often runs below pavement to keep that ice-free.

Yes, breakages happen, but less often than in direct electricity heating, and as the local systems have quite big mass, cooling happens slowly.

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