Hibernating in the Yurt

Hiding from the weather in the yurt is a perfect excuse to look for drafts. The only possible justification for winter is snow, which we got for exactly one day so far. Instead we have this horrible gruel of cold rain and gritty wind, and I’m totally over it. To be honest, I was before we started. I would like to go the rest of my life with nothing below 65 o F touching my body if it isn’t ice cream or snowing outside enough to build forts, lob snowballs at strangers’ children, and sled down dangerous inclines without parental supervision.

However, it *is* a chance to check the yurt for gaps. In between naps, whining about the weather, and playing Ori and the Blind Forest, I got out my infrared leak detector and got to work.

The biggest is at the door. It’s made of fiberboard and I knew that, despite my attempts to waterproof it, it would eventually fall apart. It’s been serious warped by water infiltration, so I have this huge gap in the bottom.


I’m going to make a new waterproof door, preferably out of cedar, but in the meantime I stuffed a dish towel into the gap and that helps a lot.

Obviously the roof ring needs to be plugged. I used to have a transparent plug that fit the hole, but this time I’m using the circles of the moving blankets I cut out to make the top of the insulation. Since they were cut for that specific hole, they fit perfectly. There’s no light, but there’s no optimism or hope in the Universe when the weather’s like this, so that’s ok.


With my little 1500 watt heater on high and 40 o F outside, the average temperature at waist level is about 70 o F, which isn’t bad. Up near the roof it’s in the mid-high 70s. It turns out the biggest problem is the floor. It started at about 55 o F, and has been slowly warming since I turned the heater from low to high up to about 58 o F. This is also not bad, since most heat escapes through the roof. The floor is insulated with 1/2″ or 3/4″ load-bearing foam insulation as you can see here:


I kind of wish I used more, but actually it might be better than I didn’t. Keeping out cold is only a minor issue that’s easily compensated for with a little more electricity or propane. But in the summer, the cooler air below the yurt helps keep the temperatures down.

It’s nice to live in something I built myself, and never more so when it’s beating the elements and keeping me cozy. It continues to improve as a home and workspace, and I feel pride every day in my little round experiment. How many people can say that?

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