Do programmable thermostats really save you $$

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I purchased a new thermostat recently as I broke the other one doing a spackle/paint project.  It's a Honeywell unit that has built in wi-fi that can be controlled from an app on my phone or through my web browser so it makes setting up the schedules is a breeze....should I elect to program them.

 

The question I have been pondering is whether lowering the temperature in the house during the day actually saving money?  Currently the burner(gas fired) cycles on and off to maintain the house at 73F(yes thats high, but in this house that is actually comfortable).  My type of heat is forced hot air which by itself is not very efficient but it is what came with the house and I am not changing it unless someone else pays for it.  One more little bullet point is that the heating plant I found out is slightly smaller than the recommended capacity for a house this size(the former owner replaced it during the listing to make the house look better than it actually was)

 

Ok now that I have given the basics of my homes mechanical plant here comes the theory to my question.

As I said the burner cycles on and off during the day to maintain the 73F which uses X amount of fuel (unknown).  If I was to set a schedule to lower the setpoint of the house to let's say 68F while no one is home, and then say at 3pm change the setting back to 73F would the burner use more fuel to bring the house up the 5 degrees as opposed to simply leaving things as they are? 

 

I have rough measured the cycle time and from the point when the burner turns on to the turn off point is about ten minutes.  What I do not have is the amount of times this happens in a day to maintain 73F - I can build a basic AVR counter and measure the contact closure from the Thermostat over a 24 hour period easy enough.  I can also measure the time it takes to bring the house from 68F to 73F easily enough as well I suppose. Hmmmm

 

Now what I really need to do is time stamp all of this - Which the Thermostat cannot do unfortunately.  A datalogger that can monitor one input and through software timestamp things on a PC would be ideal, but I am really not looking to spend a couple hundred $$ to do this with two major projects going right now(The giant LED wall clock for example).

 

I am open to all thoughts, theories, and suggestions(short of buying a new house, or mechanical system surprise )

 

Jim

 

EDIT: Self Moving this to General ELectronics

EDIT2: Corrected Title spelling.

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Last Edited: Sun. Feb 8, 2015 - 11:11 PM
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Yes, that is the basic question!

 

Unfortunately, I think the only way to answer it is by instrumenting your house & trying it.

 

Another question: if it's just me at home, sitting in my office, is it cheaper to just have an electric heater in the office, heating the office alone - or to have the (gas) central heating on to heat the whole house...?

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awneil wrote:
I think the only way to answer it is by instrumenting your house

I think you'd also have to instrument the external conditions, too - particularly the outside temperature.

 

Depending on how well draughtproofed (or not) your house is, wind conditions could also have a significant effect...

 

And then there's heat gain from insolation...

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it cheaper to just have an electric heater in the office, heating the office alone

In my case no as my primary workspace is the basement, and the other is that I pay the highest electric rates in the country(mainland USA).  Not to derail, but I just got socked with another $50.00 a month surcharge....CAnnot wait for the solar array to be installed.

 

I think you'd also have to instrument the external conditions, too - particularly the outside temperature.

I thought about that, but as I said I am not looking to spend $$ on a datalogger.  Unless someone has one they want to loan me wink  I can always hand write the temperature outside in a notebook.

 

Depending on how well draughtproofed (or not) your house is, wind conditions could also have a significant effect...

 

With the hot air system the house is drafty....Hence another reason why 73F seems to be the comfort spot.

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

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"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

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Think of your house as a simple box, warm on the inside and cold on the outside.  The walls of the box have some amount of thermal resistance.  Heat travels from warm to cold, slowed by the thermal resistance of the walls.  The greater the temperature difference between inside and outside, the faster the heat travels from inside to outside.  If the inside and outside temps are the same, obviously no energy needs to be added to maintain the inside temperature.  If the inside temp is to be increased heat must be added to make up for the loss through the walls.  So, "setting back" the setpoint while the house is unoccupied or while you are sleeping definitely saves energy.  These days, commercial systems may go so far as to use PIR sensors to make sure someone is actually using a room before heating (or cooling) it to the 'occupied' setpoint.  So, scheduling thermostats will save you some amount of energy.  A bigger factor may be whether the other occupants of your house actually let the automatic setbacks take place 8)  Being married, despite the fact that mostly what I do these days is develop sophisticated HVAC controls, it would be pointless for me to apply automatic setbacks in my house 8)

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Reducing the temperature will reduce the losses, but it depends on the temperature difference to outside and insulation.

It all starts with a mental vision.

Last Edited: Sat. Jan 3, 2015 - 07:09 PM
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tpappano wrote:
scheduling thermostats will save you some amount of energy.

I guess the question is whether it's a significant - or even worthwhile - amount...?

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I thought about that, but as I said I am not looking to spend $$ on a datalogger.  Unless someone has one they want to loan me wink  I can always hand write the temperature outside in a notebook.

Take a visit to Weather Underground www.wunderground.com

 

They have a vast network of PWS (personal weather stations), as well as "real" ones like airports.

 

While PWS capabilities vary, I think you will be able to find one close to you and view logged information, 5 minute intervals typically.

 

One more little bullet point is that the heating plant I found out is slightly smaller than the recommended capacity for a house this size(the former owner replaced it during the listing to make the house look better than it actually was)

Generally, it usually turn out the other way.  As I understand it, it is properly sized when it runs continuously on the coldest day of the year.

 

Re the original question: http://www.energyvanguard.com/bl...

 

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

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Not looking for a weather station, I was thinking along the lines of something I can connect to the contacts of my thermostat(with a little conditioning circuit) that will increment a counter, and also start and stop a timer in software to record the contact closure time..blah blah blah

 

THis is what I was thinking about:

http://buy.advantech.com/ADAM+40...

 

But the $$ is not worth the fuss.  I found a freeware software package but that still does not justify buying the device.

 

I could use one of the PLC's I have sitting here, but the problem is not having the software to do the logging. 

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

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For 20 years, 3 houses, I've used a programmable thermostat. Not WiFi.

Simple schedule

Mon-Fri morning on until about 9AM. Then setback low, no gas used.

Evening on until about 10:30PM.

 

I can't imagine using a single schedule (manual).

 

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jgmdesign wrote:
Not looking for a weather station

I think the point was that you don't need a weather station - because you can just pull the data from other people's stations off the interwebs

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For measuring the amount of gas used, there usually is meter in (or at) the house. So one way to measure, would be reading the meter every day (at the same time, e.g. Morning an evening) and get some weather data (wind, temperature, sun) for every day (maybe week). Do that with constant temperature and changing temperature for something like 14 days each. Then you may be lucky and find days of comparable weather so you can compare. Otherwise you may fit a model to the data, that does include the weather. This may need data for more days.

There are dataloggers available, based on µC - often they save data on a SD card that can be read on the PC. One Example would be this:

http://www.watterott.com/de/OpenLog

 

In general lowering the temperature saves energy, as losses are lower, even if the lower temperature is only for part of the day. It depends on the Insulation and heat capacity of the house, how much the temperature drops during the day or night. If well insulated there will be little drop and thus little savings.  However it it's really cold and the heating system reaches its limits, it takes quite long to get to temperature up again - so lowering the temperature may not be an option for such periods. If the heating system is rather small, better isolation could be cheaper than a larger heating system. Especially the roof and the windows (single pane of old uncoated double pane) may be worth a check.

 

In some cases the heating system runs more efficient, if it is running longer times at lower power. This is especially true for heat pumps, that don't like to provide peak power. So with a heat pump, it really depends. At least in Germany the heat-pumps get cheaper electricity during some time of the day (especially at night), which makes optimization for least cost a rather difficult task. 
 

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Measuring gas consumption in my case would be a difficult task as the heat, hot water, clothes dryer, and stove all run on gas. Not that I was going to start disconnecting feed lines. Remember, all I was "thinking" of doing was counting heater cycle times, and maybe time of day for each cycle.

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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If your furnace is non-modulating but either single or two-stage, measuring gas consumption can be done by sampling the 24vac control voltage at the gas valve contacts.  The flow rate/rates is/are known constant/constants from the furnace specs.

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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What money do you really need to spend?

 

Someone else's nearby PWS: $0

Arduino you already own: $0

PC/server you already own: $0

DS18S20: $2.19 at Digikey

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

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"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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joeymorin wrote:

What money do you really need to spend?

 

Someone else's nearby PWS: $0

Arduino you already own: $0

PC/server you already own: $0

DS18S20: $2.19 at Digikey

You are correct, I do already have all the parts and If I had the time to write the code to do all this I would, which I already said I don't and as I also mentioned I was just thinking out loud.  The ADAM unit I have used in the past and is a breeze to set up, or I could also use one of the PLC's I have here as well. 

 

It's late ad I am getting cranky so I think I shall think about this tomorrow

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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DS18S20: $2.19 at Digikey

Wow - that is an amazing little device!!  

Just some guy

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Sounds like an interesting dilema, use the temperature set back, or not.

 

I would think that "real" data would be rather involved to analyze, (Temps inside and outside, outside humidity, wind, sunshine, # times the door(s) open, etc.).

 

I would think you could get some quick and dirty data to look at without much difficulty, (a weekend project!) wink

 

Do you run the furnace fan 24/7 or only on demand?

 

If only on demand then monitor the on time for 24 hrs, using both modes, single temp setting and in roll back temp mode.

 

You likely have several days in a row with similar weather, important for this test.

Days with a big difference in weather wouldn't make for a good comparison.

 

If efficiency is a concern, be sure to change the furnace filter now and then!

 

BTW, do you have an Atmel Butterfly laying around?

It would also be a good platform for this project.

Small uC with built-in LCD, etc.

 

Monitoring the valve or furnace fan could be done with putting a diode/LED/resistor across them, and shinning it on a photodiode.

Built in isolation for the uC.

If you are monitoring the furnace fan, you could put a night light across the motor and again use a photodiode.

Lots of other options.

 

JC

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Another consideration is the thermal efficiency of your home. My brother checked his new home with a thermal camera and found big sections of his roof where missing insulation!! His daughters bedroom had no insulation (contractors will get away with whatever they can sometimes). 

 

Usage data (over time)  is available from your gas utility and weather data is available for your region for sure. This is a long term trial, but would be more accurate than any day-to-day seasonal readings you may see. Try to use calories instead of British measurements (BTU's or Joules) (just kidding just kidding)

 

Along with the thermal efficiency of your property, air balancing has always been an issue for me, but I have never fixed it! Having a fan to circulate air evenly after the supply fan has shut down has been a goal of mine for some time - a very low priority goal;)

Just some guy

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jgmdesign wrote:
I thought about that, but as I said I am not looking to spend $$ on a datalogger.  Unless someone has one they want to loan me wink  I can always hand write the temperature outside in a notebook.

Look at a company called Dataq.  They have an inexpensive data logger that has four 12 bit, +/-10 volt ADC channels, plus four digital inputs, for about $30.00 and the data logging software is a free download.  With the use of a simple two element voltage divider, using a fixed resistor and a thermistor, you can find out exactly what is taking place with the heating/cooling cycles in your home.

 

jgmdesign wrote:

The question I have been pondering is whether lowering the temperature in the house during the day actually saving money?  Currently the burner(gas fired) cycles on and off to maintain the house at 73F(yes thats high, but in this house that is actually comfortable).  My type of heat is forced hot air which by itself is not very efficient but it is what came with the house and I am not changing it unless someone else pays for it.  One more little bullet point is that the heating plant I found out is slightly smaller than the recommended capacity for a house this size(the former owner replaced it during the listing to make the house look better than it actually was)

 

Ok now that I have given the basics of my homes mechanical plant here comes the theory to my question.

As I said the burner cycles on and off during the day to maintain the 73F which uses X amount of fuel (unknown).  If I was to set a schedule to lower the setpoint of the house to let's say 68F while no one is home, and then say at 3pm change the setting back to 73F would the burner use more fuel to bring the house up the 5 degrees as opposed to simply leaving things as they are? 

 

I have rough measured the cycle time and from the point when the burner turns on to the turn off point is about ten minutes.  What I do not have is the amount of times this happens in a day to maintain 73F - I can build a basic AVR counter and measure the contact closure from the Thermostat over a 24 hour period easy enough.  I can also measure the time it takes to bring the house from 68F to 73F easily enough as well I suppose. Hmmmm

It's all about temperature differential - the differential between the current temperature and the target temperature, as well as the differential temperature between the outside and inside.

 

The rule of thumb is that, the higher the target temperature and, the greater the differential between the current and target temperature, the more energy required to achieve and maintain the target temperature.

 

It requires less energy to maintain a differential between 62 and 67 degrees, than it does maintaining a differential between 68 degrees F and 73 degrees F.  Also, I think you will fine that, at the lower temperature differential of 62 and 67 degrees F, the furnace will cycle less and with a shorter dwell time.

 

The closer a given differential is to the influence creating the delta T, the shorter the dwell and cycle time.  So then, if it is 50 degrees F outside and you are attempting to maintain an average target temperature of 67 degrees, that will require less energy than if you were attempting to maintain an average target temperature of 67 F, when the outside temperature is 32 degrees F.

 

This is the exact reason why "Set-back" thermostats were created.  It IS less expensive using a "Set-back" thermostat!

 

Other things you can do to reduce your electric bill, as well, as you have a sour taste from a $50.00 per month increase in electric cost.

 

If you have an electric water heater, wrap it in an electric heater water blanket - it helps  If you run your water heater is 130 degrees F, reduce the set-point to 110 degrees F - for the same reasons of differential temperature that I stated above.

 

One thing I've done, as my water is electric.  I installed a Honeywell timer multi-set-point timer that I've programmed to enable power to the electric water heater - only between the hours between 7:00am and 10:00am.  What the wife & I found is that, because we only take showers in the morning, there is no need to heat a 50 gallon water tank all day long at a 50%duty cycle.  We have found that, even with only a one-time three hour on time in 24 hours (equating to only a 12.5% duty cycle over that 24 hour period), there is plenty of hot water to get our showers and the dishes washed.  For this to work well, the water heater blanket or regular insulation is a MUST!

 

Also, the wife washes our clothes with cold water - only.  The benefit there is that our clothes don't shrink, like they did when we washed them with hot water.

 

If you have a dishwasher, STOP USING IT!  A DISHWASHER IS ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE APPLIANCE TO OPERATE IN YOUR HOME!  We stopped using our dishwasher about 6 or 7 years ago and, we easily recover YOUR ill acquired $50.00 per month electric bill increase - EVERY MONTH.

 

If you have hallways and other areas that use incandescent lighting, replace them with LED lights.  It's a fact that, when you get up at night to make a 3:00am pee run, you do not need the hallway lit with a 100 WATT, or even a 60 WATT light bulb.  You only need enough light to keep you from stubbing your toe on the kids skateboard.

 

5 years ago, my monthly electric bill was about $500.00 per month in the winter - without running central heat.  In the summer, my monthly electric bill was running about 350.00 per month - without running central air conditioning.  We have not used central heating & air conditioning in about 7 years.  In the winter, we use a pellet stove for heating at a cost of about $1,000.00 per winter, and that is only if it is a really cold winter.  In the summer, we do not run any form of air conditioning - we simply open the doors and windows and let the breeze do it's work.  Buy the way, my electric bill for the period between November 15th, 2013 and December 15th, 2013 was only $85.00.  In the summer months, my electric bill is usually less than $45.00 per month.

 

One last thing...  We run the temperature at 68 degrees F in the winter months.  When we feel cold, we don't turn up the heat, we put on a sweater.  Putting on more clothes doesn't cost us a penny...

 

So then, beyond the power savings behind the use of a "Set-back" thermostat, and there is a real energy savings with them, there are plenty of other things you can do in other places, as well, that can substantially reduce your energy bills - but only if you have the mindset to make real sacrifices to achieve those reductions in energy cost.

 

I hope this helps...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

Last Edited: Mon. Jan 5, 2015 - 02:42 AM
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Thanks Carl!

 

Oh, I like the new Avatar too.

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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microcarl wrote:

... there are plenty of other things you can do in other places, as well, that can substantially reduce your energy bills - but only if you have the mindset to make real sacrifices to achieve that reduction in energy cost.

 

Agree with you 100% Carl. But I don't see putting on a sweater a "real sacrifice", it is just common sense, like using a winter weight doona in winter and a summer one or a single blanket in summer and opening the windows during summer nights to cool down the house as a buffer against the following day's heat. I also park the car in the shade on a hot day instead of running the A/C on full bore when we get in.

 

And how about using an external clothes line for drying the washing instead of the internal clothes dryer in spring/summer/autumn. I can understand winter might give some people problems... we simply hang my shirts in the bathroom and let the normal house heating do the work.

 

When we first married, my wife used to iron my undershirts and jocks. She was a stay at home mum and I guess had thought that was her "duty". Being a "mere male" I hadn't really noticed until one Saturday she said she was running behind and proceeded to iron those that didn't get done during my working week. We soon stopped that practice. What does an electric iron set on "cotton" consume? Whatever it is, it is too much for items never seen by anyone. cheeky

 

Cheers,

 

Ross

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

Last Edited: Mon. Jan 5, 2015 - 02:55 AM
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valusoft wrote:

 

microcarl wrote:

 

... there are plenty of other things you can do in other places, as well, that can substantially reduce your energy bills - but only if you have the mindset to make real sacrifices to achieve that reduction in energy cost.

 

 

Agree with you 100% Carl. But I don't see putting on a sweater a "real sacrifice", it is just common sense, like using a winter weight doona in winter and a summer one or a single blanket in summer and opening the windows during summer nights to cool down the house as a buffer against the following day's heat. I also park the car in the shade on a hot day instead of running the A/C on full bore when we get in.

Unfortunately, there is no more common sense, in the United States, anyways.  It's all about convenience and self gratification.  What will we do, if we are ever to lose the power grid on a permanent basis? 

 

valusoft wrote:

And how about using an external clothes line for drying the washing instead of the internal clothes dryer in spring/summer/autumn. I can understand winter might give some people problems... we simply hang my shirts in the bathroom and let the normal house heating do the work.

We actually tried hanging the laundry out on a clothes line to dry, several years ago.

 

It was about the time we got Pepper, our great Diane. It so happened that, without thinking, we set up the line we wanted to use for the dog-run and it was only a few feet from the clothes line (which we were using, at the time) and parallel to it.  That was a big mistake!  Well, the dog didn't like the dog-run and we haven't hung clothes out on that line since Pepper tore all of the clothes off if it.  No excuses here, the wife would just prefer to use the high energy consuming electric drier.

 

valusoft wrote:

When we first married, my wife used to iron my undershirts and jocks. She was a stay at home mum and I guess had thought that was her "duty". Being a "mere male" I hadn't really noticed until one Saturday she said she was running behind and proceeded to iron those that didn't get done during my working week. We soon stopped that practice. What does an electric iron set on "cotton" consume? Whatever it is, it is too much for items never seen by anyone. cheeky

 

Cheers,

 

Ross

 

Funny!  I can't remember the last time my wife ironed anything!!!  We have an iron, but I can't really tell you why, that is...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

Last Edited: Mon. Jan 5, 2015 - 03:22 AM
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Also just thinking out loud, I bet you could model this situation with a programmable current source (your heater), an RC representing the heat rise from the heater, and another R representing the heat loss out of the house.  If you wanted to get more clever, add a programmable voltage source to the other end of this last R, representing outside temperature.  Then run a simulation and see how much total charge (i * t) is necessary to keep the temperature (voltage) within some programmed range, either constant over the day or with a setback.

 

So, what software might exist out there to do this?

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Quote:
If you have a dishwasher, STOP USING IT!  A DISHWASHER IS ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE APPLIANCE TO OPERATE IN YOUR HOME!  We stopped using our dishwasher about 6 or 7 years ago and, we easily recover YOUR ill acquired $50.00 per month electric bill increase - EVERY MONTH.
I pay about $0.10/kWh.  My dishwasher takes about 2 hours on its longest, hottest cycle.  Pumps and other accessories take about an amp, heater takes about 9 A.  Were the heater to run 100% duty (it doesn't), the 2 hour cycle would take about 2.5 kWh, or 25 cents per load.  At the very most.

 

Assuming I did a full/long/hot load every day, and assuming I were to stop using my dishwasher and start washing everything by hand in cold water (!), I would save about $7 per month.    Most of the time it takes 2-3 days to fill the dishwasher, and I don't need the santize cycle very often, so really I'd only be saving at most a couple of bucks per month.

 

If I switched to washing dishes by hand in cold water.

 

Not going to happen ;)

 

I know electricity can be more expensive outside of major urban centres.  But is it 25 times more expensive for you than it is for me?  Is it even eight times more expensive for you than it is for me?

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Do programmable thermoststs really save you $$

 If MSN sez they do, then it must be true...

http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifesty...

 

10 Gadgets That Help You Save Time and Money

 

PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT

Smart thermostats are all the rage these days. If you don't want to make the large initial investment -- or you're wary of omniscient mobile apps and electronics -- you can still save a lot with a basic, inexpensive programmable thermostat. With proper use, the savings can amount to about $180 a year, according to government estimates.

And if MSN is reporting what the >>government<< says, then it MUST be true.

 

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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I know electricity can be more expensive outside of major urban centres.  But is it 25 times more expensive for you than it is for me?  Is it even eight times more expensive for you than it is for me?

I had to go get an electric bill from the wife and check how they do it.

 

I pay a basic delivery service charge of $0.36 per day, or about $11.00 per month

 I then pay $0.0904/KWH for the first 508KWH delivery service which comes to $45.92 per month

I then pay $0.0834/KWH for the next 921KWH delivery service which comes to $76.81 per month

 

Now they also charge me a "Power Supply Charge"

THe power supply charge is $0.095995 per KWH * 1429KWH which comes to $137.18 per month

 

Then there is the "Efficiency & Renewables" Charge

That cost $4.57 this month

 

Then there are the "Miscellaneous surcharges.

THis month they were $20.26

 

That comes to a total of $306.70 for this month just for electricity.

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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So, on average, you paid about $0.215/kWh, or about twice what I pay, or rather what I said I pay.  Another look at a bill shows around 16 cents per kWh all in.

 

Still don't see how I could save $50 per month by not using my dishwasher, unless I ran a catering service.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Wed. Jan 7, 2015 - 06:58 AM
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theusch wrote:

Do programmable thermoststs really save you $$

 If MSN sez they do, then it must be true...

http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/treatyourself/10-gadgets-that-help-you-save-time-and-money/ss-BBhmci8?ocid=DELLDHP

 

10 Gadgets That Help You Save Time and Money

 

PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT

Smart thermostats are all the rage these days. If you don't want to make the large initial investment -- or you're wary of omniscient mobile apps and electronics -- you can still save a lot with a basic, inexpensive programmable thermostat. With proper use, the savings can amount to about $180 a year, according to government estimates.

And if MSN is reporting what the >>government<< says, then it MUST be true.

 

Theusch,

 

That man knocking at your front door is from the government and... he's there to help.  But to get that help, you have to give him your soul...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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joeymorin wrote:

So, on average, you paid about $0.215/kWh, or about twice what I pay, or rather what I said I pay.  Another look at a bill shows around 16 cents per kWh all in.

 

Still don't see how I could save $50 per month by not using my dishwasher, unless I ran a catering service.

Do you have four kids eating three meals a day, not including snacks?  And, if you have a newer dish washer, it is probably more efficient and probably does a much better job than our 25 year old dish washer does.

 

Yes, yes, I could buy a new dish washer.  But not using one costs nothing extra and manually washing the dishes probably uses less water, both hot & cold.

 

Besides, if you help the wife wash & dry the dishes, not only will you save some money, just think of the quality time you could both share together!

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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Jim,

 

I'll simplify my electricity bill by saying I pay $1.17623 per day "supply charge", plus $0.29271 per kWh, both including applicable taxes. If I consumed your 1429kWh that would be a total of A$453.56 for a 30 day month or US$362.85 using A$1 = US$0.80 (close to today's rate).

 

Want to swap?

 

Ross

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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I pay approx AUD0.26 per KWh and sell at AUD0.52 perKWh back to the grid.

 

In general I end up AUD50.00 per month in credit

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I have seen this question come up many times, in many places. I think people would like to believe that leaving the heating on at a constant temperature will save money, but the informed answer is always that it won't.

 

It certainly stops my condescending combi boiler from cutting out because of low primary water pressure when the central heating cools down, so that I have to top up the pressure, and then dumping water through the pressure relief valve when it heats up again, while I wait for the engineer to come and sort out the expansion vessel, though.

 

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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It certainly stops my condescending combi boiler from cutting out because of low primary water pressure when the central heating cools down, so that I have to top up the pressure, and then dumping water through the pressure relief valve when it heats up again, while I wait for the engineer to come and sort out the expansion vessel, though.

 LOL -- Did Siri do that for you?  DYAC.  (You should get a furnace with more respect for people.)

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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No. It's an intentional malapropism that displays my disgust. You Murcans don't have to suffer such things, AFAIK, but we have to have these high-efficiency condensing boilers that go wrong constantly.

 

[Rant]

How it's supposed to be greener to have a boiler that goes wrong 3 times a year I'll never understand. My last dwelling had an old, old gas boiler. It was old when I moved in, and I was there 20 years. In all that time I had to replace the thermocouple twice. Now, of course, I wouldn't be allowed to change the thermocouple without 5 or 6 years training and a "gas safe" certification.

[/Rant]

 

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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I agree John,

I have a 1967 Trane furnace.

I've owned this house for 27 years....

I've replaced the fuse

one thernocouple

One fan belt

and oiled the blower 2 maybe 3 times .

Seems pretty green to me.

 

I have a cheapo setback thermostat, the furnace does not run ( usually ) between 11pm and 6 am or between 8am to 4 pm

it's dang cold if you have to get up in the middle of the night when it's 20 below.

If I hear the furnace come on in the middle of the night I go figure out whats wrong, like someone left a door open!

Keith Vasilakes

Firmware engineer

Minnesota

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I have a 1967 Trane furnace.

 It may be true that "its hard to stop a Trane", but being that old, you might want to use a mirror and flashlight to inspect the heat exchanger for cracks.  I'm sure being in MN your house is probably pretty 'tight' and a little CO can really ruin your day.  That furnace is also sending 40% of your fuel up the flue 8)

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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No worries, it gets inspected.

Do a cost justification on my heating bill and get back to me...

The payback period is quite long.

as cold as Minnesota is, we really only have 3-4 months of significant heating, the rest are very temperate

at $300 a month for Dec, Jan, Feb, I'm not interested in a $10,000 furnace (installed)

Keith Vasilakes

Firmware engineer

Minnesota

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microcarl wrote:
Do you have four kids eating three meals a day, not including snacks?
My average cost is $0.16/kWh, or $0.135USD/kWh.

 

I calculated a maximum cost of 2.5 kWh per load.  Let's make that even worse and say 3.5 kWh per load.  That's the absolute most my dishwasher could ever consume on a single load, and that's if it were plumbed to the cold water line, and if I were to use the longest, hottest (sanitize) wash cycle, and if the heater ran at 100% duty cycle for a 3 hour cold-start load (which it doesn't).

 

At $0.135USD/kWh, it would take 106 loads to cost me $50 in electricity.  That's almost 3.5 loads per day for a $50 month.

 

Now, I don't have four kids, but I once was one the kids in a family of five (3 kids, mom, dad) and our (now my dad's, and now quite ancient) dishwasher ran once a day, perhaps twice if we were entertaining guests.

 

The 3.5 kWh I mention is a gross over-estimate of how much one load consumes.  In reality my energy meter shows that a normal load (not the longest, hottest sanitise load) takes a little under 1 kWh.   Toss in an extra 1 kWh for the heating costs of the water (heating 16 litres of water from 7 C to 60 C takes 1 kWh), and a more realistic measure is 2 kWh, not 3.5 kWh.  And remember that in order to eliminate those electricity costs I'd have to wash 3.5 loads worth of dirty dishes every day in cold water.  Maybe OK for laundry, but a little harder to wash up after a breakfast of bacon and eggs or a dinner of pork tenderloin and roasted potatoes with only cold water.  Yes it can be done.  I do it when camping all the time, and camping is fun, but not at home.  And it uses a fair bit more detergent too.

 

Quote:
And, if you have a newer dish washer, it is probably more efficient and probably does a much better job than our 25 year old dish washer does.
It's a Bosch, who's most important contribution to energy-efficient dishwashing technology is energy-efficient pumps and motors.  Mine takes about 100 W to run.  An older dishwasher might take 600 W to run the motor.  So add another 0.5 kW for a typical hour-long load.  Bosch can't change the specific heat capacity of water though.  What they can do is use less water and therefore less electricity to heat it.  There's a 'dirty water' sensor which the controller uses to decide how much water to purge and how much fresh water to inject during each phase of the wash cycle.  Fewer or less-dirty dishes will result in a lower energy consumption per load.  None of this is relevant to the figures I used, and I've already inflated the estimates for energy consumption.

 

My worst case comparison using 3.5 kWh per load assumes a 3-hour wash cycle starting with ice-cold water.  I expect an older dishwasher even when running it's longest load wouldn't worsen the math too much, if at all.

 

Quote:
Yes, yes, I could buy a new dish washer.  But not using one costs nothing extra and manually washing the dishes probably uses less water, both hot & cold.
Can you hand-wash and rinse a day's worth of dishes for your family of 6 using only 4 gallons of cold water?  You're a better man than I! ;)

 

Quote:
Besides, if you help the wife wash & dry the dishes, not only will you save some money, just think of the quality time you could both share together!
This is the only part of your argument which makes any sense to me! ;)

 

In any event it seems as though I'm spoiled when it comes to cost per kWh, comparing against Ross and Jim, so I certainly have nothing to complain about.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Thu. Jan 8, 2015 - 03:13 AM
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johnrk wrote:

DS18S20: $2.19 at Digikey

Wow - that is an amazing little device!!  

 

It is, but the DS18B20 is better:

 

http://www.maximintegrated.com/e...

 

Thanks,

 

Alan

 

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Do a cost justification on my heating bill and get back to me...
The payback period is quite long.
as cold as Minnesota is, we really only have 3-4 months of significant heating, the rest are very temperate
at $300 a month for Dec, Jan, Feb, I'm not interested in a $10,000 furnace (installed)

I suppose you might live in a pretty large house. I bought a 70k Btu 80% furnace a few years ago for $535 online. Took a friend and I about four hours to install it

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Just as an aside, I believe that over here al dishwashers and clothes washers are exclusively cold-fill.

The appliance salesman who told me that couldn't answer me when I asked why, but I think it's because they use such a small amount of water these days that if they are plumbed into the hot water supply, all that happens is they draw off the cold water sitting in the pipe, which is replaced by hot water which then sits in the pipe and cools down. So you effectively end up heating the water twice.

I could be wrong, however. It happened once before in 1963.

 

 

 

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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No worries, it gets inspected.

Mine too. I have a very good "boiler man" who comes each year to maintain my boiler that is at least as old as the 23 years I've lived in the house but I suspect was here for quite a while before that and every year he says something like "you know it really is time to replace this with one of those new "condescending" (thanks John) boilers?" but I resist each time and the old dinosaur just keeps on plugging away. (the boiler not the engineer - though I guess that's true too).

 

(the previous paragraph is almost certainly the "kiss of death" ;-)

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After a long absence I have at last something to say (on topic).

Turning off the heat during daytime saves energy, no doubt, but in some cases the savings are minimal and must be put in balance against the loss of comfort (73F). Whatever your house insulation might be (and is the best lifelong investment to outer insulate it with no less than 3-4" EPS, or no more, if you are 40+), all it counts most is the thermal inertia of the house. Heavy structures built mostly with concrete, stone, bricks exhibit a great thermal inertia and the savings achieved by daily turning off the heat for some hours are worthless. Doing the same thing with light structures which takes one-two hours to be heated up (timber frame, steel&glass) makes significant savings.  With no dataloggers and/or DS18B20's, a simple modelling with just a spreadsheet can show amazing things.

Dor

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In my 1894 built house with single glazed windows and solid brick walls it is very worthwhile to turn the heat down during the day, if nobody's in. At night, also, it makes sense to reduce the temperature.

Remember that the original question was about turning the heat down, not off.

 

Anyway, I don't fully understand your point about thermal inertia. Inertia works both ways, surely.

 

 

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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tpappano wrote:

....
at $300 a month for Dec, Jan, Feb, I'm not interested in a $10,000 furnace (installed)

I suppose you might live in a pretty large house. I bought a 70k Btu 80% furnace a few years ago for $535 online. Took a friend and I about four hours to install it

yeah 10k was a exaggeration, but still a real furnace is going to be a few thousand installed, and then I'll probably add AC, it will add up.

and going from 60% to 80% is even less worth it IMHO

 

No way would I buy a $500 furnace for my house :P

Keith Vasilakes

Firmware engineer

Minnesota

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No way would I buy a $500 furnace for my house :P

You might think it odd to spend that price for a furnace, but that's what your local "multi-kilobuck" contractor would be paying for it 8) When I did residential installations back about 1970, that same size furnace from Lennox wholesaled for about $160 8)

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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It is, but the DS18B20 is better:

 

http://www.maximintegrated.com/en/app-notes/index.mvp/id/4377

So Jim, are you going to pursue this a little?

I just happen to have a couple of DS18B20's in the parts drawer, and I could drop one in an envelope and send it your way.

 

BTW, those are what I used to monitor the hot water tank exhaust flu temperatures, photo in this Thread.

 

JC 

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There is a ton of DS18B20's in waterproof (they claim) packages on eBay:

 

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_...

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I'll go out on a limb and say that, yes, you will be saving money by turning off the heat when you're not at home.  {Buy big wool sweaters for the kids for Martin Luther King day presents, and tell the wife that your affections will keep her warm.  Better yet, point out the latest research that proves that a cold environment causes weight loss because the body burns hundreds of calories just to keep warm.  Eat what you like, don't exercise, and still stay slim if the thermostat's set low!}.

 

If the heater's high powered and the insulation in the walls is efficient, then the house will be long to cool down after the heat's switched off and quick to warm up when it's switched back on.  Also only fully heat the spaces in the house that you spend most of your time in.   Keeping the large open kitchen, dining room, and living room space at 55 F while spending many hours in a 12ft by 15ft room with a PC, TV, etc... at 75 F will make a difference.  If you can get away with it.

 

Our local library loans out "Kill-A-Watt" electricity measuring devices.  Also the local electric company will most likely have a program to help customers reduce their heating costs as part of the federally-mandated conservation services.  They will have a lot of information on this subject.

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I don't think that's much of a limb. As I said earlier, informed opinion is fairly unanimous on this. Heat loss is proprtional to temperature gradient.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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John_A_Brown wrote:

Anyway, I don't fully understand your point about thermal inertia. Inertia works both ways, surely.

 

Maybe we have different understanding about serious cold weather and serious thermal inertia. That makes for me 23 to -5F (-5 -20C) and 40 metric tons of reinforced concrete for just two floors without considering walls. 

For this real scenario I have  experimented a 2-3 degrees indoor temperature drop after 8 hours (from 21C/70F to 18C/64F), with heat off, when outside temperature was -10C/14F. I have lost only 5% less energy because the thermal losses are given by the temperature difference which changed with only 10%.  I have now 2 options. The first is to turn the heat off for only 6 hours and let the heating go on with 100% duty cycle for next 2 hours to find the house warm and cozy at 21C/70F when I come back, and that makes less than 5% savings. The second option was to stay 2 hours in a not so cozy warmness and save a bit over 5%. I chose the third way: install better windows (which were making 50% of my thermal losses), keep the economy rolling and feel well anytime in that house for whatever time i might still have.

 

For a house with lighter structure the savings are certainly higher and cannot be ignored and the simplest method to check them is to leave the house unheated for 8-12 hours in what anybody names cold weather and then check the indoor temperature drop and the median outdoor temperature. Simple arithmetic will show what savings can be expected and then decide if 5%, 10 or 20% are important or not.

Dor

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It's great to see a thread I started move in so many directions, yet manage to remain on-topic! smiley

 

It has now started to become colder here on Long Island(about time), and the wind has made it feel even colder(ok by me too).  Thing is the house is extremely drafty, and sitting on the couch near the one window at the back of the house is extremely cold as the window is not one of Andersens better units(here before me).  Upon speaking with the neighbors two of them told me that when the idiot that owned the house before me put the new siding on(poorly done too), he did not allow the house to be wrapped with Tyvek before the siding was installed, hence much of the drafting we are experiencing.

 

Basically I am saying that given the layout of the house, and the mess I have been left with from the previous owner, I doubt there will be any real savings by lowering the temp on schedule, then raising it.  I will today though do a "rough run" seeing how long it takes the house to go from 73 to 68, then see how long it takes to bring it back up.  I can also whip up a simple AVR circuit to count how many on/off cycles the plant goes through in a 24 hour period.  Record all of this manually using a PC and pointer stick.  I remember that there is a way for Excel to accept data from a serial port so maybe down the road I could set that up as well.

 

So Jim, are you going to pursue this a little?

I just happen to have a couple of DS18B20's in the parts drawer, and I could drop one in an envelope and send it your way.

Just on the basis of curiosity I am going to but in no way am I going to be as elaborate as some of the ideas on things above.  What I may do though is create a project and post schematics and the crude code I write  for everyone to either use, abuse, or just poke fun of.  The DS18B20 would be an interesting addition as I could encapsulate it in a weather proofing agent with a Tiny that has a usart and using 485 send outdoor temps back to the host(oh dear I fear this is snowballing) that I could display on an LCD.  IF you can part with one that would be nice of you, but at the same time unless the $$ to send it is under $1.00 then I would not waste the resource.  Let me know.

BTW, those are what I used to monitor the hot water tank exhaust flu temperatures, photo in this Thread

That was/is indeed a great thread!

 

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Just an update to this:

 

At 8am my time the thermostat temperature reading was 73F.  I then shut the system down to see how long it would take for the temperature in the house to drop to 66F.  It is now 12:20pm my time and the house is at 66F so 4.5 hours with the outside temperature at 28F.

 

I have been home all day and the walls in the house are to say the least ice cold in some spots.  Especially around the windows.  And the draft felt from the windows makes it difficult to type or use the mouse.  some rooms are colder than others which I expected, but the one thing that is a common is that you can actually feel cold drafts in the house everywhere.

 

Ok, going to turn the heat back on and see how long it takes to get the house back up to 73F

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Ultimately isn't the question about which is more or less:

 

The energy used to keep the house at a consistent temperature the entire time.

-vs-

The difference between energy saved by letting it get cold and the extra energy used to bring it back up to temp for that time.

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I've lost track.  I can see "forced air" and "burner" and fuel and furnace.  What type of fuel?  If natural gas, is your meter of the type where you can get readings?

 

I ask because several times you mentioned counting furnace cycles.  I cannot see how that can be of use in doing tests for setback or not decision.  At least with my furnace, a "cycle" may be a few minutes long on a quiet day and not too cold outside and "steady state"--not a lot of in-and-out through doors and such.  A cycle may also be many minutes when, indeed, the thermostat is turned back up when someone arrives back home.  (While our thermostat does have programmable setpoints our empty-nest house is changed manually due to varying retire/wake/work times.)

 

LOL -- just using your metric and example of 4.5 hours, and 0 cycles during that time, and then one long cycle to bring back to original temperature.  Total cycle count for five hours:  1.

 

During the same period the next day in similar weather conditions and >>not<< setback, how many times will the furnace kick in?  Let's say one per hour.  Total cycle count for five hours:  5.

 

QED, setback is 5x better than not.  ;)

 

 

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Lee,

Forced hot air, call the burner what ever you like :)  Fuel source is Natural gas, and there is a meter on the side of the house that I can get readings off of.  I would have to suspend using anything that needs hot water as that is gas fired, and the clothes dryer to get a decent reading.

 

From 12:20 to 3pm the system has raised the temp four degrees F  This alone does not make it worth setting back the thermostat to say 66 as my intent would have been to raise the setpoint an hour before my child and his mom returned home from their day.  The system is just too small to do that,

 

AS far as cycle times go, they usually last ten minutes and I would have to do a cycle count later tonight when things are back up to normal

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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I just retrieved fresh data from my "Frankendenser" system on my former residence which is now a lease property.  My tenants had to leave for a family emergency and when they did, they shut the heat off last Friday morning.  With frigid temps on the way I turned it back on Tuesday at noon.  Temp inside the (1725 sqft) house was about 52, I set the stat for 65.  It took just under 30 minutes to bring the temp up to setpoint and to settle at about four 5-minute on cycles per hour.  On Wednesday temps started plunging, going from 32 to 14 by midnight and then 12 at 7:00 am Thursday.  At that time the system was running about 2.5 12-minute cycles/hour.

 

The system is a 70kBtu 2-stage gas furnace and custom built 4-ton condensing unit with a Copeland Digital compressor and modulating ECM condenser fan.

You may visit "Frank" at:

http://tulsaelectronics.net/lady

 

The graphs displayed are "Dygraphs" and may be zoomed in on by using the "select" maneuver with your mouse.  Double-click to restore, and the little box in the lower left holds a filter factor that you can change to smooth the graphs.

 

 

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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tpappano wrote:

I just retrieved fresh data from my "Frankendenser" system on my former residence which is now a lease property.  My tenants had to leave for a family emergency and when they did, they shut the heat off last Friday morning.  With frigid temps on the way I turned it back on Tuesday at noon.  Temp inside the (1725 sqft) house was about 52, I set the stat for 65.  It took just under 30 minutes to bring the temp up to setpoint and to settle at about four 5-minute on cycles per hour.  On Wednesday temps started plunging, going from 32 to 14 by midnight and then 12 at 7:00 am Thursday.  At that time the system was running about 2.5 12-minute cycles/hour.

 

The system is a 70kBtu 2-stage gas furnace and custom built 4-ton condensing unit with a Copeland Digital compressor and modulating ECM condenser fan.

You may visit "Frank" at:

http://tulsaelectronics.net/lady

 

The graphs displayed are "Dygraphs" and may be zoomed in on by using the "select" maneuver with your mouse.  Double-click to restore, and the little box in the lower left holds a filter factor that you can change to smooth the graphs.

 

 

Show Off!!!

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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And going too low, for too long, might freeze a water pipe in the north facing wall. That will quickly reduce your savings. :)

It all starts with a mental vision.

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Show Off!!!

Well, it was going to be a simple project, then it sort of snowballed 8)

 

The 'system' has no less than seven Avr's doing various things and talking together via Modbus.  A Raspberry Pi with a piggy backed RTC is set up as a WiFi hotspot and also logs the data onto a usb stick.  I drive by and offload the data into my phone, transmit it to the web/sql server and voila!

 

 Another interesting day was 1 August 2012.  113F was 1 degree short of breaking the all-time high.

 

 

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Tom,

 

What city produced 113F for you? Someone obviously set the dial too high devil

 

Ooops, I guess that might be Tulsa.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Ross

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

Last Edited: Sat. Jan 10, 2015 - 05:53 AM
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We usually have quite a few days over 100 each summer, but usually not that high!  Back in the early '80s I think we set a record for having over 30 straight days over 100, also very unusual.

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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tpappano wrote:

We usually have quite a few days over 100 each summer, but usually not that high!  Back in the early '80s I think we set a record for having over 30 straight days over 100, also very unusual.

 

Maybe that is why my friends, the Shaws, moved to Seattle.... although I think they were already in Saudi in the early 80s.

 

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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The 'system' has no less than seven Avr's doing various things and talking together via Modbus.  A Raspberry Pi with a piggy backed RTC is set up as a WiFi hotspot and also logs the data onto a usb stick.  I drive by and offload the data into my phone, transmit it to the web/sql server and voila!

I remember you having a thread about this some time ago.  Nice to see it worked out.

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Tom that is an amazing project

 

Its the exact type of thing I want to do in order to retrieve remote data

 

Looking at what you have it seems like an enormous amount of work?

 

However I don't have a clue what SQL server really is and I never wrote a program for a PC app so am I right that I am years away from even monitoring a single thermistor remotely? it seems that way

 

 

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Thanks, guys!

The pretty front-end web page stuff was created by my friend Doug.  I only have a minimal grasp of how any this html stuff works.  The "dygraphs"  are a javascript thing that I think is freely available.  A Mac Mini runs MySQL server which handles the database, and Apache which serves the web page.  A couple of small ruby programs are called by the web page to pull the desired data from MySQL, feeding the data to the dygraph scripts which present everything on the screen.

 

My end is the actual system control, data acquisition, and transporting that data to the server.  The original scheme made use of full time internet access so the web page updated in real time.  A ruby daemon on the Mac periodically polled a "device server"* at the remote equipment pulling a simple ascii data string from a small "hmi" module.  The ruby program then opened the SQL database and appended it with the new data packet.  The hmi also has a second RS485 serial port to connect with the controller and assorted data acquisition modules via Modbus.  After we moved out of that house, the internet access was going to go away so I reconfigured the system to buffer data locally, then I would drive by and retrieve it from inside my vehicle using my phone.  I replaced the "device server" with a Raspberry Pi to which I added a real time clock, wifi and flash drive.  The Pi is set up as a router/wifi access point and I simply ssh into it with my phone to offload the data.  The data is then uploaded to the Mac and a manual script appends the new file to the database.

 

* The "device server" was done three different ways over time.  First it was done with "serproxy" running on a FreeBSD server (an old HP "Brio") that hosted my home music system.  Later I replaced it with a tiny little Xport module which worked really nice, then later with a Raspberry Pi, just for fun, running "ser2net".

 

However I don't have a clue what SQL server really is and I never wrote a program for a PC app so am I right that I am years away from even monitoring a single thermistor remotely? it seems that way

Not at all!  This system may seem complicated when you look at the whole thing, but like many things, it is just a bunch of small simple pieces strung together.

 

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Last Edited: Sat. Jan 10, 2015 - 07:22 PM
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Maybe a little bit off-topic, but still food for thought... I am very sensitive to cold. It isn't just uncomfortable - it's painful. The ideal wintertime temperature for me is in the high 70s. Living in New England, I really despise the winters. I like new gadgets, and I was one of the early adopters of setback thermostats. I still have one now because that's about all you can find these days. But I no longer program it. For me, it's just more practical to come home from work or crawl out from under my electric blanket, and turn up the thermostat then and endure the sting of a 55 degree house for a few minutes until it starts warming up. No need to guess when I'll get up or come home. Yes, those few minutes are agonizing - but it's only a few minutes. And a lot of times, I don't even bother turning up the heat at all. If I'm just having breakfast and then going to work, it's only about half an hour. I can deal with it. Maybe when I'm 80 years old, I'll be too frail for this sort of thing, but I don't think so. My grandparents grew up in houses that had no heat overnight, and they handled sub-60 temps just fine when they were in their 80s. 

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Not at all!  This system may seem complicated when you look at the whole thing, but like many things, it is just a bunch of small simple pieces strung together.

It does look complicated and theres a lot of things you mention there which I do not have a clue about but for me wireless connectivity is a very useful thing not to automate the toilet or other pointless things but to control machines and process

 

I have machines running long tests at work right now and I dream of the day I can log in and change things from home

 

I have spent a bit of time looking into it, I have used Xbee series 1 to  wirelessly transmit data to a PC and log through a terminal and I some TI CC3000 breakout boards but using an Xbee to send data to a local PC is nothing compared to interfacing with the web, its all so daunting

 

I would start a thread right now if only I thought I had a chance of doing it, I have a program to read a thermistor, I have hardware, I have quite a few different breakout boards but I still feel like I am light years away in fact it looks absolutely impossible for me

 

I think my Xbee series 6 might be the easiest way to go but its the PC end I do not have a clue about, I wouldnt even know how to send data to my router in the house and retrieve it

 

food for thought

Well I think all the home automation iot stuff is a bit hyped, some of the things they are automating just don't need it but controlling things remotely is a very powerful tool for many areas and its something I must get into

Last Edited: Sat. Jan 10, 2015 - 09:47 PM
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How much you save, depends on the thermal delay of the house and also an the quality (and position of the sensors) of the thermostat: its not a easy task to heat up the house fast without too much overshoot, especially if the sensor is not well placed. Much overshoot can cost you some of the savings.  Often the number give for the thermostat usually give something like  up to 50% less - usually the savings are much less.

 

Another tricky part can be humidity condensing in times its to cold.
 

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This has been an interesting thread so I'll post some my home temperature profile which illustrates the ramp-up / cool down nicely. (My employer's business is environmental monitoring so I keep an N2012 temperature logger running at home, and have lots of data)

 

I've limited the data range to the previous week because it makes for a clearer graph.

 

Home Temperature Graph

Notes:

Heating filres up at 06:30 and switches off at 09:30. At 16:00 it fires up again for the evening session which lasts until 22:50.

On Sunday the 4th A lunchtime boost was used - it was a cold day.

On 8th after reading this thread I tried an experiment by leaving the heating fired up throughout the day.

The big peak on 9th was caused by direct sunlight on the logger,

 

Some other interesting observations are that last year I replaced an old Honeywell bi-metal thermostat for a Drayton electronic device. The bi-metal had severe overshoot and horendous hystereses around the set-point. Look how the electronic thermostat stars to cycle as the ambient reaches 0.5 °C of the set-point in an effort to reduce overshoot, it is successful. Notice also the good stability once the set-point is reached.

 

What is missing though is the heat input over this period. I could then compare the gas used on 8th to that used on previous days. I intend to perform this experiment soon.  The gas valve solenoid power supply is 24 VAC so I'll connect a 24V relay between that and the contact input of another of my employer's products.

 

Nigel

 

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I have spent a bit of time looking into it, I have used Xbee series 1 to  wirelessly transmit data to a PC and log through a terminal and I some TI CC3000 breakout boards but using an Xbee to send data to a local PC is nothing compared to interfacing with the web, its all so daunting

 

I would start a thread right now if only I thought I had a chance of doing it, I have a program to read a thermistor, I have hardware, I have quite a few different breakout boards but I still feel like I am light years away in fact it looks absolutely impossible for me

 

Getting your data across the internet can actually be fairly easy.  If you are used to logging data using a serial connection or an equivalent such as using xbee radios, all you need to do is first: run a "serial proxy" program on most any sort of computer at the remote end.  This is simply a bridge between the computers serial port and ethernet port, which would be connected to the internet.  You would connect the serial port to whatever data acquisition hardware you have.  The serial proxy listens to the ethernet port waiting for messages addressed to the proxy's assigned "port number".  At the "host" PC end, you can, for instance, use a "telnet" program.  You "telnet" to the IP address and port number of the remote system, now your PC's keyboard and display are essentially connected directly to your data acquisition hardware.  Now this is great if the keyboard and display arrangement is all you need, but if you want to automate the process you need to use or create a small program to run on the PC that connects to the remote port, sends the proper commands to your dataq stuff and logs the replies to a file.  Now I have no idea how to do that on a "windoze" PC but Unix, Linux, BSD, etc. already have a C compiler built in and it is a pretty straightforward process to make it work.  Similarly, using Linux, etc. on the remote end makes life pretty easy, too.  There are free serial proxy programs available to load and go, and any piece of junk computer you have that would be useless trying to run windoze will happily run Linux.  For the remote end there are also very slick and tiny device server modules available such as the Lantronix Xport.  I now happen to be very fond of the Raspberry Pis, which pretty much have everything you need (and more) for both ends.  These things are so popular that people have already written software and tutorials for doing just about anything imaginable.  I would start with them since they are cheap and there is so much help available.

 

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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I was only 24 hours from Tulsa.....

 

In addition to what Tom has said, there are a number of web 'software as a service' sites that take care of the logging and give you tools for the visualisations ( graphs etc) and for a small fee you sign up and feed them data in a specific format. The names escape me, but you go searching around Arduino, and they won't be too far away. Having done things similar to Tom is describing and currently my employment is having me write code to manage 1000's of data sources connected via the inter webs, feed it into a database then have a front end that massages the data and presents it via a webpage. I'm having to become an expert in web technologies, a variety of programming languages and database. It's not difficult, but there is a learning curve. Luckily just about every question I've had has been solved by places like Stack Exchange where people have asked the same or similar questions.

 

For something simple for measuring home temp is a weather station. My Oregon Scientific WMR88 talks to a hacked seagate dockstar running wview that logs the data, makes some nice graphs and puts it on a webpage. I have a couple of extra temp/hum sensors - one outdoors and another in another part of the house so I can see outdoor vs indoor temps. I can tell when the swampy is running as the indoor humidity rises and the temperature falls.

 

Last Edited: Sun. Jan 11, 2015 - 12:00 PM
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... for the benefit of our non-American readers... a "swampy" is an evaporative air conditioner.

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Ah, thanks Ross. Now I have a good name for the air-humidifier which I need in the winterseason to keep humidity on an acceptable level.

 

Nard

A GIF is worth a thousend words   They are called Rosa, Sylvia, Tricia, and Ulyana. You can find them https://www.linuxmint.com/

Dragon broken ? http://aplomb.nl/TechStuff/Dragon/Dragon.html for how-to-fix tips

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valusoft wrote:

... for the benefit of our non-American readers... a "swampy" is an evaporative air conditioner.

 

That's what I call the bathroom after my son is done wit his bath......cheeky

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Kartman wrote:
In addition to what Tom has said, there are a number of web 'software as a service' sites that take care of the logging and give you tools for the visualisations ( graphs etc) and for a small fee you sign up and feed them data in a specific format. The names escape me, but you go searching around Arduino, and they won't be too far away.
Xively, ThingSpeak, GroveStreams, and the number of these appears to be increasing.

Atmel is new to mbed, mbed will have a server (hardware, softare) and, IIRC, a value-added service by subscription.

Eclipse.org is also in the IoT run against mbed with the Eclipse IoT stack.

ISPs typically have a small default amount of storage per account with FTP and HTTP (maybe other protocols); that storage can be an interim until the data is moved to local storage (daily, weekly).

Some M2M is as simple as TCP/IP, UDP/IP, or SMS initiated by the machine to a server; data format is whatever.

 

Ref.

element14

All Places > Internet of Things > Blog > 2014 > November > 19

Internet of Things

ESP8266 Wi-Fi + Arduino upload to Xively and ThingsSpeak

Posted by janisalnis in Internet of Things on Nov 19, 2014 1:56:00 AM

http://www.element14.com/community/groups/internet-of-things/blog/2014/11/19/esp8266-wi-fi-arduino-upload-to-xively

Because of that had to look for an alternative IoT proivider.

Digi-Key

Jazz Wireless Data

Pre-Paid SIM Cards for T-Mobile®

http://www.digikey.com/product-highlights/en/prepaid-sim-cards-for-tmobile/52046

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Sun. Jan 11, 2015 - 11:41 PM
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"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Getting your data across the internet can actually be fairly easy.  If you are used to logging data using a serial connection or an equivalent such as using xbee radios, all you need to do is first: run a "serial proxy" program on most any sort of computer at the remote end.  This is simply a bridge between the computers serial port and ethernet port, which would be connected to the internet.  You would connect the serial port to whatever data acquisition hardware you have.  The serial proxy listens to the ethernet port waiting for messages addressed to the proxy's assigned "port number".  At the "host" PC end, you can, for instance, use a "telnet" program.  You "telnet" to the IP address and port number of the remote system, now your PC's keyboard and display are essentially connected directly to your data acquisition hardware.  Now this is great if the keyboard and display arrangement is all you need, but if you want to automate the process you need to use or create a small program to run on the PC that connects to the remote port, sends the proper commands to your dataq stuff and logs the replies to a file.  Now I have no idea how to do that on a "windoze" PC but Unix, Linux, BSD, etc. already have a C compiler built in and it is a pretty straightforward process to make it work.  Similarly, using Linux, etc. on the remote end makes life pretty easy, too.  There are free serial proxy programs available to load and go, and any piece of junk computer you have that would be useless trying to run windoze will happily run Linux.  For the remote end there are also very slick and tiny device server modules available such as the Lantronix Xport.  I now happen to be very fond of the Raspberry Pis, which pretty much have everything you need (and more) for both ends.  These things are so popular that people have already written software and tutorials for doing just about anything imaginable.  I would start with them since they are cheap and there is so much help available.

Its taken me quite sometime to reply in here, sorry about this I am being absolutely harrassed at work, at Uni and at home! I haven't had a spare minute this week

 

I am planning on getting into this at some point this year I will study this subject and familiarise myself with all these things like a telnet program

 

I have lots of hardware already, I have spare PC's at home from back in the day so getting into Linux might be a good thing, I have a raspberry PI that I never used yet and I am thinking that will be the first stop but like I said its all so daunting

 

I love your website Tom and I must say I want one, I want that exact system that you have so whatever that takes so be it the investment in time would be well worth it for me

 

In addition to what Tom has said, there are a number of web 'software as a service' sites that take care of the logging and give you tools for the visualisations ( graphs etc) and for a small fee you sign up and feed them data in a specific format

I have tried them in the past, Xively and it just didnt waork but I only spent a few hours looking at it, the thing is for me is I don't really want to rely on a third party to hold my data, I would prefer it to go where I control i.e my own site or my companies, the use for this is for work and my company have some dreadful IT policies they are terrible and I know for a fact some asshole wouldnt mention some corporate rule which banishes using third party sites, not that it would stop me mind but its better all round to somehow learn how to use the companies infrastructure but that will come later

 

or something simple for measuring home temp is a weather station. My Oregon Scientific WMR88 talks to a hacked seagate dockstar running wview that logs the data, makes some nice graphs and puts it on a webpage. I have a couple of extra temp/hum sensors - one outdoors and another in another part of the house so I can see outdoor vs indoor temps. I can tell when the swampy is running as the indoor humidity rises and the temperature falls.

I will have to start a thread and I hope to see you in there, leave it with me

 

I must say Kartman that you are an impressive engineer (among others here), I dunno how old you are but I am 33 (just a kid to many)  and theres so much I dont know I want to become  more like your goodself

 

Chapman, joey thanks for this, I am looking into this in the short term so lookout for the thread!

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I had a thought this morning, relating to the thread title and original question:  If setbacks did not pay off, then why does every office building I've been associated with have day/night/weekend modes, with adjustment of the heating and cooling setpoints nights and weekends?  Surely, there is a payback or it wouldn't be done.  Or is this all a grand conspiracy and the Earth is flat and the moon landings were done on a movie set in Nevada?

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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It depends on the level of insulation how much setback pays off - as this option comes with most thermostats there are essentially no extra cost. The setback for the weekend is more specific to an office - you don't want that at home. The office may have a rather high number of persons per area during work - so it's not only heating but also ventilation that should adapt. The longer time over the weekend has more time to cool down, thus more possible savings.

 

In a well insulated building the temperature does not drop much over night - so possible savings are low, and may not be worth while programming it.  Fixed times are also not always right - it may cause uncomfortable temperatures  on holidays or unexpected changed schedules. There is also a risk in lowering the temperature to much - humidity can get a problem if it is high already.

 

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Of course they pay off. Take an extreme case. You're only at home on Christmas day. Do you leave the heating at 21 C all the year round, or do you set it for 5 C, say, to guard against frozen pipes for 364 days of the year? I know what I'd do. How about only at home on Sundays? Obviously still a saving, although not a much. Once you get down to being out for a few hours, the saving becomes almost insignificant, but there will still be one. The only reason people have trouble with this is the idea that the house loses all its heat, and it somehow cost more to heat it up again. The point is that it's losing heat all the time it's at 21 C, more heat, in fact, than when it's at 20, 19 18 C etc.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

Last Edited: Thu. Jan 15, 2015 - 09:31 AM
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Bignoob - you're so kind. I was born in the 60s. I'm a born fiddler - i want to know how something works.

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John_A_Brown wrote:

Of course they pay off. Take an extreme case. You're only at home on Christmas day. Do you leave the heating at 21 C all the year round, or do you set it for 5 C, say, to guard against frozen pipes for 364 days of the year? I know what I'd do. How about only at home on Sundays? Obviously still a saving, although not a much. Once you get down to being out for a few hours, the saving becomes almost insignificant, but there will still be one. The only reason people have trouble with this is the idea that the house loses all its heat, and it somehow cost more to heat it up again. The point is that it's losing heat all the time it's at 21 C, more heat, in fact, than when it's at 20, 19 18 C etc.

I agree with this train of thought.  After doing some manual measurements turning back the thermostat in my house is no savings at all.  In fact I think it is the reverse.  I turned off the heat after I got the house to 73F and saw that it took about 4.5 - 5 hours to drop to 66F with the outside temperature at about 25F.  I was able to notice the drafts coming off the ice cold windows, and due to a poor sealing job in the basement there is a draft between the extension crawl space and the main house basement.

 

After it hit 66F my son and his Mom were to be home in an hour and a half so I turned the heat back on and in the hour and a half the temp only rose 2F to 68 with the heat running non-stop.  It took another three and a half hours to get the house back up to 72F.  All this time the house was noticeably cold, and the missus was even colder.

 

Once the house was back up to temp I started logging the run times the following day and I measured that the system turns on an average of three times an hour over a 24 hour time frame with the average runtime of 5 minutes.  Longer at night.

 

So, with that basic, unscientific, bit of research in my situation I am in better shape to leave things alone and just leave the thing be.  I will also have to look into a bigger mechanical plant, and will also have to get back to closing up the drafts, and replacing the windows(THAT and the siding were quoted $20,000).

 

Might have to get a third job just to be somewhat behind on the bills crying

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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will also have to get back to closing up the drafts, and replacing the windows(THAT and the siding were quoted $20,000).

A tighter house is indeed usually "better".  But don't overlook less expensive methods (that might involve more labor).  "Draft dodgers" along door sills.  Simple weatherstripping improvements.  Caulk up unused doors and windows for the winter.  3M "indoor window insulator" or equivalent works very well.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Oh, yeah, you get drafts through outside wall outlets and switch plates?  Those little foam inserts work quite well, are inexpensive, and easy to install.  We also put "unused plug inserts" into the outlets to help further.

 

I'd guess $100 of the above (maybe $200 to get a few cans of Great Stuff too  for the crawl space and sills) and an afternoon of work for the family will perhaps be recouped in a month, given your tale of the time it took to raise house temperature by a few degrees.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Jim,

 

Speaking of ice cold windows reminds me of an earlier discussion... and some figures that I posted.

 

https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...

 

Cheers,

 

Ross

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Hi Jim,

I'm curious about what seems to be a longish recovery time vs. the relatively short duty cycle to maintain setpoint.  I wonder if you might share a little more info on your setup, such as total conditioned square footage, furnace rating, heat and cool or heat only, single or two-story, wood frame w/brick or wood veneer, etc.?
 

Thanks!

 

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Tom,

I finally had some time to get some of the information you asked for

 

Furnace is a Carrier model 58CTA-90 2 stage 47kBtu/71kBtu unit.  To my knowledge the unit only operates on one setting as the gas company, and a heating contractor both said the unit was too small for the house(said on different occasions)

 

House size is about 1500 square feet.  Dining room has vaulted ceiling, master bedroom also has 14 foot vaulted ceiling

 

Heat only - Forced Hot air Not very well balanced (no matter how the vents are opened, or closed)

 

Two Story

 

Wood frame with plywood sheathing, insulation in walls.

 

Andersen replacement windows(the draft off the ice cold glass is very noticeable.

 

Attic with insulation in floor

 

Let me know if you need anything else

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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valusoft wrote:

... for the benefit of our non-American readers... a "swampy" is an evaporative air conditioner.

 

 

Swamp coolers here.  What's amazing is just how well they work in really dry areas (Albuquerque NM in my case).  But as soon as the humidity starts going up...

 

Clint

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John_A_Brown wrote:

Of course they pay off. Take an extreme case. You're only at home on Christmas day. Do you leave the heating at 21 C all the year round, or do you set it for 5 C, say, to guard against frozen pipes for 364 days of the year? I know what I'd do. How about only at home on Sundays? Obviously still a saving, although not a much. Once you get down to being out for a few hours, the saving becomes almost insignificant, but there will still be one. The only reason people have trouble with this is the idea that the house loses all its heat, and it somehow cost more to heat it up again. The point is that it's losing heat all the time it's at 21 C, more heat, in fact, than when it's at 20, 19 18 C etc.

 

exactly!  More importantly, the heat flow rate is given by q_dot = h*A*(T_hot - T_cold).  h is determined by the quality of the house.  A is how much area the walls, ceilings and floors have.  T_hot is the temperature inside (in this case) and T_cold is the temperature outside.  For a given h, A and T_cold, then decreasing T_hot (inside temperature) will decrease the rate that heat flows from inside your house to outside.  Increasing T_cold will do the exact same thing, which is why your heater doesn't run as much in the cool days of spring versus the COLD days of winter.

 

In the real world, this is actually a really nasty area integral because h is not constant for every part of the house (stud versus insulation versus crack in wall versus window versus...) and neither is T_hot nor T_cold.  In addition, no one actually builds a 100% air tight home, so there is also some direct exchange loss of energy taking place as well, also a nasty integral if you wanted to calculate it.  But the important part is the heat loss is always a function of (T_hot - T_cold).

 

There was also some discussion on thermal inertia.  Well, all that does is add a time delay to the heating and cooling taking place.  In the right places with the right weather conditions, you can use this to basically shift the solar heat loads by 12 hours so the heat from the daytime sun starts arriving in the evening when the air is cooling down and the house walls will be coolest when the sun is up and the hottest.  No air conditioning required to maintain a very comfortable house.

 

To deal with thermal inertia in a more normal house, it just means the set points need to change at different times than when you want the temperature to change.  It takes three hours for your house to heat up from the (let's say) 5C setback?

 

Ok.

 

If you want it to be warm again when the alarm goes off at 6am, then set the heat back to the warm condition at 3am.

 

You want it to be cool when you go to bed at 11pm and it takes 2 hours for the house to cool down from the warm set-point (obviously "average" times) to the cool set-point?

 

Ok.

 

Set the heat back to the cool setting at 9pm.

 

It still works the same.  It is only a waste of time when the time you want the house at a different temperature is short compared to the time to heat and cool the home.  It has to sit at the T_cold temperature to get the savings.  Just cooling it off and heating it right back up saves nothing to speak of.

 

 

Clint

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Not running the heat saves energy.

 

Turning off your lights during the day saves power too, even if you have to reheat tungsten from a lower temperature.

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For a long enough day. But since a cool filament has a lower resistance, dropping the duty cycle to e.g. half would end up using more than half the average current.

 

That is, if the days are short relative to the cooling time of the filament {:P

 

 

Last Edited: Wed. Feb 4, 2015 - 06:35 PM
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Here's what I think would be a win down here in the swamp... a thermostat with an algorithm. If its 96F out and 90% humidity, its absoulutely lovely inside at 80F and 60% humidity. In the spring and fall, its lovely 73F out and dry, then there is a rain, and it gets all muggy, closeing the windows and running the AC to just drop the temp 2 deg below outside gets the humidity out. So in general, the thermostat senses temp and RH and just keeps the inside temp a little below the outside temp in the summer.

 

Imagecraft compiler user

Last Edited: Fri. Feb 6, 2015 - 07:04 PM
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bobgardner wrote:

Here's what I think would be a win down here in the swamp... a thermostat with an algorithm. If its 96F out and 90% humidity, its absoulutely lovely inside at 80F and 60% humidity. In the spring and fall, its lovely 73F out and dry, then there is a rain, and it gets all muggy, closeing the windows and running the AC to just drop the temp 2 deg below outside gets the humidity out. So in general, the thermostat senses temp and RH and just keeps the inside temp a little below the outside temp in the summer.

 

Yeah, but how are you going to debounce it Bob?

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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jgmdesign wrote:
...  If I was to set a schedule to lower the setpoint of the house to let's say 68F while no one is home, and then say at 3pm change the setting back to 73F would the burner use more fuel to bring the house up the 5 degrees as opposed to simply leaving things as they are? 

Sustaining a higher temperature will always use more fuel, and cost you more. (unless some very strange price curves exists @ 3pm)

 

Think of your house as a leaky bucket.

Those leaks, drain faster on a more-filled bucket.

 

This is why the ancient fixed-level thermostats are actually a really dumb idea. People are too lazy to change them.

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You Englishmen have a different sense of humor.Do you carry a shooting stick to the zoo so you can torment the cats behind bars? Anyway, the infrared camera on the roof is a great idea. Old windows with aluminum frames are a heat pipe directly from in to out and just hemmorage BTUs. Double pane and vinyl is the modern way.

Imagecraft compiler user

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Bob, you had me rolling around in hysteresis!

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"Old windows with aluminum frames"

My windows are single-glazed timber frames. No vinyl in 1894. Folks had to make do with CDs.

 

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Some good posts about heat flow in this thread. Edit thread title so future searches can find 'thermostat'

 

Imagecraft compiler user

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Youre in luck! I have engineering background in this exact topic.

 

Yes. No. (TWO answers for the price of one- a bargain!)

 

A programmable thermostat allows basically turning the heating system on and off, or changing temperatures depending on time of day. If youre not home, turn the temp down it will save fuel.

 

The more exact term is "setback" i.e. setting the temperature "back" a few degrees. This results in a lower delta-T between, as someone noticed, the indoor and outdoor temps and as the Laws of Thermodynamics

hint, a larger delta T drives more losses and losses cost money.

 

This is not the root problem. The root problems are two-fold and extremely non obvious without research in this field.

 

The obvious is the insulation in the house. Not readily change-able.

 

The non obvious factors are:

 

1. efficiency of the heating system. An electric furnace is 100 pct efficient. Modern computerized gas furnaces are upwards of 95+ pct. efficient and for the relatively low cost to install one, a real money saver over

an old 65-80 pct. furnace.

 

2. Here's where it gets weird. Every house has a max temperature that it 'wants' to be heated to and not a degree more. Above that, energy is forced out the multitude of cracks and openings in the house.

Differential pressure, NOT differential TEMPERATURE (!). Ive seen old leaky houses that would not go above 68 degr. F no matter how hard they were pushed. Above that is beating the proverbial 'dead horse.'

 

3. A *major* loss is simply opening a door to enter or exit, that allows a huge amount of cold air to enter in the winter, especially into a room with a vaulted ceiling. On computer data collecting testing we did, a certain test house

took 15 minutes furnace run time to recover from a person simply coming in and closing the front door. This was a new well insulated house in 1996.

 

So, yes, if it can be used to set-back the indoor temperature for a significant time through the day.

 

 

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This was a new well insulated house in 1996.

At McMurdo Station? 

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Jim,

 

I tried similar experiments myself years ago in a house I owned which had an oil-fired hot water furnace. I tried for 2 or 3 years to determine answers to the same questions you pose.

 

My conclusion was that it is very simple and inexpensive for all parties on the "selling side" of heating (and cooling) services to blurt out such simplistic platitudes as: "Turn down your thermostat during the day while you are away.", "Replace your windows with our quadruple-glazed, argon-filled, palladium-coated super panels.", "Purchase our super-efficient Amish electric heater and save 50% on your electric bill!" (even if you have oil heat?),etc,etc,etc.

 

All, are easy to say, but how do you prove any of these statements are anywhere near correct? You are finding, as I found, that these questions are a lot easier to ask, than to answer scientifically.

 

Here were my broad conclusions from my study:

 

A. The data must be taken on a long term basis. E.g. compare the total amount of gas you burn for the month of February one year against the amount you burn in subsequent years for the same time period. You must have a good source for determing the actual "adjusted" degree days which your house experiences. That is, outside temperature, integrated over time and modified by instantaneous wind speed. I am told modern digital weather stations have this capability.  Measure you gas consumption by attaching an elapsed hour meter to your the gas valve on your furnace. With a little math this total time will tell you how many cubic feet of gas your burner used in the same time period. Then you can calculate how many cubic feet of gas, and thus dollars, it cost you to keep you house at a given temperature or temperature profile. Use a different temperature maintainence method for each time period in subsequent years. I.e. one year use constant thermostat setting, the next use unoccupied set-back. Yes, it will take you a long time to come up with a credible answer. You might justifyably wonder how the purveyor of the original advice "proved" it was correct advice in the first place.

 

B. There are so many variables involved in the experiment, you will probably never get a realistic answer to the original questions. Examples of such variables are, how long the cooking oven and range are in operation during the test period (every time you use your oven and range, you are adding heat to your house from another source and the thermostat will not trigger as much heat from the gas furnace). Ditto for how many times you open and close your entrance doors and how long they are open when you do. Likewise, for curtained and uncurtained windows and how long the curtains are closed vs open during the testing period. And don't forget how many times you open and close your refrigerator, or turn on an auxilliary electric space heater. All add to the ambiguity of the measured test data.

 

C. Final Conclusion - there is no final conclusion, just better-informed hunches. Expect anyone who is trying to sell you something which will purportedly save you energy dollars to present specious ( look up this word in your Funken Wagnalls ) scientific proofs and platitudes which are intended to justify your purchase of said equipment, and assure you of your astute technical judgment for purchasing same.  Proving you spent your money on something which actually delivers what was promised with such feigned certainty is a whole other matter.

 

 

 

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Agreed.

 

My answer for the moment is that the house cannot climb from 66 to 73 in less than 5 or six hours.  PERIOD.  Whatever the reason, it's a moot point.  When it gets warmer outside, and I have the $$ I will have to replcace the siding, and some structural repairs and at that time I may change the windows, and I most certainly will make sure the house gets the Tyvek wrap.

 

Other than that I shall just keep things as they are and say Oh Well.

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Ah Yes, the Tyvek wrap. The stuff that prevents wind from blowing thru plywood and other solid sheet materials. How do you suppose they accomplish that miracle of modern science?

 

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I know the parallel resistor formula. Evidently, a wall, floor, ceiling, and window can be modeled as an R by multiplying area by R factor, So total heat flow is the parallel equivalent of all the Rs in parallel. There are some programs to calc heat load. But it seems like the smallest R value is the problem. If you have a bunch of 16 ohm speakers in parallel and one 4 ohm speaker, its going to hog all the watts/current/juice. So find the smallest area x R and insulate it. Less BTUs flows thru it.

 

Imagecraft compiler user

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BTU ? Bachman turner underdrive?

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So Bob, should I fill my wall cavities with 1 Ohm resistors or 1 MegaOhm resistors?

 

Are you suggesting we should bolt speakers to the inside wall surfaces to repel the cold waves outwards? Very clever!

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My house has a large picture window in the living room, 10 feet wide.

We suffered with the old single pane leaky thing for years, then finally got a nice vinyl low E argon filled window.

Let me tell you, I don't know if our heating bill changed but it is sure a lot more comfortable in the living room.

 

the old window felt cold, you could feel the outside temperature right through it.

The new one feels as warm as the wall, if it's cold or hot outside it feels fine inside.

Well worth the cost, even if I don't save a penny on fuel.

Keith Vasilakes

Firmware engineer

Minnesota

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Lets say its a 96 deg day in Florida. The attic might be 126 or 136, right inside under that we are trying to get 76. Big difference. Now all the walls have more surface area, and maybe not as much R, but there's less diff   96 outside to 76 inside. Same with the floor ground might be 72 so not much flow from 76 inside. Situation is different up North.

Imagecraft compiler user