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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 08:52 AM   #21
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
Are you really likely to save more energy by by going down to 55 at night and then bringing it back up to 70, versus lowering it to, say, 60? Isn't it going to take more energy to get the house back up 15 degrees rather than 5 or 10?
I took a heat transfer class once, although it was 15 years ago and I usually can't remember what I did yesterday... :P

It takes more energy to raise the house temperature from 55 to 70 than from, say, 65 to 70, but that's offset by the energy you didn't use as the house cooled from 70 to 55.

Where you save energy is on the reduced heat transfer between your house and the outside. The rate of heat transfer depends on the difference in temperatures between the two sides, so while the house is at 55 degrees you are losing less heat to the outside than when the house is at 70 degrees.

That's a technical way of saying, a hot house loses more heat than a cool house, which is probably what I should've said in the first place...

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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 09:13 AM   #22
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

I did a sort of study, which is at least applicable if you have a fairly energy efficient house in a moderate climate. It was part of my thread on the electricity measuring device I bought, about 2-3 months ago (the "kill-a-watt").

I put the kill a watt on my furnace and measured its electricity use for 24 hours without a setback (leaving it at 69 degrees) and with a setback (to 65). Figuring (without dissenting argument) that if the furnace was on, it used electricity; if off, it didnt. So measuring the electricity was an implicit measurement of how long the furnace ran in aggregate.

Without pulling up the thread, the usage in the 24 hour period with the setback was ~ 30% lower than without it.

Colder house, colder climate, different energy efficiency, maybe different #'s. I also want to do a run with 3-4 days at similar temperatures to get a better sample than 24 hours.

About the only thing I can think of in this area is the time of the setback. Air heats up pretty fast. The "stuff" in your house like furniture, floors, walls and so forth take a long time to cool off and a long time to warm back up. In a very cold environment like MN or new england, with a house with very little insulation, maybe the "stuff" gets pretty cold pretty fast and the furnace has to work really hard to warm it all back up in the morning, vs maintaining the 'status quo'.

But then again, my knowledge of thermodynamics extends just as far as being able to read a thermometer fairly accurately.
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 10:12 AM   #23
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

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Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
Without pulling up the thread, the usage in the 24 hour period with the setback was ~ 30% lower than without it.
Neat study. I wish there was an easy way to make a Kill-A-Watt for natural gas...

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
The "stuff" in your house like furniture, floors, walls and so forth take a long time to cool off and a long time to warm back up. In a very cold environment like MN or new england, with a house with very little insulation, maybe the "stuff" gets pretty cold pretty fast and the furnace has to work really hard to warm it all back up in the morning, vs maintaining the 'status quo'.
I'm pretty sure the energy used to heat up your "stuff" in the morning is balanced by the heat that was emitted by your "stuff" as the house cooled down. AFAIK, setting the thermostat as low as possible, for as long as possible, is always the best bet for saving energy... unless you have a heat pump and it turns on the "emergency backup heat" when you ask for a large increase in temperature.

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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 10:23 AM   #24
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

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Originally Posted by Nords


It may be 55 on the thermometer, but what's the temperature of the water inside the pipe that's farthest from the thermometer? Is anything up there at risk of freezing?

Our pipes never freeze, even if it is 30 below outside. The key is never put plumbing on outside walls. Even when our kitchen is in the low 40s, the pipes are just fine.
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 10:47 AM   #25
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

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Originally Posted by sc
Neat study. I wish there was an easy way to make a Kill-A-Watt for natural gas...
Yeah, I couldnt measure the gas, but I figured if the furnace is running for an hour, its using "an hours worth of gas". If its only running a half hour, its using half that. Maybe some furnaces use a variable burner and I know some have variable rate fans, which means that some times those might use more gas (and electricity) per hour, or disassociate the gas and electricity use. Mine has a fixed burner and only one speed.
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 11:37 AM   #26
 
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

I kept the fire going a little longer last night, and today it was 61 degrees in the morning. Temp outside was about the same as night before.

The big payoff for us in not using the central furnace is that we can go for a whole year without refilling our 300 gal propane tank, and thus buy at the low summer prices.

Cube-rat, you might consider running your central heating a few minutes a month. I've heard that prolonged inactivity can cause problems (dust, rust, bust).
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 11:42 AM   #27
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

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Originally Posted by cube_rat
We don't ever use central heating. Ever.
Same here.
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 01:48 PM   #28
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

Al speaks wisely. Run it for about 10 minutes every now and then. I even turn mine on in mid summer for about 10-15 minutes once or twice. You can get some condensation inside the case and it doesnt hurt the motors to do a few turns periodically.
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 02:04 PM   #29
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl

Cube-rat, you might consider running your central heating a few minutes a month.* I've heard that prolonged inactivity can cause problems (dust, rust, bust).
Yep, you're correct. However, I'm downright scared to turn on the heating system.

We had a horrific carpenter ant problem when we moved in our place. Once the nests were nuked in the treestumps outside, we had multitudes of carpenter ants (at various stages of development...it was weird indeed :P) come in through our vents to try and escape their demise. The eventually died and I was forever vacuuming carcasses. I'm worried about turning on the heat and having carcasses blow out through the vents. I can't seem to convince DH to go into the attic to clean up dead bodies.

Oh well, I guess I should open my umbrella and turn on the heat.
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?
Old 02-21-2006, 05:05 PM   #30
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Re: 55 Degrees Bad For House?

Growing up, my parents didn't have a pot to pee in so the heat was turned OFF at night and this was in Indiana. Our house was none the worse for wear!
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