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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 03:28 PM   #61
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Re: heating bills

Thanks Greg..

I actually have a programmable thermostat, but I don't like the heat to turn on until I wake up. It wakes me up.
Same with going to bed, I turn it off when I go to bed which can be different times every day. During the day I do use the thermostat though.

I'll have to look for a battery. For some reason I thought it was hard wired...
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 03:51 PM   #62
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Re: heating bills

We had an oversized 2 car garage added to the back of our house and my spouse spends quite a bit of time there. He has a wall mounted gas heater which he likes to keep on throughout the winter. I do not like it to be on when he is not in the garage, because I do not completely trust the thing and I am afraid that it will catch the house on fire somehow. He keeps his 72 corvette parked in it and says that he has to leave the heat on because it is fiberglass and it would be bad for it to be kept in the cold. I don't know about these things. Is he pulling my chain or is he correct?

Also, I have been afraid to turn the thermostat down too low in the house because of our 5 cats. I normally turn the thermostat to 66 at night and while we are gone. How cold is too cold for cats? If they were to get sick, vet bills are definitely not cheap!

Dreamer
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 04:40 PM   #63
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Re: heating bills

They only need batteries to retain settings in memory during a power outage.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 05:20 PM   #64
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Re: heating bills

Sounds like many of you need to consider the snow/bird thing.* We just bought a second home in Central Florida.* Closed the house in Michigan, blew out the pipes and left.* Weather was 85 here today.* *8)
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 05:48 PM   #65
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTien
Dang it you guys - mine's, only 5.5 incheshp - my wife calls it Toro, I call it my little friend.....You guys must really get a lot of throw with your equipment. I have to eventually shovel the top of the snowbanks in a good snow year inorder to continue clearing....
Greg - it's cool when the world comes to a stop after a really good snow...kids listening to the radio for school closings and me for work closing...well, not anymore
SteveR - 120 feet? Man you need a plow!
Dan: It sounds like you only have a one-stage thrower. You need the two-stage(w/ an impeller) to really get the distance. I really like all the little motorized thingys sometimes. If they could put some sort of doo-hicky gas motor on a toilet seat, that might be heaven.

You're right about the nicest part of winter being after a big snow fall: Hardly a sound or movement outside, and when someone does walk by all you hear is the crunch of snow. No harshness at all.

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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 11:12 PM   #66
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTien
Dang it you guys - mine's, only 5.5 incheshp - my wife calls it Toro, I* call it my little friend.....You guys must really get a lot of throw with your equipment. I have to eventually shovel the top of the snowbanks in a good snow year inorder to continue clearing....
Greg - it's cool when the world comes to a stop after a really good snow...kids listening to the radio for school closings and me for work closing...well, not anymore*
SteveR - 120 feet? Man you need a plow!
Plow won't work ...no place to move it too once you have 4-5 foot piles around the driveway. A blower is the only way to move it out of the way. Otherwise, Ica n't get my truck off the road and it is only one lane wide. No snowblower means no access without a snowmobile...mine is in the cabin so I have to get there first.

Greg....snow angels gets to be pretty interesting in 8 feet of power snow. They would not find you until spring.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 01:11 AM   #67
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaDave
First job out of grad school was Owens-Corning and got some decent experience on myths about heat loss.* A memory now but here are some highlights:

Set back thermostats are obvious* but window-door replacement versus other things to do is not so obvious.

Air infiltration is usually the biggest culprit.* R40 walls and gas back-filled low E glass won't do didly without a properly sealed house, especially if your winters have much wind. Ceilings and basements often have more convective losses than leaks around windows and doors, which most people don't realize.* A blower door test is a great way to find out.* Here is a DOE link that might help:

http://www.eere.energy.gov/weatheriz...ower_door.html

Some other good links on the site.* I'm sure there is other info out there.* I built a superinsulated home back in NY in 1988 (about a third of it myself).* R40walls/R60ceilings with thermal breaks, Techy glass, sealed to less than something like 1/15th air change/hr, special heat exchange unit to get controlled air changes, ultra-efficiency furnace, and a whole house humidifier and air-filtration.* * *Sounds complex but not that difficult to do on new home construction.* Heating-cooling bill was next to nothing and you didn't have to do the whole solar orientation thing. Very comfortable house.* I suspect this technology will come back into vogue.* The Swedes have been building like this for decades.
Dave is 100% correct; seal up the infiltration first because it offers the best payback.

Most heating/supply duct systems leak, sealing the leaks can help quite a bit.

Set-back thermostats do save money.

Electric water heater timers can help reduce standby losses. Mosy electric water heaters have no bottom insulation. Setting the tank on a one inch base of styrofoam will also reduce standby losses. DON'T SET A GAS WATER HEATER ON STYROFOAM!

Lance
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 05:07 AM   #68
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by kowski
Sounds like many of you need to consider the snow/bird thing.* We just bought a second home in Central Florida.* Closed the house in Michigan, blew out the pipes and left.* Weather was 85 here today.* *8)
I had a sharp "contractor type" out here the other day to discuss
what to do when we head south. Blowing out the pipes was one option, and I suppose the safest as this place is not well
insulated. In fact, before I bought it, frozen pipes was one of the
major worries (turned out to be a non-issue). Anyway, my choices are

1. Blowing out all the pipes

2. Moving the thermostat so as to heat only those parts of the house that need heat (removes about 25% of floor space).

3. Turning the heat down a bit and hoping for the best.

Numbers 2 and 3 would include sealing all cracks and drafts.
Number seems the most fool-proof.

We're only going for 2 months this year. Any thoughts?

JG
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 07:21 AM   #69
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Re: heating bills

John, I take it that you can't simply drain the system and need to "blow" the pipes out. I am not sure why you can just drain the system via gravity and then put rv anitfreeze in the P-traps. Do you have your own well? The big problem is getting all the water out of the pump if it is above frost level--whether you drain out or blow out your pipes.

I would move the thermostat to an area that needs heating and close off the rest of the house.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 08:06 AM   #70
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Re: heating bills

Regarding leaving a house empty for extended periods in the winter (in Wisconsin in my case), I've never done it for more than a few weeks in the past, but am contemplating it this year -maybe for a month or more. I've always wondered what would happen if I drained the pipes etc. and turned the heat (almost) off. Wouldn't there be risk of condensation or walls cracking or (?) or am I just a world-champion worrier (yes). I do know that my insurance company only covers "accidents" during vacations of one month or less. And I guess some policies don't even cover loss from water leaks when you're gone. Makes you feel real good.

-m
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 08:10 AM   #71
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
Sealed buildings are great BUT you need to watch humidity. A building needs to breathe OUT to expire the moisture generated by heating and human occupation. Failure to account for that is the primary cause of the dry rot many are seeing in buildings (and perhaps contributing to molds).

Hubby and I had a condo in Sunriver (near Bend, OR) before the micoporus membranes for construction were developed. The weather there is very cold in the winter, warm and dry in the summer. It had an appliance that de-humidified in the winter, humidified in the summer.


I guess I am a bit confused on the winter out there because cold temps reduce water vapor content of air drastically. We run dehimidifiers or AC in warmer weather when the RH (relative humidity) is high, and humidifiers in the winter when it's pretty dry.

Air barriers on the cold side of the envelope are designed to trap air but let water vapor through while plastic barriers (or kraft paper) on the warm side of the envelope seal both air and water vapor from getting to cold side. Water vapor getting into cold areas from the warm side of the envelope condenses and creates a mess. That was a problem with early synthetic stuccos, because the exterior polymer coating inadvertently sealed water vapor from the cold side instead of the warm side.

I have never heard of a heating system adding moisture to a house in winter unless it has a built-in humidifier (but then I'm always learning something new). People add moisture but not that much unless the showers run all day and you have lousy bathroom venting. Of course if you have high outdoor humidity levels in the northwest during the winter that could be your real source of humidty in the house (just like the east coast in a rainy warm period) but hard to imagine that with very cold temps. In the northeast you need to add humidity to your house in the winter (just think about dry throats and shrinking flooring and hotel rooms), but you're right in that adding too much moisture will create problems. We kept ours at ~25-30% RH in the winter by running a whole-house humidifier with a humidistat but remember that depends on proper water vapor sealing on the warm side and a well insulated home. You could have perfect vapor barriers on the warm side, but 25% RH on a 10 deg F day with single pane glass will create a dripping mess. A well insulated house that is properly sealed for air infiltration and water vapor containment, needs air changes for air quality not to reduce moisture buildup.

Cntrolling humidity in a house has always been trickier than controlling heat loss but it makes a huge difference in comfort and still costs energy $ to do.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 08:34 AM   #72
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha


I would move the thermostat to an area that needs heating and close off the rest of the house.*
That's what I think we will do. I never drained the pipes before and it sounds complicated. Plus I was told that we need to "blow out the
water" (we have our own well, pump, etc) this implies pressure.
And, I do know enough to know that pressure alone will not empty
every nook and cranny, thus some draining required. If we ever
go south for the whole "season" maybe I will study this more closely.

JG
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 09:05 AM   #73
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Re: heating bills

JG: Winterizing is all a matter of juggling risks. If your outside temps won't fall below say 20 degrees over the next two months and you have cast iron water pipes, then you could easily risk not completely draining, or blowing out the system. A little unpressurized ice in the pipes shouldn't crack them. The serious damage usually occurs when the ice gets down to -20 and has no where to expand except against the pipe walls. PVC or copper pipes are more fragile. Walk thru your system and imagine each possibility at each temperature change before deciding what's needed. You still need to think about the water pump, which is loaded with more delicate parts, and the hot water heater. Good luck.

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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 10:35 AM   #74
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbrane
Regarding leaving a house empty for extended periods in the winter (in Wisconsin in my case), I've never done it for more than a few weeks in the past, but am contemplating it this year -maybe for a month or more. I've always wondered what would happen if I drained the pipes etc. and turned the heat (almost) off. Wouldn't there be risk of condensation or walls cracking or (?) or am I just a world-champion worrier (yes). I do know that my insurance company only covers "accidents" during vacations of one month or less. And I guess some policies don't even cover loss from water leaks when you're gone. Makes you feel real good.

-m
We had a log cabin in northern Wisconsin that we winterized when we weren't going to use it for a winter. Drained all the plumbing, including the waterheater, took off the pump, and put rv antifreeze in the p-traps. Turned the heat off entirely. Many of our friends do the same. No problems. The only minor issue was that the cabin had a walkout basement and the basement got quite cold in the winter. This meant it took quite a while to warm up in the spring, which did cause some condensation in the spring from differences in temperature in the basement. Nothing a dehumidifier couldn't cure.

One year we partially winterized. We drained the upstairs plumbing but continued to heat the basement, where we had a second bathroom, and where the waterheater and water pump were located. Kept the heat on at about 45 degrees. No problems at all. Worked nice because it made it easy to visit during the winter.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 11:48 AM   #75
 
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Re: heating bills

Dreamer, INAV (I'm not a vet) but I'd say you don't have to worry about your cats getting too cold. We've had cats that stay outside at night in the snow. We also had a cat that would climb under our covers and sleep under there (by our feet).

If you have an insulated box somewhere in the house, they could always curl up in there if they were too cold.

I find that the colder it is in the house at night the better we sleep.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 12:23 PM   #76
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Re: heating bills

My $0.02 worth...

Back when, a friend moved his mobile home to a site on his parents' homestead. Since he was poor, he only had a portion of the LP tank filled. As luck would have it, the tank ran dry on the coldest night in recorded history, and basically the place was "heat-free" the rest of the winter. Come spring thaw, the only damage was to one of the washing machine hoses.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 01:03 PM   #77
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Re: heating bills

Re Sunriver: during the winter it snows a lot, it was a vacation home. People enter the home with snow on their shoes and clothing. Occupants cook, which generates humidity. Resparation generates humidity. The condo had high use on the weekends, come Sunday everyone left. Closed doors, shut windows - tight as a bottle.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-09-2005, 11:02 PM   #78
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer
We had an oversized 2 car garage added to the back of our house and my spouse spends quite a bit of time there.* He has a wall mounted gas heater which he likes to keep on throughout the winter.* I do not like it to be on when he is not in the garage, because I do not completely trust the thing and I am afraid that it will catch the house on fire somehow.* He keeps his 72 corvette parked in it and says that he has to leave the heat on because it is fiberglass and it would be bad for it to be kept in the cold.* I don't know about these things.* Is he pulling my chain or is he correct?*

Also, I have been afraid to turn the thermostat down too low in the house because of our 5 cats.* I normally turn the thermostat to 66 at night and while we are gone.* How cold is too cold for cats?* If they were to get sick, vet bills are definitely not cheap!

Dreamer
Let me see if I can help you Dreamer.
First, regarding the corvette, as a past and present owner of corvettes I can tell you that your husband is not pulling your chain.* The corvette must remain warm even if it means the family must suffer in the cold.* If the vette gets too cold it can literally explode into a brazilion tiny plastic pieces.* I have found that applying a light coat of corona on the plastic body will offer additional protection during cold snaps.* I recommend you be supportive by leaving a fresh six pak on the garage steps each Friday.

Concerning your question about "how cold is too cold for cats"
I don't consider myself an expert on this issue,* but* when growing up a boyhood friend of mine placed the family cat in the freezer for a little over an hour.* For certain, that was too long.
Hope this helps!
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-10-2005, 01:34 AM   #79
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Re: heating bills

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Originally Posted by MRGALT2U
2.* Moving the thermostat so as to heat only those parts of the house that need heat (removes about 25% of floor space).
John, moving the thermostat is a one time expense but will yield an ongoing savings/convenience.

Personally, I would be comfortable with a "gravity" pip draining and pouring some antifreeze in the traps. Then you are also protected if an extended power outage occurs...

My two satang,

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Re: heating bills
Old 10-10-2005, 07:37 AM   #80
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Re: heating bills

I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard that with some heating sources, such as heat pumps, that you're better off just leaving the thermostat alone. I think the rationale is that the energy you save by cutting the heat back at a certain time is offset when the system has to work its butt off to get back up to a more comfortable temperature. Heat pumps often take awhile to react though, which may be part of the problem.

One nice thing about oil heat, and I guess natural gas is like this too, is that once you crank up the thermostat, it only take a short while to get the house nice and comfy again. Even my old house, with its drafty windows and sporadic use of insulation.
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