You are currently browsing indianasolar’s articles.

That is what has become of this blog. Mothballed.

Please continue to read some of the achieved posts. If you have questions, please ask. I should be able to respond in a timely fashion.

Enjoy!

After YEARS of thinking about it I finally purchased one! So what did I buy. I really wanted the the between the truss system by Century Homestead.  But I had a few problems with that system. First was cost. After tax and shipping, it was going to cost close to $1100. That is a lot of bling! Second, I am the only one that is going to install this. No one is going to help me. The thought of man handling a 78 lbs fan through a very small opening did not sound like my idea of a good time. Next, installation. I am sure I could have handled it fine but for that kind of money I could have something installed by someone else. (That thought still sounds great but I do like the DIY thing, just not as much as I used to.) Having to frame and seal everything is just too involved. Last, this is a big one, free venting area inside the attic. I have tried to calculate my free vent area and I can not be sure I have enough for the 30″ or 36″ fans. I have a ridge vent and soffit vent system. I can easily get the ridge vent number, it is 5 sq. ft. But the soffit vents, that is harder. Common sense tells me double the ridge vent number. That would mean a balanced system but I can not be 100%. This means I have just enought vents (10 Sq. ft.)  to run the 30″ 1/3HP fan. While not bad, it would still cost about $950 and not be equal to the 36″ 1/2HP fan.

So, I decided on the QC 2250. Cost was $550, shipped and it comes with a wireless remote. It moves 2285 CFM of air as compared to 7600 CFM from the 30″ 1/3HP traditional whole house fan. One person reported 3000 CFM, so we will see. The grille size is much smaller, 16″x20″. The other grille 24″ x 38″ The unit should be as quite or quieter then the traditional whole house fan route. Installation should be easier and quicker. The really nice thing is, if I like the unit and I think adding another would cool the house even faster I can just buy another . I would place that one in the hallway between the kids room.

Now, I will have to modify how I use the fan since it is smaller. The plan as I see it now, is to cool the two kids room first by only opening those windows. Then after they are asleep, close them up and open the master bedroom windows. After the master is cooled then open the basement window and let the basement, first floor and second floor cool all night long. Shut the house up in the morning and do it again the next evening. I will post my thoughts and feelings after I get it installed.

But this does have me thinking about a solar attic fan. I think that will have to wait until I replace the furnace with a heat pump. Then the furnace chimney will come down and the solar attic fan can fill the hole in the roof. This will then at least another foot of venting free air. (after the sun sets anyway.)

Really thinking about it. This morning is a great example. The current temperature is not cool by any stretch but 65 degrees is still very nice when you expect a high today of 88 degrees. I am thinking of purchasing a single speed belt drive fan from Triangle Fan. Now comes the crazy part. I am going to replace the single speed motor with a three phase motor off of eBay and then drive that motor with a variable frequency drive, also from eBay. All that costs only a few dollars more then purchasing a two speed fan model. Yes, I am that crazy.

I am also looking at installing everything between the roof trusses. That means I have to angle the fan but I can live with that. It will mean a smaller hole in the ceiling. Since I have decided to place the fan in the upstairs laundry room, the smaller ceiling opening means I don’t have to move the light and I still have enough space to mount cabinets. (I have had that project for almost ten years now.)

If I can just get these sales people to get back with me! I want to buy your stuff. Take my money. If they ever get back with me, I will post a nice how to, no installing a whole house fan.

I still think about a whole house fan every week or so. It is a double bonus, cool air brought into the house thru the windows and the hot air is pushed out of the attic. I know I can not get one that cuts a huge hole in the ceiling. They move a ton of air but a 36″ x 36″ hole is just too big! They are also too noisy from what I have gathered. My mother has a direct drive unit that is very loud on high. (You can not have a conversation under it, for sure.) There are many options to choose from but I keep coming back to a ducted unit by Quite Cool. If fits between the joists. Because it is ducted, it is very quite. I bet if I opened the window in the basement and pulled the cold air (basement is always below 70 degrees) I may not need to run the air until it gets over 85 outside.

I am still thinking about some crazy garage mounted unit. If I sleep on that one then maybe I can figure it out.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of ground mounting solar panels.

The two major benefits of ground mounting are optimal tilt / adjustable tilt and ease of maintenance. The only drawbacks I can see are space and cost.

Personally, ground installation wins hands down becuase I could do most of the work. (This negates the cost issue.) Here is a great link to someone who did just that. His total cost was $6500 for a 2150 Watt array, Installed! I too would go the route of wooden frame. I think a solar pergola would be great!

Not in a good way. I am going to use 65 kW hours today! We had my son’s birthday party. (12 guests) It was 97 degrees outside. We made two cakes in the oven. The old record was more like 50 kW hours. This cost about $7. By my estimate, I used 30 to 35 kW hours just for air conditioning. One of these days I will replace the old A/C unit but it continues to work well. But, I like to replace before a major failure forces my hand.

I got a crazy idea. Well not original but still crazy. Back in college we use to put out a small pool every summer. At night it would get cold in that pool. So we would duck tape the hose to the kitchen sink and turn on the hot water. It was a complete waste of natural resources and we did not have a clue about it, we were kids in school. Sooo, some time later I can use that experience with my kids. As we all know the water from the hose is very cold. Why not fill the pool with hot water? Because that would be a waste right. No, not in my case. Why? Because I have a hot water heat pump. That’s right. Heat goes into the water and cold air comes out the top. Since that cold air is going to offset my whole house AC system it does not waste anything or cost anything extra.

So I heated the pool for my 4 year old daughter. She loved it! No, I did not duct tape the hose to the kitchen faucet. I went to the store and purchase a boiler valve and a tee brass fitting.  I did it the right way.

I also drained the pool with a pump and used that water to water my garden and plants. Double bonus! That is why  my kids call me crazy daddy.

Or should I say, hand cranked swiss army knife of radios. I have been wanting to replace an old cheap hand crank radio that broke a few years back. I think it only lasted a few months. Since it had a solar panel on the top I would just set it in a sunny window and it would stay charged. But I think the sun degraded the plastic. I need a good, high quality version of what I had in the past. I started looking around, I came across the Freeplay Company.

“The Clockwork Radio”, as the device was first known, was proposed as a means of halting the spread of Aids in Africa through better education. Traditional radio, although widespread, relied on an electrical supply or the availability of disposable batteries – both of which were in short supply across the continent.

The idea for the radio was born to serve the needs of developing countries. Durable, no batteries and functional. That is exactly what I want! I am always willing to pay good money for good products. I have decided on this model. It has AM/FM/Weather Radio, hand crank of course, and solar panel on top. Don’t forget the LED flash light!

At normal volume, the EyeMax will play for approximately an hour per 1-minute wind, and can be wound more at any time for as much play time as you want.

I think this will also make a great tool for camping!

I have had Duke Energy’s “Go Green Power” for almost 2 years. I purchase Carbon credits for 500kW hrs a month. In a typical month that is well over 50% of my usage. Lately, it has been bugging me. I feel like I am just giving my money away to Duke Energy. The cost per month is $10 for a yearly total of $120. $120 buys me 6,000 kWhrs of carbon offsets. For simple math purposes I will use 2lbs for every 1kWhr. (Very close BTW) That means my 6,000kWhrs is equal to 12,000lbs. If I were to go to a site like TerraPass that would cost me about $70. Where does the extra $50 go?

Currently, Duke has two trackers on my bill, the clean coal adjustment and the coal gasification adjustment. Beside the fact that they seem to be the same thing to me, they cost me $6 to $10 a month depending on my usage. Duke is already getting my money for something that is supposed to be environmentally friendly. I fell like I am just lining there pockets.

What does Duke do with the Go Green money? They say they buy Green Power. But you and I both know that when you buy in bulk, of anything, you get a better price. So, this leads me to my decision. I am going to cancel my Go Green Power and just buy carbon offset credits myself. For the same cost, I could offset the entire electricity usage for the whole house for the whole year.

I was looking at old posts. It happens to be the right time of year to start a garden. Sooo, basically, all that stuff I said I was going to last year, I am going to try it this year. Anything that gets the kids outside is good with me.

My daughter wants flowers, lots and lots of flowers. We will plant some but my neighbor has hundreds that I think we will just go visit. :-) My son wants to try corn again. I heard corn loves fertilizer, and lots of it. From what know, farm run-off from corn fields is what causes a dead zone in the ocean by the mouth of the Mississippi River. I won’t use that much.  I think it is better to fertilize more often with less.

I am trying to grow winesap apples from seeds that we got from the local apple orchard last year. They tasted great and are an heirloom variety. I need at least two for pollination but I will see how many of the five seeds germinate.

I would like to get the remaining strawberries in the sun. When I checked on them a few days ago I only saw three. But they can spread fast. If I can save them, in a few years I will have plenty.

I still want blueberries and raspberries. I need to find a good place for them. The original spot now has a black locus tree in their spot. Maybe I can plant them underneath? But both like a nice sunny spot. I am sure my hill will have a nice area.

I wonder how much I will really do this year. If I can just get the perennial stuff in then that would be a great start. Same time next year?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.