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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.)

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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.

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.

Have you ever wondered how much electricity the self clean cycle uses on you electric oven? I finally found out. Since I have my TED5000 it was very easy. The cycle runs for five hours. The internal temperature gets up to somewhere around 800 degrees F. I can’t be exact (should have used my TED1000 tied directly to the circuit) but I figured I used between 10kWhrs and 12 kWhrs for the entire five hours. That is equal to a little over a dollar!

I received a new shower head for Christmas this year. The Evolve low flow shower head uses only 1.5 gpm @ 85psi. I think my pressure is lower so that means it uses slightly less. My old shower head used 2.5 gpm. Since my water/sewer bill has just about doubled I think this should help to reduce the overall impact of the increase. The increase is NOT from usage it is from flat-out utility robbery. Nothing I can do about it other than conserve.

My wife and I have been using it for over two weeks now. After getting use to the lower water volume it has been very nice. You just turn on the shower and walk away. After the shower gets to temperature it shuts itself off automatically and stays that way until you plug the chain to start the flow of water.

How much could it save me. I take about a twenty-minute shower and my wife, about the same. In a week that adds up to over 250 minute of showering. Now that is equal to 250 gallons of water! (2.5 gpm-1.5gpm = 1gpm) I am figuring that is mostly hot water. (75% is a good number) The amount of hot water saved is close to 200 gallons! WOW! I had no idea. 1000 gallons a month and 50kWhrs a month. (63 degree rise of 800 gallons of water. 1 gallon = 8.33 Heat pump is about 250% efficient. 3413 BTU per kWhr)

Only time will tell if I see this in my utility bills. I would hope I could see 1000 gallons since I only use an average of 4000 a month now. I really need to replace my toilets now and see what happens.

It is that time of year again. Not the holiday shopping season but the planning season. I usually look back at the past yea and thing about what I should have done. Then I try to plan for next year. I do have some ideas brewing.

First, I want a much bigger garden. Last year was a huge bust with the 9 inches of rain in June and then 4 months with only 1 inch total. Hopefully my well will have water in the spring. Then I can water every day if I like. I just received my first seed catalog today so I am starting to think about what I want to grow.

Second, I still want my solar pond! I know that I am going to modify my solar lights to include the pump some how. This will ensure I am not wasting winter production on nothing. I would like to devise a diversion load heater for winter pond heating with excess winter production.

Lastly, I want to think about solar hot water. I have a good idea about how much electricity I use to heat water. At a minimum I use 100 kW hours a month. I estimate ,that on average, closer to 120 kW hours a month. More in the winter of coarse. This is very low for electric water heating because of the hot water heat pump.

I have been testing turning off the fridge at night for 8 hours. The theory is that being off for 8 hours will reduce its electricity usage. This thought process would be incorrect. Since the fridge cycles on and off whenever it wants, all this does is force it to cycle longer when the timer turns it on. Instead of 30 minute cycles you get a long 2 hour and 45 minute cycle. It save you nothing, at least that you can tell with a kill-a-watt meter. I still use the same 2 kWhrs as I did before I started the test.

Why did the fridge turn on at 3am? Why not 6am? Well it normally does turn on at 6am, but I woke up and wanted something to drink @3am. I usually drink milk that early, helps me go back to sleep. Well, the milk was cool but not very cold. That was the end of the experiment. The last thing I want is for food to go bad.

The only way I can see this saving electricity is that the food inside warms up. Think about how a programmable thermostat works. (Heating) You set it to let the temperature go down to say 60 degrees at night becuase you are under the covers of your cozy bed. During the 8 hours while it is lower then the normal setting you are losing less heat to the outside becuase of the delta T being lower. The reverse is happening inside the fridge, the temperature is going up. Sure you may save a little electricity, 25 cu ft. fridge vs. 25,000 cu ft.  house. But not enough to notice. The house will lose more % wise in 8 hours then a fridge. The fridge is sealed much better. Soooo, don’t try this at home.

The system has a total of five misters. I get a consistent drop of 250 Watts while the misting is on. Personally, I think I could use some more misting. I think if I had pieced it together myself I would have better results. But, I had this going in less than an hour. That includes hooking up the solenoid valve to the thermostat contractor.

What does this all mean? During a hot day when the AC seems to run forever, we will use 10 hours, I save 2.5 kW hours. Having only run the system for a couple of days, I would guess an average saving of around 1.5 kW hours. That average over 150 days, 225kW hours per season. Maybe $25. This is the reason I wanted to be able to re-purpose the misting system. I will replace the AC unit before the misting system is payed for. But, I think of this project more as research then savings. I wanted to prove to myself that misting my AC unit does in fact save electricity.

How much water does it use? I don’t have any idea. I am sure not very much. This is why I think I need more misters. If one mister used 0.5 GPH. The system total would be 2.5 GPH. From the ten-hour example above, 25 Gallons per day to save 2.5kW hours. In Indiana it takes 0.41 gallons of water to make 1 kW hour of power production. This equals 1 gallon of water. So I am not conserving water, only electrical power. Water is a lot cheaper than electricity. Water = 6 cents, Electricity  = 25 cents

The usage for last month on only the AC compressor unit outside was 638 kW hours. This does not include the inside blower fan. I have calculated that I need to add about 12% more to the total to account for the blower. That would bring the total to 715 kW hours. The total for the entire house was 1334 kW hours. Air Conditioning accounts for over half of my total usage! I am sure that I am not alone. It was a hot month, last month. Every month Duke provides a chart for comparison. Every month it looks like this.

I am always to the far left of the chart. This makes me feel somewhat better. The misting equipment is on its way. After I install this I hope to reduce usage by 20%. We already know misting works, but will it cause harm to the outside unit? Since it is an older unit anyway I am not too concerned. I just don’t like to replace things when I am forced to. Do I think it will cause the unit to explode? NO. Do I think I may have mineral build up? Possible. That is why I am filtering down to 1 micron.