I am working on a solar water heater, and I am trying to figure out this geometry problem. I know a parabola is the most efficient movable shape to collect the sun's energy, but what is the most efficient fixed shape? It will clearly change with date and lattitude, but given an average day, what shape focus the most energy onto a heating tube? [more inside]
Renting a place with Daikin mini-splits, and can't seem to figure out how to effectually use it. [more inside]
After three water pump failures in 5 years, I need a way to control the behavior of my radiant heat system's water pump during summer and winter months. I think I know what kind of timer device I need, but before I buy something, I'd welcome some advice from plumber MeFites. (Lengthy, possibly unnecessary details inside.) [more inside]
Hello, prognosticators and speculators! Look into your oily, viscous crystal tarball. With crude oil at $43.76 per barrel today, and an email in my inbox from MassEnergy (of which I am a member) informing me of a webinar I won't be awake for, I'm wondering: should I lock in my heating oil price while it's still warm out? If so, what's good timing? I expect to use 350 gallons of oil this year. I'm in MA, about 10 miles west of Boston Harbor. [previously from 2008, when oil was $98/barrel ... paging mjjj, how did it go?]
So, I bought an old building. It currently has a fitness centre (which I own) and two (rented) apartments in it – with room for a third. It has moderately inadequate heating and cooling right now, and nothing in the new potential space -- so I'm looking for solutions to heat and cool it. More below the fold. [more inside]
The radiators in our new home are going rogue and destroying our attempts at using A/C. How do we turn off our radiators for the season? [more inside]
My place has forced heat. I'm getting quotes to cut in AC. Most reviews I read say the person who quoted the job said they should replace their ducts, and this seems like a typical upsell. Sure enough, at the first quote, the guy suggested replacing my ducts. How do I know if I need to do that or not? [more inside]
Do you have radiant heating/cooling in your house or have you spent time in a house with it? What was your experience with it? [more inside]
We just got a new furnace installed a few days ago, and we're not happy with it, especially the major temperature variations between rooms. (Maybe because of being oversized?) What can we do? What is reasonable to ask the installers to do? [more inside]
We bought a 60-year old house in the Hudson Valley this summer and we're about to leave on our first vacation. The house has hydronic baseboard heating and a very old gas boiler. The forecast looks warm: If I switch off the heat at the thermostat, can I then safely turn off the main water to the house? What would happen if I left the thermostat set very, very low with the main water off? [more inside]
I recently moved into a house without central heat. Is there a safe way to safely keep my house warm overnight and when I'm not home? [more inside]
I live in a studio apartment with parquet flooring. The building is old for one in Toronto (~25 years), and the heating comes from pipes embedded in the ceiling of the room. The tenants right under my unit have their heat constantly turned on, which means my floor is constantly hot. Turning on my AC and two fans all the time doesn't solve the problem, and is borderline surreal as I embark on yet another Toronto winter. [more inside]
Hello, I'm currently looking at replacing my mother's heating and air conditioning units because they are both frequently broken and both old and inefficient. I'm hoping that this can be used as an opportunity to save money, even though it will be a sizable upfront expense. [more inside]
I'm building a Tiny Home on wheels (18' by 8' with a 13 foot high ceiling and bedroom loft) and am thinking about the lowest impact ways to do heat, water heating, etc. I'm considering going all-electric, with no propane or gas, and using solar panels to charge a battery bank. Do any of you know much about Infrared Bulbs as heating devices? I'm looking at the Philips ones. [more inside]
We have natural gas forced air heating in our old house. I notice that every year when it gets cold and heat comes on we all start sneezing and wake up with sore throats. Is this a consequence of forced air? [more inside]
I live in a very quaint apartment, but winter is just around the corner and I know it will be a bear to heat. It was hard to keep cool this summer, so I expect heating will be even tougher and there is nothing I hate worse than being cold. What have you found to be the most economical, safe, and comfortable way to heat your abode in the winter months? [more inside]
I need a ballpark estimate what a new heating system for an apartment building with 42 flats would cost. It would be heated with gas. [more inside]
So, most electrical heaters are extremely close to 100% efficient in terms of converting electrical power into heat. But is this true of fan heaters as well? In other words, how much energy goes into operating the fan as compared to the heating of the elements? [more inside]
We own a house. It's a kind of large, built-in-the-50s, added-on-to-in-the-80s, sprawly ranch-style house, but with 2 bedrooms, with vaulted ceilings, on the second floor. (Our kids' rooms.) In the summertime, they get hot, because of a.) vaulted ceilings - I've blown in insulation where I could, but there's still only 4 inches between them and the roof; b.) open stairway to downstairs - keeping the doors to the rooms closed helps a little, but kids don't really "get" that; and c.) crappy ductwork - the furnace is new, but the ducts are old, and it's a long, bendy run from the basement to the kids' rooms. I'm toying with some options for trying to improve the comfort level in our house - you are not my HVAC specialist (and I'm not opposed to talking to one), but am trying to see if my logic is sound. Special melting snowflake details inside. [more inside]
We replaced our 40 year old boiler this fall and were expecting to get some energy savings. We ended up using slightly more gas last month than the year before. What's going on? [more inside]
How, in a multi-apartment setup, do I determine what gas-run appliances are serviced/connected to which apartment? I strongly suspect I am paying for appliances I am not responsible for, but I need to be able to prove it to my landlords or gas company. [more inside]
What am I not understanding about my HVAC system? [more inside]
It has come to pass that the best place for our 1 year old kid to sleep is in a crib in the walk-in closet in our bedroom. Now that the cold weather is upon us, I am looking for ideas for keeping him warm overnight. We have radiator heat throughout our drafty old house, and our bedroom tends to be one of the more poorly warmed rooms. The closet has no radiator in (or near!) it, and is therefore much colder still. To complicate this issue further, we STRONGLY prefer to keep the door to the closet nearly closed while we are in the room. Baby goes to bed around 6pm, grownups are on the scene from about 10pm onwards, and everyone is awake by 7am. He already wears layered pajamas and a sleep sack. Does anyone have any suggestions? My instinct was to find a tiny space heater that we could put in the closet, but a quick google tells me that I will kill all of my loved ones and everyone we have ever met if I do that.
While most things are going very well, my pregnant wife's back has really been hurting and her main relief has been an electric heating pad. However the heating pad is only 12in x 24in. I am hunting for a bigger heating pad if possible. Any help appreciated.
I live in a 1911 Craftsman in Seattle. The heating situation is... pretty weird. (See the "more inside".) My 42-year-old oil furnace still works like a champ, but the oil company folks say they won't service it any more and it has to be replaced. I have been searching and searching to try to figure out the best way to deal with this before it gets cold out, but I am not finding what I need. Should I change my heating method and can people recommend whom I might call for this? [more inside]
We have this furnace. In the summer it would be nice if we could run only the fan (We don't have central air), but according to the manual, Fan Only Mode requires the R and G thermostat contacts be wired. As you can see, only the RC/RH and W contacts are wired. Would simply swapping the orange wire from RC/RH to RH/G create the circuit needed for sweet, sweet fan action, or will it be necessary to run a new wire from G to the control board in the furnace, therefore requiring professional help? [more inside]
I live in the SF Bay area and I'm thinking about moving to colder climates at some point, but for various reasons I can't handle a cold ambient temperature inside my home, even if I bundle up. In colder areas (specifically New England and the Midwest), how easy/possible is it to find apartments that are well-heated (perhaps buildings with a whole-building radiator system?) or other situations where I can have a warm (68-70 degree) home without paying through the nose for utilities? [more inside]
I'm looking for a good, trustworthy place to have my laptop disassembled and have its fan cleaned. [more inside]
Does anyone have experience by value hydronic radiators. Basically i want a Myson-like radiator but they are out of my budget. What other brands are a good value.
With all the cold weather we've been having, the bedroom above our single car garage has been positively chilly. The rest of the house is nice and toasty, but that one room is several degrees cooler than anywhere else in the house. How can we make it better? [more inside]
I have an old style furnace that has been cleaned (by vacuuming) on a mostly annual basis for about 20 years. Should I pay the big bucks to get it scraped out by a professional? [more inside]
Please help me figure out how to heat my drafty San Francisco 1-bedroom apartment without breaking the bank. Details inside! [more inside]
I've gotten caught up in the hype about those upturned-terracotta-plant-pot-with-tealight-candles-underneath-heaters, so I've made one. It's doing the job and keeping the chill off, and what can I expect, really, from something heated by 4 tealights. I want to make it more efficient, though. [more inside]
A question regarding an impending attempt to replace the control board in our furnace myself. Extenuating circumstances: Approaching Arctic Cold Front. [more inside]
Are there improvements that can be done to them to improve their efficiency and safety? Are there retrofits? Would I be able to purchase something more modern that would directly replace the existing units? [more inside]
Whenever I change my furnace filter (approx every 60-90 days), it's always bent inwards towards the furnace fan. It's gotten significantly worse this year, and tonight when I tried to replace it, the filter was nearly sucked into the furnace. What causes this? Do I need to call for service? [more inside]
Our new-to-us-but-very-old home needs a new boiler (and water heater). What are our best options? [more inside]
I live in a drafty old farmhouse. My roommates and I are currently waging a thermostat war--one says it's cheaper to to have the heat for the whole house at 70 than it is for him to heat his room with a space heater. I maintain that its probably way more expensive to heat the entire drafty house. Who's right? We have electric heat. [more inside]
We've just moved into a new place and it's now gotten cold enough to turn on the heat. Two of the radiators are really loud with air escaping, and often have visible steam coming out of the valve on the side. I've never seen radiators do this. Is this normal? Is this safe?
We live in a house with central heating. There are floor vents all around the place. It sounds awesome, but we haven't been willing to turn the heat on just yet because one of the vents is right under one of my record shelves. How can we have a hot room but not melt my hot tunes? [more inside]
Who is the absolute best heating contractor in the Twin Cities? [more inside]
Can you share all the information, products, tips, etc., about weatherstripping and all other ways of keeping my house from leaking heat--and letting in cold air--when it's cold? [more inside]
Is it possible to recreate the sensation of below-floor heating in an apartment bathroom? [more inside]
I live in rented accommodation in the UK. The hot water is scaldingly hot. The radiators burn to touch. The shower temperature is hugely unreliable -- scalding or freezing. The landlord is worried that a plumber will rip him off, based on bad experiences in the past, and unwilling to pay to investigate. Can you help me understand what's going on? I'd like to put my landlord's mind at rest regarding plumbers, and set his expectations regarding likely diagnoses and solutions -- and hence cost. I also suspect this situation is wasting energy and hence driving up the cost of heating bills. I'd like to persuade the landlord that fixing it might be a good idea. [more inside]
Hi I am house sitting and Nemo is bearing down on us. I have a oil furnace in the basement. If the power goes out, then comes back, or I use the generator, are there any specific steps I need to take with the furnace? What about water valves, etc? Thanks much!
My electric heat pump is icing over something fierce, and the technicians don't really have a clue what's going on. There is one theory I'd like you to comment on, and if it makes no sense, I'd appreciate alternate theories. [more inside]
Our home in Seattle contains a dozen or so electric heaters. We would like to get rid of these and upgrade to something more efficient/attractive/economical. It seems our two options are 1) Central gas heating or 2) ductless heat pump. To make gas heating work, we would have to install ducts. Does anyone have any experience with adding ducts to a ductless house? One possibility that has been suggested is to put the ducts on the outside of one side of the house. This would probably work in our case since all of the large rooms in our house share a common wall. What are your thoughts/experiences with installing either gas heating with new ducts or ductless heat pump heating? I'm assuming that central gas would work just fine in a Seattle winter but I'm not sure if a ductless heat pump system would be adequate in the winter ( considering that our hope is to replace - not just augment - the existing system ).
I'm paying $3.79/gallon for heating oil in Westchester county, NY. Is that a reasonably ok price? If not, can anyone recommend another supplier (I'm using Castle).
Getting a draft despite having weather stripping and a door sweep. How can I fix this? [more inside]
Does anyone have experience with, or know how to, switch radiators between two different rooms in the same apartment (in NYC)? [more inside]