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Author Topic: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%  (Read 13054 times)

Offline Creativity

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how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« on: November 20, 2008, 12:50:30 AM »
Howdy,
well as the heating period starts i feel its good to share some simple and less simple strategies to save on heating :) i live in a very old building in Europe.I rent the place for a good price(400E/month) but the heating costs were quite high(total of 3000Euro per year  :o ).It happens that owner wants to tear the building apart and build a new one next year,so i got a green light to do what ever i wanted on my own expense.

My heating system is quite unusual by itself,still some idea's may become usefull for u guys.Heater is a natural gas burner placed in an uninsulated garage.Pipes were uninsulated too!In house i have 3 new radiators and 4 old ones.Total house is 140m2 floor.Some of the windows r double but most r single glass.

Topic is extensive so i will divide it in parts.Today i will speak about the building itself.Next posts will address heating system improvements and habitants behaviour strategies.

My first steps were to examine the state of the building and how can i cheaply improve it.

1)As in any old house there were a lot of holes in the least unexpected places.Lots of holes were after the repairs or extensions made to the building.Imagine that every time a cable or a pipe was crossing the wall a hole around it was present! finding of all of the holes took me some time but a fix was fast,easy and cheap.I used some plaster to close the holes.Remember that both outside and inside should be examined for holes.Every hole is a potential escape path for a warm air of ur house and a potential entrance of cold air from outside,especially at windy day >:( total cost was about 15E

2)Next step was examination of doors and windows.Many simple improvements can be made here cheaply and fast.2 windows were placed so that a hole was formed between the window frame and the wall.I used acrylic kit/or silicon in tubes for smaller gaps and plaster for bigger holes.Simple method of testing is just to come close with ur eye to the examined place.Even small movement of the air is easily felt by ur eye.
In a lot of cases windows r not closing completely(the same for doors).It means that a small gap of 1mm or more is present.This small gap can be easily eliminated by rubber or foam stripes sold in do-it-urself shops for exactly this purpose.The underdoor gap was sealed by an elastic stripe.Is it worth it? yes it is! a gap of 1mm and 1m long makes a total area of 10 square cm!A typical door has a circumvent of around 5 meters... total cost of investment 40E

3)after step 1 and 2 i got a positive feedback from my family who said that they feel almost no drafts anymore :) but almost is still not good enough for me ;) so i went a bit deeper and found an obvious hole.It was the air ventilation system in the kitchen.When the fan above cooking plate is working ,it draws the bad smells and water vapour from the kitchen to the outside.So far so good.But when it is not used ,the pipe to the outside of 110 mm diameter is an excellent hole  >:( fortunately a solution was also cheap and inexpensive.All i did is placing of a one way valve at the outside of the house on the pipe.When fan is on it lifts the valve and lets the gases to go outside,when not in use the valve closes and blocks cold air that would otherwise enter the kitchen. Plastic one way valve - 6E.

4)now that the drafts were under control,i started to look around for radiation loses.Windows r the best candidate to radiate the heat out.1m2 of a window can radiate as much as 30 to 140 W of energy when the difference of the temperatures inside and outside the house r 10deg K.It pays back to close the curtains in the evenings and invest in thick curtains.Here a small battle took place :D.Girls at my place had a long debate about the colours and features of new curtains :D happily it was not my problem ;) it was kind of pricy solution,because of expensive materials used 200E

One nice extra price i won, is a more silent home :) by sealing the gaps in windows,doors and placing of curtains the street noise reduced quite noticeably!

Stay tuned!

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« on: November 20, 2008, 12:50:30 AM »

Offline Pirate88179

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2008, 09:20:47 AM »
@ Creativity:

Great topic!  I live in a small apartment. (about 800 sq. ft.)  When I first moved in about 7 years ago, I asked the electric company for a printout on the usage for the year prior to my moving in.  The electric bills averaged $80/month. (USD)  I am limited in the things I am allowed to do but, by turning down my hot water heater to 110 degrees, replacing all of my lights with cfl's, as well as a few other tricks, my electric bill for last month was $32.00.  This was after a $20/1000kwh increase by the electric company.  We have had several of those since I have moved in here.

Last night, it was 22 degrees outside and 70 degrees inside.  All of the heat was supplied by my 4 kerosene lamps.  I have 2 windows, both of which are now covered with thick blankets. (for the winter)  I have tried the heat-shrink plastic film you can put over them but, the blankets, when you hold your hand against them, are totally warm, no drafts at all.

My next door neighbor's electric bill was $90.00 last month. (when mine was $32.00)  My goal is to get the bills low enough that the power company comes out and replaces my meter thinking it to be defective.  I have already placed a small mark on it so I will know when that happens.

When I paid my bill in person the month before, (nice weather, no heat or air needed) it was only like $25.00 and the clerk said there must be something wrong, it is too low.  This is like a hobby for me and I like the challenge.

I am glad to see this topic being discussed.  By the way, my ex-wife's electric bill last month was $240.00.  This is fun.

Bill

Offline Creativity

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 11:26:32 AM »
howdy,
u r right !it is a hobby all the way  ;D not a day goes by that i don't think about improvement and it's getting harder and harder to achieve,so creative thinking and good observation is a main tool.
Nice job done at ur place!i hope more people will join the topic and share experiences.In the end we all can benefit from it.

My electric bill was 90€/month last year,this year it's around 80€/m.I must say i had already all cfl's installed when i got here.We use 3 PC's so it takes a lot of electrons to support my family  ;)Cooking plate is all electric and water heater is electric too.With 3-4 people in the house it is a lot of taking showers,clothes washing and cooking going on .

About the lights i just put an aluminium foil behind the bulbs to reflect more of the light in the direction of the room.

I reduced temperature on the water heater as far as i could without having a risk of running out of hot water(it's around 60degC(140F)).I couldn't go as far as u went with urs.Its a 100 liter unit,so for 4 people showering at 43degC(110F) would be impossible.
But what i could do is to observe the behaviour of house members :) girls were taking long showers in the afternoon,me in the evening.Washing machine was used without any pattern(1-2 per week at variable hours).Cooking takes place mostly around 18-19.30 .

We have here double-tarive electricity meters.From 6 in the morning until 9 in the evening it counts daily usage.Evening and night is on a different meter.In Europe u can choose to have like this and the point is to pay less.Electric company charges 50% discounted price off peak hours(evening&night tarive) .

I explained to my family why to use washing machine after 9 in the evening and take showers also in the evening.This behavioural change will hopefully save us some money :) idea is to make water heater to start around 9 in the evening or later so it will be 50% cheaper to warm the water :)the same logic for washing machine.Unfortunately i can't figure out nothing about PC's :| we just switch them out at night when we sleep,otherwise almost all day long ON.

that's kind of all i remember doing.I wait until march for full year usage comparison.I calculated to have like 40-70€ savings per year from it.

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 11:26:32 AM »
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Offline khabe

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2008, 01:37:34 PM »
I have 250m2 for living + 80m2 workshop  -  several hundred years old buildings - my own properties - I have rebuilt/renoved (near)all during past 10 years. I have no idea how much I have spent total, I dont want to think about much ... dont want to have bad sleeping  :-\ ...  but I think it exceeds EUR 1/2 M  surely  :o   It is cheaper to build a new house than renove/rebuild an old.
Heating based on electricity - air/air and air/water heat pump converters total 4.  One grount/water iverter I will add soon. Its hard to tell you how exact Im spending for electricity (heat) because my workshop takes a lot of ... and I do use much at night time when energy is bit cheaper , I have one working energy storage system and one on progress ...). My place locates 250 m from gas-line ... but unfortunately they asking EUR 20 K for joining with and for lining ...  and cost for gas raises up near every month ... and I dont want to saw away many-many nice and old trees for trench line.
Monthly energy spending in winter time is appr. 500 kw/h and 250 kw/h summer time. Up till today this is not beyond my ability to pay all bills up till cost of el.energy will not twiced :-\
I can do it - the layout of energy Im spending but ... I do it later when all my energy saving ideas (included OU styles) will be bringed to fruition.
Thanks to God I dont have to pay any rents ::)

with due respect,
khabe

Offline khabe

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2008, 04:25:47 PM »
yeah - was mistake  ;)
Monthly el.energy spending is ca 5000 kw/h in winter time and 2500 kw/h summer time,
Last running year I paid maximum EUR 500 per month in winter time and EUR 250 per month in summer time.
My energy saving systems working well ;D
Regards,
khabe


Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2008, 04:25:47 PM »
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Offline Creativity

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2009, 11:13:04 PM »
Today i will speak about the family members behaviour and how it influences the energy usage.

1)In posts above i already mentioned the showering pattern.Ladies took shower in the afternoon and i did it in the evening.A shower is a major cost in terms of electricity used.It payed off to convince girls to take showers after 21.00 so the boiler was using night tariff electricity.

How much exactly? well total usage of electricity in my house before this adjustment was 16-17 kWh on day tariff and about 6kWh on night tariff.After the behaviour change it came down to 10kWh in a day and 12 kWh at night!

During the weekends it doesn't matter when u take the shower,here it is night tariff for Saturday and sunday.

In money i estimate the savings at around:

6kWh*260*0.19€ -6kWh*260*0.09€= 150 € on the year basis!
(where 260 is the amount of days in year not including Saturdays and sundays and prices are day and night tariff respectively)

2)Day hours usage of hot water is the highest cost.Thermostate in the water boiler switches on after few hands washings and the whole boiler is starting for few minutes at least.Obviously most of hand/teeth/face washing is during the day hours and full tariff for electricity is charged for it.
When boiler is big enough it has enough capacity to last the whole day without the need to switch on.That's why i propose to choose for a big one and let it warm up all the water at night and then with a clock switch it off,so no electricity would be used at the day hours.
Unfortunately i have relatively small boiler.That's why i needed to set it back to highest temperature at the thermostat,doing so i achieved higher capacity with a price for more heat losses.
That was the step i took and in the end it payed off also :).Now a clock device is switching boiler at 21.00 and stops it at 23.00.At this times everyone took a shower and heater was simultaneously warming cold water to catch up with the need.
Then i let the boiler to start at 01.00 and stop it at 6.00.
Through the gap in working i save on the heat loses,because it takes it 5 h 20 min to heat the whole boiler i decided not to let it start before 01.00.Doing so i insured that by 6 am all the boiler will be filled with hot water.It also reduced by 2h the time of hot water stored in the boiler.It translates to less heat being lost to the surrounding.

After this mods i reduced daily usage to 9kWh and nigh stayed unchanged.I explain this by the time gap i introduced.

1kWh*260*0.19€=50€

cost of a clock mechanism to steer the boiler was 5€.It consumes around 1 W.

3)following above success i looked around on what can be governed by the clock mechanism.Equipped with the digital watt meter i looked around the house:

PC + LCD screen = 123 W
small subnotebook = 35 W
normall sized notebook = 80 W
fridge = 75-85 W
standby of TV = 8W
standby of cd/radio = 2W
cd/radion switched on but not playing any cd 10 W
router = 12W
switch = 12 W
cable modem = 12 W

Surprising were the values of standby!  :o . I see constantly cd player not turned off and it all cost money.It is not easy to see because it gives no voice or light and is easily forgotten to be turned off!
I spoke with the rest to keep an eye on it and turn it off when not used.

Further i connected all network devices and TV on a clock mechanism,switching it off around 24 until 9.00.It was possible because everyone sleeps at that time :)

It is saving at night tariff but still something:

365*0.044kW*9h*0.09€=13 €  :)

cost of 5€ of the clock and its whole year operation around 1€.

4)further observation of my family showed that washing of the clothes takes place at random times.Here also i instructed them to start washing maschine after 21.00 or in the weekends.I can not make measurement of this yet because we had guests for last few weeks so electricity bill is anyhow higher.But seems reasonable step to do it as i said.

5)cooking habit is a difficult habit to change.We cook every day.Best would be to cook once let say on Saturday or sunday but multiple dishes for the whole week.Secondly to shift all heavy cooking to the weekend or evening hours(like baking of the Xmas cakes,turkey and so on).
Cooking oven is easily 4kW and a cooking plate 1.5-2.5 kW.It is a serious load!  :'(

6)small lamps in kitchen ventilation system(above the cooking plate) are normal bulbs.No problem with that as they are designed to be used when cooking (30 to 40 min a day).
But at my place my sis loved to let it on as preferred to main kitchen lamp (energy saving tube).Her reasoning was(when asked ) that it gives less light so it uses less energy.
Both lamps in the ventilation were 25 W summing up to 50W comparing to 23W of energy saving bulb.
She was wrong  ;D.

Offline khabe

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 11:45:59 PM »
Is it virtual family and virtual wife you are speaking about?
With real wife its not possible - she just goes out forever  ;)
Or will throw you out :o
Anyway - good and nice calculations, although mission impossible >:(
Myself I pay appr. EUR 500 in winter time - I dont like scandals at home ::)
Regards,
khabe

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 11:45:59 PM »
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Offline Creativity

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 11:57:51 PM »
:D  ;D no normal family.I use a trick :) i say they can spend the money we save on something else,it works fine :) so they start to think about the clothes and so on,of course by the time i get the year correction in bills they already forgotten my proposition :D
just give it a shot.

u can set the timers on devices as i did,they won't work before desired time,so u can enforce ur statements :)

Ur situ looks like my starting point .Now i am down to 220€,that is an overestimate from the energy supplier.As i calculate i m still under this by 5-7%

I can help u with some of ur problems.What kind of heating system do u have?

Offline Creativity

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 02:10:00 AM »
Let me say something about the heating system mods i made.
First of all it was a big pain in the ass and a lot of measurements all over the place.Then it took me few good weeks of intensive thinking and trying on different theories in practice.
I gathered a lot of data and it wasn't always easy to interpret it in a right way.But to the point.

My heating system is a normal natural gas burner with a pilot flame,pipes and radiators.System is closed with a balloon expansion chamber(constantly under pressure of 1.5 atm).Only controll on heater is the adjustable thermostat taking the measurement on exiting water temperature and cutting the gas supply when it reaches set temperature.It also has overheatting protection(that i learned later on, with one of my experiments).Next to the heater i have a water pump with 3 stands 30,55 and 80 W it makes the circulation of water faster or slower according to the speed selected.
Hot exhaust gases are premixed with the cold air before they reach the chimney entrance.
Water pipes have a master valves on them.
Radiators are of type 22 and old 20.They are connected ina way that  the warm water enters them from under and leaves from the opposite side top(so on the diagonal).

Described above was the situation before modifications.

now some discussion on my ideas/implementations and their results:

1)by observing the heater i noticed that the time before it starts releasing the gas and the flame starts was an interval of 8-9 s followed by small explosion in the heating chamber.The total time the burner was on was around 92 s +-1s.This time was counted from the beginig of the gas release until the burner stopped.
it was thus around 9% of the total time that gas was released let us say for nothing(it was not burned).Exposion that followed was noticeable in the exhaust chimney so i concluded this energy wasn't used to heat the water!
It took me quite a few try outs to reduce the start up delay of the burner to 2 s,all i did it was to notice that there are rust chips covering the burner holes.
Who would expect that!  :o
I cleaned up the burner top.This rust comes from water that condensates inside of the burner chamber when it stops to operate.Chamber walls are made of the steel so it corrodes and pieces of the corrosion fall down on the burner.
To prevent future condensation i insulated the chamber walls with 6cm of rockwool.In this way it wasn't cooled down to the condensation point.

IMPORTANT: any insulation and material used around the heater should be of A1 fireproof class!!!it comes down to rockwool mineral insulation made of vulcanic stone (NOT GLASS WOOL or STYROFOAMS!!)

As a result the time the burner delivers the work reduced by 4 sec!
before it was in worst case 90s-8s=82 s of burning time it got reduced to 78 sec for the worst case scenario.So it means that the explosion in the chamber was a lot of wasted gas. A direct improvement of more than 4% just by cleaning ur burner...

2s delay still worked on my nerves so i didn't gave up until i came with the nice solution to that either :)

Burner is in fact 5 parallel pipes with gaps in it,through this pipes the gas is exiting and burned.Above the pipes is the heat exchanger.What i noticed it that the pipes close to the pilot flame caught fire almost instantly after the gas started to be released.Pipes further from it followed in a chain reaction with some delay.

My solution to this problem( took some hours of experimentation) was an U shaped piece of aluminium profile(6X6 mm inner depth).I placed it on the burner pipes perpendicular to them.Profile is facing down so it is reversed U shape.Why?
As i imagined it will help the gas that started to flow through the gaps to meet with the neighbouring burner pipes.The gas will fill the u profile very fast because of its small volume,this will lead to fast propagation of the flame from neighbouring pipe into the u profile.
My idea seems to work just as i predicted :) the flame spreads across all the pipes almost instantly with just under the 0.6 s delay measured from first to last pipe.

In total it caused the starting delay of whole burner close to 1s.I believe no further improvement can come here,because in the 1 s the pipes get filled up with the gas and this doesn't count as the wast in my opinion.

it wasn't so easy :) after 2 weeks the aluminium profile was bent by flame and not working anymore :| i replaced it with stainless steel one and it seems to work just fine until now.

One thing more.Insulating of the chamber raised the temperature in the exhaust chimney.Why was it important comes later on.

2) pilot flame is a nightmare!  ;D seriously if u measure  just how much u spend during the heating season on the pilot flame u will be surprised!
Mine was using around 0.067 m3 per hour it is good for 1.6 m3 of gas per day.Roughly speaking in my region 1m3 of gas is equivalent to 10 kwh and it cost around 1 €!

It means i spend during my 160 days of heating season 160*1.6= 250€ just for pilot flame ...nice isn't it?The problem is that installer of the heater doesn't care about how much it will use,he is not paying for ur bill....So in order to have it done right do it by yourself.

Pilot flame adjustment screw is easily found if u follow the pipe from the pilot flame to the gas distributor in the heater.I screwed it in to the minimal position so it still could start up the burner.By doing so i reduced gas use to 0.045 m3 per hour,good for 172 € per year.Or to say it in savings around 80€!

Here still i am disappointed.I would truly prefer electronic ignite and i am sure it will cost much less to buy one than to have a pilot flame  :'(

I face a problem here as i have also a thermocouple next to the pilot flame that controlls if its is burning,or it cuts down the heater gas supply.So i can't easily replace pilot flame without safety distortion.

IMPORTANT:Thermocouple must be in the flame even when the burner operates.It is not always so straight forward,one thing to notice is that when main burner burns there is a pressure drop across pilot flame and it can easily stop heating the thermocouple.
In this design i have here i moved thermocouple a bit closer to the pilot flame,that solved the problem when i wanted to screw the pilot screw all the way in to get the smallest flame possible.It works fine for me for 2 heating seasons already.

3)heating cycle.

Heating cycle is more or less like this.Water in the radiators looses its heat and comes back to the heater.Heater thermometer notices the temperature drop and the thermostat starts the burner.After some time the water on the outlet of the heater reaches the set temperature and gas it cut out.

Noticeable r periods of burning and not burning of the burner.The more the power the heater has the less time it needs to warm up the water.The more radiators are open the more power is needed from the heater.

So simple isn't it? yes,but there is one drawback.In older heaters (as mine) the power it delivers is  not depending on the radiators opening(inahbitant needs).
There is a serious mismatch of the required power(home heating needs) vs supplied power(heater power).
To put it in light let us see my home.it takes around 78 s to warm up the water in heating system to the desired temperature (86 kW heater).But it takes almost 3 minutes to cool down the water on average(typical day in December).Obviously the burner is much to strong for the needs.At the same time the exhaust gases temperature after mixing with cold air reaches 82 degC.

Before the heater,on ht emain gas pipe stands the master valve.I turned it a bit to a more closed position,just to see what happens.Time burner operation increased to 115 s due to lowered power of the heater.Temperature in the rooms after 2h of operation didn't changed(measured by digital temp meter between around 13.00 and 15.00).I measured the temperatures for few days in a row and saw no noticeable differences.
What i noticed is the exhaust gases temperature drop to 63 degC.
To put the accent here...all the temp in the exhaust is lost temperature,that is given out to the outside of the house and u pay for it!

Obviously lowered flame didn't affected the radiators power to give out the heat.What dropped is gas usage and this by not less than 12%  ;D

I tried further and manager to reduce the exhaust temp to 57dgC before i noticed that heater was switching off itself during the morning start up.It normally took around 18-20 min to warm up the system in the morning(before gas restriction).After mod it was taking around 30 min and then heater would fall off.This was due to the overheating sensor i haven't noticed before and i insulated together with the electronic board of the heater.This protection sensor was to ensure that in case of management system overheating(here it happened because of the insulation of it) the heater will be switched off.I took insulation hereoff and it worked just fine :)
So my advice is not to insulate any electronics or sensors...

Here i come back to the insulation of the burning chamber.it lead to higher exhaust gases temperature indicating the higher temperature of the chamber walls.This by itself should rise the heat exchange efficiency by additional heat radiation of the chamber walls onto the heat exchanging element.I can not measure it directly now because i haven't made this mode apart from others,so it has combined influence.

huh..still lot of things to write :) hope u r not getting too bored  ;D

one of the next days i will write about the pipes insulation influence,radiators reconnecting and efficiency boosting,heater controls upgrade,circulation speed and inhabitants behavioural changes.

cy

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 02:10:00 AM »
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Offline Pirate88179

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2009, 02:50:16 AM »
Let me say something about the heating system mods i made.
First of all it was a big pain in the ass and a lot of measurements all over the place.Then it took me few good weeks of intensive thinking and trying on different theories in practice.
I gathered a lot of data and it wasn't always easy to interpret it in a right way.But to the point.

My heating system is a normal natural gas burner with a pilot flame,pipes and radiators.System is closed with a balloon expansion chamber(constantly under pressure of 1.5 atm).Only controll on heater is the adjustable thermostat taking the measurement on exiting water temperature and cutting the gas supply when it reaches set temperature.It also has overheatting protection(that i learned later on, with one of my experiments).Next to the heater i have a water pump with 3 stands 30,55 and 80 W it makes the circulation of water faster or slower according to the speed selected.
Hot exhaust gases are premixed with the cold air before they reach the chimney entrance.
Water pipes have a master valves on them.
Radiators are of type 22 and old 20.They are connected ina way that  the warm water enters them from under and leaves from the opposite side top(so on the diagonal).

Described above was the situation before modifications.

now some discussion on my ideas/implementations and their results:

1)by observing the heater i noticed that the time before it starts releasing the gas and the flame starts was an interval of 8-9 s followed by small explosion in the heating chamber.The total time the burner was on was around 92 s +-1s.This time was counted from the beginig of the gas release until the burner stopped.
it was thus around 9% of the total time that gas was released let us say for nothing(it was not burned).Exposion that followed was noticeable in the exhaust chimney so i concluded this energy wasn't used to heat the water!
It took me quite a few try outs to reduce the start up delay of the burner to 2 s,all i did it was to notice that there are rust chips covering the burner holes.
Who would expect that!  :o
I cleaned up the burner top.This rust comes from water that condensates inside of the burner chamber when it stops to operate.Chamber walls are made of the steel so it corrodes and pieces of the corrosion fall down on the burner.
To prevent future condensation i insulated the chamber walls with 6cm of rockwool.In this way it wasn't cooled down to the condensation point.

IMPORTANT: any insulation and material used around the heater should be of A1 fireproof class!!!it comes down to rockwool mineral insulation made of vulcanic stone (NOT GLASS WOOL or STYROFOAMS!!)

As a result the time the burner delivers the work reduced by 4 sec!
before it was in worst case 90s-8s=82 s of burning time it got reduced to 78 sec for the worst case scenario.So it means that the explosion in the chamber was a lot of wasted gas. A direct improvement of more than 4% just by cleaning ur burner...

2s delay still worked on my nerves so i didn't gave up until i came with the nice solution to that either :)

Burner is in fact 5 parallel pipes with gaps in it,through this pipes the gas is exiting and burned.Above the pipes is the heat exchanger.What i noticed it that the pipes close to the pilot flame caught fire almost instantly after the gas started to be released.Pipes further from it followed in a chain reaction with some delay.

My solution to this problem( took some hours of experimentation) was an U shaped piece of aluminium profile(6X6 mm inner depth).I placed it on the burner pipes perpendicular to them.Profile is facing down so it is reversed U shape.Why?
As i imagined it will help the gas that started to flow through the gaps to meet with the neighbouring burner pipes.The gas will fill the u profile very fast because of its small volume,this will lead to fast propagation of the flame from neighbouring pipe into the u profile.
My idea seems to work just as i predicted :) the flame spreads across all the pipes almost instantly with just under the 0.6 s delay measured from first to last pipe.

In total it caused the starting delay of whole burner close to 1s.I believe no further improvement can come here,because in the 1 s the pipes get filled up with the gas and this doesn't count as the wast in my opinion.

it wasn't so easy :) after 2 weeks the aluminium profile was bent by flame and not working anymore :| i replaced it with stainless steel one and it seems to work just fine until now.

One thing more.Insulating of the chamber raised the temperature in the exhaust chimney.Why was it important comes later on.

2) pilot flame is a nightmare!  ;D seriously if u measure  just how much u spend during the heating season on the pilot flame u will be surprised!
Mine was using around 0.067 m3 per hour it is good for 1.6 m3 of gas per day.Roughly speaking in my region 1m3 of gas is equivalent to 10 kwh and it cost around 1 €!

It means i spend during my 160 days of heating season 160*1.6= 250€ just for pilot flame ...nice isn't it?The problem is that installer of the heater doesn't care about how much it will use,he is not paying for ur bill....So in order to have it done right do it by yourself.

Pilot flame adjustment screw is easily found if u follow the pipe from the pilot flame to the gas distributor in the heater.I screwed it in to the minimal position so it still could start up the burner.By doing so i reduced gas use to 0.045 m3 per hour,good for 172 € per year.Or to say it in savings around 80€!

Here still i am disappointed.I would truly prefer electronic ignite and i am sure it will cost much less to buy one than to have a pilot flame  :'(

I face a problem here as i have also a thermocouple next to the pilot flame that controlls if its is burning,or it cuts down the heater gas supply.So i can't easily replace pilot flame without safety distortion.

IMPORTANT:Thermocouple must be in the flame even when the burner operates.It is not always so straight forward,one thing to notice is that when main burner burns there is a pressure drop across pilot flame and it can easily stop heating the thermocouple.
In this design i have here i moved thermocouple a bit closer to the pilot flame,that solved the problem when i wanted to screw the pilot screw all the way in to get the smallest flame possible.It works fine for me for 2 heating seasons already.

3)heating cycle.

Heating cycle is more or less like this.Water in the radiators looses its heat and comes back to the heater.Heater thermometer notices the temperature drop and the thermostat starts the burner.After some time the water on the outlet of the heater reaches the set temperature and gas it cut out.

Noticeable r periods of burning and not burning of the burner.The more the power the heater has the less time it needs to warm up the water.The more radiators are open the more power is needed from the heater.

So simple isn't it? yes,but there is one drawback.In older heaters (as mine) the power it delivers is  not depending on the radiators opening(inahbitant needs).
There is a serious mismatch of the required power(home heating needs) vs supplied power(heater power).
To put it in light let us see my home.it takes around 78 s to warm up the water in heating system to the desired temperature (86 kW heater).But it takes almost 3 minutes to cool down the water on average(typical day in December).Obviously the burner is much to strong for the needs.At the same time the exhaust gases temperature after mixing with cold air reaches 82 degC.

Before the heater,on ht emain gas pipe stands the master valve.I turned it a bit to a more closed position,just to see what happens.Time burner operation increased to 115 s due to lowered power of the heater.Temperature in the rooms after 2h of operation didn't changed(measured by digital temp meter between around 13.00 and 15.00).I measured the temperatures for few days in a row and saw no noticeable differences.
What i noticed is the exhaust gases temperature drop to 63 degC.
To put the accent here...all the temp in the exhaust is lost temperature,that is given out to the outside of the house and u pay for it!

Obviously lowered flame didn't affected the radiators power to give out the heat.What dropped is gas usage and this by not less than 12%  ;D

I tried further and manager to reduce the exhaust temp to 57dgC before i noticed that heater was switching off itself during the morning start up.It normally took around 18-20 min to warm up the system in the morning(before gas restriction).After mod it was taking around 30 min and then heater would fall off.This was due to the overheating sensor i haven't noticed before and i insulated together with the electronic board of the heater.This protection sensor was to ensure that in case of management system overheating(here it happened because of the insulation of it) the heater will be switched off.I took insulation hereoff and it worked just fine :)
So my advice is not to insulate any electronics or sensors...

Here i come back to the insulation of the burning chamber.it lead to higher exhaust gases temperature indicating the higher temperature of the chamber walls.This by itself should rise the heat exchange efficiency by additional heat radiation of the chamber walls onto the heat exchanging element.I can not measure it directly now because i haven't made this mode apart from others,so it has combined influence.

huh..still lot of things to write :) hope u r not getting too bored  ;D

one of the next days i will write about the pipes insulation influence,radiators reconnecting and efficiency boosting,heater controls upgrade,circulation speed and inhabitants behavioural changes.

cy

Very nice job!!!!  Can you just imagine if everyone took the time to do this?  We would have TOO MUCH energy left over!!!!  I read back over my previous post and I have to say I omitted something very important.  I live alone.  well, actually, I live with a 15 year old cat.  She does not like to be cold but, this is nothing like living with a wife....trust me, I know.  I really commend your efforts and I really like the way you got the family to "play along" by saying they could spend the  money saved on other things.  This is really very good.  It is simple, basic economics.  why spend money on one thing when you can spend it on something else you want or need?  If a person can be just as comfortable, and have as much light as they need, for less, just by making a few changes then this is great!!!

I really wish more folks thought about this like you do.  I have had money, and I have been broke.  In either case, I do not see the need to waste money.  I am just glad my cat has not figured out how to run the thermostat when I am not home, ha ha.

Excellent topic here.

Bill

Offline khabe

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 09:00:03 AM »
:D  ;D no normal family.I use a trick :) i say they can spend the money we save on something else,it works fine :) so they start to think about the clothes and so on,of course by the time i get the year correction in bills they already forgotten my proposition :D
just give it a shot.

u can set the timers on devices as i did,they won't work before desired time,so u can enforce ur statements :)

Ur situ looks like my starting point .Now i am down to 220€,that is an overestimate from the energy supplier.As i calculate i m still under this by 5-7%

I can help u with some of ur problems.What kind of heating system do u have?

I have explaned my "system" in « Reply #3 on: November 20, 2008, 12:37:34 PM »
cheers,
khabe

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 09:00:03 AM »
3D Solar Panels

Offline Creativity

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 04:55:15 PM »
I have explaned my "system" in « Reply #3 on: November 20, 2008, 12:37:34 PM »
cheers,
khabe

ups my fault ;) if u already have heat pumps there is no direct saving on home central heating u can get with the gas IHMO.
Although i see it could payoff to have cookplate or water heater running on LPG from the tank in the back yard or the small 12 to 30 kg exchangeable tanks.I lived in Poland before and we were also not connected to the gas pipe,but this 12kg tanks were reasonably priced and exchange point was in many places in the city+ i love to cook on gas it is so much better :D

One thing is cool.I was wondering not so long ago about the possibilities of storing night tariff electricity and use it during the day.Deep cycle batteries bank is way to expensive investment for me and also long time to pay off+u have to change batteries time to time :|
Two alternatives came to my mind.One is to store electricity in the form of compressed air in the tank.By night a compressor would pump the tank and by day generator would run out of this compressed air.Total system efficiency could be somewhere near the 60-70 % so comparable with lye deep cycle batteries system.Obviously there would be no need for exchanging the batteries.
Second came to me because i wasn't very satisfied with the efficiencies of pneumatic system.I came with very simple and robbust solution.One drawback is the space required,but this in ur case is not a problem.

The idea is to use electric motor by night to elevate heavy weight( tonnes) by a gear system.The higher the elevation and the more of the weight the more potential energy stored in the system.Beauty of the idea is that the efficiency of the electric motor and the generator is quite high and only a small inefficiency comes from the gearing system and the brake.This system would work good also with solar and other renawables.

Further it seems u have a lot of inductive load in ur home grid(motors/pumps).I don't know if u r aware but this introduces a shift in power factor across the ur home grid.By this u get out of phase current and voltage waves resulting in electrical appliances using more power than they need(efficiency drop!).This can be even up to 30% losses man.
This is new idea i my arsenal and i am investigating some inexpensive patents to solve this problem,as i live next to the butchery shop and their fridges use 3 compressors of 7kW not counting freezers...it surely affect my network also.
check this one:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6801022.html

i hope we can cooperate on this idea and check the results.

Offline Creativity

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2009, 02:55:45 PM »
Hey again :) today about the water pipes  ;D and no not shisha pipes.

As usual i start with the situation as it was.There is like 21 meters of pipes from the heater to reach the house and another so much in other direction.5 m of the pipes run under the ground,4 meters in the basement and the rest on the walls and ceilings of the garage and house.Those r steel pipes of 1 3/4 inch in diameter(main pipe) to 1inch (side branch).

Interesting was fact that those were uninsulated in the space that was not part of the house  :o serious crime against ur wallet as i felt.

First i took some measurements on the main branch of the system.At the heater outlet water had the temperature of 57-58 deg C.At enter to the house the temp was 52-52,7 deg C. Nice loss... this all was obviously not heating the living space.
After the water went through the radiators (at the exit of the house) temperature was in a range of 43-43,6 deg C.When reaching the heater it droped to 40,3-41 deg C.

Some observations showed that, the warmer the pipe the more heat it looses.Also pipes under the ground had about the half of the heat loss rate per meter,than in air.It gave me a priority of insulating.

So what could i do? i went to the do it urself shop and found some insulation in form of styrofoam pipes.those r cut through the length and can be put on a pipe without dissasembling of existing piping.
I had a choice between 9mm thickness and 16 mm thickness insulation.I would go for 16 but price was almost 4 times higher(because of the brand name i guess),if they had it from any cheaper brand i would go for it .Cheaper pipes were about 0,2 to 0,43 € per meter,depending on the diameter.
Total investement of around 16€ in my case.

It went fast and painless,system is easy.. just slip it on.Easy to cut with a nife.3h of work.One drawback were bendings in plumbing,second the gaps between insulation.To keep it air tight i decided to use a ducktape on every gap,in this way insulation lets no air to circulate through the gaps.
Bendings were more problematic.This slip on foams are not easy in this subject, i decided to recycle some of the plastic bags,newspapers(it is very good insulator too!) and old tshirts to insulate it.Ok not the winner of beauty contest but does the job..
And it works! temp on the home entrance is now in range of 56-56,4 deg C. As for returning water the temp is now around 42 deg C. 16 mm insulation should be better in cutting existing loss by some additional 30% .So if u see good priced 16 mm go for it!

My case was kind of radical in the lenghts of the pipes.However keep in mind that water heaters and airconditioning pipes(hot side pipes inside of the house only,cold pipes all the way) are also a nice candidate for extra insulation work and bill savings!.Especially copper plumbing of small diameter because of excellent copper heat transfer rates!
Next to  it all cold water pipes insulation is an option too.In the winter,cold water in ur pipes gets heated up by the house heat..the same heat ur paying for.Next to it nasty moisture condensation problem can be avoided.

untill the next one!

Offline Creativity

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2009, 09:31:23 PM »
heyo,
today some info about the radiators.

Radiators work in two ways,they heat up the air that passes though them(convection) and they emit infrared waves heating surfaces of the objects in the radiation range(radiation).Both mechanisms are taking active role in human comfort perception.
Some studies has been made and those show that not only the temperature in the room is what is needed for comfi feeling.

here is a link for interested ones:
http://www.homeenergy.org/archive/hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/94/940312.html

in a nut shell we can substitute temperature by radiating heat sources.To see it more clearly just imagine gas/infrared radiators used in outdoor evenements (in Europe).It is also very handy in garage or big volume working spaces where heating costs would prohibit using of conventional systems.
I mean something like this:
http://www.lpg-portable-heaters.co.uk/
it mainly radiates heat and does not heat up the surrounding air.But even in the winter,u can quite comfortably stay warm next to it.One of those was used by us during the night pickninc :)

Another analogy is a fireplace.It mainly radiates heat (u can feel it on ur face :) ).This effect should not be underestimated in radiators also.

Thus coming back to the home heating system.We want the heaters to be as effective&efficient as they can be.To achieve this we would like them to be good convectors and radiators.The hotter the radiator the more heat it radiates and allows more air to pass through it and warm up.The bigger the surface the better the heat exchange.Knowing this simple facts let us see a classical counterproductive don'ts:

1) imagine what happens when u put clothes to dry out on ur radiator(towels in bathroom)?

The surface of the radiator is then reduced so less heat waves are available to heat up the people and objects around it.
Also warm air that normally leaves the radiator at the top,has now restricted flow.It means the less air gets heated up.In fact u can compare this situation with the radiator of the smaller size...it won't get u the comfort u want to have.Also some nice psychology here :) when u feel cold u tend to make longer/warmer showers...so there is a trade of lower temp in bathroom vs. higher water/electriicity bill :)

A simple solution is : don't put anything on the radiator! if u want to dry something let it hang above the radiator .Warm air will circulate around it turburently and this will efficiently dry ur things up.This tip is very usefull in the bathroom where u have always some towels to dry out.

2)lang curtains hanging on the radiator top.

This is another classic.If curtains are too long they will block the radiator,again making it less effective in warming up the room and less efficient(it will cost u extra money as i will explain in a moment).
By all means try not to block the top of the radiator with curtains or even worse close it behind the curtains..Let the curtaing lay on the window tablet instead or adjust their length.

3)british style radiator covers.

For example :
http://www.woodysworldof.com/
It is a fact thet most of the radiators are so damn beautifull! ;D of course i m joking. Unfortunately the cover will just make things worse for ur pocket.It only blocks the heat exchange process.Infrared waves are stopped at the cover walls.Also air has more restricted flow to get heated up.
Still one can put a tablet above the radiator, but in a way that it is not laying on the radiator top!.This should insure air flow is not restricted.

4)many layers of paint.

Paint is not a very heat conductive material.After many years (repaintings) the paint can be as thick as 1mm!.I just advise u to use sand paper and remove old paint befor eputting a new one.I also use airbrushing in place of brush or roll.It makes the paint much thinner and allos for better heat conduction.

Those were some common mistakes made by most of us.If we reduce the radiating surface we will feel colder and need to put thermostate to higher setting.This results in higher bill..(check the link i posted above).
Also if the airflow is restricted it takes longer time to warm up the house and takes higher thermostat setting to keep the house warm.Why? because we have a radiators that r small and to make tham compensate for it u need them to be warmer...

Not only comfort goes down but also pocket suffers.

Now few more advanced topics.

In the house i live in the radiator at the converted attic is too small to heat the whole space efficiently.It is not my house so i didn't wanted to invest in  the bigger radiator,i had to make a way around this problem.it took me some thinking to find some solution  :)It came by reconnecting ot the radiator.
Most of the radiators are connected in two ways:
1) upper corner/lower corner the same side of the radiator (many new radiators come with this as a default) as on the -as on pic 39 in the link.
2)upper corner/lower corner diagonally -as on pic 40.

to visualise it better i found a link:
http://chestofbooks.com/home-improvement/repairs/Mechanics-Household/Radiator-Connection.html

In my case it was the option 2.In this connection style the radiator was hot only on the top and hot water side.It was like if only the half of the radiator worked.
I visualised the water flow.Water when it is hot goes up and when cold it goes down(convection).Also it would be best if the hot water stayed as long as possible in the radiator and only the cold water was removed.This conditions would be meet in the connection style on the pic 38(both pipes on the opposite sides at the bottom of the radiator)!
In this style warm waters comes at the bottom of the radiator and by convection goes up,so it travels along the both sides of the radiator as well as the top of it.
It was a straighforward modification,i just had to cut the longer pipe and reinstall the valve to the bottom.It was a 0€ cost modification :)

It did improved the situation.Now the radiator is warm on the whole surface.As a bonus the radiator outlet temperature dropped by 1.4 degC in comparision with previous connection style.The average temp drop across radiator before mod was 7,8degC.It was thus an improvement of 18%!not nothing i would say..It means that more warmth was given out to the room by making this radiator more efficient :)

Room temperature rised by average 0.4 degC and losses in the return pipe were also reduced (see previous topic about pipes) due to the lower water temperature (by 0,2 degC).

Following this good result i modified the other two radiators.One was very long one(i have a big window of 4m length) and connected in the top/bottom-the-same-side style(pic 39).It took very long time to warm this one up because the water circulated in the small cycle between the two pipes ...as long as 13 min waiting untill whole radiator was warm.
Here reconnection resulted in 4 min to warm the whole one :) this really gave me good mood and encouraged me for further work  8) not to mention over 2,7 degC in outlet temperature drop!
Modyfication was more difficult.i had to cut one of the pipes and extend it.Then one extra bend and valve reconnection.I payed 23€ for the materials.

Last radiator was straightforward mod after the experience i build up :)

As the result the whole home outlet water temperature dropped by 1,3 degC! very nice.

But why is this outlet temperature so important?well as i see it (backed up by basic thermodynamics) the bigger the difference of temperature between two bodies the higher the heat exchange rate.
On the return water it means that less heat is lost to the outside of the house (or in the walls).This heat is non recoverable.
On the other hand the colder the water in the return ,the more efficient the flame is in giving away the heat to it.The flame in the burner has a colder surface to warm up,it means the heat exchange is more compete and efficient.As a result More money/gas saved! :)

There is also a nice trick,not widely known maybe.Because we want to warm up the room and not the wall,what can be done to recover the radiated heat lost to the wall behind the radiator?
A simple and chep solution is to attacha reflective surface behind the radiator.I found in the do-it-urself shop rolls of expanded polietylene foil.From one side it is relfective.This side goes in the direction of the radiator.The foils is 2mm thick and costs about 6€ for 3m2.
At the attic i could not measure the difference in the room temperature after installing it.But i would expect it..come on 18% of radiator efficiency increase accounted for 0,4 degC rise in room temp.With my termomether i could measure only +/-0,05 degC it is then +5% in radiator efficiency per every 0,1 degC.Foil is thus not more than 5% an improvement.

In fact it is around +4%,because other room reacted to it more visibly by +0,2 degC temp rise.

well every percent adds on to become a bigger total percent :)


hope u enjoyed it!
till next one,
C.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 09:51:28 PM by Creativity »

Offline arhitrade

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Re: how I reduced my heating bill by 60%
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2018, 08:59:00 AM »
The real design of the heater with savings of up to 30%  http://gorchilin.com/articles/coil/magnetic_wave_4?lang=en
Really - more

 

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