Shop Heating & Cooling

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Lets coordinate ideas here.

414 Stevens

Lobby Air Conditioner

Questions For Landlord

Currently TylerCrumpton is POC between landlord and the board.

  1. Can we cut a small hole for an exhaust in the "front" wall?
  2. Can we cut a medium hole for a window unit like what was done in the office?
  3. If we were able to secure a donated AC unit for the property, could we install it outside the front wall (and to the right, where it would be obscured by the bushes)?

Portable Air Conditioner

  • Suggested Units:
    • Koldfront PAC1401W
      • This unit gets rid of condensation, no emptying of condensation collector necessary (depending on humidity levels)
  • Pledged
    • $100 - Omegix
    • $50 - Daniel Valdez
    • $50 - Phil Showers
    • Total: $200

Window Unit

Not sure how many BTU we need from a window unit. Need to inspect the current window units we have in the shop to see how many BTU they support. If purchasing new, here's a unit with BTU comparable to the Portable AC: http://www.amazon.com/Frigidaire-FRA156MT1-Window-Mounted-Median-Conditioner/dp/B003KWM5RG

  • If we decide to go this route, will contact Landlord for permission.
  • Window Unit cannot be on the walls that are on the property line. This would limit us to the front entrance wall of the shop.

Large AC Unit

  • Daniel V. talked to White's Refrigeration, but they didn't have anything they could donate to us right now.

Old Shit

To Dos

  • Research Cheap A/C per Mike's Merchandise and BrokenTrace's and Strage's info. - Need Someone...
  • Shade the building per notes. - Need Someone...
  • Check up on Sam O. and the old theater curtain - Spacefelix, Underway
  • Insulate building per notes. - Preauxphoto & Spacefelix, Basic Weatherization Underway
  • Building Thermostat Hold Test - Spacefelix & Brimstone, Underway, will then assess initial results.
  • Working With Landlord to have an A/C installed as part of property - Crashcart, Underway
  • Ask Valley Heating and Cooling about cheap A/C units. - BrokenTrace, Underway
  • Perform the Evaporative Cooling Experiment. - Spacefelix, Initial Testing Completed and Result Being Processed, Futher Testing to Resume in Summer 2011.

Current Situation

1/29/2011

  • Got three programmable thermostats on loan from Preauxphoto. Will install on heater and program to turn on when we are in shop and then run at a minimum temperature (45 degF) when we are not to keep the pipes from freezing.

1/13/2011

  • Spacefelix installed basic ventilated insulated plug on HVAC intake vent. Will be modified later in 3/11 to accommodate rolling A/C unit exhaust hose.

1/4/2011

  • Spacefelix did some more work on the removable door plug for the Equipment/Back Room. Started building a ventilated plug for the HVAC intake vent and a insulating cover for the outdoor garden tap.

1/2/2011

  • Jimshoe mentioned the need for a digital thermostat with internet connectivity that could help control (either automatically, manually or remotely) the heater since we only use it 5-7 hours out of the day (turn off or down the heating/cooling when we are not here and turn it on when we plan to arrive, saves power and makes the place comfortable). Sounds like a good project!

12/18/2010

  • Spacefelix, Opticron, GTPyro, DarkJedi & Hanyan worked on basic winterization, started on building the removable door plug for the Equipment room and completed the insulation of the Main Room escapable window panel. Still working on completing the replacement of ceiling tiles and sealing the dropped Main Room ceiling. Need to insulate main room A/C window, cover the tap outside, install and insulated HVAC intake vent aperture, and augment the garage tarp.

12/11/2010

  • CrashCartPro and Spacefelix worked on installing ceiling tiles. 85% of the ceiling has been covered, need to seal small holes and East gap.

12/2010

  • We were donated a new A/C unit. This now brings us up to three window A/C units for summer. If needed, will need to check them out, repair them as needed and install them when winter ends and before the summer heat comes.
  • Brimstone gave note that our current holding the thermostat at 68 degF was resulting in too high a gas bill (~$300/mo). Discussed on IRC and decided to hold the shop temperature at 60 degF and members may adjust the heat to 68 degF when present to stay comfortable.
  • Noted the heater had a tendency to hang up (not turn on) due to either the thermostat hanging or the heater failing to ignite. Have been looking in to it to see what the cause is. Suspected causes right now are heater failing to ignite and thermostat not triggering. Depending on what the issue is, we will either have to repair the heater or replace the thermostat. If you notice it not turning on and it's getting abnormally cold in the shop, let Spacefelix know what's going on; state if the heater is trying to ignite, but fails (you'll notice the glow plug turning on and the gas valve whooshing open, you'll smell the gas, but no flame occurring), or if it is just sitting there with nothing running. Otherwise, current quick fix is to crank the thermostat up to its highest temperature until it turns on the heater then turn it back to 68 degF.

11/22/2010

  • Sam Ortega from NASA said that he has access to some old theater curtain that is fireproofed and could be used to replace the heavy canvas for our wall insulation and doorway tarp cover. Spacefelix will catch up to him later on this offer.

11/19/2010

  • Brimstone set up a temperature histogram on the shop's webcam page. He said he can provide temperature history data to us on the resolution of a measurement each hour for the past several months as well as past and current utility bills. This will be useful for assessing our situation and cost. Ratmandu said that the current temperature variations are relatively low compared to those outside and therefore we may not need to insulate as extensively as we originally planned. Let's watch the temperature trend and the time the heating/cooling must stay on to maintain basic comfort levels over the next couple of months and decide where to go from there. Currently working with PreauxPhoto on fireproofing canvas. Have been working on sealing of dropped ceiling. Have purchased insulating material for doors and windows.

11/6/2010

  • Took down the evaporative cooling system for winter. Will resume testing with pulsed feed in Summer 2011.

10/25/2010

  • Got some recommendations from Ratmandu and PreauxPhoto on fireproofing with commercial fire-retardants or borax. Preauxphoto will be able to lab test our methods to confirm that they work.

10/9/2010

  • Proto-Proposal For Initial Insulation - Forming a proto-proposal for insulating the main room of the shop. Trying to develop something quick, easy and cheap that we could do immediately. Looking to have member input on the proposal before putting it to board. Look at notes below under 'Augmentations' -> 'Insulation on the main room'. Will pass to Preauxphoto for review to add his testing plan for fireproofing the insulation.

10/2/2010

  • Basic Winterization Measures - Discussed with Facilities Director, currently underway by Spacefelix. See notes below under 'Basic Winterization Measures'.

9/18/2010

  • Evaporative Cooling Experiment - Brimstone & Spacefelix installed the drip hose to give the roof a slow drip wetting. When running continuously, no temperature drop in the shop was observed. It seems that a continuous feed does not allow for the water to stand and evaporate and causes it to simply flow off without evaporating. This greatly reduces its cooling potential. Spacefelix will repeat the experiment with the feed being pulsed so that the water may stand and evaporate.

9/13/10

  • Central A/C - CrashCartPro on results of meeting with Tom from A/C Doctor (referred by landlord): Our landlord is also looking for an AC unit for the building, just last Friday he had Tom from the A/C Doctor come out to asses the current HVAC system. I was told that the system is like new and already setup to accept a 4-ton unit. (same size recommended by a previous estimate i believe <- See 8/20 note, be wary that the assessment said it could only just cool half the uninsulated main room, Spacefelix) Tom said he has a suitable unit to put up on the south wall of the shop. My understanding is that this is a deal being worked out between him and our landlord. It is not yet clear whether Mike is going to get this for us, OR simply find us a cheap offer we can opt to buy. I will try to ask Mike about this, Tactfully. (thanks to Ratmandu for actually being at the shop when Tom arrived.)

8/25/10

  • Insulation - Cheapest option is to purchase R-4 pink foam sheet. Will need to be double stacked on the cinderblock walls and single-stacked on the Brick and 2x4 walls and then capped with a protective layer such as cardboard or plywood. If we can get some on dumpster dives, it would help with costs. Preauxphoto said he has an idea on how to build the Ivy Wall. It would consist of a supporting structure that would be leaned/attached to the outside wall and have a fabric substrate for the Ivy to root into and climb upon. This fabric could be wetted to promote growth and provide evaporative cooling.
  • Central A/C - CrashCartPro has contacted another A/C man from The A/C Doctor. He was referred to us by our landlord. He has some units and sizes that he would like to discuss with us. An appointment is being set up in the meanwhile.
  • Evaporative Cooling - Since it has been mentioned from the A/C man on 8/20, spacefelix has been running an experiment with evaporative cooling on the shop roof. An initial small test (done with 80% humidity outside at dusk and normal conditions inside the shop; lights and one 10,000 BTU A/C on for approximately one hour before test with two occupants) has revealed that if only the NE corner and Southern edge of the roof are sprayed for two minutes each, there can be a 1 degF drop in shop main room temperature 30 minutes after the spray is applied. After that, the shop temperature returns to normal levels. As this experiment was small and quick and dirty, it will need to be scaled up, the thermodynamic variables better regulated and repeated over several days to produce clearer results. But despite this, the experiment has shown what has been expected, that some degree of cooling is possible. The next experiment will determine how much this is and how effective evaporative cooling is. That experiment will consist of a sprinkler that distributes water to the entire roof surface from the garden hose spigot. To anchor it in place, as there are no hardpoints to attach to, sandbags will be used. It will be turned by hand to provide a steady rate of water or spray in time intervals. Right now, from the initial analysis, it is predicted to use up to 10,044 gallons/mo at a rate of $20.00/mo based on TVA water rates. This is assuming that the system uses a 4.5 gal/min delivery system and is turned on for one minute at full every 5 minutes for 6 hours a day. Running at a constant rate, this would translate to be 0.9 gal/min. Gregabyte has pointed out that Harbor Freight carries cheap perforated hose that can act as a distributor. Also, he advises that we trickle rather than spray water on the roof to avoid premature evaporation and atomization. Such effects only cool the surrounding air, not the roof.

8/20/10

  • Had a gentleman from All-American Comfort Control come in to assess our space for A/C. Due to our budget constraints established on 8/10/10, it will be difficult to cool the entire shop. He has suggested that we focus on the main room only with the following:
    • Uninsulated walls, 4-ton condensor in current HVAC bay and a 4-way split ductless A/C. However, it will cost much more than our established budget constraints.
    • Walls insulated to at least R-12, doors and windows insulation improved, dropped ceiling air-sealed per Preauxphoto on 8/16/10, will only need a 4-ton condensor in current HVAC bay. Cheaper than above, but still above our budget constraints. Currently, the walls are only at R-4 (cinderblock) to R-7 (Brick and 2x4 wall). Also recommended shading where possible.
    • Alternative options would be to try and find a scratch-and-dent unit from Mike's Merchandise's suppliers (he often sources from them and resells high) or use evaporative cooling.
  • From the above, and a discussion with CrashCartPro, it was decided that we need to focus on improving the shop's insulation and sealing and reassess how much A/C would be needed to cool the main room/building. Also, our A/C man has told us that he will perform an assessment on how much A/C we need and how much it will cost to buy and operate. <- I will caution that this will not progress very quickly unless we commit to purchasing something from the guy. - Spacefelix
  • Broken Trace mentioned he has a contact with Valley Cooling and Heating who could hook us up with a cheap A/C.
  • Preauxphoto has mentioned he will help with insulation. Also mentioned he would like to implement the Ivy Outside Wall insulation.

8/16/10

  • Estimated an initial budget of $3,000 and operating cost of $200/mo should be acceptable for us to run a central A/C. Cost will cover gear. Preauxphoto put forth that the ceiling needed to be sealed airtight, not necessarily insulated. This is to reduce stratification, hot air circulation and reduce the volume of air that we are cooling. Strages mentioned that he knows someone who works in A/C installation. He could help us out when it is time to install.

7/20/10

  • COST - Take note that as of 7/10 we do not yet have the cashflow to support the monthly cost of operating A/Cs.
  • Shop has seen temperatures in the Main Room of 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit in late afternoons and evenings. It is assumed that during the day and at noon this would be 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • From A/C Experiment
    • Assuming 24 BTUs to cool 1 sqft., Main Room at 30' x 40' needs 28,800 BTUs and Lounge Loft at ~30' x 10' needs 7,200 BTUs. Need a total of 36,000 BTUs to cool. Assumed BTUs/sqft is based on A/C manufacture's specifications. As they are conservative, it is assumed high ceilings will not impact this estimate.
    • Currently have a floor unit (9,000 BTUs) and a window unit (10,000 BTUs) with boost fans and several floor fans about for cooling. Total of 19,000 BTUs of cooling provided. Falls short of 36,000 BTUs by 17,000 BTUs.
    • Have obtained a 12,000 BTU window A/C unit. It needs a coolant recharge to work.
      • Adding this unit will require an independent 110V line to be routed to the Main Room windows due to power requirements and to avoid tripping breakers. <- Done by Ratmandu.
  • We need around 10 tons (120,000 BTUs/hr) of A/C capacity.
    • Have requested a quote and assessment on how much A/C is needed for the shop, how much insulation is required and how much the system will cost up front to buy and install and per month to operate. Free assessment will be done by Mr. David Fuller (All-American Comfort Control) on 8/20/10. Let's decide where to go from his assessment. <- spacefelix on 8/12/10
  • Insulation
    • Per Ratmandu, the sloped roof is already insulated, fiberglass insulation seen on the main room's acoustic tiles is really unnecessary. Looking at the walls, it is assumed they are uninsulated as one can feel the heat/cold through them from touching the inside face.
    • There are many gaps in the doors, windows and seams throughout the shop. Have so far weatherstripped the main room window plates and doors.
    • To improve insulation and reduce heating/cooling bills, need to seal all gaps and insulate walls. Given our current rate of work assuming we are laying up standard insulation material, this could take two to three weekends to insulate walls and have all gaps sealed.

Options

Being Researched

Central A/C & Heating

  • The most effective, but also the most expensive.
  • compressor unit for outside capable of handling 2500sqft.
    • The pipes are already run and the cooling coil is inside above the furnace.
      • May be possible to get parts from an old A/C unit or refrigerator, install them into the system, recharge the coolant and run.
      • Ground Loop cooling might be possible, but is limited by rental property status and space restrictions; we must dug 30 feet down and code may not allow that.
      • If all else fails, try to put in as many window/rolling A/C units as possible. Have one 220V window unit that needs a checkout, three 110V window units; one working, one needing a refrigerant recharge and one needing a checkout, and one 110V rolling unit.
    • We already have a heater in the shop. But it is expensive to run and usually ends up running continuously without much temperature rise due to the poor insulation in the shop.
    • expensive, cost can be reduced with improved building insulation.

Evaporative Cooling

  • Cheap, but effectiveness needs to be determined. Current research points to only a 10 degF temperature drop possible in best conditions. Examining http://weather.ruppworld.com/, it can be seen that the wet-bulb temperature of the area can be at best 10 degF below the dry-bulb temperature. May not be favorable to climate (too humid in this state for it to work) and shop operations; times of day where humidity is above 80% is predicted to be from 8pm to 6am. We are usually in the shop at those times when we are working late.
  • The original roof of the building was flat, the angled roof is above it. Although it would appear to cool the air gap between the two roofs, heat can still move between the surfaces by conduction. Therefore, cooling the roof is expected to conduct downward into the shop.
    • Experiment performed from 8/10 - 9/10 did no show an appreciable drop in building temperature by roof cooling. This may be due to the evaporative cooling being ineffective, the insulation or that the heat load of the building is much too high for evaporative cooling. However, the latter two seem more likely since no drop was observed even during opportune conditions when there was a 10 degF difference between dry and wet bulb temperatures. Need to include roof surface temperature measurements along with internal building air temperature measurements in further experimentation to confirm this. If the roof insulation is the issue, an alternative would be to try evaporative cooling on the uninsulated cinderblock walls. Given that during the winter, they are cold and therefore a significant source of heat loss, the same would be expected in the summer. Therefore, cooling them ought to have the biggest impact to the building's internal temperature. Detailed results of the experiment will be posted here later.
  • http://www.builditsolar.com/Experimental/RoofCooling.htm
  • It's always cooler at the shop after it's rained
  • Current cost of gear is estimated to be under $100.00. Cost of operations predicted to be $20.00/mo.

Heating By Heat Generated Inside Shop

  • Given that the shop remains at a near-constant 80-90 degF during the summer no matter what the temperature is outside, and the amount of gear we run in the shop; computers, tools, servers, etc., it may be possible to heat the shop with just the heat given off by the activity inside.
  • Insulation and activity in the shop will be key.
  • Brimstone stated it is possible to have a server bank controlled by a taskmaster that is hooked up to a thermostat. So when the shop gets cold, the servers get running and heat the shop.
    • Shapr has a blade center he plans to set up. However, mog advises that cranking them will need something worth cranking for since it can get expensive. Perhaps if we sold the computing time?
    • Ratmandu has a couple P4s that kick on SETI@Home depending on room temperature. Said it works great for keeping his room warm in winter.

Augmentations - Things to help whatever means we heat and cool the shop efficiently.

  • Insulation on the main room
    • As most of the shop's activity is centered on the main room, it would be in our interests to make that area as comfortable as possible.
    • Currently, building is at R-4 (cinderblock) to R-7 (Brick and 2x4 wall). We need at least R-12 per the recommendations of the A/C pro from All-American Comfort Control on 8/20/10. This means R-8 is the maximum insulation required. As it stands, we have two options; foam sheathing or canvas tapestry.
      • Foam Sheathing - This will require us to glue at least two layers of 3/4", R-4 foam sheathing to the inside walls of the main room. This will be a permanent installation and therefore require us to follow board approval procedures, building codes and take a fair amount of labor time as furniture will have to be moved to allow cladding to be laid down. Approximate cost is $2,000. The advantage is that insulation is guaranteed.
      • Canvas Tapestry - This will need pleated canvas sheets to be draped against the wall off of screw hooks installed into 2x4s ram set into the upper edge of the wall. The pleating will trap air and provide insulation. As the hangings can be removed, they will only be temporary and need approval by the Facilities Director. Installation will not require furniture to be removed as the drapes can simply be dropped in between the wall and furniture (the North whiteboard will need to be suspended from the wall on 2x4s to allow a gap for drapes). Therefore installation is comparatively quick. To allow access to the fuse box and other wall fixtures, zippered patches or holes can be installed. If more insulation is needed, more canvas can be hung to make layers. Approximate cost is $800. The disadvantage is the R-value is unknown and may not get the required R-12 value. Also, fireproofing will be required. The manufacturer's specs state the canvas material is flammable. We will need to treat the material to be fire-resistant. Per fire-resistance standards, a treated 1' x 1" strip will need to self-extinguish if ignited, strip length may not fully burn up and a piece of tissue paper underneath that collects drip burning off sample must not ignite. Ratmandu has recommended the following; Dry Fire Retardant and No-Burn Fabric Fire Gard Spray. As a low-cost alternative, PreauxPhoto recommends Borax Fireproofing. He also has access to fire-retardant testing facilities so he can test to recognized standards. This will be useful to present in an insurance case. Sam Ortega said that he knows of a theater that is throwing out their old fireproofed stage curtain. It's of a fairly heavy fabric and could be recycled for our purposes.
      • R-60 Insulation - Hart and Cooley has a lot of scrap R-60 insulation that is free for the taking. If this insulation is not fiberglass, it could provide a free approach to insulating the building. Downside is that it is much thicker than foam boarding or canvas. <- Per Ratmandu, chances are from the R-Value that it is fiberglass. Need confirmation.
  • more insulation on south & west sides of building
    • sees more sunlight during the day and afternoon than the other
    • garage door is on this side
    • cheapish
    • Scott & Spacefelix thought of a English Ivy shade garden on the walls. It would be a lattice that would be offset a foot from the wall. Ivy or other leafy vines would be grown on the lattice. It would shade the walls and provide transpirative cooling in the summer. The dead vines in winter would provide thermal insulation. I see this being done with simple rope being tied to stakes on the ground and attached to temporary clips on the building's awnings. The vines would then root in the ground and climb up the ropes. It is recommended that this be implemented in Mid-March where the last frosts occur.
  • Awning Over Garage Door
    • "over door tarps" to some
    • would shade the door
    • has the added benefit over covering the smallish patio outside the door
    • would keep rain water from coming in under the door
    • cheap
    • Could set up a PVC pipe frame to hold up a tarp and mount above the garage door using temporary clips. However, it is advised that it be stowable to protect it from high winds. --Spacefelix 17:13, 20 July 2010 (CDT)
  • Dehuminidfiers
  • Programmable/Remote Control Digital Thermostat
    • Jimshoe stated a digital thermostat that could help with this control of the HVAC since we only use it 5-7 hours out of the day. We could set it to turn off or down the heating/cooling when we are not here and turn it on when we plan to arrive. This would save money and make the place comfortable. He had an idea for a utility that uses an internet connection that can turn on the HVAC before you come to the shop so it is comfortable when you arrive and that will display data to the camera webpage so that you know the unti's status and thermostat settings. He pointed out that Ratmandu has parts for a thermostat and Omegix has stated he has one he can provide to the shop.
    • This may be necessary if the current issue with the heater hanging is caused by a faulty thermostat.
    • Preauxphoto loaned three programmable thermostats to the shop to install on heater. We can now program the heat to only turn on to 60 degF when we are present at the shop and drop to a minimum temp of 45 degF when we are not to keep the pipes from freezing. Can be overridden as needed for comfort or economy. Will be a stand-in until other solutions are implemented.
    • Programmable Thermostat Project

On Standby

Augmentations

  • Fans
    • 24" High Velocity Floor Fan
      • I'll throw in $30 towards this. --Omegix 16:43, 20 July 2010 (CDT)
    • Place mounts and vents in the Main Room window plates to allow for box fans to be mounted.
  • Add a 15,000 BTU window unit, dehumidifier
    • Currently, we do not have the money to support its operation.

In Work

  • Basic Weatherization Measures - Cold Months: November to March - Spacefelix discussed basic winterization measures with the Facilities Director. The following will be done:
    • Seal off the dropped ceiling of the main room; 85% done as of 12/11/10, materials purchased and are being installed, need to seal small holes and East gap. - Dropped ceiling will be sealed airtight to reduce the volume of air that needs to be heated in Main Room.
      • Scott was looking into getting the used, but still good tiles from his building coming up. <- Currently being replaced with the use of 1/2" R-3 EPS foam insulation sheathing panels.
      • cheapish, currently in the $100s.
      • Take caution: per above from Ratmandu, the roof is already insulated, so he advises that the ceiling insulation may be unnecessary.
      • Purpose of retiling and sealing is more to reduce air circulation and the volume of air to be cooled/heated, insulation is not critical, but sealing is.
    • Seal and Insulate the North window plates; 55% done as of 10/10, material purchased, one of two windows insulated. - 2" EPS foam sheathing panels will be laid up on the inside of the window plates. They will be cladded with whiteboard to protect them and allow them to be used for brainstorming. Cutouts will allow access to the window plate handles so that they can still be removed for emergency escape. For the window with the A/C unit, the inside face of the A/C will be left open and the outside covered with foam insulation to protect it from the cold.
      • Take note that we may be installing more or bigger A/Cs on that window when summer comes around. So temporary insulation would be better in this case so that modifying it to accommodate the hardware is easy.
    • Install a window screen on the escapable window and a skirt screen on the garage door; 10% done as of 10/10, material purchased and ready. - Have a screen on the escapable window and rollup door so that they may be opened in the summer to allow cool air into the shop without letting in bugs. Must be removable to allow for escapability. Perhaps something on the inside of the window on hinges that can be opened to remove the window plate and then closed to seal against insects. For the garage, a roll of screen material that can be lowered to the floor when the rollup door is open.
    • Augment the main room-garage doorway tarp; 10% done as of 10/10, material purchased and ready. - The current tarp will be layered with an additional tarp and canvas sheeting in between. Fireproofing the canvas will be needed as the manufacture's label says the material is flammable and it will be hanging within 6 feet of welding and metal work areas. Per the fireproofing notes from 'Being Researched' -> 'Augmentations' under 'Insulation on the main room' -> 'Canvas Tapestry'
      • Sam Ortega said that he can bring us an old theater curtain that is already fireproofed and of a heavy material that can insulate well. This would replace the canvas material and having to fireproof it.
    • Removable seal panels on the back room entrance; 75% done as of 1/2/11, panels under construction. - The back room door will have a two-piece removable insulation plug installed made from 1" foam sheathing cladded with whiteboard so it may be used for brainstorming. Pieces of rope will be installed to act as handles so that removing them for access will be easy.
    • Cold-weather protection for the outdoor garden hose tap; 20% done as of 1/4/11, parts being assembled. - Make a foam cap to insulate the outdoor garden hose tap from freezing and breaking when it goes below freezing outside. This way, we won't have to worry about letting the tap drip during freezes; we can let it just stay closed and leave it alone. The foam cap captures heat seeping from the building to keep the tap from freezing.
    • Install a ventilated insulation block on HVAC fresh air intake; 100% done as of 1/13/11, basic install, future modifications pending. - A lot of heat loss/intrusion occurs in the shop because there is an intake vent on the West shop wall from the outside to the HVAC system. So when the HVAC runs, it pulls in a fair amount of cold air from the outside that it has to heat. When it is hot, a lot of heat from the outside intrudes into the building by this vent. If we had an A/C on the HVAC, then like it does for the heater, it must work with excess hot air. When it is not running, hot/cold air freely leaks to the outside. The solution would be to seal it off. However, we still need fresh air. Especially in a workshop environment where we generate dust and fumes from our activities. Currently, a 4" thick EPS foam insulation panel cladded with corrugated plastic with several small 1.5" diameter apertures stuffed with batting for insulation is installed in this vent. Is is friction-fitted, so it will not be easily removed and faces against the anti-vermin screen and its retention/standoff bricks. The aperture size and count will be adjusted in the future depending on shop conditions. In March 2011, to allow for the portable A/C's heat exhaust hose to pass, there will be a removable pass-through segment of the block that can accommodate and retain the hose. Also, the edges of the plug will be trimmed and padded so the whole plug is more easily removed.
  • Holding Heater Thermostat at 60 degF, Raising to 68 degF When At Shop - To save on utilities, the members discussed on 12/10 to hold the thermostat temperature at 60 degF and increase the temperature to 68 degF to stay comfortable when people were at the shop. The previous holding at a constant 68 degF decided on 11/21/10 was resulting in excessive heating bills (~$300/mo). To assess how well it works, historical and current utility bills will be compared and the temperature in the shop monitored by Brimstone's set up for a temperature measurement histogram for the inside and outside of the shop (NOTE: The current sensor setup seems sufficiently placed to make accurate measurements of the inside and outside of the building; outside on the North wall and the inside on an inside wall sufficiently isolated from indoor hardware such as lights and computers). This experiment will be done for at least 3 months. This will allow for a comparison of the building with and without basic winterization in terms of heating efficiency and economy.

What's worked

  • tarps from the ceiling, separating the garage and smallish room off the main room
    • on any given day you can tell a very noticeable difference between one side and the other with the existing AC on.

What won't