Green / Eco-Friendly

How many KWh do you use in a day?

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  • Jul 17th, 2019 3:58 pm
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Your garage heater is a heavy hitter for sure; sounds like it's potentially a mounted one, meaning it's probably 240v, meaning it has the potential to draw a LOT of power.

If you have in mind some level of humidity that those tools need to be stored at, you might want to get a hygrometer to see where it CURRENTLY is (assuming this is presently the "acceptable" range), then see what reducing the temps will do. FWIW: I don't have very fancy tools, but I do not have to heat my garage to keep my tools in good shape. Now, I don't leave my tools on the ground, and it's warmer here than it is where you live, but I doubt they need to be anywhere near as warm as you think they do. I did some quick Googling, and there seems to be a consensus that temperature CHANGE is a bigger issue than humidity levels; you don't want more than a 3°C swing, or more than 5% humidity change in a day. If accurate, you could keep the garage at 2°C and it should be fine, but I'd expect your hubby's tool manuals would have recommendations.

Otherwise, @Quentin5 is probably correct on all fronts; you need someone in there to get everything working properly, because you definitely have some issues that have probably been around for a long time (or due to you using your equipment improperly), and you'll not plausibly be able to resolve them yourself (re-balancing your HVAC system might seem easy, but ensuring you don't impact your furnace's required flow rates is best left to someone knowledgeable). Good news is that, with your high energy consumption, and since nothing seems to be actually broken, you'll probably get a return on your investment pretty quick.

I still do suggest a Kill-A-Watt, because if your home came with appliances, you might want to ensure they're not a big problem.
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I'd look at attic insulation and leaks in the vapour barrier (you'll feel the insulation being damp or even wet on a very cold day). Add (or redistribute/refluff) insulation to R-60 if that has not already been done. Poor insulation could result in hot upstairs in summer and cold in winter as you have. Check the attic hatch too for insulation/air leakage. Of course it could be the cold air return too.

The HRV is to vent the house but recover heat from the exhaust air to warm intake air. Don't run it more than you have to, especially just two of you in a house designed for more. Looks like the moisture in the air froze up from too much use and not being able to thaw/dry out? RH should be set to desired maximum RH (50-60%)?

What brand/model of heat pump? It may be more efficient to run the heat pump if it can still extract heat at lower temperatures (you should use it from the highest outside temp where you need heating down to where it isn't efficient in generating heat). The electric furnace is like a giant fan heater with power consumption to match. That should really only come on when the HP is less than 100% efficient (electric furnace is 100% efficient). The HP should be efficient to a much lower outside temp if you're in Québec.

I'd set hot water temp to 125F. Unless you have a huge bathtub to fill or everyone showering at once, no need to keep the tank that hot (and it may extend HW life too).

I think humidity is in the garage is an issue with sudden temperature changes. Might consider a dehumidifier.
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thriftshopper wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2019 7:51 pm
I'd look at attic insulation and leaks in the vapour barrier (you'll feel the insulation being damp or even wet on a very cold day). Add (or redistribute/refluff) insulation to R-60 if that has not already been done. Poor insulation could result in hot upstairs in summer and cold in winter as you have. Check the attic hatch too for insulation/air leakage. Of course it could be the cold air return too.

The HRV is to vent the house but recover heat from the exhaust air to warm intake air. Don't run it more than you have to, especially just two of you in a house designed for more. Looks like the moisture in the air froze up from too much use and not being able to thaw/dry out? RH should be set to desired maximum RH (50-60%)?

What brand/model of heat pump? It may be more efficient to run the heat pump if it can still extract heat at lower temperatures (you should use it from the highest outside temp where you need heating down to where it isn't efficient in generating heat). The electric furnace is like a giant fan heater with power consumption to match. That should really only come on when the HP is less than 100% efficient (electric furnace is 100% efficient). The HP should be efficient to a much lower outside temp if you're in Québec.

I'd set hot water temp to 125F. Unless you have a huge bathtub to fill or everyone showering at once, no need to keep the tank that hot (and it may extend HW life too).

I think humidity is in the garage is an issue with sudden temperature changes. Might consider a dehumidifier.
Vapour barrier has little to do with heat loss. And using it as the air barrier is a bad idea and usually performs poorly. However your attic hatch comment is correct. Air leakage is a huge heat loss vector and can be mitigated by testing with a blower door test noting the air leakage vectors and sealing them.
Hot water at 125F can lead to Legionella. You need at least 60C or 140F on your water tank.
Temperature changes do not cause humidity or reduce it but does affect relative humidity. The same amount of water in the air leads to higher relative but identical absolute humidity at colder temperatures.
Also with a garage door which is notoriously leaky its likely the garage humidity is very low, cold outdoor air holds very little water, heat it up at all and your lowering the relative humidity a high amount. Also one trick to deal with higher winter humidity in a home is to increase the HRV ventilation rate and get "free" dehumidification.

As for the temperature stratification the causes are numerous and without a lot more information we can't accurately diagnose it definitively.
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Quentin5 wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2019 8:41 pm
Vapour barrier has little to do with heat loss. And using it as the air barrier is a bad idea and usually performs poorly. However your attic hatch comment is correct. Air leakage is a huge heat loss vector and can be mitigated by testing with a blower door test noting the air leakage vectors and sealing them.
Should have said air leaks through the envelope, though moisture condensation in the insulation and on wood/drywall probably isn't good.
Hot water at 125F can lead to Legionella. You need at least 60C or 140F on your water tank.
Interesting but down south, HWTs are set at 120F to prevent burns (according to the manual on my Rheem HWT). I guess the U.S. thinks the risk of scalding is much higher than the risk of cultivating/contracting Legionella.
Temperature changes do not cause humidity or reduce it but does affect relative humidity.
No, but a drop in temperature if the RH is high will lead to condensation. Need to figure out the dew point and keep air temp above that.
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thriftshopper wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2019 9:13 pm
Should have said air leaks through the envelope, though moisture condensation in the insulation and on wood/drywall probably isn't good.
It is not but the problem at hand is not the vapour barrier.
In fact my much older home has no vapour barrier at all, no problems in a century and counting. Painted wood siding fell out of vogue decades ago.

Interesting but down south, HWTs are set at 120F to prevent burns (according to the manual on my Rheem HWT). I guess the U.S. thinks the risk of scalding is much higher than the risk of cultivating/contracting Legionella.
In the US OSHA gave this advice though it seems the current administration removed it possibly because it was too factual
https://web.archive.org/web/20170530203 ... s/faq.html
Q. Can Legionnaires' disease be prevented?

A. Yes. Avoiding water conditions that allow the organism to grow to high levels is the best means of prevention. Specific preventive steps include:

Regularly maintain and clean cooling towers and evaporative condensers to prevent growth of LDB. This should include twice-yearly cleaning and periodic use of chlorine or other effective biocide.
Maintain domestic water heaters at 60°C (140°F). The temperature of the water should be 50°C (122°F) or higher at the faucet.
Avoid conditions that allow water to stagnate. Large water-storage tanks exposed to sunlight can produce warm conditions favorable to high levels of LDB. Frequent flushing of unused water lines will help alleviate stagnation.
I remember hearing somewhere anti scald was required by code today, not sure how accurate that is.
No, but a drop in temperature if the RH is high will lead to condensation. Need to figure out the dew point and keep air temp above that.
This is correct if it reaches localized 100% humidity but a dehumidifier in winter is laughable.
Last edited by Quentin5 on Jan 3rd, 2019 9:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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TomLafinsky wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2019 9:24 pm
If anyone really, really wishes to know what is really happening in regards to heat and a/c losses he/she should get a thermal imaging camera. End of the story.

It beats any other tests you can imagine. HD USA is currently selling the Flir TG165 for about US$350. IMO a much better investment. You can see it right here.
This is a very good one but not the only or best game in town.
In fact it won't even find stack effect heat escaping because the warm escaping air keeps the gaps warm. Though it could find the basement sources but in order to airseal successfully you need to seal both input and output vectors otherwise your just shifting the neutral pressure plane.
The best test is an energy audit with blower door. Adding the IR camera is no replacement but is definitely a bonus.
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Thank you all for your input, a lot of good info to work on and start investigating. Much appreciated!
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My usage for the year. This year I stopped trying to chase down every last Watt since one hot/humid month like July dwarfs any economies made the rest of the year.

The only significant change I did this year was put my home entertainment system on a smart plug controlled by voice "OK google, turn on the stereo". That got rid of about 45W of total parasitic power that was being lost 23 hours a day. Only downside is I have to remember when I've scheduled something on the PVR, and wait about 3 minutes each time for the Bell box to fully boot and sync. But I'm cutting the Bell service this month anyway, so....

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hoob wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 10:06 am
My usage for the year. This year I stopped trying to chase down every last Watt since one hot/humid month like July dwarfs any economies made the rest of the year.

The only significant change I did this year was put my home entertainment system on a smart plug controlled by voice "OK google, turn on the stereo". That got rid of about 45W of total parasitic power that was being lost 23 hours a day. Only downside is I have to remember when I've scheduled something on the PVR, and wait about 3 minutes each time for the Bell box to fully boot and sync. But I'm cutting the Bell service this month anyway, so....

Image
Thats very good :)
Don't be afraid of searching out every last watt, if its a phantom load it will lower every months total, if its not it still lowers the total load. I know its frustrating chasing pennies when dollars are standing over you but it does all add up.
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Quentin5 wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2019 9:22 pm
This is correct if it reaches localized 100% humidity but a dehumidifier in winter is laughable.
I actually use a dehumidifier in my unheated sun room when the outdoor temperature is forecasted to drop (usually going to clear nights). And also at 80% when we had periods of snow last year that lasted more than a few days and when it dropped to a chilly -2.7C average temp. Dehumidifier and fan reduced the condensation issue. Of course the sun room had a few issues with leaks (installers fixed it for free after 8 years, though we're the second owners) but that's been fixed and the sun room is every-so-slightly better insulated and we've had no snow this year.

Cold temps makes the dehumidifier work better too, since it doesn't take that much energy t chill the condensation coils to below dew point.

Of course, helps that I'm located in the mildest climate in the country.

These are daffodils by the house (no vent or light source other than a motion-sensor on nearby). They've been ever so slowly growing since the fall (we didn't plant them so they've been there a while) and a couple look like they'll bloom in the next week.

Image
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thriftshopper wrote:
Jan 6th, 2019 5:27 pm
I actually use a dehumidifier in my unheated sun room when the outdoor temperature is forecasted to drop (usually going to clear nights). And also at 80% when we had periods of snow last year that lasted more than a few days and when it dropped to a chilly -2.7C average temp. Dehumidifier and fan reduced the condensation issue. Of course the sun room had a few issues with leaks (installers fixed it for free after 8 years, though we're the second owners) but that's been fixed and the sun room is every-so-slightly better insulated and we've had no snow this year.

Cold temps makes the dehumidifier work better too, since it doesn't take that much energy t chill the condensation coils to below dew point.

Of course, helps that I'm located in the mildest climate in the country.

These are daffodils by the house (no vent or light source other than a motion-sensor on nearby). They've been ever so slowly growing since the fall (we didn't plant them so they've been there a while) and a couple look like they'll bloom in the next week.

Image
A milder climate with only -2.7ºC is nothing like we get elsewhere in Canada since your climate zone is not typical of the rest of Canada the methods and advice will differ. Montreal's climate is far more cold then what i am guessing is Southern BC for you?
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hoob wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 10:06 am
My usage for the year. This year I stopped trying to chase down every last Watt since one hot/humid month like July dwarfs any economies made the rest of the year.

The only significant change I did this year was put my home entertainment system on a smart plug controlled by voice "OK google, turn on the stereo". That got rid of about 45W of total parasitic power that was being lost 23 hours a day. Only downside is I have to remember when I've scheduled something on the PVR, and wait about 3 minutes each time for the Bell box to fully boot and sync. But I'm cutting the Bell service this month anyway, so....

Image
I’m curious how you track the wattage of your devices.
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Quentin5 wrote:
Jan 6th, 2019 5:36 pm
A milder climate with only -2.7ºC is nothing like we get elsewhere in Canada since your climate zone is not typical of the rest of Canada the methods and advice will differ. Montreal's climate is far more cold then what i am guessing is Southern BC for you?
Yeah, but the attached garage in question in Laval may be substantially warmer due to air leaks and radiant heat loss. Of course, it wouldn't be a good idea to use a dehumidifier if it drops and stays below freezing.

Lots of southern BC is much colder, not Québec cold but cold enough.
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thriftshopper wrote:
Jan 6th, 2019 5:48 pm
Yeah, but the attached garage in question in Laval may be substantially warmer due to air leaks and radiant heat loss. Of course, it wouldn't be a good idea to use a dehumidifier if it drops and stays below freezing.

Lots of southern BC is much colder, not Québec cold but cold enough.
In a cold climate using a dehumidifier in winter is a waste of energy. You should not have such high humidity to start with since nature is removing it and not adding it. If there is then there is a problem to be dealt with not band aided with an energy wasting appliance.
If you want to waste power based on bad advice from a different climate zone with different environmental factors for no reason thats your business.
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Could be the humidity levels here. It's pretty much near saturation outside over the winter (or rather, monsoon season which is ~7-8 months a year) on most overcast/cloudy days (may drop to 80% on a sunny, clear day), and a fairly constant low 60% inside (not sure what it is inside the sunroom which is built over a patio above and adjacent to inhabited/heated space). RH is around 50-55% inside and out in dry season a.k.a. summer.

The current humidity issues come when the temperature drops (relatively) rapidly and overnight and there's a wind that chills the double-paned windows. RH at the surfaces climbs to 100% hence dew.

If you can tell me how to keep the sun room dry, I'm all ears.
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