Door and Window Draft Problems Eliminated

Money flies out of the window if you have a door and window draft issue. You can lose almost 50% of your heating and cooling energy in a typical home. According to the American Council for the Energy Efficient Economy, some $13 billion of energy escapes from the collective drafty windows and doors of the American people.

Door and window draft problems occur when a house has settled and windows and doors no longer fit properly. Any type of gap, no matter how small, causes air infiltration. This results in drafts, which will impact the set temperature in your home.

How to fix a door and window draft? Many people use homemade blockers, which are great for keeping out the drafts. Homemade snakes and even unused blankets are often used but they are not as good as a purpose made draft blocker. For example, the material used in the most effective examples is polypropylene, which has been specially designed and tested to ensure that it blocks the flow of air. Also, the filler is important and finely ground corn has been found to be most effective. Make sure that the draft blocker is flexible so that it first well around the window and door for good effect.

To pinpoint door and window draft areas, feel the bottom of doors and around windows. You can also listen for a whistling sound, which is common around drafty windows. If you feel air leaking in, you need to take action to seal off the draft. Doors and window in older home are more likely to have problems with drafts, but there could also be concern in homes with new replacement windows if they were installed improperly.

Look everywhere for causes of the door and window draft, not just the typical first choices, the rear and front doors. Check your basement and attic doors and any sliders and in particular look at the porch and basement windows before any else.

Although door and window draft problems are year-round issues, they are most notable in the winter season when the cold air is coming in. In cold months, your home’s heating system is trying to maintain a constant temperature, but the drafts are making it a tough task. The heating system remains on constantly or may be turning itself on an off incessantly to try to compensate. A drain on your bank balance is sure to result.

Door and window drafts are most often felt in the winter, but represent a big problem in the summer too, most especially if you use air conditioning and fans. The system tries to cool the house but hot air flows in through door and windows which just makes the colling system work harder. More energy burned equals a higher dollar amount at month end.

Many are amazed to realize that a full 25% can be saved in energy costs when door and window draft areas care fixed. Draft blockers are easy to put in place. They can be installed without any fixings and can be cleaned and dried without a machine. Draft blockers are proven energy savers. Even if saturated, the draft blocker can be airdried and will maintain its shape and efficiency.

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A Matter of Insulation: Acquisition vs. Lifetime Savings

Cooler ConnectionYour cold storage equipment may be one of the most important choices you make. A significant amount of costs are associated with your walk-in. Before you purchase, make sure you consider the entire lifecycle of the walk-in instead of just the acquisition price.

The two main elements that effect energy and cost savings while running a walk-in are the refrigeration and insulation.  To get the optimal results from your refrigeration it must be sized correctly taking in consideration the size of box, if it is a cooler or freezer, and what will be stored inside. (There are many other factors that are considered when sizing refrigeration.) Insulation is the key to energy savings because it is responsible for holding the cool temperature in the box so the refrigeration does not have to work overtime. Insulation quality is measured by R-value; the resistance to heat flow through an object. Since EISA was implemented January 1, 2009, all walk-in manufactures are required to have an R-value of R-25 for coolers and R-32 for freezers. Now that all manufacturers follow the same requirements, the performance of the insulation is what differentiates the walk-in.

The two common types of insulation used are polyurethane and extruded polystyrene.  Each type of insulation brings with it strengths and weaknesses that must be evaluated for each individual application.

Insulation Strength Weakness
Extruded Polystyrene Starts with a high R-value. Smaller cell structure. Resists moisture absorption. Closed cell structure. Out gases some. Over time, R-value decreases minimally.
Polyurethane Starts with a high R-value.  Closed cell structure. Out gases more. Over time, R-value decreases steadily. Is susceptible to moisture infiltration.

U.S. Cooler uses both insulations. Through experience and research, U.S. Cooler believes extruded polystyrene is the best insulation for the walls, ceiling, and floors of coolers and freezers. Polyurethane is better to insulate the doors of their walk-ins. According to a study performed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, they found that over a five year period extruded polystyrene retains 75% of its R-value while polyurethane retains 25%.¹  This is one reason why U.S. Cooler believes extruded polystyrene provides the most value and the best option for walk-in insulation.

polyurethane, extruded/expanded polystyrene hybrid, polystyrene
polyurethane, extruded/expanded polystyrene hybrid, extruded polystyrene

Retaining a high R-value is important in saving energy costs. The higher the R-value, the less the refrigeration will have to work to hold the required cold temperatures. As a result, the less the refrigeration works the less your energy costs will be.

When considering the actual performance of walk-in coolers and freezers, being informed can pay substantial long-term benefits. You pay for the walk-in once, but if the insulation and refrigeration are inefficient, it will cost you every month for the life of the walk-in. Acquisition price should not be the only consideration when purchasing your walk-in. Initial purchase savings can be quickly eliminated by unnecessary operational costs over the lifetime of the walk-in.

To see how much you could save on an Extruded Polystyrene walk-in, check out our Energy Savings Calculator.

¹ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CRREL) test data. “New Wetting Curves for Common Roof Installations,” by Wayne Toblasson, Alan Greatorex and Doris Van Pelt; Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hampshire 1991.

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Cooler Connection @ Cooler Connection | U.S. Cooler BlogOriginal post: Cooler Connection

EEStor Signs a Major New Contract

EEStor, the now famed ultracapacitor maker of the future is one step closer to having a product coming to market.  Last week saw information escape that EEStor has contracted with Polarity of Rancho Cordova, California to design and specify the construction details of the ultracapacitor’s power converter.  A power converter would ideally provide a combined capacitor and controller set to deliver steady electrical energy at optimal voltage and amperage.

The power converter would be effectively a transformer, a device that steps down the ultracapacitor’s high voltage to a lower voltage that can be used in motors and other devices.  Reports have it that the EEStor capacitor’s voltage peak is about 35 to 37 hundred volts, much more than electric motors are currently designed to cope with.  Although high voltage allows smaller wires, lighter weights, and other attributes, insulating for high volts has it own issues such as more dimensional needs meaning a larger physical size, voltage insulation that can contain the “pressure” as high voltage much more easily jumps away to grounds, penetrates insulation, and can heat conductors very quickly.

The power converter speculation is supposed to reduce the voltage to the more familiar 600-volt range.  Many insulation types can deal with voltages in that range at low cost and the dimensional issue nears optimal with today’s technology.  At to 400 to 600 volt range, particularly using alternating current very high power output can come from very small packages.

This writer is also assuming that Polarity will offer the power converter with an internal method of providing steady output voltage from capacitors that one expects have voltage drop as they are drained.  Thus the transformer inside would be a variable type that adjusts to the available voltage while the load voltage is a constant.

Some sites are crediting Polarity’s photos, links and products to the EEStor contract.  Those assumptions are certain to be in error, even if interesting.  A little closer reading of the Polarity site makes clear that the products on hand have existing markets.  Most products have generator or battery input voltages; no mention is easily seen of ultracapacitor input products.  As noted the voltage decline will entail certain design modifications to extract the maximum available charge.

Polarity HVLV600 Converter.

Polarity HVLV600 Converter.

Meanwhile snoopy reports have it that EEStor will prove publicly the capabilities of their technology before the end of September 2009.  The context of these, blogs, hypetype news media, etc. tend to overstate the ‘proving” but EEStor may well have announcements in that area.

Factually though the whole thing is based on Polarity’s tight acknowledgment saying on their site,  “Awarded contract from EESTOR to integrate Polarity’s high power HV to LV converter into EESTOR’s EESU that will be used in Zenn Motor Company’s small to medium size electric car.” EESU would be “electrical energy storage unit.”

It seems to be time for those seriously interested in electron storage to come up to speed with EEStor. This is a link to a transcript of Mr Weir, of EEStor and Tyler Hamilton, senior energy reporter and columnist for the Toronto Star. Significantly, at 14:04 where Weir says,

“We’ve taken those specifications to our circuits company that builds our circuits for us. A company called Polarity. They’re out of California. ZENN has gone there and came back very impressed. I was lead to them by the Air Force Research Labs because they’re so effective in building high performance converter circuits for them. However there are multitudes of companies around the world that could build these circuits in high volume. But, I got started with them so … they’re building our circuits right now. They’re actually putting the ZENN circuits together literally as we speak. I’ll be going out there, if not next week the following week after that to have a long session with them to talk about getting the parts in here quickly so I can not only do … I don’t want to stop and build circuits for component testing I want to use their circuits for full EESU testing. Which is also component testing. So I kill 2 birds with 1 stone there. And get that in here and get that tested and get UL in here start looking at it. So, that’s going quite well.”

Of major note, Weir is suggesting that UL aka Underwriters Laboratories has been invited in to start their process.  Things are much further along than thought.

While much is made of the impact the EEStor device might make across the whole of the electric spectrum Weir reminds us at 24.28 that:

“You can take the grids of the world and put our batteries on it and charge ‘em at night and dump ‘em during the day. Well known fact you can put 45% more electricity on the grid and do nothing more than put our batteries on there.”

This could be a very advantageous development for consumers when peak demand generation has serious competition.

The transcript is a significant read and I’ve only toughed on the highlights.  It’s a few minutes well spent with a lot of answers there.


Go here to see the original: New Energy and Fuel

Save Energy with Passive Solar Energy

Passive solar energy is the heat and light your home receives daily – with no effort from you. Harnessing that heat and light and designing homes to suit it, can make a difference in the power you use to heat or cool your home.

If you are planning to build your own home in the near future, consider these points before finalising your plans.

1. High ceilings are better for hot climates, as the hot air will rise high enough to keep the lower living areas cool. Low ceilings in colder climates help to keep rooms warmer.

2. Plan most of your windows and door openings to be on the side of the house where they will be more beneficial in terms of heat and light. In hotter regions, you’ll want doors and windows to open onto cool, shady areas that will send cooler air into the house, and in cold regions, you’ll want to let the heat in.

3. Insulate – as much as you can. Ceilings, floors, walls, doors, windows and even electrical outlets can be insulated. Insulation helps to maintain your home’s temperature – keeping heat or cold out or in.

4. A ‘Mudroom’, or separate entrance area allows people to enter or exit without exposing the rest of the house to outside temperatures.

5. Look carefully at where you will need light in each room, and plan windows accordingly. That way you won’t need to switch lights on in the middle of the day.

If your house is already built, you can add a few items that will help maintain the indoor temperature without breaking the bank – or the house.

1. Retractable awnings are great for windows and doors that get a lot of sun in summer, and they can be pulled back in winter to help warm the house up.

2. Consider planting tall, deciduous leafy shrubs or small trees in pots near windows and doors. In winter when they lose their leaves the sun will reach in, but in summer they will provide shade and keep the air cool.

3. Insulation can be added to existing homes in ceilings without major work. Check doors and windows for drafts, and insulate them if necessary.

4. Shutters or insulated window coverings can help quite significantly in keeping heat in or out of your home.

5. Paint your roof white – it reflects instead of absorbing the heat of the sun.

Most of these tips are meant to heat or cool your home using, or deflecting, the natural energy of the sun. You may still need air-conditioning, fans and heating, but they will work more efficiently, and you’ll need to use them less often.

Manipulating solar energy to conserve electricity makes sense. Not only will it save you in power bills, but it is better for the environment. The next step is solar power for your home – and it need not be as expensive as you think. For more information on alternative energy sources, visit http://www.green-community.info/green_products/energy_2_green.php

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