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Old 05-08-14, 04:53 AM   #11
osolemio
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Originally Posted by jeff5may View Post
Use what's available locally. If there are no comfort units and lots of freezers, hack some freezers!
There are both split air cons as in heat pumps, dehumidifiers and other air condition units, just not in the numbers seen elsewhere.

"My" plumbers uncle works in a company that does nothing but cooling applications, and he should be able to help me refill a system, if I open up to the coolant. For an older system, I am concerned that I would be releasing freon or other bad gases into the atmosphere though.

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Old 05-08-14, 04:52 PM   #12
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Unless you plan on heating with the unit also, a normal size heat pump unit would probably be too large in capacity. However, it would open up some heating options for you.
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Old 05-09-14, 05:30 AM   #13
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Unless you plan on heating with the unit also, a normal size heat pump unit would probably be too large in capacity. However, it would open up some heating options for you.
It's only going to be used for dehumidification and possible cooling. As I wrote earlier, since it rarely becomes hotter than 80F, it's not a lot of cooling which is required. At the moment, these houses don't have any cooling at all, so removing the moisture and lowering the temperature just a few degrees could be sufficient.

As for heating ... with that system I am doing, there won't be need for any heating! However, since I have a seasonal heat storage, why not heat that up in the process of cooling the house down? To me, it makes a lot of sense if I can split the air into cold and dry into the house, and the hot "exhaust" into the seasonal heat storage, and get that heat back 6 months later (or as needed).

There will eventually be plenty of other heat available from a whole summer of about 300 square feet of Solarus hybrid PV-T solar panels (electric and thermal), with a peak thermal effect of around 15kW (yet to be confirmed). Maybe even more, as the power you can extract depends on how cold your buffer is, and stays, and I will have plenty of capacity, as I have written about before.

So a little hacked dehumidifier or freezer won't make too much of a difference in the big picture, yet it saves me from making an exhaust AND I get the heat later - so why not?
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Old 05-09-14, 04:05 PM   #14
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One of my buddies made a "toilet lid" dehumidifier unit. He used one of the old brown units (GE, Kenmore, Whirlpool, they're all the same) that he found dumpster diving. He found the unit was short cycling because it was clogged up with dust. Once pressure washed, it worked fine. But that wasn't good enough for him.



The unit in question has a tube and fin evaporator, and a spiral tube condenser. The condenser was wound much like a cheap electric range element. He unwound a little of the condenser, so that it hung below the unit. I guess his toilet tank lid was broken already (or missing) and he had made a replacement out of aluminum. He took the catch basin out of the unit, so that the evaporator would drain into his toilet tank. He bolted the unit to his toilet tank lid, and hung the condenser into the toilet tank.

According to him, the thing does an awesome job. I do know it's quiet, unlike the newer dehumidifiers. It sounds something like a dorm refrigerator when it runs.

If I can remember, I'll take pics of it next time I visit him. His stuff looks like Randen's when he finishes it. Neat and sanitary.

Last edited by jeff5may; 05-11-14 at 11:35 AM..
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Old 05-10-14, 03:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jeff5may View Post
One of my buddies made a "toilet lid" dehumidifier unit. He used one of the old brown units (GE, Kenmore, Whirlpool, they're all the same) that he found dumpster diving. He found the unit was short cycling because it was clogged up with dust. Once pressure washed, it worked fine. But that wasn't good enough for him.

The unit in question has a tube and fin evaporator, and a spiral tube condenser. The condenser was wound much like a cheap electric range element. He unwound a little of the condenser, so that it hung below the unit. I guess his toilet tank lid was broken already (or missing) and he had made a replacement out of aluminum. He took the catch basin out of the unit, so that the evaporator would drain into his toilet tank. He bolted the unit to his toilet tank lid, and hung the condenser into the toilet tank.

According to him, the thing does an awesome job. I do know it's quiet, unlike the newer dehumidifiers. It sounds something like a dorm refrigerator when it runs.

If I can remember, I'll take pics of it next time I visit him. His stuff looks like Randen's when he finishes it. Neat and sanitary.
Oh, don't you just love hacks like this! Brilliant

But is he then heating up the poo?
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Old 05-10-14, 04:05 PM   #16
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I would also imagine that the warmed water in the tank would counterproductively increase humidity, but maybe the tank is sealed up well enough to prevent that.

Now if the original problem was the toilet tank "sweating", dehumidifying the air while heating the water would fix the problem two ways.
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Old 05-10-14, 08:47 PM   #17
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So whenever someone flushes, the system gets a boost in efficiency with colder water against the condenser coil.
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Old 06-21-14, 08:51 PM   #18
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It is interesting to hear of someone else attempting to use seasonal heat storage. It should be the main way to heat buildings in winter and would be relatively easy to do on a big scale for groups of houses with a large combined store. The difficulty in a small scale system is that there has to be a lot of insulation in a store to retain heat for half of a year.

I have a fairly large store, about 180 cubic metres, insulated with straw bales. The main cost was the straw at €800, a JCB for a day and the plumbing parts. It would have been about €1500 total but I now have a large mound and two ponds which would only fit in a big garden.

One thing I have found is that the store works best when the heating temperature range is not too much above ambient but it is not yet working long enough to measure heat losses at different temperature differentials. It means that the temperature is not high enough to use directly for underfloor heating but is good for heat pump input. I have about 85 sq' of solar panels dedicated to heating and a small VAWT currently being added , also for heating only. Increasing the panel area would have allowed the option of not using the heat pump but I was concerned that the heat losses could be excessive and the heat would not last over winter. It will be interesting to compare with a 300 sq' collector system.
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Old 06-22-14, 03:53 AM   #19
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I hope to (finally) be online during this fall (of 2014).

For my project, I have been waiting for 4+ years now, to get some special hybrid thermal-electric solar panels from solarus.se - and it seems I will get them within a few months, so at the moment, installation is scheduled for September.

There are massive unused potential in solar energy, especially thermal, one "just" has to solve the supply and demand time offset, ie transfer the heat over time with proper solutions.

One of the most critical areas is obviously storage, but also the area (and mass) of heating in a building. The larger the area, the lower temperature you need to heat to, and the larger the mass, the longer it will last (along with a good insulation). For that reason, I would like to experiment with extending underfloor heating to walls, ceilings and any other significant area and thermal mass of a house. The lower the temperature of the receiving heat storage, the more you can extract from a solar panel (without using a heat pump). Imagine an extreme situation of one single radiator heating an entire building, versus all surfaces being heated. And if you can control the dew point of incoming air, it would even work in the summer (be sure the surfaces in the house don't fall to get too close to the dew point - ideally by keeping the dew point low).

Low dew point / relative humidity is another overlooked and very important parameter, both for comfort as well as building preservation.

I also find it vital to look at air quality for ventilation (ie temperature and humidity), rather than just volume pr hour. What is the point of requiring a certain amount of air shifted pr hour, if the humidity of that air is quite high? I'd rather have a slow air change, and then control the temperature and humidity of that air is very precise. I am sitting in a hotel room right now, where the air con has an "auto" setting only, so I'm sitting in a constant draught unless I turn the entire A/C off.

To me, the seasonal heat storage is a bit like when you are hot or cold (your body). Some times you work hard physically, it's hot and humid, and you need to get rid of heat to maintain your body temperature. Other times, it's colder, and you have the opposite problem. It's not a question of heating and cooling as much as it is of maintaining a constant temperature. A bit of a mindset thing - but yes, we are not heating or cooling our homes, ideally, we are keeping the temperature constant by offsetting heat loss or gain.

Hence, it is so obvious that if we can keep heat when it's warm, and get it back when it's cold - then we can have both "cooling" and "heating" by using the heat storage as a "savings account"

More of all of that later - it will make a lot more sense when I can actually document with data that it works.

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