Winter is coming! Discussion for heating and insulating

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OutOfPlaceNinja
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Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:37 pm
Location: USA

Winter is coming! Discussion for heating and insulating

Post by OutOfPlaceNinja » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:23 am

So winter is coming. I'd like to know what people here do to reduce their heating expenses and stay comfortable.

How much does your heating costs run per winter/month? What have you done to reduce your heating expenses? How do you heat your home? Any tips you want to share?

OutOfPlaceNinja
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:37 pm
Location: USA

Re: Winter is coming! Discussion for heating and insulating

Post by OutOfPlaceNinja » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:44 am

So I figured I'd chime in (I could have put this in the original post but decided it might be better as a reply).

Last year I heated with kerosene (insanely expensive). I averaged about $80 in the milder months and $200 in the colder months. Insanity considering I live by myself. The house wasn't even kept "comfortable" (unless you think 55 degrees F is comfortable lol). This year I plan to do things a lot differently.

I found this nifty fuel comparison calculator. You can input the prices of the fuels in your area that you are interested in and find the cost per million BTU, and how many BTUs a unit of fuel contains. I found that in my area it is cheaper to heat with electricity than to heat with kerosene or propane (I was considering propane this year). Wood of course is cheapest but I've had no luck finding a decent used wood stove in my area that doesn't cost about as much as a new one. Stove pipe is also ridiculous. I did find one last year, a kitchen wood stove, but I was a little short on cash and missed out. Would have been interesting getting it into my house lol. Until I can get hold of a decent used wood stove, I can't heat with wood. I have considered building my own wood stove but the costs are just too high right now. So this winter I will be heating with electric and using kerosene as an emergency backup.

This winter I also plan to experiment with "solar window heaters". I have three directly south facing windows that get a nice amount of sun in the winter. If my calculations are correct, I should be able to build three decent sized window mounted solar heaters and heat my house at least while the sun shines for nearly free (costs to run the blowers). I also plan on building insulating panels for all my north facing windows since they are single pane. Due to being cheap/broke/redneck, I will be using salvaged materials. I scored a LOT of industrial? bubble wrap (huge bubbles and thick plastic). It was used to ship a large commercial food warmer. I haven't decided my layering pattern but there will be a layer or two of bubble wrap and a layer or two of plastic sheet at the minimum. It will be sealed with some super strong black duct tape and staples (I don't care about the crappy molding around my windows, it's cheap and ugly anyway). I also plan on running some fresh caulk around my windows to seal up any unknown drafts. I also plan on doing zone heating. The bedroom will remain the most comfortable with a goal of around 70 degrees. The rest of the house will be kept at around 55 degrees or so. I may let it get colder but would need to prep the plumbing a bit better.

So basically I'll be heating with electric and have solar heating assisting. If anyone wants me to document my solar heaters when I get around to building them, let me know and I may do some videos. Due to being cheap, broke, and redneck, it probably won't look pretty. Hopefully it will do the job.

A few questions for readers: Have you ever used bubble wrap for insulation? If so, have you noticed any improvements? Also, have you ever experimented with solar heating? If so, any ideas on "storing" the solar heat for slow release at night?

techman
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Re: Winter is coming! Discussion for heating and insulating

Post by techman » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:09 pm

I love the idea of you documenting your results as you go.

I used bubble wrap in the past as well but never checked my numbers.

The solar window heater kept my camper warm when it was facing fully south in the first winter. Kept it about 70 degrees during the winter days, during sunny periods. Mine was passive so it used no power.

Insulating windows. Sealing drafts. Caulking leaks. Stuffing cracks. Anything to reduce heat loss will help a lot.

I am building my tiny home with that in mind and making an almost sealed home. I have to keep the windows open in winter to let the heat out. That is nice.

Fleerpine
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Winter is coming Discussion for heating and insulating

Post by Fleerpine » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:33 pm

Guys im starting this thread as i want to build and a10 cockpit any info ive read the ed forums practically last two days looking for designs any help would be great oh best way im thinking is wood to build with be going in the basement a withe the 55 inch flat screen mounted to the wall.

Frozenoem
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:41 pm

Re: Winter is coming! Discussion for heating and insulating

Post by Frozenoem » Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:46 pm

I've been in perpetual insulation and heating mode since 1989 in my Maine house - on grid.
My Maine Camps - 2005 - off grid.

Thus far for the house, low e, dbl. pane windows and storm windows. Doors are steel foam filled, with entry storm door.
Garage unheated but, has 6" fiberglass batts and foam Certainteed black faced boards. Reasoning winter can drop down to -40ºF for up to 2 months.
And both my vehicles are diesel, don't always remember the block heaters but, can keep the temp @ 20º higher the outside.
DIY Green Foam did myself - root cellar 1st floor to dirt floor 6.5' , crawlspace to dirt (around 3') to seal the cold granite walls from air infiltration.
Attic (unheated) has same blown in,, self expanding green foam, and 6" batts of Fiberglass, and old style vermiculite beneath.
What can I say the house was built 1850 and 1910-ish.
When farmers had good years in Maine some would install a new first floor, kinda explains why my 2nd and 3rd floors used to be the 1st floor.
So, the iso boards are R32, cost me $5 per 4x8 sheet x4" thick when I owned a drafty log cabin on coast. Bought 4 Truckloads to insulate the cabin poured foundation and had just enough for the garage when I moved back.

The DIY Green foam was $1000 for 4 cans, hoses, suit, googles, etc. delivered by truck to my garage.
Don't remember the coverage anymore but, had enough to foam House- bsmt, crawl space, attic, and 1st floor of the camp in crawlspace.
House is 25x50' and camp is 25x50 so, I think the coverage was great to depth of 4".

THus far, I've gone from 1988 - 15 cords firewood using Fisher Ol Grandad woodstove, and Oil furnace vintage 1960 (Don't ask what I paid for oil before I replaced furnace- too much) 1400 gallons of oil.
To 3-4 cords of hardwoods, 3-400 gallons of oil and added new furnace. Using a Lopi 3000 ft. sq. rated stove.
I bank the snow around the foundation for extra insulation. Last year cost $500 total for oil heat and water. Previous years I could have bought a small compact for the cost. Wood stove stays pretty much constant except, at night. Always enough coals to restart ez. Oil is to cover my posterior if I want to escape the arctic, I like my indoor plumbing and lost it briefly when I had to work elsewhere in 2001 for several months, and a couple of years. Been insulating more each year. I always cut, split,stack 5 cords firewood for winter just in case, my back is grateful I know longer require 15 cords.

Camp went from uninsulated disaster to new insulation batts and foam, old Glenwood Cook Stove and Lg. Pot belly t0 Lopi 2000ft sq. Wood stove.
I love Lopi and refuse to use anything else. Used battery and Goal Zero and 12V for the fan on Lopi at camp/ Off grid. Went from 12 cords to 2- 3 cords wood heat, using propane light. Yes, it's off grid and had enough backup cylinders available . Only other insulation to camp, low e dbl paned glass, and steel foam core doors. Personal opinion on 4000 acre lakefront near Quebec that's good for warmth. Camp you guessed it another 3-5 cords of firewood cut, split, stacked. Basically, I cut same amount always of firewood, and if I don't use it all that year have more for the following, its a CYA attitude I know but, it works.

techman
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Re: Winter is coming! Discussion for heating and insulating

Post by techman » Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:27 pm

Those are some impressive results with all that work. It does pay off nicely in the end, I think.

My tiny house, although quite small, is so easy to heat. I only burn about 1.5 cubic feet of wood per 24 hours due to the thickness of the walls in here.

Have you considered using Radiant Foil barrier to improve your insulation efficiency even more? Especially in the attic where heat loss is the highest.

I believe that radiant foil has made a HUGE difference in my house compared to the freezing winters I spent the last two years out in campers.

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