Australia Set to Deploy the World’s Largest Wave Energy Device
Australia Set to Deploy the World’s Largest Wave Energy Device
Heating and Cooling Car Seats
By Betty Stephens
Air Conditioned Seats
A standard model for air-conditioned seats, developed by scientists at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), works like this: The fabric of the car seat is a porous mesh, so air can flow through it. Multiple fans inside the seat produce air circulation, which blows through a diffusion layer that spreads the cooling effect throughout the seat and outward through the mesh, cooling the surface. This air may or may not be refrigerated. The porous covering of an air-conditioned seat allows your body’s natural cooling system to work even when sitting down and keeps you cool by circulating air across your skin. The moving air carries your body’s heat away.
But some air-conditioned car seats also use a cooling element. Like most air conditioners, these work on a compression, condensation, expansion cycle. Air conditioning operates on a very simple principle: When a gas referred to as a refrigerant is compressed, it becomes warmer and when it expands it becomes cooler. This principle can be used to remove the heat from a room, a car, or even a car seat and carry it elsewhere. Until recently, the gas most commonly used as a refrigerant in air conditioning systems was Freon, the commercial name for a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) manufactured by DuPont. These CFCs have been found to be destructive to the Earth’s atmosphere. Freon has been largely replaced in automobile air conditioners by the hydro fluorocarbon HFC-134a.
A 2005 government study estimated that air conditioner use decreased a car’s fuel efficiency by 21 to 24 percent and could increase automotive carbon emissions by as much as 120 percent over normal levels. Every time you turn on your car’s air conditioner, you’re costing yourself more money and releasing damaging pollutants into the environment. Yes, there are times when air conditioning is absolutely essential.
One alternative now offered by several auto manufacturers is air-conditioned seats. By confining the cooled air directly to the spot where the hot driver (or passenger) is sitting, air-conditioned seats use energy more efficiently than air conditioners that cool the entire interior of the car. They don’t completely eliminate fuel use and pollution, but they minimize it. And air-conditioned seats offer some important advantages over ordinary air conditioners. In cars where the seat air conditioning can be remotely activated, they eliminate the searing burn sitting on superheated, sun-warmed upholstery when you first climb in the car. They also allow both driver and passenger to fine tune the air conditioning to their own needs, and can protect your clothes from embarrassing sweat stains.
The seats come in the form of perforated car seat covers with special cushions. The cool air is passed through the perforations by running motors. Depending upon the individual car manufacturer, the air conditioning mechanism differs to some extent. Some cars simply blow uncooled air through the perforations to achieve an air conditioning effect. Whereas some cars that come with a special cooling element, actually help you to sit on cooler seats. The latter version costs more.
The air conditioning facility is available for the back as well as bottom of the seat. Some cars come with a climate control setting for car seat air conditioners. Besides, some of them even offer individual settings. Meaning, you can set the control of the seat at a desired temperature and save your setting. Family members can also set their respective settings. The next time you sit in the car, you simply have to push your individual setting, instead of fumbling with the numerous controls.
Heated seats were invented by. Robert Ballard. of General Motors in 1951, and the patent was issued in 1955. The actual technology behind heated seats, however, is no different than that used in electric blankets, hair dryers, water heaters and anything else that uses electricity to produce heat. Heated seats are powered by a heating element, a long strip of material that functions as a resistor. A resistor resists the flow of electricity. When electric current flows through it, the energy is turned into heat, which flows through the seat, warming the rider.
The heated seats are controlled by a type of switch called a relay. A relay allows a small electric current to control a much larger one. When you flip the switch, to turn on the seat heater a small current flows through a coil in the relay. Near this coil is an open switch. When current flows through the coil, it creates a magnetic field, which pulls the switch closed. This completes a circuit, sending electricity from the battery to the seat cushion heating element. The audible click you can hear in some cars when you turn on the seat heater is the relay closing.
The longer the seat cushion stays on, the hotter it gets. If it were to stay on for too long, it would get hot enough to become uncomfortable or even dangerous to sit in. It could even start a fire in the cushion. To prevent this, most car seat heaters have a thermostat. The thermostat measures the temperature in the cushion. When it reaches a certain temperature, the thermostat sends a signal, automatically turning off the relay until the seat cools down a bit. At that point, the thermostat turns the relay back on again. Many seat cushions also have “high” and “low” settings that let the driver control the temperature of the seat cushions.
By Betty Stephens
When the air in the house is dry, a Steam Humidifier is the optimum solution. It heats water to produce steam, dispersing moistened air evenly throughout the house to make the air more comfortable. The humidifiers maintain optimal comfort during heating seasons by minimizing problems associated with dry air. It provides a more even temperature, reducing “cold bursts” of air. It comes with automatic controls to keep humidity precisely where you need it to be.
Types of Whole House Humidifiers
1. Drum – These are the least expensive and easy to install. They install on your cold air return line, and use a motor and belt to essentially lift cold water from a drum into the air and let evaporation and the passing air movement to pick up the moisture. These require considerable maintenance it has standing water and risk of mold due to the standing water. You have to replace the belt frequently.
2. Flow Through – These can be installed on return or supply line. These are the middle of the road in cost and performance. Again, they also use evaporation, but you do not have standing water. There is a filter that water flows through (drip) and the air blows through the filter. The water however, needs to be drained, and new water is always trickling though. Since it always uses new water, the risk of mold is almost none. Uses no electricity, but does require a water line and is always using new water.
3. Mist / Steam – The most expensive, but most effective. They actually produce steam, rather than relying on evaporation. Because of this, you can more easily control the desired humidity. Can come in cold and hot water forms, injecting hot or cold steam into your supply line. Requires both electricity and a water supply line. Risk of mold is low due to no standing water, but the hot steam could cause issue in your ducts if you run it too often and too high I imagine.
Evaporative humidifiers, also known as cool mist humidifiers are the most common. These add moisture to the air using a fan that blows air over a wet wick. The air collects the moisture and disperses it with a fan. Most evaporative humidifiers are used to add moisture to a larger area.
Whole house humidifiers, or consoles, are a great option for total home comfort. While evaporative humidifiers may be great for a larger area, they can also be a bit noisier than other types and can require humidifier chemicals and a filter change every few months to keep them running smoothly.
Warm mist humidifiers are the second most used type of home humidifier. These use a heating element to boil the water in the humidifier and release it into the air in the form of a warm steam. If you live in a cold climate, using a warm mist humidifier will help make the room feel warmer than it actually is (as opposed to a cool mist humidifier, which can have the opposite effect). Warm mist steam humidifiers are quieter than cool mist evaporative humidifiers, because they do not use a fan. These are great for personal humidifiers to add moisture to a smaller area.
Benefits of Humidifiers
With central heating, people are confined indoors with unnaturally dry air for many months each year. Humidifiers help to keep comfortable levels of moisture in the air, which is essential for your respiratory health.
Whole-house humidifiers work like old-fashioned room humidifiers: They put moisture into the air, making harsh, dry air easier to breathe. A major difference is that they improve the air in every room of your home no more carrying a humidifier from room to room in the winter.
Save Money on Heating Bills with Humidification
Keeping your home’s humidity at ideal levels will also help you feel warmer. Low humidity makes the air feel colder because the warmer the air is, the more water it can hold; put another way, the more water in the air, the warmer the air feels. This phenomenon can be understood by considering how high levels of humidity in the summer make it feel hotter than it actually is: when the air is saturated with moisture, the sweat on our bodies does not evaporate, making us sticky and uncomfortable. But winter’s low humidity has the opposite effect – dry air causes moisture to evaporate from our skin and we feel cooler.
Humidity levels in the home are an important component of relieving allergy and asthma systems through environmental control. Especially during the winter, when dry air tends to be more of a problem, asthma and allergy sufferers can greatly benefit from environmental control of indoor humidity levels. Humidifiers make this possible.
Maintaining the Humidifier
All humidifiers require regular cleaning to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria. These organisms can thrive in the standing water that is left inside your humidifier for more than one day. Therefore, you should make sure to empty and refill your humidifier on a daily basis. Humidifier chemicals and filters are an essential part of keeping your home comfortable with these units.
The optimal humidity level in a house is generally 35 – 40 percent, anything above that can induce mold and may make your home feel damp. An easy way to tell if you have too much humidity in your home is to look at your windows. If there is moisture on the glass, cut back on your humidifier use. However, the benefits of using one are numerous, so be sure to keep a humidifier in mind this winter.
Lowes’ Nest Thermostat
By Betty Stephens
The Nest Learning Thermostat goes beyond this simple temperature detection to make a real impact in your HVAC energy consumption. A thermostat controls almost half one’s energy bill more than TVs, computers, appliances and lighting combined, but a lot of that energy is wasted. A properly programmed thermostat can cut your heating and cooling bills by 20%. The problem is 89% of thermostats are rarely or never programmed. Nest also makes it incredibly easy to adjust your schedule. You can add, edit or remove set points in seconds from the Nest thermostat or the web and mobile apps.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is simple. Nest works with its owners’ lives because Nest doesn’t need to be programmed: It remembers your temperature adjustments and programs itself. When you turn the temperature up or down, Nest remembers what you like and automatically creates a schedule for you. As your life or the weather changes, that schedule automatically adjusts as Nest learns your new preferences.
Features like Auto-Away and Airwave automatically save energy. The Nest thermostat tells you when you’re choosing an energy-efficient temperature or exactly how long it’ll take to reach the temperature you want. Most people can install it themselves in about 30 minutes.
The Nest Thermostat saves energy by using the following tools:
Auto-Schedule: Turn it up when you’re cold, down when you’re hot. Nest will remember the temperatures you like and learn your schedule. And as your life changes, Nest’s schedule will automatically adapt.
Auto-Away: Nest senses when you’re gone and turns itself to an energy-saving temperature that you choose during setup.
Energy History and Energy Report: Nest shows you exactly when your system was on and what affects your bill the most.
Nest Leaf: The Nest Leaf appears when you turn Nest to an energy-saving temperature or make an efficient choice in Nest’s settings.
System Match: Nest uses SystemMatch to adapt to your system and activates features to maximize your comfort and savings.
Airwave: Airwave automatically turns off the air conditioner (A/C) a few minutes early, but keeps the fan running. The air stays cool, but you’re A/C runtime drops 30%.
You can connect the Nest thermostat to your home’s Wi-Fi network to control it from your iPhone, Android smartphone, iPad or computer. Software updates are loaded automatically as it stays connected to the Wi-Fi.
Who Is Behind the Nest Thermostat?
So, who is the brains behind Nest? Would you believe it’s the same brilliant mind behind the iPod and iPhone? Prior to 2008, Tony Fadell was a legend at Apple. Fadell is the father of the iPod, having led the Apple team that had developed the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone.
After he retired in 2008, Fadell concentrated on building his new house in Lake Tahoe. It was during that time that Fadell, who owns more than 100 patents, had an innovative idea to improve the thermostat. He took that vision to his former colleague Matt Rogers, who was responsible for iPod software development. Seeing value in the idea, Rogers joined Fadell in nurturing it to fruition.
By Betty Stephens
It is that time again to get your heating system checked out. I may be an extra cost, but you can save money all winter if your furnace system runs as efficiently as possible. The furnace is one of the most expensive appliances homeowners have in their homes and it greatly influences the monthly utility bill. Getting the furnace checked is just as important as getting regular oil changes and tune-ups on your car. It’s an important and simple step to take in extending the life of your heating unit and helps reduce your monthly energy costs. It’s also important to change your filter on a regular basis.
When a system is more than 10 years old, having it checked regularly by a qualified professional is essential. Furnace manufacturers all recommend annual inspections and maintenance by a qualified technician. They also have language in their warranties saying that damage to the units caused by improper maintenance is not covered under warranty.
Furnace /HVAC Tune Up
Here is a list of tasks from furnace manufacturers they recommend that should be performed yearly by qualified heating technicians:
1. The vent system needs to be checked for blockage and/or leakage. This includes the outside termination and the connections at and internal to the furnace.
2. Combustion gases must be analyzed and compared to the unit specifications.
3. The blower access door needs to be checked to make sure it makes a tight seal at the furnace.
4. The fresh air intake grills and louvers need to be checked for blockage.
5. The heat exchanger needs to be inspected for rust and corrosion.
6. The burners need to be checked for proper ignition, burner flame, and flame sense.
7. The drainage system needs to be checked for blockage and/or leakage. This includes the hoses internal to the furnace. The condensate drain and trap need to be cleaned, and the water replaced in the trap.
8. The blower wheel needs to be checked for debris and cleaned if necessary – this requires complete removal of the blower wheel.
9. An amp-draw test should be conducted on the blower motor and compared with what is listed.
10. The wiring needs to be checked for corrosion and damage.
11. The filters need to be checked more frequently than annually.
12. Check thermostat calibration. An improperly calibrated thermostat will cause your furnace to over or under heat your home. • Calibration saves you money and increases your comfort
13. Lubricate moving parts• Poor lubrication causes motor and shaft drag, requiring more electricity to overcome resistance. This can also help extend motor life.
When hiring a company to do a tune-up on the furnace, ask them what is all is included. The company doing the work should provide you with a list of items they’ll check for on the furnace. Keep in mind it is about preventative maintenance and catching a problem before the furnace quits working on a cold winter night.
Tune-up your furnace and watch your heating bills go down. In 2010, the average cost of heating a home for an American family was about $1000. Anything you can do to reduce that number is obviously well worth the effort. Read more at this link: