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6 comments

Just How Efficient Can We Get?

Posted November 09, 2011 7:21 AM

Many say it's impractical to try and get to 100% efficiency from forced-air furnaces. However, numbers like that would be worth big bragging rights for the company that manages it. What do you think? Should companies continue to push for even more efficiency in furnaces for homes and businesses?

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#1

Re: Just How Efficient Can We Get?

11/09/2011 8:25 AM

Should companies continue to push for even more efficiency in furnaces for homes and businesses?

WHAT???

Why would you not want to?

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Just How Efficient Can We Get?

11/09/2011 11:57 AM

This is a simple cost/benefit problem. While there certainly will always be an intangible marketing benefit to saying you produce the most efficient anything, there are times that the return is not worth the investment.

One can also have unforeseen complications happen from any improvement technique. I remember reading about an oil burner that significantly improved the energy transferred to a home heating boiler that looked very promising. The expected drawback of a cooler stack temperature was noticed. What was not anticipated was the acid rain that happened inside many chimneys due to the cooler stack temperature. This acid concentration quickly deteriorated the stack linings and even a few boilers of many homes.

Certainly I'm all for researching any potential improvement, but one must not be blinded by an improvement in just one attribute of a system so that you cannot see the drawbacks.

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#2

Re: Just How Efficient Can We Get?

11/09/2011 11:46 AM

As far as I know an electric forced air furnace is 100% efficient at turning the power paid for into heat.

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#4

Re: Just How Efficient Can We Get?

11/10/2011 12:34 AM

Each successive halving of remaining inefficiency costs about twice as much as the previous (or something like that). Thus the optimum is normally less than 100%.

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Re: Just How Efficient Can We Get?

11/10/2011 8:01 AM

CR$

Home of the stunningly bad blog entry

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#6

Re: Just How Efficient Can We Get?

11/12/2011 1:11 AM

I think there is much more room for improvement on insulating the structures we live in near term, than improving on a/c and heating efficiencies in the same time frame....However both have a long way to go...New insulating materials are being developed all the time, such as aerogel felt...A structure lined with this material would have a heat load greatly reduced...And certainly the day will come when fuel cells can not only supply the heat, but electrical needs as well for residential homes..This heat can be used for both heating and cooling a house...I would like to see a fuel cell combined with an absorption unit, the whole thing running on natural gas or ethanol, in a house completely insulated in this aerogel stuff...I wonder what the typical energy cost would be?

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