Monday, November 26, 2007

Convert your oil heat to electric.

But why you ask. Well, some very few of us have extra electricity to burn. This can happen if you are lucky enough to be able to harness a waterfall. I had to install a replacement oil burner several years before finishing a power plant at the nearby waterfall. So as long as I had this used furnace apart to refurbish it I decided to install electric heating elements in anticipation of all the free electricity. The pictures show the basics. If you want to use 3 phase you will want to install 3 elements. Some furnaces are so compact that there might not be room for this. I installed the 2, 2000W 240V elements below the tank-less water heater ( the big round hole). I bought a couple of 4 bolt to screw in adapters at my local supply depot and drilled 2, 1.125 inch holes, each surrounded by 4, 5/16 inch holes tapped for 3/8 bolts to hold the adapter plates. The screw in elements cleared all the internal piping when screwed in to the adapters. The last picture shows the tank-less water heating coil and the outer sheet metal insulated covers for reference. So now I have a dual fuel furnace and I can use all the same radiators, pumps, and radiant floor heat. I still have to install a flue damper so less heat is wasted going up the chimney when using electricity to heat. Don't forget to replace the high temp liner in the burner cavity.

As a side story , I installed an 80 gal electric hot water heater and use this as an energy storage tank for my excess electricity. The elements in this water heater are fed electricity by a controller that monitors the line voltage. If the line voltage drops (say because the refrigerator starts up ) the controller instantly reduces the power to the water heating elements . This brings the voltage back up and makes the power available to the refrigerator. If nothing else needs the power the controller will allow the water to heat up . When the water gets to a temperature just below where the water heater would shut off (and we would lose our voltage regulator), a small circulator pump will come on and circulate the hot water through the tank-less heating coil in the furnace thus dumping heat into the furnace to heat the house and using the tank-less heating coil in reverse. All this can go on independently of weather you are burning oil or electricity in the furnace. If you have no electricity to burn but lots of oil you could heat the 80 gal of domestic hot water with this same circulator pump /
tank-less-coil / water heater tank loop.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Protect hydraulic hoses

Twist the block around the plastic hose to make wiring harness or hose cover.

This is not the main thrust of this blog but I wanted to put this out there because it is useful and illustrates my philosophy of doing more with less. 

Here is a picture series for making a simple tool to make hydraulic hose covers out of scraps of plastic water pipe. I started with a block of oak, but pine should also work. Drill a hole large enough to accommodate the OD of the plastic pipe you would like to convert to hose cover or wiring harness. Work the point of the box cutter blade into the wood at a 30 to 45 degree angle until it protrudes into the hole about a quarter inch. Break or cut off the blade and grind flush on the outside of the block. Now just screw the block onto a piece of plastic pipe like in the first picture and voila! Custom hose covers or wiring harness of any length or diameter.