Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dryer Vent Winter Heater

Like most awesome ideas, dryer vent heaters aren't a new idea. Someone verbally mentioned it to me (imagine that, f2f actually works) and I googled youtube for variations.
I found youtuber MissouriWindandSolar to be the most informative:

In the video, he warns that one must place the 5 gallon bucket outside the room containing the dryer.
The reason for this is because if one keeps the 5 gallon bucket inside the room with the dryer, that room's humidity will increase and so will its temperature.

Imagine trying to dry your damp wet clothes in high humidity as opposed to drying your clothes in very dry air: if you place the 5 gallon bucket in the same room as the dryer, your dryer will have to work longer, increasing your electric bill.

BTW: One can dry their clothes on the line in the middle of the winter in places where the ambient temperature is 10 F below freezing. Yep, I know, sounds impossible but it works: your clothes will first stiffen and then dry. I saw a couple do this in the mountains of New Mexico and was completely dumbfounded that it worked (until I looked at the fact that all the moisture has been frozen out of the air)!
A dryer is being used in this house by three people who have no will to hang their clothes on a line in sub-freezing temperatures, so if one cannot convert people to one's point of view, give people an alternative which doesn't totally waste all the excess heat from drying their clothes: behold the dryer vent heater!

Whoa! that looks like a 55 gallon drum! Didn't the video say a 5 gallon bucket???
                       Yep, I'm lousy with instructions like that. NOT.

I sometimes use thought experiments to modify an idea. I imagined three or four over-worked, sleep deprived people bumping about a laundry room which also contains mops, brooms, etc....

This thought experiment did not bode well for a bucket, even with a liter of water, made tipsy with a single hose pulling on it.

More importantly, I want the hot air from the dryer to be as effective as it can in heating this house. Without any calculation, it would seem to me running that hot air over a dense mass such that the dense mass's temperature would rise significantly (2 or more degrees), the dense mass would radiate heat back out once the dryer turned off.

The 55 gallon drum allows me to experiment with mass and insulation whereas a smaller 5 gallon bucket pretty makes this more difficult given the conditions I have to experiment in.

Lastly, I wanted to push the hot air into another shared living space other than the laundry room. Which in this case meant I needed an exit hose of significant length so the 5 gallon design simply wouldn't provide a large enough lid for two 4" vent hoses.

Behold the 55 gallon drum dryer vent heater!

                  WTF???? Vanilla so concentrated it's flammable!?!?
 Yep, pretty much. It was that or cinnamon.  Better than toluene or iodine in my opinion. Hate to read the MSDS on toluene.

                     Behold the 55 gallon drum vannilla dryer vent heater!

Yep, the vent I ended up using wasn't the one shown in the first picture. The orignial vent projected out into the room in a garish fashion, whereas the vent with the vanes simply lies flat against the wall and is the same color as the wall.                   
                                 Guess which one is more expensive??
                                       Nice Warm Air in 4 Minutes

End result:

-After four minutes of drying, hot air instead of cool air is vented into the shared living room;

-After one load of clothes is dried, the humidity in the shared living space goes up about 20% from the ambient humidity

-After one load of clothes is dried, the temperature in the laundry room goes up 4 F and atleast 2 F in the large shared living space (which shuts the furnance off for a minimum of 1 hr).


-The laundry room contains both the furnance and the water heater: by simply raising the ambient temperature 4 F for both the furnance and the water heater, I can conclude I've captured energy what would be normally vented as waste heat. This is an example of "systems feeding systems synergistically" or permaculture.
     The reason the laundry room gets warmer should be obvious  due to the surface area of the 55 gallon drum and the fact that no insulation was used at all on the dryer vent hoses. Clearly the laundry room is much smaller than the living room also.   

-By raising the large living room by 2 F and shutting off the furnance for a minimum of 1 hour and there being three people who dry clothes once a week, I've saved the household 12 hours of furnance run time per month using waste heat.

I'll update this with real thermodynamic calculations once I get my hands on a IR thermometer. I will also be able to add things like insulation on the outside bottom of the barrel and bricks to the inside bottom to determine what the appropriate amount of mass is for high temperature heat storage.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Repairing a $7.99/2 Rear Bicycle Fender

Yep. Trival. I want to keep a date to see how long the repair worked for, hence the post.

One morning I bumped the rear fender with my leg as I mounted the bike
 -Snap!!!, no more rear fender.

In fairness to the vendor, I did take the bicycle through here the day before:

...mainly because I didn't want to bike a mile out of my way just to get to the very cool bike path on the other side of the rail yard (see that third wooden bridge in the distance????  ooooh so close but ooooh so far away).

Four peices of tin (shaped and cut to hold the fender in place), and three zip ties (to ensure no slippage during vibrations during riding), later and here's the result:

By the way, if you have very simple tools (marker, scissors), you don't need to spend any money at all on fenders.

  Front Fender

  Rear Fender

....which led to a commercial product:

   Ass Savers
...yep, that's their commercial name so don't complain to me about language.

I want to get a second bicycle for out of town company and in case something drastic should happen to my $50 Iron Horse MTB.... I'll use the zero cost fenders for the second bike (seeing's how the $7.99 failed me so ?easily?) !

$50 Iron Horse MTB + (4 inner tubes and multiple bottles of green slime) has given me 1,000 commuter miles (1609.344 km) in three months. This doesn't include pleasure riding stints. Maximum commuter run length: 10 miles (16km). 

Oh. I use a $30 Trek bike trailer for loads...hmmmm.....maybe I'll only put heavy duty racks on the second bicycle since I find myself needing a rack regularly.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Solar Evacuated Tube Used To Boil Rice

1/4 cup (59.15mL, 45grams) of rice and 1/2 cup water (118.3mL)
Elevation: 4,501ft (1,372m)
Season: Spring (May 18th)
Time of Day: Morning
Solar Tube Orientation: 45degrees off ground, facing directly east. 
Ambient Temperature: 59F (15C) in Shade, 
Rice and water temperature near ambient temperature (out all night)

Start Time: 8:13am
                   9:00am finger over large hole gets warm vapor on it
                                 blocked large hole with stick
                   9:11am too hot to hold finger over large hole long; vapor
                   9:15am ambient temperature: 60F (15.6C)
                   9:45am disturbed tube, tested rice, still slightly crunchy
                 10:00am rice cooked to very soft consistency




...height of 45 grams of rice in solar tube

...height of 45 grams of rice plus 1/2 cup water...

Soft boiled rice 1h 45 minutes later.
Notice I can hold the outter tube in my hand but would burn my fingers if I put them inside the tube.

If you look closely at the rice you will see the rice at the bottom of the tube was still slightly crunchy.

...This is my fault; the rice should've have been stirred. Stirring is easy given the outside of the tube remains cool -just invert the tube a couple of times.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Solar Evacuated Tube As Backpack Solar Oven

[$15 +$20 shipping] I usually prefer technology I can create myself but I couldn't pass up testing this device given some youtube vids on the temperatures it could reach.

Yes, I realize the maximum concentration for my reflector to reflect onto the tube would be horizontal which is how I will use it next time.

This was a quick test to verify the tube worked and wasn't broken during shipping (or manufacturing).  I poured about a cup of water into the tube.

Orientation: 35 degree from ground facing West as the sunset at base of Rockies
Time of Day: 4:10pm, mid-May
Length of Test: 30 minutes 
Ambient Temperature: 70F

Begining Temperature: um, my digital laser thermometer is a 10 hour drive away so I can only say the water was cool to the touch.

Ending Temperature: To my hand, the water was as hot as the water out of a hot water tap (hot enough to do dishes in but not near boiling). A little hotter and I wouldn't pour it into my hand.

Next post, I will cook rice or rolled oats and carefully measure the amount of water I place into the tube. I'll also record the volume of the quantity of grain to be boiled.  I will also seal the largest hole in the rubber stopper to speed up boiling times (no worries, there is another 1/16th hole also in the rubber stopper).


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Makeshift Urban Stealth Rocket Cook Stove

If you need to cook outdoors without the neighbors complaining about smoke, the rocket cook stove is awesome (if you keep it lit).

This is a poorly constructed rocket stove for the following reasons (poor meaning it will burn more sticks than my Zuni Mountain one to cook rice and beans):
-there is only loose brick as insulation on the outside instead of scoria;
-additionally, the brick insulation doesn't cover the sides of all the rocket stove;
-the gaps between the bricks are not sealed (not airtight and leak heat);
-the mouth of the cinderblock for the fuel and the exhaust is a little large and burns small sticks (1/4") more quickly than a smaller mouth.

It still cooks rice and beans but at a higher stick ratio than my previously posted one (the one in the Zuni Mountains).

The ground was wet so I placed the stove on top of a second smaller cinderblock so the stove wouldn't loose as much heat to the ground.

Note there is NO SMOKE while the stove is busy cooking  ----NICE-----

As a bonus, after beans or rice has finished cooking, I pull the remaining large sticks from the stove, place two small potatoes in the exhaust hole and then seal both the fuel mouth and the exhaust mouth. The potatoes are cooked nicely by the time the rocket stove is cool to the touch (and no smoke has escaped while the rocket stove burns out).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

In the tradition of yogis past and future:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Adobe Dome Compression and Water Test

My goal with this test was to understand the mechanical techniques of using the compass method Auroville Earth Institute has listed in their downloadable pdfs. ...and to see: how a dome falls down under water erosion if not protected/stabilized, how quickly it does so, and if it could hold any weight on top.

Warning: before attempting a dome of larger size, make sure you read and understand the information on dome building found at: person....

...two people...

...can only get three people, about 350 pounds, on the dome at the same time. I then jumped up and down on it by myself with no damage to the dome (or to me).

....after 10 minutes of simulated rain....

....and what remains after 23 minutes of simulated rain. Pure clay adobe; no cow manure, ashes, asphalt stabilizer, nor cement. Will use a two inch plaster of 10% cement and 90% adobe on final dome.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adobe Test Dome Finished

....and FINISHED!!!

....Capstone ... or rather, capstones.

...Layer 9.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Test Adobe Dome and Garden

....the sand garden.

.....the buried cane grass garden.

....7th layer of brick

....5th Layer of adobe brick

....3rd Layer using a method similar to Auroville Earth Institute's methods.