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Desiccant Cooling

Posted by admin on Jul 10th, 2008
Jul 10

I had never heard the word “desiccant” before, let alone how to cool something using it. I was watching a show on Planet Green called Solar Showdown which, if you haven’t seen it, is about a contest sponsored by the Department of Energy looking for the most efficient solar powered home. One of the homes was using desiccant cooling, which they claimed was new and hadn’t been done before in a residential application, and that it was a very low energy and efficient way to cool a home. How their process worked was they used a waterfall with a desiccant additive. The extra “humidity” is then carried, somehow, through the waterfall to the outside and is then released through a series of vertical tubes. They didn’t give any in-depth details of the process, unfortunately.

So what the heck is it? According to Merriam-Webster, desiccant means “a drying agent (as calcium chloride)” – like those little packets you find in new shoes. A desiccant cooler works on the premise that if the humidity is removed from the air inside the house then not only does it feel more comfortable, but the air is easier to cool by AC. Here is a better explanation of the practice in general.

Insulation project, initial results

Posted by admin on Apr 27th, 2008
Apr 27

Last weekend I blew insulation into the attic. It has been relatively temperate all week so the results of the project haven’t been very noticeable. Yesterday, however, it hit 95 degrees and I see the direct benefits finally.

There are a few factors to point out first. Last year the thermostat was set three degrees lower than it is this year. Also, the gable fan I installed a few weeks back will have an affect on the results as well. So, this won’t be a direct comparison, but still – the results are noticeable.

Last year, a 95 degree day would have caused the AC to be on somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-8 hours. Yesterday, the AC was on for a total of just under 3 hours – a whole four to five hours less than last year. That’s going to make a noticeable difference. When we replace the windows next winter, and possibly insulate the outside walls (hopefully we’ll be able to) then it should drop that time down to under an hour, I would imagine.