Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Leaky sliding glass door experiment!

Note that the average temperature was 31.2 degrees!
In a never ending effort to save a watt here and there, inevitably I run into situations involving winter weather and how to get through them in a warm fashion. Warm, that is, as in not breaking the bank!

Since I'd recently moved to a single bedroom condo and had shed myself of a much larger stick built home, I was hoping the move would also translate into some energy savings. although, I'll admit that the presence of two large sliding glass doors gave me some pause. I knew from experience that the large expanse of glass could translate into huge amounts of heat loss. Not only because of the glass, but also because the seals around them are notoriously leaky, a fact that was born out when I checked them in the fall. I could actually feel air flowing in around the base of each!

As fall moved into winter, I elected to try and seal the base of one of the two doors with good old duck tape. Surprisingly, that worked to some extent! I also purchased a 3M film package large enough to cover one of the doors, figuring that if it worked, I could then go forth and cover the other door. But, before doing that, I wanted to establish a baseline of sorts to see just how large the thermal gradient was between the windows and the rest of the living area they were located in.

I placed two temperature sensors by the base of each door and then situated another towards the back of the living room. All three were wireless and so I was able to monitor the readings from a warmer location. For this test, the furnace was set down to 61F on a night where the high and the low was about 32 degrees.

The results of this impromptu experiment, are shown in the graphic at the start of this post. As I expected, the two glass door areas were definite heat sinks coming in at a steady 50 degrees when the outdoor temps were just at the freezing mark. Interestingly, however, the loss oh heat from the total area was very slow and as a result my furnace never kicked on during the test period. As a result, I was able to survive the night in some comfort (aka my bedroom with a space heater) for just 30 kWh's of power used.  

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