collecting data…

…and preparing for winter.

Outer walls of our house have grown more than 6 inches in thickness with added insulation and some serious wind‐proofing, and as nights grow colder we are really feeling the effects.

Bar some trimming around the outer edges, renovation is pretty much done for the season, and we should be reasonably well prepared for the coming winter.

Two heat­pumps are ready for their second winter sheltered under the roof against the rock at the back of the house. These heatpumps draw most of their outside air through the space in the roof they are sheltered under, where most of the natural heat‐loss from inside the house ends up and the sun radiates most heat into. Thus, they are cooling the house very efficiently topside during summer, and take advantage of otherwise lost heat during winter.

These heatpumps have already proven to be very efficient all year round, and as they draw max 1.3KW of electricity each at full power they are very economic. In our tailored installation they also cooperate really well with the wood stoves we at times fire up during serious cold spells in winter, as heat leaking out from wood burning ends up lifting the air‐temperature these heatpumps draw their energy from and thereby increases their efficiency.

collecting network data.

Data below taken over our new fiber‐optic installation – up and running in late August this year, shows speed when network is used normally – that is: with more than one unit and program simultaneously transferring data to and from the web via local WiFi.

Download: 42856 kbps (5357 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload: 43222 kbps (5402.8 KB/sec transfer rate)
PING: 23 ms
Noise: 0 ms
Date/time: 12.oct.2013 12:30:33

Getting network speeds that are at least 50% better than what is shown above, isn't a problem with a single PC cabled to the network, but that is rarely ever how we use our network so it doesn't really say much about speed and capacity in practice.

The norm during busy hours is that a couple of cabled‐up PCs are transferring data up and down more or less continuously, while a couple of other units are used to surf the web via local Wifi. So, checking the network while it is under more normal load is more interesting than collecting peak‐values at quiet hours.

For now I have plenty enough speed for my internet surfing and occasional streaming, but in a year or so it may be different. Time will tell what I need and am willing to pay for.

the moon is shining…

Clear sky with stars and a shining moon, as I finish writing this blog post. It is night over our farm in Southern Norway, and all is calm.

A few hours ago the cows came in for milking as usual, and walked back out to their pastures an hour later, as usual. They passed the house going in and out, and have long since quit paying any attention to the still ongoing building project.

Same thing with the cats. Good thing some don't care about all the unfinished details…

Now, I do care about getting everything related to our house renovation in proper order, so come Monday morning I am at it again – once we have milked the cows and fed the cats.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 12.oct.2013

last rev: 13.oct.2013

side notes.

renovating an old house.

Nearly one hundred year old walls containing what looks like two to three hundred year old reused timber, covered with layers of fifty year old insulation and tarpaper, must be thoroughly inspected before covering it up with new layers of insulation, wind‐proofing and cladding.

Luckily for us, despite its looks nearly all of the old timber was in excellent condition and was left in place. Fact is: most of the old timber was so solid that we in places had problems driving nails into it to attach the new construction to the old.

One wall at a time was “undressed”, inspected, ventilated, insulated and covered, ready for the outer cladding.

Took us about three weeks to finish each wall, as neither I nor the hired carpenter worked long hours or all days. We both had plenty of other work to take care of – he is a farmer too, and such restoration jobs can't be rushed since there are so many unknown factors until everything has been inspected. Besides, for one reason or another I am no longer as quick on my feet as I used to be…

recovering heat in winter.

Instead of the traditional heat‐exchanger used in many Norwegian buildings today, I have chosen a more unusual method tailored to the construction. Used, warm, dry and filtered air exhausted from inside the house as new fresh air gets drawn in, gets blown to the very bottom inside outer walls where most of it will have no way to go but to leak up between the old and the new wall‐layers carrying with it any moisture in the walls before ending up in the attic and be drawn out by the heatpumps constantly venting that space.

This “air injection” method means the inner quite massive layers in the outer walls will be pre‐heated in winter and cooled in summer. “Controlled air‐travel” is a must here – the walls have to “breathe” right, something we payed special attention to during installation.

There will be a slight positive pressure inside outer walls, making controlled air leak and flow around all that old timber. By keeping automatic control of temperature and humidity inside the walls the system both improves on indoor climate and preserves the building construction.

In walls that are well insulated on the outside and have plenty of heat‐accumulating mass further in – like our house now, the “air injection” method works extremely well when implemented right. In modern houses with regularly insulated walls and little mass, this method won't work well and may in fact do more harm than good.

circular ventilation and other details.

A number of ventilation ducts were built into the outer walls during renovation – more or less squeezed in between the old and the new layers, so testing and tuning circular ventilation, heat recycling and fresh‐air intakes with air‐filtering will go on for months to come. Getting optimal air‐quality and ideal temperatures in all living spaces with minimal use of energy, is the goal.

Most of the system already works quite well using only natural convection, but some more ducts will be mounted in the attic and small remote controlled fans be added in strategic places to make sure the entire ventilation system works as intended throughout the house under all conditions.

Small fans programmed to run only when needed, will keep running cost at an absolute minimum – I have calculated that average power consumption for the 5 fans I think are needed will be less than 20 Watt/hour evened out over a year, which is nothing in the big picture.

While working on ventilation ducts up and down and around in the walls anyway, strategically placed 2 inch pipes for network cables and alike were also put in. I prefer cabled network over wireless, and am tired of having cables laying around.

One of the hobbies I may take up again one day – satellite tracking and free‐on‐air channel viewing, also required cable pipes installed between the attic and the rock behind the house where I have some dishes waiting to be fired up again.

Not wanting to run out of space for signal and control cables, a 4 inch pipe were put all the way through, ending up behind the heatpumps' outdoor units only a few inches from the rock. advice upgrade advice upgrade navigation