[Woodworkers] Climate Controlled Shops

Chuck Steger chuck.steger at gmail.com
Sat Jul 14 08:33:17 PDT 2018


   I can see what your friend was alluding to. It kind of makes sense that
once temperatures have been reached, it should not be any less energy
efficient to maintain 70 than to maintain 80. However, isn't the difference
at night? So if daily temps are in the 90's but nightly temps are in the
high 70's, it would cycle less at night at 80 than at 70, right? Winter (at
least here) should be the opposite (say day's in the 50's but nights in the
30's). But the question (as you posed) is in whether bringing 80 down to 70
or 50 up to 70 takes more energy than maintaining higher/lower temps when
not in the shop? I'm not sure I saw a definitive answer (or, if it's there,
I didn't understand it).


   Also, I *think* I read that since I do not have a heat pump, I can just
jump from 80 to 70 or 50 to 70 without doing 3 degree increments. Is that




From: Woodworkers [mailto:woodworkers-bounces at lists.sawdusters.org] On
Behalf Of Dave Heitstuman via Woodworkers
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2018 5:03 PM
To: A place where woodworkers talk about woodworking
Cc: Dave Heitstuman
Subject: Re: [Woodworkers] Climate Controlled Shops


Here is my 2 cents for whatever it might be worth.  I'm in the commercial
HVAC business from the control or building automation side of things.  We
are in the energy saving business J   


First of all with gas heat and DX cooling I would set the thermostat and let
it rip.  (we have gas and DX in the house)  We also have cheap power here so
some of this may not be practical for you.  


There are basically 3 things to consider when trying to save energy and
setback the temperatures.

#1 Energy cost

#2 How well your shop (or home) retains heat/cool (minimum and maximum
outside air temp plays a huge factor in this)

#3 The equipment recovery time (how long it takes to warm or cool the space
from setback)

#3a  How long in between trips to the shop.


Backing up, many moons ago (before I was in this racket) I was told by an
HVAC tech that if you set your temperature back too far then the equipment
will just run longer and harder to get the temperature back up (were were
discussing heat recovery).  His theory was that it was more cost effective
to maintain a temperature than it was to heat it back up.  Remember it is
not just the room temp it is everything in the room (house or shop).  If you
keep it at 50 then not only do you have to heat the air you have to heat the
furniture and walls and...  He had a convincing argument at the time.
Bottom line his argument was to only set back a maximum of 6 degrees

Fast forward I get in this racket and as I learn I ask questions.  The
theory was pretty much debunked by just about anyone I talked to.  A few of
the older techs would ponder it and respond with something along the lines
that it was an interesting theory.  I can tell you that we have our controls
in buildings that cannot recover from a 10 degree setback in the dead of
winter due to heat loss.  We also have buildings that cannot cool themselves
when the temps get into the 90's.  So this proves that equipment sizing,
system design, and insulation all matter.


Most importantly I can tell you from experience what I have learned with my
shop.  I primarily heat with wood.  Due to the placement of my shop getting
gas to it (at the time) was cost prohibitive so I put in a heat pump with
electric emergency heat.  I kept my shop at 55 in the winter and 85 in the
summer.  These temps are the industry standard for setback in our area for
an unoccupied building.  Let's say I go out to the shop on a 20 degree day
and don't want to start a fire so I bump the heat up; usually to 70 degrees.
It is too cold for the HP to run so the strip heat comes on.  I am slightly
undersized on my strip so it runs for about an hour to get the temp up the
13 degrees.  It will then cycle on and off every 10 minutes or so for awhile
and then the cycles start getting longer, every 15 then every 20 and
eventually if I am out there long enough the furnace runs 2 or 3 times an
hour for a few minutes.  If I am working on a big project that I need to
keep stabile I leave the heat at 68 and the furnace runs maybe a few times
an hour for a few minutes.  I started realizing a year or so ago that this
seems to support what that guy told me all those years ago.   So I am now
leaving it at 62 and tracking the usage on our utility bill.  The impact
seems to have been non-existent this past winter.  

I recently have been living in the shop while the house has undergone a
major renovation (Oh how Joe would have loved this tale).  Because of that
and our bizarre spring weather I have also learned that keeping the cooling
lower seems to keep the HP from running as much.  Or best case it keeps the
temperature more stable since the mass is all one temperature and it does
not run at night and wake me up.  This seems to have confirmed what I
already had surmised, the cooling will run no matter what, so how long do I
really want it to run to cool the mass?  I have dropped it to 78 or 80(?)
for this summer to see what happens with our power bill.





From: Woodworkers [mailto:woodworkers-bounces at lists.sawdusters.org] On
Behalf Of Chuck Steger via Woodworkers
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2018 11:05 AM
To: A place where woodworkers talk about woodworking
Cc: Chuck Steger
Subject: [Woodworkers] Climate Controlled Shops


For those of you with climate controlled shops, I'm curious on what you
leave the temperature at when you are out of the shop? I leave mine at 80
degrees in the summer and 50 degrees in the winter. I figure those temps
won't ruin any finish or glue. If I'm in the middle of a glue-up or
finishing, I'll leave the temperature around 70 until complete.


For those of you with HVAC knowledge ..  I always bring the temperature up
or down in 3 degree increments. In other words, I'll go out in the morning
and bring it from 80 to 77, then when at 77 I'll take it to 74, etc. Same
with bringing the temperature up. Not sure why I do this. I guess I'm basing
it on when I had a heat pump, you would not want a drastic change or the
emergency strips (electric strips) would come on. I do not have a heat pump
(gas furnace and regular AC) so is this faulty logic? Should I just go
straight to 70 in either direction? Any advantage to a slow clime or



Cave Springs, AR


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