Power usage... what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by seminolecpa, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    So after reading Mike's recent thread and seeing my last power bill, I have determined I need to do something fairly drastic. My power bills have been steadily increasing and it is starting to seriously make me reconsider my long term viability in the hobby.

    I have a big setup and I know that comes with bigger power needs but I am certain that I could be doing something better but scratching my head on exactly what at this point.

    As most of you know my tank is plumbed to my garage which is significantly cooler then my house at all times of the year. I think my problem is likely caused by a heat/cool problem. Cool because the equipment is in the garage which is not very well insulated (though I have made some recent changes that will help this side), heat because I have a closed canopy and a tank that is right next to 2 windows. Unfortunately, I have no choice as to relocating the main tank but am hoping for some ideas as to how to better cool my tank.

    Even on some of the days over the last couple of weeks when it has gotten fairly cold at night, I can experience the heaters being on all night to keep the tank warm followed by my chiller kicking on (for a short period) during the evening to cool the tank from the heat generated by my lights. Aside from remembering to open my windows in my fish tank room every day before I leave for work and closing at night (which I will inherently forget to either open or close), any other thoughts? I have 4 icecap fans in the canopy but I fear they are either not set up right or not doing the job.

    I have 2 fans at the top that push out and 2 in the back that pull in with the theory that hot air rises but am thinking that even with this the hot air just gets trapped in the room and has no where to escape contributing to the problem.There has got to be a better way, I am hoping ,that doesn't require making huge holes in my roof or walls to run an exhaust fan to the outside but I fear that may be my only solution.
  2. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Ditch the IC fans and get (1) inline fan. Use the inline to blow that hot air into your garage, not outside :)


    That is a super nice inline...
  3. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Great idea, but the run into the garage would be a killer as it is not directly underneath the tank (recall I had to go below and then run the plumbing through an exterior wall to get into the garage and was a major PITA).

    Maybe put it in the back of the canopy and vent it below the house outside? The room where my tank is is on piers if you remember. Not crazy about having to drill through the floor again but need to do something. Are they pretty quiet?

  4. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Mine is very quiet. You hear the air moving more then the unit itself.
  5. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    if your heaters are on a lot, and you have a coupled system, then your MT doesn't need cooling. It needs ventilation and better insulation in the garage. Use foam boards and towels to insulate the garage tanks (dave can probably post a pick of what he does).

    If your heaters are on almost always, and your chiller kicks in when lights are off, you should set the threshold higher.
    If the chillers come on when the heater is ff and that is when the lights are on, you just need more ventilation.

    and I sent you some links in Gchat.
  6. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    You can also buy a slightly larger one of those fans and put a speed control unit on them to turn it down so they are super quiet but still
    Move plenty of air. I could bring a 6" to meeting if you wanna see. Pm me is so
  7. northbay-reefer

    northbay-reefer Honorary Member


    You and I have a simmilar problem because we have the same type of set up, my sump and fuge is also in the garage. What I have found is their is no single solution. I've done some to help and maybe you have though of it already but so far this is how I've compensate for having a cooling/heating zone equipment set up.

    1, My chiller is moved to the garage, less noise, more efficient because the garage has better air flow.
    2, My garage door is insulated, the filtering set up is also cover with a plastic curtain to keep everything warm.
    3, I kept the garage door closed 99% of the time and don't even park my cars in there any more.
    4, The fans in my main tank's hood is programmed to turned off when the tank water is cooling down. Making the halide help heating my tank in the winter.
    5, The lighting on my fuge and frag tank turns on at night in reverse cycle to the main tank help with the heating at night time.
    6, I am thinking about going 175 watt halide and use the Iwasaki 15k bulb, this bulb has better par then my current 250 watt Radium and has very nice color.
    7, Take out one of my two 160 watt VHO and replacing it with two 36" T5. So I'll end up with one 72" VHO and two 36" T5
    8, my deltec style skimmer has 3 pumps so I am turning one of them off and still getting about the same amount of skimmage.
    9, I am constantly thinking about ways to cut even more cost......

    Paying for power in the third or fourth teer is very high so every little saving will add up fast.. Next I am going Solar, my buddy just installed solar using the leasing program with no money up front and it has saved him a lot of money you might want to check into that.
  8. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    The one I posted is super quiet, no need to upsize and run it slower :)
  9. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Need is in the ear if the beholder...or the ear of the wife of the beholder. Never used the 4", the 6" is probably a bit louder, I would dial that one down. They also have two varieties of each size, an a and a b, a is quieter and moves less air
  10. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Trust me, I'm super sensitive to fan noise (probably more so then your wife). I put a lot of research into which is the quietest and the one I got hands down beats all others. My tank traditionally has lived in my bedroom. It was not allowed to make any noise :D I've been running them for over 10 years now, sold dozens to people as well :)
  11. treylane

    treylane Supporting Member

    As far as I know, for cooling you don't want fans "in your hood" too cool the halides/air so much as you want fans aimed AT THE WATER to produce evaporative cooling. The lower bound for how much evap cooling can drop your water temp is bound by the dew point (calculated from humidity+temp in the room) rather than just the temperature in the room.

    Since this is sounding like a Big Deal, it could be worthwhile looking into ways to allow your tank controller open/close the windows in the tank room on-demand. Have you insulated the plumbing under the house? For heating, the big winner will be insulating the sump as you've already done, and the better it's insulated (don't forget the bottom!) the better your results will be.
  12. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Good info thanks! So where does your fan sit? In the canopy? Behind it? Been thinking about doing one of those for someone...
  13. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    In the attic :)
  14. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Ah yes, that is smart! Wouldnt hear it at all up there.
  15. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    True to an extent BUT if you do not remove the hot air produced, it will in fact heat up your water. Mine moves enough air it does both even and removal of the hot air.

    Don't forget, he has a chiller so he's looking to even it out more so.
  16. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Gresham how large is the line in to the tank? Just trying to decide how big of a hole it would require. I would probably go down vs. up if I could as there is no crawl space in the area above the tank (not part of the original house) and it would be a little cleaner looking as my tank would hide it.
  17. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    The fan itself or the tube? Mine take 4" tubing. I would run the fan remotely, like under your hose :)
  18. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    The tube. Yeah that would be the plan, just trying to figure how big of a hole it would take to run the tube. Anyone see any issues with the exhaust running down vs. up?
  19. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I've done both installs (up and down) and I've never seen any difference. (when running)

    There is an upside to going down though, heat rises (once fan is off)
  20. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    You could potentially run a smaller duct though, doesn't have to be 4" except where it connects to the fan

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