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Finally: Neutral Thermal Inertia

 
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It took me two days of work, but I was finally able to achieve neutral thermal inertia on my Tiny Home.

I started out with some pretty wide temperature swings, from here on out, all temps stated in (f) and not (c) just so everyone knows. I was flucuating pretty wildly between 44 and 33 degrees, the later being the threshold in which I worried about my water pipes freezing and had to start a fire in the basement. This was not only costly, but a pain to do since I had to run down cellar constantly, displaying things in our 'closet" since in this tiny house, the cellarway doubles as a closet too.

The first day of labor took 4 hours, and consisted of placing hay all around the parimeter of the house. This immenslely helped, and the temperature stabliized for its 44-33 swing, down to a more 40-33 swing. It was better, but still not nearly enough; it required a fire in the basement when things got below 10 degrees ambient temperature outside.

So yesterday I put a roll of R-19 commercial insulation around the rim joists of the house. To my surprised, there was just insulation backing stapled up and no real insulation so the cavities were all voids. It took a broomstick handle in a lot of places, to shove insulation into inaccessable spots, but the difference was dramatic. It lowered the overall temperature on the high side by 2 degrees down to 38, but lifted the low temperture up to 38. In other words, the basement now stays at a constant 38 degrees.

This is great news because Maine has been in the news for being the coldest temperature on earth on Thanksgiving, some -3 degrees. IF I can maintain 38 degrees with ambient temperatures that low, then it would have to be -20 degrees out before I near the 33 threshold and have to start a fire in the basement. This saves a lot of work all the way around.
 
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Glad you got it figured out Travis. I'm not clear on how a constant 38F inside is enough to be comfortable but it sure beats the snot out of -10.
 
Travis Johnson
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I cannot say I have really been waiting with excitement for below 0 degree days (f) again, but they arrived in any case. The swing in my basement has been pretty low, only 4 degrees. That means I have achieved Neutral Thermal Inertia for sure as the ambient temperature outside (f) has fluctuated from as high as 50 degrees to now -1 degree. So for the ambient temperature to swing 51 degrees, and my basement to only fluctuate by 4 degrees, means I am achieving my goal.
 
Travis Johnson
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Duane Hylton wrote:Glad you got it figured out Travis. I'm not clear on how a constant 38F inside is enough to be comfortable but it sure beats the snot out of -10.



I do not live in my basement, but my water pipes do run through it, so anything below 32 degrees would mean they would freeze. To prevent that, my grandmother used a woodstove in the basement, and then as she aged, an oil furnace in the basement, to keep it from dropping below freezing.

We have a functioning wood/coal stove down there just in case, but running it can be a real pain. So I set out to keep the basement above freezing just by using the heat emanating from its dirt floor and field stone walls. That meant adding the right insulation in the right place.

Neutral Thermal Inertia means I save myself a LOT of work when the temperture drops below 20 degrees. No kindling fires and running a second stove which thus means no getting fire starting material, kindling, and buying coal just to keep the pipes from freezing. (I burn coal because I can get so much longer burn times in a stove that is hard to get too).
 
Duane Hylton
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That makes a lot of sense Travis. After your clarification I re-read your original post and now see why you are so happy. That's great that you have the space at neutral thermal inertia. Not to be snarky or anything but I'm glad that it is you and not me in Maine in winter. Here in N. Alabama we can see temps close to zero F but that is rare and never lasts long. But I've been to Maine in the summer and it is very beautiful. Keep us posted on your progress.
 
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