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"Alexa, what's the temperature in the garage?"


Gary_Ash
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There have been a number of times this winter when I left the garage, detached from my home, when it was time to quit work for the day, but I left the thermostat set near 60°.  That wastes a lot of money when it heats all night and into the next day.  I usually turn the thermostat down to 40-45° to keep things from freezing and to keep the tools warm enough to handle when I do go back out there.  There are also times when I wished I could set the temperature up a half hour before I went out.  We've had some recent nights in the 10°-20° range here in Massachusetts.

 

My solution was to buy a Honeywell T5+ digital thermostat with Wi-Fi connectivity.  It easily wired in to my Mitsubishi split-system heat pump/air conditioning, but can deal with any type of system.  I downloaded the Honeywell Home app to my iPhone, so now I can read the temperature and set the thermostat from anywhere I can get a signal.  With a little fiddling, I was also able to link it to my Amazon Echo (Alexa) devices in the house.  Now I just have to say, "Alexa, set the garage temperature to 45" or "Alexa, what is the temperature in the garage?"  The thermostat can also be programmed for scheduled temperature changes, even programs for vacations away, using the iPhone apps.  There are apps for other phone brands.

 

The list price of the T5+ thermostat is $149, but you may be able to get it at a very reduced rate through your power company or get a rebate.  I also have an Amazon Ring motion sensor light with camera that links to my iPhone.  When we've traveled, I've been able to see the driveway and tell how much snow is there, plus see who came to visit when we weren't there - mostly deer crossing the driveway and the UPS or oil delivery guy.  Even old dogs can learn new tricks!

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That’s pretty amazing when you consider how seamless it all works together.  I’m surprised how slow it’s been to get this type of control to be more commonplace considering how long computer controlled devices have been around.  I guess the big breakthrough has been extremely smart phones and WiFi technology to eliminate running wires all over the place and Apps to handle the programming. Thanks for sharing!

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Alexa has many used.  She will protect your home.  Tell her you are leaving as and guard the house.  If your fire alarms go off she'll contact your phone.  Turn on/off lights.  Best of all, she plays the music throughout my home when asked. Years ago I thought the Alexa dot a silly thing.  Today I have a dot in every floor and on the garage. 

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Wasn't there a story recently about a stalker hacking into a young girls bedroom and talking to her thru one of these Alexis things?

Scared the crap out of her.

I agree about what technology has come to. Most is a convenience that we have never realized before, some kinda big brother like.

My kids all have the kind of stuff Gary is playing with, One daughter talks to her dogs from her desk at work.

I seem to be able to get along turning on my own lights. I do have a surveillance system, but don't know how access it from afar.

I got a kick out of Jimmy Fallon giving commands from the tonight show. I always wondered how much chaos that caused.

 

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I guess I’m just old school. If I leave a light on or the heat up, then it’s on overnight or warmer than it would have been. If I know, I’ll get on a pair of shoes and take care of it. Im just that way. I think we would be better off without some of the technology that has come along. It’s made some of us just lazy.  Mike

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To much electronics for me. I heat my shop with wood. That way I don't have to belong to the gym. I get my exercise cutting, splitting & stacking fire wood. I go back out to the shop about 8 PM and fill the Blaze King wood stove. Keeps the shop nice and toasty in the morning, even down to signal digits. I do have a mini split that I installed this last fall as it was way to hot this last summer for me and back up heat when I'm gone in the winter.

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The Wi-Fi thermostats are wonderful for a detached workshop. I leave mine about 50 when not in the shop but when I find out I am going to have some free time to sneak off to the garage, I can bump it up from wherever I am. First thing I do when I find out I am getting off work a little early: get out my phone and warm the garage up! The Honeywell home app also tracks run time so you can see how much the heat and air really runs when you are not around. There are a few neat tricks it has for dehumidification if you have an ac attached.  I am an HVAC tech so I put in a lot of these things. The app is honestly more intuitive and easy to use than most modern stats. 

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I would like to have a remote thermostat in the house. Every time my wife turns it up I could get a notice on my phone and reverse the decision!

 

I embrace technology I just dont subscribe to it. I am not paranoid, nor do I think that I am that important that others are watching/listening to me, but I dont trust those Alexa things. I am surprised at what my phone knows about me, let alone a device in every room of my house.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, TAKerry said:

I would like to have a remote thermostat in the house. Every time my wife turns it up I could get a notice on my phone and reverse the decision!

 

 

 

 


All modern stats have a “temperature offset” that I call the “wife button”. It alters the display temp to be a chosen +\- 1-5 degrees from the actual temperature. It doesn’t end thermostat arguments, but allows you to publicly lose and privately win. 

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2 hours ago, gossp said:

  I am an HVAC tech so I put in a lot of these things. The app is honestly more intuitive and easy to use than most modern stats. 

How much wire and replaced sheetrock would the average 50+ year house need for this update? 

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59 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

How much wire and replaced sheetrock would the average 50+ year house need for this update? 

If you have at least 4 wires (more is better) going to the thermostat and a wireless router capable of getting a reliable signal to the stat:  none. 

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I installed a web-based thermostat for my garage in 2013. It has a local touch pad and internet accessibility through a PC, tablet, or phone app. Bayweb in Toledo, Oh hosts the service or it can stand alone. It has alarm points that will text me and a couple of binary dry contacts for tie in to a security alarm or water alarm.

 

I have been using it to maintain a minimum of 41 degrees in the garage and I can bump the temperature from the house or coffee shop to get it warm for me. It was just under $300 including the server link.

 

FYI, the garage is 26' X 40" and insulated but not extremely well. My cost has been right around $300 per year on natural gas. I have a separate gas service/meter for the garage and a 100,000 BTUH residential furnace.

 

I subscribe to technology as well. The roof of my garage is green and I can see it from mu bedroom window. When it snows and I see more green than I want I bump the stat down a bit.

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Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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I was going to activate the Google voice app on my phone. The "privacy" notice said I would give "someone/anyone?" the rights to capture/record/store my whereabouts regardless of phone mode.......... No thanks!............Bob

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During the recent times of quarantine I considered the options of taking my long walks along the Erie Canal towpath. If I carried the phone I could be caught and criminally charged. If I left the phone at home I might miss a call from an extended car warranty service which I understand the authorities can't do anything about.

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Possibly was a military shipping route at some point? No pictures along the Panama Canal either at some or most spots?

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2 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

I don’t understand why you would be arrested for carrying a cell phone along the Erie Canal.

Because people were supposed to stay at home and quarantine. Some states were more strict than others.  The cell phone connection is only that big brother might be tracking the location. Seems like a stretch to me, but I didn’t find it hard to follow. 

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20 minutes ago, gossp said:

Because people were supposed to stay at home and quarantine. Some states were more strict than others.  The cell phone connection is only that big brother might be tracking the location. Seems like a stretch to me, but I didn’t find it hard to follow. 

Bernie enjoys putting in little jabs of satire in his posts.  Personally I would be honored if my lowly mundane life was so interesting to anyone to the degree it warrants tracking my every move.  Especially the big evil government because it would mean that every other crisis in the world no longer needed to be monitored by them.

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On 3/7/2022 at 8:41 AM, TAKerry said:

I would like to have a remote thermostat in the house. Every time my wife turns it up I could get a notice on my phone and reverse the decision!

 

You might want to call your utility company.  Ours put in a WiFi/ remote thermostat for us for FREE.  Saves energy.

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1 hour ago, Larry Schramm said:

 

You might want to call your utility company.  Ours put in a WiFi/ remote thermostat for us for FREE.  Saves energy.

The free stats from the utility company generally come with the feature of browning out your ac during peak use times. Not a big deal for people at work during the hottest part of the day but can be a frustration for the retired. 

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OK, finished research of two minutes. I do not know what Bernie is talking about. Nothing about not carrying a cell phone:

 

https://eriecanalway.org/explore/cycling

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12 hours ago, gossp said:

The free stats from the utility company generally come with the feature of browning out your ac during peak use times. Not a big deal for people at work during the hottest part of the day but can be a frustration for the retired. 

 

Not ours.  That is a separate issue that you can opt in or out. 

 

I would still check with your utility to find out the parameters of the program if they offer it.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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On 3/7/2022 at 9:00 AM, 1937hd45 said:

How much wire and replaced sheetrock would the average 50+ year house need for this update? 

Older schools have installed 'false floors', in classrooms, about two inches higher than the original floor which is hollow to route comm cables, and electrical wires to desks and work stations.  

 

Craig

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 In reply to the previous comment about being tracked by cellphone during a quarantine was my point. There is even a website where you can do it.

 

Yes, I have an inherited, genetic propensity to be cynical, satirical, and downright irritating. I have read that I have direct ancestors who could write poetry about ones they dislike and it could cause them boils on their face. I'm smiling. I know I can do that.

 

In the vein of temperature control and energy in general, this morning while driving my '60 Electra back from coffee I was thinking about sharing an energy optimization program that could potentially topple the worldwide energy grid. Now, that's something that could mess up a lot of conspiratorial agendas. I am just trying to figure out a way to present it that will maintain heat and light in my garage. But I won't start any of that until I replace the )2 sensor that went bad on my Avalanche. Priorities, you know.

 

 

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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  There was a man working in the Maine northwoods who may have a genetic connection with Bernie, he was a songwriter and sort of a poet as well. He was called Larry Gorman and one of his works is titled 'Watch Out For Larry Gorman, He's The One Who Writes the Songs'.

  He was a master of satire.

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I just today signed the paperwork for the sale of my home. It is the culmination of a year of work to bring the house up the the standard that the purchaser wanted (lease option agreement). He intends to use the house for an Airbnb. Much to unpack here but when we made the original agreement I strongly advised him to put in a heat pump and an electric furnace. The sixty five yr old oil furnace and 660 gal tank in front of the house needed to go! He pushed back and did it his way. Which included new burner on the furnace and using my oil that remained in the tank. As part of the process he installed a thermostat that he could set the temperature from wherever he was using his phone. Just in case a guest raised the temp above what he thought was proper. 

 

The current upshot is that he is crying the blues about having to pay $6/gal for fuel oil and the fact that he is having to fill the tank himself, using his own small tanker truck, because he can't find anyone who is willing to negotiate the long driveway. In thirty two years I never had any problem getting someone to fill the tank-times change. 

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The problem with keeping your garage at 40 degrees is that all your cars then get to that temperature.

 

They are then a huge cold sink and it costs a lot to reheat.

 

In my case I have 15,000 pounds or more of car steel in my garage.  Once they’re cold, hard to heat.  It’s better to keep a constant higher temperature if your garage is well insulated.  The same is true for a house.

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4 hours ago, trimacar said:

In my case I have 15,000 pounds or more of car steel in my garage.  Once they’re cold, hard to heat.  It’s better to keep a constant higher temperature if your garage is well insulated.  The same is true for a house.

I'm not sure my wife would like 15,000 pounds of car steel in the house...😆

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5 hours ago, trimacar said:

The problem with keeping your garage at 40 degrees is that all your cars then get to that temperature.

 

They are then a huge cold sink and it costs a lot to reheat.

 

In my case I have 15,000 pounds or more of car steel in my garage.  Once they’re cold, hard to heat.  It’s better to keep a constant higher temperature if your garage is well insulated.  The same is true for a house.

I’ll have to think about this a bit.  I understand the argument about having to re-heat 15,000 lbs of steel. The heat capacity of mild steel is 0.12 BTU/lb-degreeF, so 15,000*.12=1800 BTU per degreeF.  To reheat from 40F to 57F will need 17*1800= 36,000 BTU.  We need to compare the heat loss when keeping the garage at 57F for some hours or days to pumping the 36,000 BTU back into the garage. Maybe I need to record how fast the garage cools when it’s 25 F outside. 

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I agree that insulation plays a part in this.  
 

By “car steel” I mean whole cars, not parts, so it includes steel, rubber, fabrics and all…..and they are huge heat sinks…

 

Gary Iike your calculated approach to this.  Let us know if you get good numbers!

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36 minutes ago, trimacar said:

By “car steel” I mean whole cars, not parts, so it includes steel, rubber, fabrics and all…..and they are huge heat sinks…

Fabrics are not as huge of a heat sink as cast metal.  

 

Sheet steel is negligable, as there is not much mass to it.  Kitchen pots are sheet steel and they react fast to temperature changes as everyone knows, and sheet metal on a car would act the same way.  The enclosed spaces in a car (if the windows are up and the trunklid is closed) would react slower to heating up and cooling down.

 

Craig

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In our attached garage there is a Big Maxx ceiling mounted natural gas heater.  It WAS hooked up to a Nest Thermostat until about a month ago.

 

Appreciated being able to set a schedule, be notified if the temp went below a certain point, be able to adjust it from my phone, etc. 

 

One day, noticed the smell of gas and realized the generator was leaking.  Quickly turned off the Big Maxx until the fuel could be cleaned up and the fumes cleared.  All good, we thought.

 

Of course, Murphy waited until we were 120 miles away, staying at a hotel and conveniently temps were dropping.  Got a notice no heat in the garage.  Would it bother the cars?  No but there was some stuff in there we didn't want to freeze.  The Nest message indicated something about a loose wire and you had to be on-site to fix. 

 

Home that night and could not figure out the problem.  Pull out the manual, read the blinking lights and start messing with the furnace.  Could get the furnace to run by clearing a tube which could possibly be explained as 'frozen condensation'.  Would have heat for a while then it would quit. Repeat by clearing the tube, heat again then at some point it would quit again.  This went on for several days. 

 

Offered a home-cooked meal to an HVAC friend and he stopped by grumbling about the Nest tstat.  Yep, that was the problem - pulled it off the wall & reinstalled an old school version.  Friend explained his company won't work on any problems that involve a Nest; they'll either advise the customer to change the tstat or refuse the service. 

 

In our area the Nat Gas company offers free home energy assessments which generally include Nest tstats free or cheap. 

 

Have the more expensive Ecobee for the house which does have better features.  There's a Nest in the barn workshop for the Big Maxx there and knock-on-wood, no problems yet.  That's 150' from the house and yes, nice to be able to have a programmed warm up time or be able to adjust from the house. 

 

Bought the Ecobee at Costco while the Nest were acquired with points so no real money out of pocket; the Nest which caused the garage heater problems is sitting on a shelf now, likely won't be reused while the house Ecobee and barn Nest are still working fine. 

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The mass inside a heated space is not significant compared to the rate of envelope losses and crack infiltration. The specific heat of steel is about 0.10 BTU per pound per degree of temperature difference. Maybe 45,000 BTU Quantity to raise 15,000 pounds of steel 30 degrees. Where skin losses can equal twice that per hour all day long.

 

I have been working with networked control and monitoring systems since 1974. Maintained in-house early of and then by other through Ethernet in this century. Some important stuff tied in as well, like biological research labs. I have confidence in mine but still judiciously hedge issues with Mr. Murphy.

 

I will go with the technology. I have been waiting for a chip implant that will connect to a heads up display on my glasses. Stephen Hawking and I would have a great time musing about the Magic Mirror speedometer in my '60 Electra. Techie.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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I ran some heat loss calculations on my garage. It’s 36 ft wide, 24 ft deep, 9 ft high walls.  The 5” concrete slab was poured over 2” of rigid foam insulation and the three 8 x 8 ft overhead doors are insulated.  There are five windows 3 ft x5 ft, single glazed, and one man door.  Walls are 2x6s with R19 fiberglass insulation, 5/8” T1-11 wood siding, and the interior walls are 7/16” OSB.  There is a loft room upstairs, roof is insulated, and the loft room is blocked off from the heated space below, though heat will flow up through the floor.  I calculated the areas, converted R values to u values (=1/R).  With 55 F inside and 25 F outside, the conduction heat loss is about 8700 BTU/hr, with air infiltration heat loss adding another 4200 BTU/hr, total about 13,000 BTU/hr estimated. I think the number is credible though not exact because I know the 36,000 BTU/hr heat pump will heat up the garage from 40 to 55 F in a reasonable time and, once warmed, doesn’t run full blast all the time. With the thermostat set at 40 F, the heat loss would be only 6,500 BTU/hr. 

 

So, I think I’m dollars ahead by setting the thermostat down when I’m not in the garage. If I don’t want to wait for the heat pump to raise the temperature, I can also run the 55,000 BTU/hr propane heater for 10-15 minutes to take the chill off. 

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loadcalc.net

 

A great approximation for heat load calculations for buildings.

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No electric in my garage as in communal block 200 m from house , not an insulated structure either and solar in Uk in winter dismal results , so heating a problem , propane burner effective , but fumes terrible and need to have doors open. Therefore maintenance or repair jobs in winter major issue and restricted to best days and still can be very uncomfortable , have opposite problem in Cyprus where I stay through summer , can’t put your hand on car 😁 garage fine , coolest place 

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