Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Timers and thermostats

So, we have an oven, it has a simple to use and set timer. When I cook something (rarely) I always set the timer. Why the hell would I not. Yes, often I will not forget ,and will go to the kitchen just before it goes beep and turns off. But there is no harm out cost in having set the timer. Sometime I'll go to the oven and press the button just to check how much time is left - it is a useful feature.

Some people (mentioning no names) refuse to EVER set a timer on the oven. And then, when they cook something and go out, and come back to charcoal, they say "I did not expect to be that long". That is fine, no problem, but why not set a timer. If you are not that long, no harm done. If, even if 1 in a 100 times, you are longer, the timer saves your bacon (or in this case lasagne).

The same happens with TV shows. I have seen many minutes of agonising decision "shall I set this to record or not?" before going out, and considering if back in time to watch live or if not back in time.

The decision needs no time, press the fucking record button and if you are back in time, one button to delete it (or leave the Sky box to delete by itself so no effort at all). Seriously, why the decision? Why the dilemma?

When you have two choices, and neither have any "cost" but one has some saving if an unlikely event happens, then spend the "zero cost" option. Set the timer! Press record!

The other pet hate is that the same person does not understand how a thermostat works, and will set the car to cool to 16C and then when it is too cold, turn off the air-con. Only then to turn back on when too hot. Why the fuck not set the temperature at something with which you are comfortable, adjust to taste on the day, but set it, and leave it, please. What is worse is when the passenger (me) has sensibly done this on one side of the car and has to endure the air-con turned off for ages while the other side of the car warms up again.

Sorry, just general rant, somewhat hungry and really was looking forward to that lasagne.

28 comments:

  1. I too won't mention any names, but someone in our house insists on turning the central heating thermostat down to a very low setting in the summer, "because we don't need heating at the moment", ignoring the fact that the heating is already off. You can't make it more off by turning the thermostat down lower.

    Then the first time we have a really cold night we wake up to a freezing house because the heating hasn't come on.

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    1. We set the central heating thermostat to ❄ (snowflake) in the summer. Not because we want to turn it more off than off - but because doing so shuts down the (wireless, battery-powered) thermostat completely, saving the battery - otherwise it's completely flat when winter comes around.

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    2. I suppose that's fair enough, but a traditional thermostat is a different matter.

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    3. In the winter, my heating is set to come on at 06:30, heat the house up to 19° and maintain that temperature throughout the day. During the summer, at 06:30 the temperature is often still below 19°, but I don't want the heating to come on because the sun will warm the house quite rapidly during the early morning, making it a waste of energy and also causing the house to get too hot. Secondly, I find that I want a higher room temperature during the cold damp winters than I do through a warm dry summer. So during the summer the heating is turned off - leaving it on would cause the heating to come on unnecessarily every morning.

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  2. I am right with you on the car temperature!

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  3. the trouble with setting a timer on the oven is, if you are out of earshot of the cooker you won't hear the alarm. I set the timer on my phone....

    Now where did I put that damn phone ;)

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    Replies
    1. Well yes, but setting the cook timer will stop it cooking!

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    2. Well it'll turn the oven off, it'll still be hot and the "cooking" will still be going on for X minutes/hours… :) Which leads me to what I've always wondered, is their an appropriate number of minutes before the timer runs out that you can turn the thermostat down to save electricity?

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  4. I don't know what your oven is like, but the clock & timer on mine is incomprehensible. It has 4 buttons and a 4 digit LED display and it's just impossible to work out how to use it.

    Just setting the clock an hour forward in spring is a major effort and requires study of the manual. Even if I somehow managed to set the timer I'd have no confidence at all I'd done it right.

    Maybe if I did it every day....

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    1. The cook timer is press one button, then hold + until the cook time shown (press - if you go too far), and that is it!

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    2. I have 4 buttons labeled "up" "down" "+" and "-"
      These can be used to set the clock, set a timer, set a start time and set an alarm... it's all modal with no indication which mode you are in...

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    3. My old cooker had a mechanical timer - you set it to come on in so many hours and cook for so many minutes. Impossible to get wrong and you didn't even have to know the time!

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  5. I do the thermostat thing.
    It's to compensate for a very poorly designed system.

    In my old house there was one thermostat that the builders had placed in the poorly heated entrance hall by the front door. Basically there was little heating there so it took hours for the temperature there to reach the set temperture even though the rest of the house had reached it hours ago. The builders obviously had no concept that you had to place the thermostat in the place you want to control the temperature of.

    My current house has a remote thermostat so I can put it right next to me, in the place I'm sitting. That would be good. Except that the heating consists of a large radiator on the other side of the room. The temperature where I sit reaches the temperature I want and turns the heating off. But the other side of the room is already much hotter, and the raidator takes a few minutes to cool so it continues to get hotter and hotter where I sit. The thermostat needs to turn off the heating well before it reaches the desired temperature, and turn it on again well before it's cold.

    So I end up manually controlling it...

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    1. At least you have an understanding of the issues and a reason.

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    2. If you get a thermostat that supports TPI (time proportional and integral) features then it learns the heating cycle and response. It will then modulate the heating as it approaches the set point to minimise overshoot.

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    3. My central heating room stat in the lounge does TPI and it works very well. It wasn't even an advertised feature, I bought a digital one because mechanical ones were taking so long to switch the sparking was interfering with my TV and radio reception.

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    4. Oooh I wasn't aware that those existed as a consumer product. I once decided I'd make my own (being a software developer and hobby electronics...) but decided that I had other things I'd rather spend my time on

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    5. The comsumer marketing for these features seems to be "digital" and "works better". It took me a while to work out why it wasn't overshooting massively on cold mornings, when the previous mechanical one in the same location had. When I caught it turning off 2 centigrade below the target temperature a couple of times on the way up the penny dropped. This is a Drayton Digistat 3, but I've had it at least 15 years now so I can't vouch for the current ones working the same way.

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    6. I installed a Honeywell CM907 timerstat which does proprortional control, optimum start (the colder the house, the earlier it fires the boiler), and such. It's maybe four years old, maybe £70ish back then.

      I'm about to junk it because most (but not all) of the LCD display no longer works, which makes it impossible to usefully set or check anything.

      Poor manufacturing of an otherwise interesting device. Seems to be still available.

      Back to clockwork, I think.

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  6. #NotAllThermostats

    At least some air conditioners will put out air at the set temperature rather than applying maximum cooling until the set-point is reached - so it's sometimes worth turning it down for the initial cooling of a hot room/car, then up to a comfortable temperature later.

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  7. We also have thermostatic valves on all the radiators *except the one in the living room*, and a master thermostat. I was told that you must have at least one room that doesn't have thermostatically controlled valves, I have no idea if that's true.

    But anyway, the interaction between all of those is confusing and complex and setting the heat level in any given room seems to be entirely trial and error :(

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    1. General advice is that you should not have TRVs on the radiators in the same room as the thermostat, because otherwise it's quite easy to end up in a situation where the radiators shut off before the room gets warm enough to reach the thermostat setpoint.

      But nothing terrible will happen if you do have this.

      Radiators are wired in parallel, so if you turn them all off the water just circulates around a pipe loop and the boiler will quickly turn off once the water gets up to the target temperature.

      So you'll end up wasting some energy heating a loop of water, but nothing disastrous will happen.

      But ideally you do not want the boiler coming on unless there is an actual demand for heat.

      I believe these days you can get wireless TRVs for radiators so that you can eliminate the main thermostat entirely - the boiler will then come on whenever any of the TRVs signals a demand (and assuming it's the right time of day, etc).

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    2. That last option of wireless TVRs sounds good.

      Except that no doubt you'll have to subscribe to an online "service" to use them and when that goes down you'll have no heating :P

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    3. If you really want to get into this and enjoyably waste an awful lot of time then investigate home automation using Domoticz (open source Home Automation server) running on a Raspberry Pi. I have fully automated the heating and lighting in our house using TPI based Thermostats, temperature sensors and wireless TRV's. A health warning however it can absorb many hours.

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  8. My oven has no electrical connection at all (piezoelectric ignition for everything) and that's the way I like it ;)

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  9. Perhaps you should use the oven more often.

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  10. My other half does this with the aircon and it winds me up. We get in the car and she wants to turn it down immediately because it's too hot - it hasn't had chance yet!!

    We've just gotten aircon installed at home and she does the same thing, turn it on and put it on 18 degrees, then 30 mins later complain she is freezing.

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  11. Thermostats - I have the same issue with my house currently - sits in the drafty hall and is rubbish. H doesn't like that I want a roaring fire in the living room, and won't close any door, ever (she's mad). But then the heat comes out of the living room and affects the thermostat so our bedroom remains a ice box in winter.
    And lets not even start on the ineffectiveness of single thermostat systems and the inefficiency of them. I plan on installing Honeywell EvoHome at some point, and then I can zone my house accurately so I can have a warm bedroom at night, but not during the day, and the same with other areas.

    Oven Time - I love them, H hates them. I go by the time on the packet or recipe while she goes by gut feel. Mini Rant - calls out "come and get it" and then we end up standing round for 5 mins because it's not flipping ready! Just wait for the damn beep! Arg!

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