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Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

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Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby Mash » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:24 pm

Hello guys, I hope this finds you all well and busy!

I'm approaching the first winter in my separate studio building (converted farm-house) and would greatly appreciate your input/experience for keeping it a reasonable constant temp.

It's a small/medium size room, no central heating, reasonably well insulated, not noticeably damp but being separate from our main living space it has started to get increasingly nippy in the mornings.

I've found leaving my main computer on overnight stops the room getting overly cold (probably less humid too?) and guessing it would be a lot kinder on my HDDs etc. relieving them of a daily 'cold start'. My only concern is power consumption as this is something I like to keep an eye on.

Is my computer going to be using much more power than a suitable 24/7 low watt/tube heater? Any other non-energy-munching heater recommendations for when it gets seriously cold?

Many thanks,

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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:28 pm

Most of the energy that goes into your computer comes out as heat so it is going to be just as effective as a heater. The only thing to worry about is component ageing - some makes of motherboard capacitors are notorious for drying out when subjected to high temperatures so, if you have any dodgy capacitors in your computer you are likely to shorten their lives.

There's no simple way of heating a room without using a reasonable amount of power although you could look into heat pumps if you fancy something more complex. The most economical thing is to make sure that the room is well insulated. I find that turning a heater on half an hour before I want to use the studio is sufficient to bring things up to temperature so it might be worth investing in a time switch.

Cheers

James.
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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby Jonnypopisical » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:34 pm

My studio is so well insulated it only ever gets cold in the chillest of winter days. Maybe 5 days a year.

When the gear is on and I'm in it it warms up in no time.

For your place I'd invest in a 25W tube heated and leave it on in the winter.

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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby A. AuCr » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:24 pm

Any piece of electrical equipment is going to give you exactly 3412 BTU for every kWh it consumes. (What a horrible mix of units!) Be it a light bulb, a computer, an amp, or a "tube heater", that's how much heat you'll get for each kWh consumed. The rate at which you get it varies by the wattage, of course. The only way to do better with electricity is to move heat from one place to another, like from outside to inside via a heat pump.
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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby Mash » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:31 pm

Thanks!

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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:13 pm

Converted farm building??!!

Get a small wood stove off ebay and use some proper insulation. Knauf rockwool in the ceiling and Kingspan PU boards in the walls.
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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby Folderol » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:05 pm

I wouldn't recommend using your kit intentionally as a source of heat, but simply have another source that has a thermostat so it switches off if you+computer+peripherals raises the temperature enough.

The idea of saving hard drives by keeping them running is a non-starter. Just about any modern piece of equipment has controlled start-up these days, and you're simply reducing the life expectancy and increasing the chance of failure in every part of the system.

I don't know what your usage is like, but typically my DAW is running for about 4 hours at a time, and unless I'm going for a very short break, I shut it down when I leave the room. I find the (quite short) ritual of fiddling with 'stuff' while the DAW is restarting actually helps me get into the right frame of mind.
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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby Mash » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:22 pm

Update:

I should have probably been a little less modest when describing my converted farmhouse studio, it is very much a fully insulated all bells & whistles double glazed velux/full length windows jobby.

However the original door (because it looks so cool) hadn't been additionally insulated - which it now has and I'm not sure I'll need to bother with a radiator at all...it's about freezing outside now and toasty inside now the door has been taken care of.

The Red Bladder wrote:Converted farm building??!!

Get a small wood stove off ebay and use some proper insulation. Knauf rockwool in the ceiling and Kingspan PU boards in the walls.

Hehe - as it happens there is actually the original bread oven which has carefully worked around to keep as a feature!

Folderol wrote:I wouldn't recommend using your kit intentionally as a source of heat, but simply have another source that has a thermostat so it switches off if you+computer+peripherals raises the temperature enough.

The idea of saving hard drives by keeping them running is a non-starter. Just about any modern piece of equipment has controlled start-up these days, and you're simply reducing the life expectancy and increasing the chance of failure in every part of the system.

I don't know what your usage is like, but typically my DAW is running for about 4 hours at a time, and unless I'm going for a very short break, I shut it down when I leave the room. I find the (quite short) ritual of fiddling with 'stuff' while the DAW is restarting actually helps me get into the right frame of mind.

This worries me a little, the gear is on min 10 hours a day. It just struck me going from cold/hot everyday would be harder on the servers than letting them tick over a steady warm 24/7?

Cheers,
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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby KuRu » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:29 pm

you're simply reducing the life expectancy and increasing the chance of failure in every part of the system.


ever since i started building pc's back in the early 90`s 286,386,486 anyone ? ive pretty much left them on as much as possible, i was told that constant turning on and off meant the heating and cooling of solder joints was not good for the life expectancy, my last pc i had for about 2 years and was on pretty much 24/7 for all of that time now my son has it and its still going strong, my current pc is on 24/7 and is also fine, i think investing in top cooling and a decent case is the way forwards if your going to do this tho, i never skimp on those two things, but this is just my approach
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Re: Most efficient way to heat studio building: leave gear on 24/7 or instal low-watt heater?

Postby Mash » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:55 am

Thanks KuRu, the PC/Servers have been on since my original post and the studio has generally maintained a good temp and stayed nice and dry so very happy with this arrangement.

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