[Greenbuilding] Triac Thermostats

Carmine Vasile gfx-ch at msn.com
Sat Dec 17 10:43:55 PST 2011

Richard: The Accutemp C-150 tankless-electric water heater we have been using since 1996 for combined space & water heating has three triacs connected in parallel to control three 5 kW water-heating elements. The system you describe works well with set-back thermostats. When ours calls for heat, the water heater initially puts out 15kW; far more than the heat loss on an average winter day. As the return water from the baseboard heaters rises in temperature, the triacs continuously power-down the heater. With an automatic set-point controller, one could lower the set-point to keep the circulators running continuously to minimize electric demand.Happy HolidaysCarmine

Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2011 08:26:20 -0500
From: richard6 at gmail.com
To: greenbuilding at lists.bioenergylists.org
Subject: [Greenbuilding] Triac Thermostats

Recently installed three triac thermostats in an all-baseboard townhouse: rec-room/basement, living room, master bedroom. The owner is very pleased with the results. Very accurate temperature control; no wild swings above and below the set point. The thermostats output just enough wattage to match the heat loss. A normal thermostat is just a switch, either on or off. Normal watt-density for baseboards is 250 watts/foot. With the triac, watt-density can be reduced to less than 50 watts/foot. Like heat pumps with inverter technology, the object is to run the appliance at the lowest power level, continuously; this makes for a very low demand on the grid. One of the many benefits is that it virtually eliminates "cold wall effect", because the baseboards are not cycling on and off.

This is a great upgrade solution (interim or until the money comes in for the heat pump!) for anyone with baseboards. Just might breathe new life into a heating method that many have not considered, especially in well insulated homes. 


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