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Meet The Cozy
Tell Cozy/Marshall that!
See, *that* answer makes sense--lot's more sense than the wishy-washy "TRVs don't work" nonsense that pops up on their official material.
I'm not sure that changing from TRV to Cozy fixes dumb temp sensor placement though...0
Because if you want to be comfortable and don't want to spend your time fighting the management to fix the problem, it's your only solution.
I think there's also a very NYC mindset that comes into play here too. Definitely a je ne sais quoi thing though.0
Great question - the amount of heat we can throw out to a room is very dependent on our fan power, the insulation values of our covers, and delta T.
Currently our fans push about 50CFM at top speed - this is what we estimate a moderately-sized radiator will convect. Our enclosures themselves, very much like oven mitts, are warm to the touch and are designed to conduct enough heat to warm an apartment during a warm winters day. Also - in response to a previous question - our fans right now produce about 20dB at one meter - and just in case, we turn them on and off very slowly, over the course of about 2 minutes, so that it's barely noticeable.
As we develop the product more, we'll be integrating more control and more rigorous testing as to what CFM is required for different sized rooms and radiators. The system is designed to be swappable so more or less fan power can be easily added or removed. We're also planning on developing the integration of a louver near the top to control passive heat loss from the device, with fan to boost the flow during greater need.
I've attached a graph showing the temperature of one Cozy system over the course of two days - it's not a world of data, but it shows what we can do. The circles are put at 6am for both days (which are consecutive). The set-point is 74F with a 1F deadband. This happens to be my apartment, and the temperature this winter has been perfect. My apartment is a testing ground for all of our new systems, so we change parameters all the time, thus the short data set.
A primary failure mode for TRVs, as I've gathered, is degredation from de-ionized water. Any water that evaporates leaves behind all the minerals that it used to have. Because of diffusion kinetics, when this water condenses and is very pure, it will leach material from anything that it comes in contact with. This includes the TRV, and eventually causes the enough harm that it ceases function properly.
Thanks again for the questions! I'll try and keep up with them - and will try to answer each and every one,
Seeing as how pumps are my thing and I don't get involved in boilers, radiators, and such, I am curious about one thing though. Often, the radiators I see are surrounded by cabinetry, permanent covers, grills etc. How would the Cozy be used in these situations?Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.0
Cozy + Aesthetic covers
That's a really good question.
Quick answer: it will work fine - but the enclosure *may* need a small modification.
The Cozy we're developing is designed to be a semi-rigid enclosure - that can stand on it's own and provide all of the features of an aesthetic cover.
But it also has removable inserts that give it this structure. So if you wanted to put it on the inside of your own Aesthetic cover, you could remove this rigidity to do so easily. The only thing you need to make sure of in this case - is that our fan unit, which sits outside the enclosure, can get its air-duct into the enclosure. The duct we're going to use will be about 1-2" in diameter, so in the worst case would require a hole drilled into the side of the aesthetic cover.
Color me skeptical
So, not that I expect you to be a TRV expert, but I find that explanation suspect. Most mentions by pros here indicate that TRV failures are usually due to abuse, and otherwise due to debris. Most reports seem to indicate decades of use. Personally, I can't imagine that the tiny tiny tiny amount of water that contacts the TRV is sufficient to somehow substantially degrade the materials. The debris thing is a bit of a mystery too, though maybe what happens is little bits of rust from the pipe get blown into the valve. I also get the sense that the actuator fails too,
As Dan pointed out, TRVs aren't perfect. But short of tenants breaking them, their failure seems to be much less frequent than you imply and building managers that post here seem to love them.
I would consider rewriting your TRV FAQ. The difference is that your system comes in a box that a renter can install in 10 minutes, whereas a TRV needs pro installation, landlord approval, etc. Additionally, yours is (I think) the only programmable and wifi-accessible thermostatic radiator control option available for steam in the US. Those two selling points are what you should rely on to differential yourself from TRVs, not something wishy-washy like anecdotal reliability. (IHMO, of course).0
Shade of skepticism
I'm certainly no expert on TRVs!
Our position on TRVs is mostly from speaking to people in the industry, with a lot of input from Columbia University, who doesn't install TRVs anymore due to a variety of issues (they're the largest residential real-estate owner in New York City, after the City and the Catholic Church).
In any case, I think you make a good point that we're being too tough on TRVs - so I've changed our FAQ to be a little less draconian in our evaluation of them. Thanks for the input - I really appreciate it!
There is no technical limitation for how large of a radiator can be fitted with a Cozy - the only question is how powerful the fan, or fans, must be to push the correct amount of heat to the room.
I'm with you on that last thought.
I don't see TRVs as the competition to this. I think this is totally unique at this point.
I did see something a few weeks ago that really got my attention. I was visiting the Arsenal in NYC's Central Park. This is a landmark building and was the original Museum of Natural History. It's in the zoo, across from the seal tank. I was there with some friends from the Parks Department. Someone had installed Danfoss TRVs years ago but never bought the operators so the valves were nothing more than wide open valve bodies. The valves all had the original caps to protect the stems. I removed some of the caps and the stems were completely corroded. Some were leaking steam into the caps. These valves had never moved in all those years, which may be part of the problem, but they got me thinking, and what Marshall wrote has me thinking even more.Retired and loving it.0
If the condo association will not listen
This sounds like an option where a condo association is run by a cabal that will not listen to logic, but will turn on someone who does like rabid dogs on going after a bone.
Where there is no talking with people who cannot solve a problem after 9 years of trying, there is a market for the Cozy.0
First, would it be correct to say that the Cozy approach turns my radiator into a forced air convector only - there is no more radiant heat. Some of us do really like that part.
And second, can the fan CFM be big enough to actually condense more steam in a radiator than was possible before the Cozy - that is effectively raise its EDR value significantly above the chart value. I am not a landlord but if the only problem in my building was needing to slow down radiators that were too hot then the Cozy would be doing me a big favor. However, if this device gave tenants the power to pull more heat into their apartments than was possible before and dump the excess out the windows I might not be so happy. Any experience I have with unlocked thermostats on heating devices in public places is that they end up on full blast - always. Could the total EDR of the building system be raised significantly if the fans are big enough?1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control0
PMJ, you feel greatly reducing the radiant output is a bonus?
To me that is by far the biggest negative.Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment0
Didn't mean to suggest that at all.
I love the radiant part. Not sure where you got that I felt reducing it was a positive.
In the second part I was suggesting only that if the Cozy ended up primarily reducing the total output of radiators in my building that I was supplying too much steam to then it would be saving me money - that is all. I found myself wondering about the reverse - could the Cozy actually increase the total output of a radiator - all through convection.1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control0
I'm sorry my mistake, I read it as "some of us really like the part about no radiant heat".
If output can be increased, another theoretical problem would be water hammer due to water not being able to leave the radiator fast enough.Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment0
Right now we are blocking radiant heat - just like an aesthetic cover will. We've been looking at more transparent IR materials, but that would be down the road.
As for heating up cold apartments - there's a way of doing this that we're experimenting with, but is not ready for a commercial product. The idea is coupling a large thermal mass to the radiator, essentially storing a lot of thermal energy inside of our Cozy, and then pulling from that reservoir over time, increasing the net heat transfer to the room. The basis is that air isn't that great of a thermal conductor, but if you put another big piece of thermal mass in contact with a radiator, it will allow faster condensation than would otherwise occur. We haven't yet seen any issues with water hammer, as ChrisJ points out, and I think that's because the process averages out over the entire boiler on cycle.
So' the quick answer is yes - with an experimental addition to the Cozy (that we may make available next year) we can heat up cold rooms - but it's still experimental.
Raises an interesting point
Another test for your docket: Can you measure the temperature of the output air as a function of the CFM setting? That should tell you the point at which you're limited by the radiator --> air heat transfer rate, and should give you an idea as to the maximum EDR of a fan/radiator combo.
This is fun to think about.
Oh, and to address the radiative component, your baseline should be an IR thermometer aimed at your cover and the bare radiator. I wonder if switch to black from the white/silver of the radiator overcomes the difference in surface temperature...
Some back of the envelope math: the radiative power of a body scale with T^4. Assuming a surface temp of 80C for a bare radiator and 50C for the Cozy, the bare radiator would emit about 40% more power. Considering the emissivity of the Cozy will be close to 1, but the emissivity of metallic paints can be as low as 0.4 or so, the Cozy may actually have little net effect on the effective radiative power.0
That's a great point. We've been playing around with using slightly different materials on different portions of the cover - IR reflective on the back and top, and a high-emissivity (or IR transparent, which is more difficult) on the front. We haven't yet done the power transfer calculation though - great thinking! We would want to keep the front surface at a safe temperature (for children et cetera) - 50C might be a little warm but with the right level of insulation we could dial it right in that neighborhood and do exactly what you're saying. Very interesting!
In the real world it's a good idea.
Those of us who have balanced large steam systems know that the trash talk about steam heat's inherent wastefulness and unevenness is pure BS and ignorance.
Having said that, the potential to correct balance problems doesn't matter in many if not most situations where the tenant is powerless to change The Way The System Works. (You can take "System" to mean anything you want!)
In reality, when one actually encounters the owner or operator of a large, wasteful and inefficient steam system, they have that certain shrug with a "that's just the way steam heat is" attitude and look at you like you're a delusional thief if you suggest remedies. You learn (as the steam person or a hapless tenant) it's just one of their truths that they live by, and you don't want to upset that world of theirs. Sometimes it's just futile. Self fulfilling prophesy? Yes. They're in control of the heating system and you're not? Yes.
The $300 is worth not having that entanglement. Besides, you could sell it to the next tenant.
And while a TRV should have been provided by the landlord for units that overheat due to solar gain, at least you don't have to worry about snapping that poor bulky thing off at its 1/8" fitting while moving furniture. Or dancing at a wild party.
There's something attractive about a totally non-invasive approach to remedying temperature control issues. And that it is controllable by the user at any time whether they're there or not, just makes sense in this day and age.
Even though the idea of a cozy is not new, of course. nor is the idea of baffling the heat source and controlling air flow given all the thermostatically controlled cabinet heaters and convectors with dampers, a slip-on remote and thermostatically operated retrofit makes inherent sense to me. If the radiator's kept hot with a big muff, then it condenses less steam. It's that simple.
I think it'll fly. The reality of what people truly experience says so. BTW, people in these buildings should have noticed that opening a window to cool down an apartment or dorm room doesn't really help when the system's running. It's the corollary to the above statement. The cold air will cause the radiator to condense more steam, increasing it's output. It simply wastes more energy than covering the radiator. The Cozy solves this problem too.
I'm looking forward to the details on the thermal storage technique that can increase the temperature of a room whose radiator is inadequate for the heat loss. Anything that can sink the heat from the radiator will condense more steam in a given period of time. Sounds intriguing.
I think you are ready for your appearance on Shark Tank!0
You're seeing what I'm seeing. A few days ago, Tom Friedman in the NY Times wrote a column about this book: http://www.amazon.com/Second-Machine-Age-Prosperity-Technologies/dp/0393239357/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392167716&sr=1-1&keywords=the+new+machine+age
So I read it, which is what I do because I have time on my hands and am forever looking to learn. The book is an eye-opener, especially in the way it explains the problem with measuring a country's progress by looking at GNP and not the effects of the Second Machine Age, which often involves taking old ideas and combining them with new ones. And that's what Marshall Cox is doing with this product.
I'm sitting up straighter and paying serious attention here, and for all the reasons you stated. And more. Thanks.Retired and loving it.0
What happened to rad covers? I'm assuming this would be marketed to single pipe systems considering two pipe is adjustable. Most apartment building are two pipe and considering its not the tenants money to waste, most people would probably rather crack the window and waste the fuel than purchase a radiator snuggy. Good luck though, it does look pretty neat.0
technology is our future - really?
Are we replacing religion with technology as a faith?
Is what we are measuring based upon false premises?
What is our future in a world where limits are being reached?
Short and Sweet
Seems like a good product, that I was completely turned off to, by the soliciting of donations.Donate your money to a homeless shelter, so they might be able to put oil in the tank. Sorry, trying to keep it real.0
There is a lot of confusion surrounding crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo! There is, truth be told, an aspect of donation, where people feel so passionately about a product or idea that they donate money towards it without reward, but the vast majority of the pledges at Kickstarter, where we're running a campaign (and where this thread links to), are in exchange for the product itself.
In essence, Kickstarter is a place where companies like Radiator Labs go to try and sell an idea. If enough people sign up for that idea, by saying that they're willing to "buy" the idea, then the funding goes through, the company develops their product, and that product is delivered to the customer - just as if it were sold to them in a store. However, if the project is not funded to the amount specified, no money is exchanged at all, and the project is cancelled.
We're certainly not trying to solicit donations. We're trying to build, and sell at a fair price, a product that we think can make a difference. I completely agree - if you're looking to donate money give it to someone or something that is truly in need.
easy way out
i could see building management companies catching on and offering this
and neglect their heating system even more!
i constantly see overheated buildings
open windows and management companies that do not keep up with
their systems, but this would just add to it.
good for tenant bad for contractor
the best way we can fix the systems is by tenants communicating
and pushing the owners to maintaining the heat
if they all have cozys no one will speak up0
Easy way to get the data out
That's one of the nice things about the Cozy - we're constantly keeping track of the temperatures that our systems see and when we see indications of infrastructureal problems we can and will share that information. We can share it with building owners and even contractors, taking the tenant, who may not even know that their apartment is operating inefficiently, out of the equation.
The Cozy allows people to take active control over the temperature in their apartments, making them feel empowered and comfortable, and gets that critical, actionable, operational data into the hands of people who can act, in an infrastructural sense, on it.
I think it will be great for contractors!
Re: the last comment (which for some reason I can't respond to.. I keep getting an error)
While it is unquestionably true that many people would rather crack their window than buy a Cozy, I know that there are many more that would rather just be able to directly control it. I created the first prototype in my house for this exact reason. But I certainly get your point!
And I love that some people call it a radiator snuggy!
Have you had issues with heat and electronics? How are you not burning up fan motors? Are components field servicable, and reasonably priced? Does it pass the "Mom" test? Could my mother, easily replace any component?0
Assuming the fans they are using are like the double ballbearing 120mm+ fans I use on PCs and assuming they are using them to pull cool air I wouldn't think longevity would be an issue. Quality fans in this size last a long, long time. I think a few of the 120mm fans in my pc are over 10 years old now.Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment0
Think they live in, and pull heated air. You're pulling cooler air to cool the PC components. Different application. I think.0
My assumption was they were intake fans and blow air into the cozy. Would make more sense to me than subjecting them to 180-200F air.Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment0
It makes more sense. I can't tell from the pictures where they reside though. And what about when they room is not calling for heat(no fan)?0
Our fans are rated for 13 years at 80C - but we do push cold air into the enclosure to keep our electronics cool. You're absolutely right though- high temperatures are bad for these components and, while we haven't had any problems yet on any of our prototypes, it is cause for concern.
Primarily for this reason, and for replacement / servicing reasons pointed out in an earlier post, our next generation system is going to completely separate the electronics/fan housing from the enclosure. In addition to keeping things cool for longevity, this allows for much greater installation flexibility, and we can design the systems to be more easily retrofitted - potentially so that they could even pass the "mom" test (though that is a high bar indeed!).
Excellent questions - this community has really identified some of our most important and challenging design questions in an amazingly short amount of time!
Thanks again - and keep the questions coming!
Have you ever taken apart a really old mechanism, and been amazed at how "beautifully simple" the design was? That's what you're striving for. I know it's not always possible, but you want people to look at your work, and say,"why didn't I think of that"?0
I like the idea of monitoring all the units
Temp. And relaying the info to the management
Hoping they fix issues with the heat, but if fixed doesn't that
Kill the need for your product?
Good intensions but in the real world your cozy lives for the disfunctional
Heating system. The more you help to repair the system the less useful your cozy is
Seems like you should also make easy remote sensors for all units
With a program the building can use to help find trouble spots0
I don't think that it makes the product any less useful - while temp reporting is a great benefit in the beginning that, with proper follow-through declines in value with a building-wide balance, all of the other benefits of the Cozy remain. Just the knowledge for a tenant that they can set their own temperature is worth a ton, in addition to being able to change night setbacks, alarms, et cetera.
Great suggestion! We are planning on having smaller sensing units available that can tie into our larger network. Thanks!
I'm sorry I missed this post earlier - these are really excellent questions.
You're absolutely right about the Cozy effecting the boiler burn dynamics. I don't have any good data for you right now, but the two buildings that we're piloting in are being monitored in every which way you could imagine, including run-time, pressure, stack temperature, radiator temperature and room temperature, both before our retrofit and afterwards. There are absolutely some interesting dynamics involved - we'll have a lot more data at the end of the heating system, nicely packaged! I'll be happy to share it once we have it.
If the Cozy is installed in an apartment with a boiler temperature sensor, and the setpoint of the cozy is below that of the building, than that boiler temperature sensor will continuously call for heat. There is the potential for an issue here, but it shouldn't be any more of an issue than if you had an overactive tenant who micro-managed his radiator valve, or a well-tuned TRV.
The power draw of our system, in it's current state, is about 10 Watts when the fans are on, and about 0.5 Watts when the fans are off. We design our systems so that the fans only have to be on during cold weather - so the average draw is going to be somewhere in the middle there - about $2 a year in electricity, if our calculations are accurate.
It would seem that the condition the Cozy helps the most with is one where a tenant's radiator(s) currently are putting too much heat into their apartment. In its current form it would do a great job of reducing that amount of heat and would allow them to reduce the temp on a schedule of their choice. To do this with the current proposed product the tenant must spend an amount per radiator yet to be determined and must give up whatever enjoyment he gets from the radiant heat (currently about 40% of the total) and settle for all forced air convection. If he in fact does spend this money and actually stops opening windows to get rid of this excess heat the landlord paying the gas bill would benefit too. The basis for this happiness all around would be only if the current condition is excess heat. If, in fact the most common problem is too much heat this could be quite a deal for the landlord - that is if a significant number of his tenants used Cozys and actually condensed significantly less steam in their apartments than they were before and actually didn't dump any heat out the windows anymore. And, the tenants would be putting up all the money that produced the savings - and, by the way, pick up all the downstream maintenance of that equipment too.
But all the above assumes that currently the landlord is providing significantly more steam in total than is required to heat his building.
If, however, the significant problem in a building is balance due mostly to lack of maintenance I'm not sure the Cozy helps anyone but the hot tenants. If I close a supply valve on a radiator with a broken trap where steam is not needed it is available elsewhere on the supply line. If I cover that same radiator then doesn't even more steam go into the return past the broken trap than before? Steam not going where it is desired has more to do with drooping supply lines and broken traps and clogged vents than lack of supply. The Cozy only limits consumption in some areas. It cannot be assumed that steam saved (not condensed) in a radiator covered with a Cozy where the available heat was not needed will necessarily be available to help tenants that are too cold.1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control0
That's a great point that you make, and something that we should watch out for. In single-pipe systems, I think that in most cases our effect is just like closing the valve on a radiator, but in those two-pipe systems where there are broken traps, we will be letting more through a blown trap than if the valve was closed.
This just makes it all the more important for our system to be proactive about informing the powers that be to try and keep a building well maintained. One of our test buildings right now incorporates a steam trap monitor - we're measuring temperature before and after the steam trap to see if we can identify blown traps. Our hope is that with this system we'll be able to diagnose blown traps in real-time, and ideally to be able to actively combat the very problem that you identify. Something to watch out for!
Absolutely - we're only piloting right now in two full-buildings, but they both have outdoor reset. We will certainly start running into many different kinds of boiler controllers with different levels of complexity as we deploy in more sites.
Real Time Data etc.
I agree about the one pipe result. Do you or does anyone else have an idea about the percentages of 1 vs 2 pipe systems in apartment buildings overall? I think we can agree that the over all impact of installation of a lot of your product on 2 pipe systems might have significant and unknown impact on the system overall.
With regard to real time feed back that too might have interesting results. Fundamentally, the main driver of interest in your product is an existing dysfunctional system so any feedback that actually results in system improvement works against you long term. But then long term it would appear that steam is dead anyway if the government continues to outlaw it with its incentive programs and the knowledge base and number of skilled contractors who could possibly fix these systems declines anyway. I suppose it will take a lot of years to replace all these buildings or systems with something else if incentives don't change which they probably will. It would seem that you would have an ample supply of dysfunctional systems for many years to come.
But back to a question I was interested in earlier. In its current form can your unit pull more heat into my apartment than I have now even if I currently have enough? That is if I really am at 70 now average and am basically happy can I get myself even higher by something - even a couple degrees with a Cozy? Can I take off my sweater and go to tee shirts and shorts if I want to? I am guessing that a big enough fan would do this. What I am getting at is that if landlords really can see actual temps in tenants apartments and learn that they are at temps higher than they think they really need to provide what then? I am just thinking that all this information would change the dynamics of the situation with unknown results. This is not really your concern and I don't bring it up as a reason not to market your product. I'm just saying things might get interesting. Now I curious what I landlord would need to pay for this information. Also, would the tenants who buy the product have a choice as to whether to give you their information or not?
Peter1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control0
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