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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Rolling Blackouts?

Ok, so I had to come and ask all you engineers and aged folks this. We are in our 2nd day of rolling blackouts state wide, supposedly to help relieve stress on the electric grid due to cold temps we havent seen In decades. My question is this: many people In the state have gas heaters and propane heaters. But no one I know has heard of a gas powered air conditioner. We have triple digits all summer long and no rolling blackout. Why now?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 09:45 AM
 
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I heard on the news that several powerplants are offline because some of the water lines froze and burst due to the low temperatures.
We don't get frozen pipes in the summer.
Also, in the morning there is an immense load on the grid as homes and apartments with electric heat struggle to keep warm and then everyone gets up and turns on their electric stoves and ovens to cook breakfast.

Oh, by the way, there are gas air conditioners, but they are rare.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by The GMan View Post
...there are gas air conditioners, but they are rare.
MANY, to choose from

Natural gas powered air conditioners
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't know about the power plants. Think its stupid to keep Cowboy Stadium running and are killing power to families and homes with children. The extra am load isn't any worse than in the summer. if so, the blackouts would only be in the morning. but the offline power plants is news to me. thanks.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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If you leave out gas, propane, solar and wind generated heat, there are basically 2 ways to generate heat in homes today: heat pump and resistance heat. The use of the heat pump would be very similar to the use of a/c during the summer at what I would call normal winter temperatures. When the temps get very low, the heat pump does not work very well, and your homes get heated by resistance heat (a.k.a. emergency heat or AUX heat.)

The use of resistance heat is much more expensive (you will come back here again when your elec bill comes in) because it uses a lot more electricity than your heat pump normally would. The rolling black outs are to try and give everyone SOME electricity and not get to a situation where people have no electricity for a long period of time.

The stadium is generating more money for the city than it is using in electricity...if you take a very broad look at the situation IMHO.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I had a gas a/c when I lived in VA in the 70's. Not too crazy about it, but it did work from time to time. Let the fun begin
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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FWIW, i was surprised to learn that in this area, the peak load day occurs in the winter. I would have thought it would have been a hot day in August, with the A/C's all running, but no.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 10:19 AM
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Heat pumps make great air conditioners... Just my .02.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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If properly sized for your home, a heat pump will easily keep up with heating demands, without needing resistance heat elements - unless you are one who fiddles with the thermostat, well down into the teens. Problem is, many are marginal size, either because of saving money at time of installation or not thinking you will need a larger unit when located farther South. A heat pump, when in the A/C mode, is not as efficient as when in the heat mode and your electric bill will be higher monthly unless you keep the A/C temp set pretty high. In my area of the country, the max electricity demand is in Summer. News said this may be last day of rolling blackouts.

Last edited by OliverB; 02-03-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jediknight36 View Post
We have triple digits all summer long and no rolling blackout. Why now?

Because your demand for power is higher now (for heating) than it is in summer (for A/C).

Plus y'all get all freaked out at a little bit of snow & chilly temperatures. It's cute, really.
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