What is the required amount of ice to store in winter to air condition a house during summer?

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The idea of having free air conditioning is intriguing. To achieve it, you would require a large insulated container with coiled tubes at the bottom that would be responsible for the chilled water system (refer to How Air Conditioners Work for details). The chilled water circuit would run from the container to a radiator inside the air conditioner, and a small pump would be necessary to keep the water circulating. The system is relatively simple to construct, with the only challenge being the amount of ice required to store.

Assuming that the air conditioner runs for 12 hours each day during three months of the year, and that the house has a 5-ton air conditioner (60,000 BTU), and that the efficiency of the snow and ice storage is 50%, the cooling system would require:

  • 60,000 BTU/hr x 12 hours/day x 90 days = 64,800,000 BTU
  • 130 million BTU after accounting for the 50% efficiency rating

For the ice to power the air conditioner, we need 3.15 grams of water to absorb 1 BTU of heat. A gram of ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) absorbs 80 calories of energy when it turns into liquid water, with 252 calories equaling 1 BTU. Therefore:

130,000,000 BTU x 3.15 grams/BTU = 409,500,000 grams of ice

This translates to 410,000 liters of ice, or 410,000 kilograms (902,000 pounds) of ice to cool a house throughout the summer. The amount of ice required is massive, equivalent to a cube measuring 740 centimeters (24.26 feet) on each side. To store this amount of ice, one would need to dig a hole as big as their house, insulate it well, and fill it with nearly a million pounds of ice during winter. However, the payoff is worth it, as the cooling would be free, with the value of the equivalent electricity required to cool a house being about $1,500 at 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

FAQ

1. What is the basic principle behind using ice for air conditioning?

The basic principle behind using ice for air conditioning is to store up ice during the winter months when it is cold and use it to cool air during the summer months when it is hot. This is achieved by using a system of fans, ducts, and vents to circulate air over the ice, which cools the air as it passes through.

2. How much ice would I need to store up to air condition my house all summer?

The amount of ice you would need to store up to air condition your house all summer would depend on several factors, including the size of your house, the insulation of your home, the temperature outside, and the efficiency of your air conditioning system. However, it is estimated that the average home would need around 5-10 tons of ice to air condition the house all summer.

3. How would I go about storing the ice?

There are several ways to store ice, including using an ice house, an ice pit, or an ice cellar. An ice house is a building designed specifically for storing ice, while an ice pit is a hole dug into the ground and lined with insulating materials to keep the ice from melting. An ice cellar is similar to an ice pit, but it is built into the side of a hill or underground.

4. What are the benefits of using ice for air conditioning?

Using ice for air conditioning has several benefits, including lower energy costs, reduced strain on the electrical grid during peak usage hours, and lower carbon emissions. Additionally, because ice is a natural coolant, it does not require the use of harmful chemicals or refrigerants that can harm the environment.

5. What are the drawbacks of using ice for air conditioning?

One of the main drawbacks of using ice for air conditioning is the cost of storing the ice. Storing large amounts of ice requires a significant amount of space and can be expensive. Additionally, using ice for air conditioning may not be practical in areas with high humidity, as the moisture in the air can cause the ice to melt more quickly.

6. Can I use any type of ice for air conditioning?

While any type of ice can technically be used for air conditioning, some types of ice are more efficient than others. For example, ice made from distilled water is more efficient than ice made from tap water, as it contains fewer impurities that can affect the cooling process. Additionally, ice that is formed in large blocks is more efficient than ice that is crushed or shaved, as it has a greater surface area to cool the air.

7. How long can I expect the ice to last?

The amount of time the ice will last will depend on several factors, including the size of the ice storage facility, the temperature outside, and the efficiency of the air conditioning system. However, it is estimated that a well-insulated ice storage facility can keep ice frozen for several months.

8. Is using ice for air conditioning a practical solution for most homes?

Using ice for air conditioning may not be practical for all homes, as it requires a significant amount of space to store the ice and can be expensive. Additionally, it may not be practical in areas with high humidity, as the ice may melt more quickly. However, for those who have the space and resources to store ice, it can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for air conditioning.

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