[rescue] Heating the House (was: Bigger Iron at Home)

Sheldon T. Hall shel at cmhcsys.com
Fri Nov 14 14:01:06 CST 2003

Speaking of winter and home heating ...

Is a Watt a Watt, when it comes to heat?  Can I heat my house with computers
just as efficiently as with an electric furnace?

My house is all-electric; there's no city gas here on the island.  We have a
forced-air electric (FAE)furnace.  I don't know its actual power draw when
operating, but it's on a 220 V 50-Amp circuit, so it's not trivial.  The
unit itself isn't particularly old, so I assume it is relatively efficient,
in that it turns as much of that electricity into heat as it can.

How much of the electricity consumed by a computer is turned into heat?  My
physics professors (M.Flanders and D.Swann) taught me that "Heat is work and
work is heat," so I suspect the answer is "all of it."

If that's so, it would be just as efficient for me to heat the house with
computers running DistributedFolding as with the furnace, right?  And I can
tell SWMBO you said so, right?


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