Archive for May, 2012

RecoupAerator ventilator issues

After a few months of flawless operation our UltimateAir RecoupAerator ventilation unit started to make a horrible squealing sound after we turned on the boost for a morning shower. I turn it off and grunted. No one likes a new piece of equipment to malfunction this early in their lifecycle.

I easily found the source of the problem after opening the case. One of the filter pad wedges had somehow become wedged between the rotating disc and the edge of the unit, locking the rotating disc. Easy enough, I just turned it over and reinserted into the unit. Problem solved.

Then after a day or two I noticed a repetitive knocking noise coming through the ventilator ducts. It wasn’t noticeable at first but became loud enough that we turned it off at night so we could sleep.

I called our installer and they determined that the culprit was a small belt that connects the motor to the disc. When the filter became wedged in the unit, it stopped the disc from turning and the motor chewed up the belt. It still worked, but it now created that knocking noise.

UltimateAir was very helpful and since we’re still under warrantee they shipped us a new belt and new filter wedges. Everything fixed. Happy homeowner.

Until 6 days later, the disc froze up again. Same issue. Once agin I called UltimateAir. Once again they were very helpful. They admitted that they had a bad shipment of filter pads fabric. It appeared to be causing other people problems as well. The pad was expanding and delaminating causing the rotating disc to luck up and burn out the belt.

So they said they would ship us new pads when they had corrected the problem. The new pads and a new belt arrived within a week. Everything fixed. Happy homeowner again.

Until the repair bill arrived. Over $300 in labor. Apparently labor is not covered under the warrantee.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed this is the last of the problem. The weather has been so temperate lately that we have the windows open and the ventilator off most of the month. Most likely we won’t find out if the problem has been fixed until we start using the ventilator full time again in the winter.

I’m hoping we can get UltimateAir to cover the $320 labor to fix the defective pads.

Energy Star Certificate

Energy Star Certificate

Almost forgot, we got our official Energy Star Certificate in the mail a few days ago. It was included with a packet of information to explain the EnergyStar program to the homeowner. It also included a release form that if signed and returned would allow NYSERDA (the authority that administers the EnergyStar program in New York) to access our electricity usage directly from the utility for 2 years. Creepy.

April performance

circuit usage pie chart

April saw the return of weather normalcy. (12% less heating degree days than March but only 8% less than the 10 year average, 7% more sun). This partially resulted in 25% lower energy usage in April. We used 49 kWh just for space heating. We also installed a clothes line outside and used the clothes dryer less this month. Our daily average usage was down 22% from March. We generated a 538 kWh surplus in April, our second surplus month in a row.

All values in kWh (except HDD) Jan 20121 Feb 20122 Mar 20126 Apr 20127
Solar PV generation 369 597 860 925
Usage 873 666 515 378
Net usage or (generation) 504 69 (345) (538)
Average daily usage 28 23 17 13
HDD (base temp 68F)3,4 1,2125 1,045 704 617
1 January values based on meter reads.
2 February values based on TED data.
3 Heating Degree Days (a measure of how many outside degrees in a day it is below a target inside temperature)
4 Calculated from our HOBO outdoor weather monitor hourly data, unless otherwise noted.
5 January HDD data downloaded from, Station ID: KALB (Albany International Airport).
6 March values based on meter reads. (TED died March 1st, eMonitor installed March 16, 2012)
7 April values based on eMonitor data.

April marked our first full month of circuit level data monitoring. As the circuit usage chart above shows, the largest percentage of our energy goes toward producing hot water (152 kWh). The second largest load was all the unmonitored circuits including the refrigerator, coffee maker, ventilator and all lights and plug loads (123 kWh). The air-source heat pump came in 3rd (49 kWh). The clothes dryer and range almost tied (26 and 25 kWh respectively). We did  lot of cooking around Easter. Now that we have our clothes line, our dryer energy usage should continue to go down.

All the data is available at You can now view solar, usage, net usage, temperatures and HDD for all of February and circuit-level data for 16 days in March and the full month of April.

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