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Re: Heat and humidity

From: Miles Morrissey <mmorriss at sophia_smith.edu> asked:

> I had a thought that I'd like to hear people's opinions about.  I have
> six aquariums in my two bedroom apartment along with twenty or so
> plants of the terrestrial (sp? damn no spell check) variety.  Two of these
> aquariums, the 50g and 20g are with out covers with the four 15g's having
> covers only because I don't want to lose the SAE's again.  Here is my
> thought.  The relative humidity in the apartment must be pretty high and
> thus would retain heat better than a the low humidities one gets in
> heated spaces in winter in New England USA.  Thus, I'm spending less
> money to heat the apartment than I otherwise would not to mention this
> moister air would feel warmer than dry air of the same temperature.
> I know that it would take more energy to heat this moister air initially
> but I'm guessing that it would retain this heat better than drier air.
> So do I have a point or should I stop assuaging my wife's concerns about
> the cost's of running and maintaining these aquariums with this argument.
> :-)))   These are all planted aquaria of course.

I don't think there is much difference between heating moist air and
heating dry air. However, energy is required to evaporate water into dry
air. Obviously if your are losing a lot of heated air from your
apartment, more energy is going to be lost if it started as cold dry air
that has picked up moisture and heat in you apartment as opposed to cold
dry air that just picked up heat.

You probably will see a bit more energy lost via condensation on the
windows with moist air in your apartment as opposed to dry air. Overall,
my engineering guestimate is that the effect of the moisture from the
aquariums on your heating bill is minor. If you really want to save
energy, lower the the temperature of your apartment. You may then need
to cover all your tanks to lower the evaporation.

Instead of tyring to win the thermal cost battle with your wife, explain
to her how you are home with her and your tanks, and not drinking at the
bar with your buddies, or even worse from her perspective, out with your
girlfriend. I'm sure she will then see the merits of your hobby,