How I heat my home using cryptocurrency mining

After creating your own smart electricity meter from parts for $ 4 I started checking the electricity consumption in the house every day, so I realized how expensive it is to heat it. Especially because all the heating and hot water in my low-energy home is generated by electricity. I have solar panels on my roof with a peak power of 4.8 kW, but in winter, for obvious reasons, they do not cover much of the cost.

On cold days, I pay for electricity up to 6 euros per day

What I have and how to improve it

Nilan Compact P: heats the air and also has a 200 liter boiler

My home is heated (and cooled) by a central ventilation system with a heat pump. Basically, my heat pump draws in cold air from outside, heats it and blows it out into all rooms, and also heats up the water. Also in case highly on cold days, I have infrared panels in every room.

Central heating

This is a fairly sophisticated system, it even uses the absorbed heat of the house to heat fresh air before letting it out, but on cold days it has a huge drawback:

The ventilation system must warm the outside air to room temperature

Heat exchanger inside Nilan Compact P

The simple solution: preheating the intake air

Since the air must be heated to room temperature, every degree of Celsius is important. Many heat pumps take heat from the soil to preheat (winter) or precool (summer) outside air, and then feed it to the heat pump, but that would be too expensive for me, so I chose the simple method and use the outside air this way. as it is.

How does a centralized ventilation system work (image from the site meco)

Since laying about half a kilometer of air or salt pipes in my backyard was not a suitable option for me, I started looking for a better solution and found it in the world of cryptocurrencies.

What is a “cryptocurrency miner”

Cryptocurrency miner

Some cryptocurrencies are generated by thousands of people using specialized hardware to essentially calculate random numbers until one cryptographically correct one is found. You can read more about how it works. here

But we don’t care how it works at the technical level, the main thing for us is that you can install a device at home that uses electricity and generates heat. In exchange, we receive shares of cryptocurrency coins such as Ethereum or Bitcoin that can be sold on the trading platform.

Is it worth it at all?

I have four old AMD GPUs lying around R9 390 (for fans of nVidia, I will say that this is a rough analogue of the GTX 970) and I figured they might work. They are not ideal for mining, because despite a good hash rate (30MH / s), they are very demanding on power and together consume about 900 watts. Modern maps show much better results. To see if I can make a profit, I opened Cryptocompare Mining Calculator, inserted my electricity tariff, consumption and hash rate of these cards. The result surprised me.

The work is not just worth it – if the price is stable, then I can even make a profit 4000 dollars per year

So, sometimes I earned as a miner about $ 3.8 profit per day… That is, on cold days, I paid half of the electricity bills even after paying for the electricity consumed by the miner. But this is only the first stage of the plan.

Now that we know what it is is worth Since Ethereum is above $ 900, let’s see what we can do with heat.

Returning heat from the miner to heat the house

Each of these cards operate at a temperature of approximately 80 ° C (176 ° F). I can collect this heat and transfer it to the heat pump so that it needs less energy to heat the outside air. Basically, I had two options.

My four GPUs in a 4U server cabinet

Option 1: lazy heating from the inside of the house

The central ventilation system not only draws fresh air into the house, but also sucks out the used air, preheating the outside air in the heat exchanger.

Suction connection before transfer to heat exchanger

If you place the miner in the room, the warm air will be sucked in and transferred directly to the heat exchanger along with the used air from the rest of the house. This is a lazy way, because I just need to put the miner in the same room with the heat pump, but it has a drawback.

pros Minuses
Ease of implementation The room gets too hot, which reduces mining performance
No additional investment required Limited space in the heating room

Option 2: using a miner outside the house and pulling in heat

Since I run the miner only when it’s cold outside (and the price is quite high), I can use cold and dry outside air to cool the miners and return the warm air they create to the heat pump. I asked the technician who installed the heat pump about this and he said it was a good idea.

So, the plan is this: we connect the front of the server cabinet with the GPU to the inlet of the heat pump.

Closed server cabinet

Duct pipe and socket

Installation example in my house. Air is sucked in through an opening above the garage, so a pipe had to be connected there.

pros Minuses
Using preheated outdoor air Lots of headaches due to parts and installation
GPU miners will be cool, which will increase hash rates An unexpectedly expensive system

results

So, while mining covered about half of my electricity bills (= heating)but how will the results differ with preheated outdoor air?

Let’s take a look.

Results before and after air preheating

Success! I managed to reduce the energy consumption of the heat pump by about 50%, and I manage to pay half of the costs with the money earned from mining

Everything turned out to be much better than I had hoped. Has anyone heard of a heating system that lowers electricity bills when it is running? In addition, on sunny days, the miner and the entire heat pump are powered entirely by solar power from the rooftop panels.

Questions and answers

Q: How long will a miner stay profitable?

ABOUT: My miner will be profitable until the price of ETH is below about $ 900. At a lower price, it will no longer justify its own electricity bills. Perhaps it will still be worth it after, because it reduces the electricity demand of the heat pump.

Q: What software is running in the miner?

A: I use Simple mining; in fact. it is a mining OS based on Ubuntu. She does all the settings herself, and I got much better hash rates than on a homemade Windows system. However, using the service costs about $ 2 per month and it seems that the owners mine 1% of the time for themselves.

Q: How about taxes? Is it possible to save 100% of mining earnings?

ABOUT: The answer will be different for each state and country. In Austria mining is considered a commercial activity and taxes must be paid from it, but the cost of electricity and equipment must be deducted.

If you keep your coins for more than one year without selling them, then they are not taxed.


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