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What is the “best” way to heat and cool a house?

While no single advancement in technology will completely solve this problem, the mission of Lutfey Innovations is to create an affordable, energy efficient, and practical system for a home’s heating and cooling needs.

Examining the general needs of a house reveals the following:

  • some things always need to be cold (refrigerators and freezers)
  • some things always need to be hot (water for taking a shower),
  • some things can vary (interior living space)

Can this all be incorporated into a single system?

A heat pump takes heat energy from one area to another. A window mounted air conditioner takes heat energy from interior air and moves it outside. A refrigerator extracts heat from inside the unit and puts it into the nearby living space.

While heat pumps are most commonly associated with cooling air, they work just as well transferring energy between liquids. Running a heat pump between two tanks of water will result in hot and cold water. Both of these tanks can be used for the desired benefit.

It should be noted that this is nothing new. Systems have been built that use a traditional air conditioning to heat the water in an outdoor swimming pool. Also heat pump water heaters naturally cool the surrounding air which can be generally beneficial in hot climates. While these setups do exist, they are not widely used and the benefits are more of a convenient afterthought rather than a design feature.

The core of our system uses a heat pump to create hot and cold fluid that is stored in highly insulated tanks. The actual fluid used is Glycol to prevent freezing and other undesirable chemical reactions. The cold fluid is pumped into a refrigerator/freezer to keep food cold and frozen as needed.  The hot fluid is passed through a simple heat exchanger for domestic hot water. Hot or cold fluid is used to regulate the temperature inside the house.

But what happens when the demand for heat is greater than cold (or vice versa)?

To solve this problem a third tank is added to the system which is placed directly on the concrete basement floor. Fluid from the hot or cold tanks can cycle through this tank to add or remove energy from the system as needed. This is the same process that is used in existing geothermal heating and cooling systems.

This configuration employs existing technologies to meet residential heating and cooling needs using the most energy efficient methods possible.

Slight Tangent: Can we design a more efficient heat pump?

While heat pumps have been around for 150 years now, their basic design has seen only incremental improvements over the years. The practical efficiency of current heat pumps is still significantly below their theoretical potential.

As with many great ideas, this one started when I was doodling on the butcher paper table covering at Macaroni Grill.

I theorized a heat pump could be constructed from a series of heat tubes arranged in a circular pattern. Spinning these tubes at a specific speed would cause the outer edge of the disk to become hot and the center to cool down. Strategically placed insulation and fan blades cause hot air to be moved in one direction and cold air in the other way. Viola– a heat pump with a single moving part!

The images below are from the pending US Patent.

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Christmas Letters

2018 Christmas Letter

My name is Teaky, and this year I became the proud cat-owner of the Lutfey family. My modest kingdom consists of big-male-human named Omar, big-female-human named Katherine, two small-female-humans named Isabel and Samantha, one big-male-dog named Maury, and one small-male-fish that I call a tasty snack when the opportunity arises. While the big-humans understand the proper protocol for addressing cat-royalty, the small-humans feel it is completely appropriate to touch me or try to pick me up when I’m preoccupied with critical tasks such as hunting dust particles in the living room. I’ve looked into replacing the small-humans, but apparently there is an enormous amount of paper work needed to be filed with the Human-aine Society. The big-male-dog doesn’t pose any challenge to my authority as he seems to focus on pretending to be asleep 20 hours a day only to pounce on the chance to eat human food left momentarily unprotected.

It has been brought to my attention that an annual event summarization must be filed with the proper authorities. While in the past this task has fallen to big-male-human, my arrival in the household has clearly altered the structure of authority. Hence I will now be in charge of the annual Christmas letter.

Big-male-human continues with his daily ritual of dressing up in brown clothes, driving away, and returning later in the day smelling of sweat, diesel fuel, and various random dog-units. On days when he stays home he likes to stay in his bedroom well past the completely appropriate wake up time of 7 am. When this happens I have to jump on the bed and stick my nose in his ear to make sure he is still alive. Sometimes he accidentally closes the bedroom door and I have to sit in the hallway and meow to revive him. Fortunately I’ve never been unsuccessful in reviving big-male-human. In a related note, he doesn’t seem to appreciate everything I do to make his life better such as clearly announcing that the sun will be rising in two hours.

My attempts to expand my domain proved unsuccessful when I acquired a small-baby-bunny and deposited him in the office near my litter box. This resulted in much commotion among the big-human units that included significant yelling, texting, and rearranging of furniture. Fortunately small-baby-bunny was quite adept at playing hide and seek, so he was able to avoid capture for more than a day. Unfortunately he received significant trauma when being relocated from his nest and died the next morning. After the small-baby-bunny was disposed of I was not allowed to freely play outside anymore. Hardly an appropriate manner to treat your superior, in my humble opinion.

Wow– this is a lot of work, and these windows aren’t going to stare out of themselves. I hereby delegate this work to big-male-dog.

Hi! This is Maury. The cat told me to finish this letter. I was busy taking a nap, but I’ll make sure to catch up on my sleep tomorrow. First of all, Teaky is totally correct that I spend all my time trying to get food that I know I’m not supposed to have. Have you ever tried the food they give me? A scoop of the same brown pellets in the morning and again at night gets old after a while. Now don’t get me wrong– I scarf it down like I haven’t eaten for a month, but why is it so wrong to want a taste of all the great food in the rest of the house? My proudest moment was getting a chocolate chip muffin from the kitchen counter. Now to be honest, I was pretty sure that Mom’s special silicone muffin wrapper wasn’t food, but I just didn’t want to take the chance. And I don’t know why they made such a big deal about it– she got it back a few days later. I do have to say that silicone slides through my digestive tract like nobody’s business.

Aside from the muffin incident, the biggest thing that happened to me this year was getting sent off to doggie heaven. I made it through so many things such as swallowing countless tiny pieces of so-called indestructible dog toys, constantly running into the corner of the kitchen island at full speed, and leaving half a corn cob in my stomach for six months. I couldn’t, however, survive the diagnosis of “cancer everywhere.” Doggie heaven is great– the toys are the best and everyone loves it when you fart. While, yes, time is an artificial human construct not defined by the laws of quantum physics, I am a good reminder that while it may not always seem to be the case, yesterday is not the same as tomorrow.

So to wrap things up I’ll share a few things I’ve learned over the years. Introduce yourself to everyone who doesn’t look like they could eat you as a snack, be insanely excited when people you know come home, and ALWAYS make a play for the food on the counter.

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About Omar

My name is Omar Lutfey and I am the owner of Lutfey Innovations and I run the website at Lutfey.com. Here is my story– or at least some of it.

I graduated from Colorado State University with Bachelor degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science.

I currently work as a UPS package car driver in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I have my own blog just for fun that goes back to 1994. I used to have all this stuff on it’s own website, but due to poor website administration skills on my part I accidentally let the domain name expire and now I’ve combined everything into a single site.

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Turning 40

So I finished turning 40 on Thursday. The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that when I deliver packages in the trailer park the trampy women aren’t throwing themselves at me like they did when I was 39 earlier in the week.

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Wind of Change

So as of this Saturday I’ve officially been a full time package driver at United Parcel Service for 10 years. Only another 10 or 20 years left until I can retire and start drawing my pension. Too bad I didn’t start at UPS earlier.

Also, I’ve come to the realization that I only have 12 more days to earn myself a Field Metal for Mathematical achievement. Apparently once you turn 40 you are no longer eligible for the award. I’ll have to think of a simple polynomial time solution for the “traveling salesman problem” while I’m at work this week. Or as I like to think of it, “the UPS driver wants to get home before his kids go to bed dilemma.”