Lowering The Electricity Bill By Mining Cryptocurrency

Wherever you are in the world, the chances are that a large portion of your utility bill is for heating. This was certainly the case for [Christian Haschek], who realized he can use a cryptocurrency mining rig to offset some of his heating costs.

[Christian]’s central ventilation and water heating is handled by a heat pump, which uses a lot of electricity, especially in the Austrian winter. When it draws in cool air, it first needs to heat it to the thermostat temperature before venting it to the house. Cryptocurrency mining rigs are also heavy electricity users, but they also produce a lot of heat, which can be used to preheat the air going to the heat pump. [Christian] had four older AMD R9 390 GPUs (equivalent to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970) lying around, so he mounted them in a server case and piped the heat pump’s air intake through the case.

At the time he did the tests, earnings from mining were enough to cover half of his heating bill, even after paying for the mining rig’s electricity. That is not taking into account the electricity savings from the preheated air. He only shows the results of one evening, where it dropped his electricity usage from around 500Wh to below 250Wh. We would like to see the long-term results, and it would be an interesting challenge to build a model to calculate the true costs or savings, taking into account all the factors. For instance, it could be possible to save costs even if the mining rig itself is running at a slight loss.

Of course, this is not a new idea. A quick internet search yields several similar projects and even some commercial crypto mining space heaters. We do like the fact that [Christian] reused some hardware he already had and integrated it into his central heating rather than using it as a mobile unit.

When [Christian] isn’t building crypto heaters, he can be found flooding phishing scams with fake data, or tracking down corporate spies.

119 thoughts on “Lowering The Electricity Bill By Mining Cryptocurrency

  1. ‘ where it dropped his electricity usage from around 500Wh to below 250Wh’

    Not possible. A heat pump saves energy because it’s cheaper to move heat with electricity than to convert electricity directly into heat. But running his miner ahead of his heat pump is doing both. He’s converting electricity to heat with the mining rig and then spending less electricity for the heat pump to pull that heat from the warmer incoming air. But he can’t be saving enough heat pump energy to offset what his mining rig is consuming.

    But I’m not saying it’s a failed project or a flawed idea. He’s just measuring the wrong parameters. He needs to compare his long term mining return with his long term increased power cost. And I suspect that as long as the rig is only running when his heat pump is run he will see an overall financial gain.

    I’m considering doing the same thing in my shop, I’m just trying to find a used mining rig deal. My shop is heated with a through the wall heat pump. One difference is my shop is a rectangular open space so I plan to just run the rig on days that I need heat and then circulate the heat in the shop with a fan. Then the heat pump will pick up the difference.

    1. If heat pump has less temperature difference to conquer, it’s efficiency increases, so each degree of temperature gets bigger difference in energy to move it. BUT you are right. If price for bitcoins is below some level and temperature outside is above some level, this rig is no longer decreasing power costs. His costs are offset with value of mined bitcoins.

      1. It said it dropped his electricity use from around 500Wh to below 250Wh. That’s less total energy usage. Turning electricity directly to heat cannot lower total consumption. Maybe they’re factoring in cheaper total price after selling the bitcoins, but when they talk about raw consumption, it’s just flat out wrong.

        Also, 500Wh is not a whole lot of heat. It’s around 10 cents worth of electricity and won’t even power my TV and Receiver for an hour. Something is being misquoted or mis-transcribed there.

        1. Assuming he has mining rig running, which needs a 1000W either way, he dropped it.

          If the air is preheated than the total power consumption is 1250W, if not it’s 1500W, of course if the rig is off than it’s only 500W. So this is just a simple case of clickbait title, in reality it is lowering electricity bill by using waste heat (from cryptomining).

    2. Indeed, adding a mining rig would not drop your electricity usage. I am guessing he he meant that the electricity usage from the heatpump dropped from 500Wh to 250 Wh. That would make sense. Almost all energy in mining is converted to heat, so using this heat for his house is great!

      1. Yes….I thought the same thing as you.

        If his heat pump was changing say 50 degree air to 70 degrees but now his electric mining rig is hearing the air from 50 up to 70 meaning he doesn’t have to utilize any great pump, then he basically just used electric heating instead.

        The difference is the electric was possibly a break reverb with crypto prices versus having to pay for the heat pump electric.

    3. Yeah came here to say this. A heat pump will product about 300KW of thermal energy for every 100KW of electrical energy provided. If governments were smart they would use cryptomining to balance off peak green energy production. Simply provide incentives for miners to only use electricity produced from wind and solar during off peak hours. The cash from the energy usage could then be reinvested into green energy projects.

        1. That could actually work. You sign an agreement with the energy company to get a super low rate w/ max being 10KW or whatever the typical residential infrastructure can provide but only during off peak. Any energy used on peak or above 10KW during off peak would be billed with a steep surcharge.

          For a lot of people this could make a lot of sense.

      1. I’ve seen several crypto mining data centers in Sweden that works as frequency balancer. If the network’s (energy network that is) frequency goes down the crypto miners shut down.

    4. Exactly. The only advantage is that you are making a little back on what you do.

      Sadly this article is about 4 years late. I have been mining with 3GTX 1080’s and a RX480 during winter for a few years now. My place is all electric and no heat pump so I have a large open air rig with a box fan to help move as much air as possible over it. Outside of the recent cold snap I have not been using my HVAC system at all in the winter. Electric costs are about the same but the temp is more stable since it’s continuous heat. On top of that I generally make back at least what I pay for the mining in electricity and over this winter have made beyond that, my last bill was 120.00 USD and I earned around 300 USD in mining. That extra cash is allowing me to plan for a vacation and a little bit of other stuff here and there. It will never make me rich but every little bit helps.

      It hasn’t been profitable enough to run during the summer most years but even running it for 4 or 5 months has been worth it each year since I have had it. If I had a house that would be a different story as I would put some solar panels on the roof and a wind generator somewhere and then just mine all the time.

      1. my buddy in montana has 5 L3+ totaling about 3.6KW that he runs continuously, his house only has restive heat and hes only a few times had to turn the heat on so hes using 100% of the miners heat so its 100% profit for him and on top of that its paying out more than the power bill

      1. Those who rent often have no access to a heating fuel that’s cheaper than electricity and can’t install a heat pump. I remember the days of spinning up a few earnhoney mining VMs to stay warm in an apartment. It was an old Sandy Bridge-E PC so running the CPU cores at max would only return 80-90% of the power cost in mining revenue (at the time), still a very good reduction in heating costs. (And net cost to operate cheaper than window heat pumps which were not compatible with the kind of windows in that apartment anyways.)

        Then there are those who pay a premium to get electricity included in rent and actually want to get good value out of it. (Was over 10 years ago when I last looked at it, but for a one bedroom apartment, it was on the order of $200/month extra to have electricity included, probably more now thanks to crypto mining.) I would say that it’s better to not play the game and just pay for electricity separately like most people do since it would take a fairly good investment to net a win, but those wasteful “flat rate” schemes have to be broken somehow…

      2. If they tax you on what you have made then you can also write of the cost of the business, I.e. the amount of space that the rigs take up + plus another 2 or 3 percent for the chair. The cost of electricity that your rig uses when it is mining. the expense of the rig or any upgrades that you do to it. You think the GPU cards are expensive now?

        The heating of the space is an intangible benefits, but it is only good in winter unless you are heating a green house.

    5. I agree. If he had resistive heating, sure, mining to generate the heat makes sense, but with a heart pump it makes zero sense. Either his heart pump is terribly inefficient or something is wrong with the math or measurements.

    6. I built this crypto mining operation: https://youtu.be/Bxcrun9xm94?t=95 which eliminated the gas bill, heated the whole building & in the summer kept a nice breeze 😎 Used a thermostat relay to switch fans/outlet

  2. If they need to heat up the incoming air by the same amount, why should the energy consumption be so significantly different between the built-in heating and the mining rig? Even a light bulb can transform the electricity into heat with (to all purposes) 100% efficiency.

    1. The plus side is the mining rig does something with the electricity on the way to being converted into heat. And that ‘something’ is the processors generating bitcoin hash.

      The other way to look at it is it’s not economical to use electricity to generate bitcoin because the electricity cost will exceed the value returned, but if you use the waste heat to help heat your house you are effectively offsetting much of that energy cost by the amount your would be spending to heat your house anyways.

      1. Well, yes, if you are using resistive heaters. the article says they were using a heat pump, so the crypto being mines should, depending on temperature differential, be something between 5x to 1.5x the worth of the electricity.

        fun thing is, preheating the intake will raise the COP of the heat pump if you do it on the cold side, but I don’t know if the efficiency of the condenser will be high enough to merit doing it outside instead of inside. if you preheat the evaporator, you increase the temperature differential and thereby lower the COP.

        so yea, from what I’ve heard, mining crypto is barely a net gain, especially on non-specialized hardware, so having it deliver 3x the electricity costs seems fishy to me

        1. Cryptocurrency prices have been hitting their all time highs recently.

          The heat pump system is entirely inside, so both the the evaporator and condenser are inside the unit and it brings in outside air with a duct. As long as it’s cold outside, putting the crypto rig “inside” the duct allows the heat pump to grab that heat and put it in the system.

          I think it would be much harder to do the same thing with the setup most often seen in the States since the condenser is outdoors.

          1. Yes, but that’s a universally crappy design for a heat pump / air conditioner. It has accidental heat exchangers in places you don’t want them. Maybe this IS more efficient in that case but only because unsplit systems are so bad.

      2. Speaking economically, this idea is quite interesting, speaking ecologically this approach doesn’t solve any of the underlying issues at all. Personally, it depends if you care for future generations or not.

        1. How come? If we could convert all resisting heating to computing power, meaning the heat generated come from useful work for mankind, I see it as a win both economics and ecology.

          1. To put one on top: Thanks to the rebound effect the energy consumed by this guy might even increase. So the whole approach possibly makes things even worse as they were before (speaking ecologically).

    2. The point was addressed by noting that the computers would needlessly overheat the room they’re placed in, so it’s better to put them in a box at the air inlet instead.

    3. That’s a good question. I guess he had the mining rig running at the “500Wh” point, and just switched the air to go through it to get to “250Wh”. Thus the difference being whether heat from mining rig goes to room air directly, or if it substitutes for the heat pump’s internal pre-heater.

    4. As the article mentions, the four GPUs consume 900W together. Running that for one hour uses, yes, 900Wh of energy. What is the magic making the total power consumption of the house to drop to a quarter of this. My guess is that the measurement shown has some scaling error or the GPU rig is powered by from a source not measured in the graph. Otherwise, free energy!

      1. I didn’t read the article , but 4 GPUs at 900w ? As I said in a comment below , his mining rig is clearly not optimized. I run 12 GPUs in a single rig for about 1400 W with older 480/580 GPUs and about 1300 W with never GPU models that mine 33% faster.

  3. Not wherever you are. My heating bill comes to exactly zero dollars per anum. It’s mostly an issue where people are living in areas humans were not adapted to live in. If you can’t sleep under a tree and wake up alive every day of the year, you are not adapted to be there.

    1. I can sleep under a tree in the dead of the winter and wake up alive, and have done so in -15 F weather. There are people who live in tents outside in the arctic all year round. What’s your point?

      1. Humans are adapted for life in the subtopics. Unsurprisingly, no artificial heating or cooling is required there. It makes life more comfortable, but you can survive without it. The nature of the comment was to recenter the author, not all human live in places that are naturally inhospitable. In fact life there should be seen as an achievement, albeit an unnatural one. Starting an article by asserting such an aberration is the natural state of things is incorrect.

          1. No, I don’t think so. People invented houses BECAUSE they couldn’t spread out without first protecting themselves from less favorable environments. Those who ventured out into the cold before inventing housing, came back, or died.

    2. I don’t think you know what the word “adapted” means. Anyone able to hide away in some kind of nest (like a house or something) to avoid freezing to death has adapted to live wherever they are.

    3. To be honest there aren’t much places in the world where you can just lay under any tree at any time. It almost always requires some kind of preparation like area cleaning, choosing right tree etc. Part of being adapted is knowing what to do before going to sleep to increase your chances of waking up healthy or at all.

    1. Depends on what you do with the “money”. Apparently you have to keep it for a year to cash it out tax-free, at which point the value may have dropped to below your profit point and you end up paying.

      1. Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Bart made an internet comic and got paid for it with the dot-com company stock pulled from a toilet roll on the wall. That’s basically what crypto currencies are.

        1. Is that why there was a big toilet paper crisis last year ? Keep being ignorant about cryptocurrency, leaves more for me. Meanwhile I’m the one who doesn’t have to go to work in the morning because I probably make more money sleeping and having my GPUs running than the money most people make going to work.

      2. It is treated as income and investment bought at price here at the moment of mining for it. Any profit in selling later wheter at 0 days or 10 years s treated as capital gain.

        That is of course assuming you can sell it at all as it is like hotel California here – you can mine all you want but you can never sell. All fincinal institutions have basically refuse bank accounts for the crypto market place.

        1. Releasing all the mined coins on the market would also increase supply and lower the price, which can trigger a collapse in value. People tend to mine the coins and then hold on to them as they watch the price climb. At some point it turns into a game of chicken, as the first one to sell any significant amount of coin will cause an avalanche and the rest lose their investments.

          1. The market is eating up all the supply of new coins. That’s why the price goes up after every drop in mining reward.

            After 12 years of Bitcoin, the predicted avalanche of sellers has never happened. We had volatility, but never a permanent crash. The future of Bitcoin has never been brighter.

  4. Is he really using an air-source heat pump in Austria? That’s kind of surprising, because they don’t work well below 40°F/5°C and those winters aren’t that mild.

    I also find myself wondering why his ERV isn’t doing a good enough job of pre-heating the incoming air…

    1. > they don’t work well below 40°F/5°C
      If they’re engineered for it, an ASHP can work very well below 5 C. It may need a coil heater add-on for the outside unit to prevent the coil freezing. Or Mitsubishi make some cold-climate ASHPs that already have that built in, and they’re rated to around -40 C. You can get the ASHP splits, or like a friend did, he got the central inside unit that replaced his propane fed forced-air furnice. He got the optional heating-element add-on to that central unit, but he didn’t use it (breaker to it off), even with some nights down to -35C. I suspect it would have used the suplemental heating unit some once hitting -30 C or -32 C (when the efficiency really drops off), if that breaker was on, and I suspect that would have used less electricity. But they were toasty warm. And that’s with the outside unit on the windward side of the house. And running it cost a lot less than the propane forced air they were using before.

      (They also switched from propane stove/oven & propane water heater, to electric stove/oven and ASHP Hot Water tank. And used the ASHP for central A/C through the summer; they only had a window unit before. Then he got an EV for his mon-fri daily ~100 km commute, and charged it at home each night. The propane bill was eliminated, and his total electrical bill was less than his old gas-for-car bill.)

  5. Any time you are using resistive electric heating, you can substitute computing with no loss of efficiency and get the results of the computing as a bonus. Except for any light from displays and status blinky-lights that might escape through windows, 100% of the energy your computer uses turns into heat in the room. (Light that stays in the room turns into heat when it hits floors and walls.) Rearranging things to make the heat from computing available where you need it could be a challenge, however. If it gets cold enough in the room with your gaming computer to want to run an electric space heater, just leave the computer running instead, and if that’s not enough heat get another computer! (A use for those AMD FX-series systems :)

    I once worked at a small company where we entirely heated the building in the winter by setting up fans to distribute the waste heat from the workstation pen (they were in a separate room, tethered to the displays and keyboards with long cables, to keep their noise away from the work positions) to the rest of the building.

    That’s not true if the alternative is burning fuels, which may be less costly than the equivalent in electricity, or if you are using a heat pump. It turns out that the heat pump gains you some efficiency even at temperatures where it’s not efficient directly, because there is a net gain if you heat the air partially with resistive heating and then use the heat pump for the rest, and the person this article is about is doing exactly that.

  6. If the heat pump is there, and you didn’t have to pay for it then yay. Overall though, heat pumps are pretty costly to aquire and install. Depending on the cost of your angry pixies, the ROI on them can be almost as long as their expected life. Especially if you live somewhere reasonably temperate where they’re only really needed for a few months of the year annnd do nothing about high ambient hunidity. Looking at you most of NZ.. a cheap (surprisingly cheap these days) resistive heater and cheap power is pretty hard to beat. If you can salvage any fiscal returns from a mining rig and harvest its waste heat – rock on.

    1. My heat pump also doubles as an air conditioner so it can be used all year round. That is , if you like to keep your windows closed all year. I don’t like the noise that comes from the heat pump’s fan , so I almost never use it for heating , and only use it during very hot days in the summer. With a dual use , I guess the ROI is better.

  7. I do this on a larger scale at work. Not mine bitcoin but use the power to offset heating costs.
    We have a rack of servers and other gear, the UPS shows 8.1KW into the unit and 7.1 out. Indicating that 7.1 is going to the equipment and 1 is going out as heat due to losses inside the UPS conversion process (online ups). However all 8.1KW is going into the room, the final result is heat. So I know I have 8.1KW, that yields about 27,000-28,000 BTU/h. 24.7

    We have AC units and we can cool that space down by ejecting the heat outside. However since its cold in Alaska most of the time, my location averages between 40°F to 50°F., so I installed a vent kit on the rack and piped the air from that into the building plenum. (Yes we had to deal with air balance and other issues but they were minor) Put a fire damper on and some other protective bits, allow make up air back into the room etc. and now I have a 28,000 BTU/h heater for the 1st and 2nd floors of our building. When we had a boiler go out it was barley noticed since we still had some heat from the rack. The first indication wasn’t a cold building, it was cold water at the hot water tap in the bathrooms. If the room gets too hot then the AC can kick in. If the AC is offline, and the heat needs to go somewhere other then inside. I have another vent that I can activate that dumps the air outside. The vents also allows makeup from outside if needed.

    Overall a bit complex but not expensive and 95% of the time that heat is more useful inside then dumping it out.

  8. I read about this on twitter a while ago and there was some local (UK) discussion, one issue is that any revenue from mining in the UK would be taxable income, and also there was no consideration of the cost of hardware. Also pretty dependant on the price of ethereum staying high.

    1. One workaround is that if you donate to content creators or organizations, do so by mining directly to them so you don’t have to pay tax on the profit since you don’t see it. The content creator or organization does have to pay tax unless they’re exempt, which they had to anyways. (Or at least that’s my understanding of how it works.)

  9. This will only work if you’re not counting the energy going into the video card rig.

    The lowest thermal efficiency a heat pump will achieve is when all of the electrical energy you put in comes out as heat, i.e. 100%.

    That’s exactly the efficiency your GPU rig has.

    Otherwise the engineers would have been doing something very wrong.

    In terms of money, of course, it makes sense to let the electrical energy do something useful on its way “down” to thermal energy, which is why that construction makes sense.

    But this “500Wh to below 250Wh” thing in the OP /can/ only refer to the energy consumption at the heat pump, not at the sum of GPU + pump. Actually, this sum will be slightly higher (but yo’re getting money out of it).

  10. He could as well improve the thermal insulation of his house and use the mining computer as the heat source.

    The temperature in my area ranges from -10°C during winter nights up to +40°C during summer days.
    Average heating cost is 12€/m2 with a resistive heating, 9€/m2 with gas heating and 6€/m2 with wood pellet heating.
    I get 3€/m2 including summer cooling with an air/air heat pump AND a well insulated house.
    Installation costs amortized over two years.

    1. Sorry, google translate mistake, my fault !

      He might as well improve the thermal insulation of his house and use the mining computer as a heat source.

      The temperature in my area varies from -10 ° C during winter nights to + 40 ° C during summer days.
      The average heating cost is € 12 / m2 with resistive heating, € 9 / m2 with gas heating and € 6 / m2 with wood pellet heating.
      I receive 3 € / m2 including summer cooling with an air / air heat pump AND a well insulated house.
      Installation costs amortized over two years.

  11. I don’t believe that. It’s generally accepted that a typical mining rig not based on ASICS will most likely just make enough money to cover the electricity bill. So thinking one would make enough money to cover its power costs + running a heat-pump is pretty weak. Not saying impossible, but I don’t think you can do it just slapping some stuff together.

    It would probably work if you’d use the heat generated by the rig to directly heat your house exclusively, without any other devices in the loop.

    You also have to factor in exchange costs to turn that crypto into traditional money, unless you’re ok with keeping it as crypto.

    1. It is always fun when people use really outdated hardware to mine crypto.
      Thinking they make a profit only to then get their power bill and see that they in fact didn’t.

      Unless one gets “free” electricity from one’s landlord, parents/family, etc. Then one can technically make a profit on almost any hardware…

      If one has one’s own power generation, be it wind or solar, then it is a question of what makes more money, selling it to the grid or mining. But here one would also need to take the price of the hardware into account, otherwise one is partly fooling oneself.

      1. Selling to the grid generally involves a lot of hassle, so especially for small hobby setups, better to mine crypto with the excess.

        I would say go with hardware that is useful for things other than mining, which would be GPUs, servers, and (cheap) smartphones, although it would truly take a *lot* of smartphones to heat a house. The flip side is that smartphones use little power, so they don’t have to do much to net a profit. (Anyone else remember the good old days when 4 really cheap smartphones would make $100/month mining Perk?)

    2. > It’s generally accepted that a typical mining rig not based on ASICS will most likely just make enough money to cover the electricity bill.
      That’s two to three years old. It’s worse now with the increases in mining difficulty.

      Forget about CPUs. Mining on PCs will earn or lose, depending on the GPU and what is being mined. Bitcoin? If you’re paying for the power, on PCs you’ll end up negative. Etherium has a much higher yield on PCs; viable IF the GPU is powerful enough. Go to NiceHash site, enter your hardware, what you pay for power, and see if you’ll make or lose money after paying for the mining power. (hint – if it doesn’t list your old hardware, it will use more power than it can mine to pay for it).

      After power costs, a spare 1080 Ti is netting ~$180 CAD a month. Which is great as I usually have to leave my stereo & computer on 24/7 in the winter to supplement the landlord’s heat to make it comfortable. Now that no longer costs me and I make money at it. I haven’t done the math yet to see if the extra A/C costs will make it worth while in the summer.

  12. If he can heat his house with 4 x 390 GPUs then his miner is clearly not properly optimized. I’m a small time miner with only 100 gpu currently running, and the hottest GPU is sitting at 66C with the fans at 40%. It was true about 3 years ago that you could heat your entire house with a simple 10-12 miner rig. Mining software have been much more optimized in the past years, dropping power consumption by about 25-30%. In the past 4 months alone , I made about 40k USD collecting ETH, and operation costs were about 4k CAD.

  13. Prior to adding the ductwork, where was the heat going?
    If it wasn’t being radiated outside the house, it was radiated inside the house, thereby lessening the load on the heat pump. Perhaps not by much, but every BTU is a BTU, isn’t it?

  14. When I was last crypto mining on the regular, I mathed out that 1kW of previously enjoyed electrons, now heat from the crypto rigs was displacing two cents worth of natural gas use for heating. I check out “what to mine dot com” and do the math every so often to see if it seems worth firing anything up again. Hardware prices have seemed to stay way over reasonable payback time on it though, to get new more efficient kit, so unless you get to a period like now, where you might expect value of output to double overnight, it hasn’t been worth it.

    LEDs seem to be the least efficient electrical heaters known to mankind. They might only be 85% efficient ! It generally works out otherwise than any electrical or electronic equipment is about 99% efficient as a heater, almost the same as resistive heat elements. One product that had me scratching my head for hours was a portable electric heater advertised, yes they actually advertised this as being “Super high efficiency, 98% efficient” I was thinking, how the heck did they manage that? A whole percent less efficient than grandma’s black and white tube TV. Then if finally dawned on me, all the red LEDs they put in the front behind the grille to make a cosy red glow! Yah, all that light output dropped the heating efficiency 1% LOL.

  15. I do kind of the opposite. I’ve got a hybrid water heater (internal heat pump that dumps the heat into the residential hot water tank). My cluster is going to run regardless, so this just takes that waste heat and recycles in a useful way.

    If I’m going to make heat, I may as well use it for something more than once.

  16. I think the heat pump is a red herring. Resistive heating is fairly common – especially in apartments. I don’t know whether the upfront cost of the mining rig could ever be covered but using one for heating a small apartment is surprisingly uncrazy.

  17. With the crazy demands for GPU right now, might be better off selling 4 of them to pay for electricity.
    Very surprised that they install the wrong type of heat pump for OP’s region – deep well vs ambient.
    I rarely have to turn on heating for my living room as there is enough heat from apartments below. Electricity is paid for in my rent, so peope just crank the heat. Now bedrooms are a different matter as more heat loss.

    1. There are viable energy efficient alternatives to incandescent bulbs – fluorescent bulbs and LEDs. As of now, although there are cryptocurrencies far more energy efficient than Bitcoin (including one I still mine, Swagbucks), none of them have the track record or trustworthiness Bitcoin has.

      1. There are viable alternatives to cryptocurrencies as well. We call them “money”. The basic problem with cryptocurrencies, is that competition is so fierce for the “free money”, people will use all the energy they can get, while they can still be competitive. This is an inherently wasteful process – you use as many resources as you possibly can.

        1. Look up the problems with Patreon and Paypal to get an idea of some of the problems with using regular money online. That’s something cryptocurrencies are designed to solve.

          Energy efficient cryptocurrencies that stay efficient in the long run use something other than brute force compute power as the limit in mining. One common limit is how many instances are allowed on a single IP(v4), of which known VPN/VPS ranges are blacklisted. In the early days of Perk mining, some would sign up for second and even third ISPs in order to get more IP addresses to grow their mining setup, but as that’s expensive, it didn’t remain profitable for long.

          Then there are other energy efficient cryptocurrencies like Curecoin and Foldingcoin that do useful work in mining, for example medical research.

          What I would like to see is a cryptocurrency that’s “mined” by hosting content, as an alternative to Youtube and similar online video services. A “mining rig” for that would be just a Raspberry Pi with a HDD connected to it, very energy efficient and useful even if the cryptocurrency itself doesn’t prove useful. Something similar that’s “mined” by hosting a wireless mesh network (using Tor or I2P as the backbone) would be similarly useful although I’m not sure how such a system could be made to work.

          1. What some people see as the advantages of cryptocurrencies, others see as problems. Not having some organization backing the currency is seen as a feature, but to me it means volatility. It means I have to keep track of the value of the particular currency, and be able to pull out of it at any time. This is not what I value in what I use for money. It’s great for gamblers, not so great for people who use money as a way to store value.

            But then, as soon as someone is “hosting” it, they have to profit from it, and we’re back to the PayPal problem.

  18. Heating? If only. Last year here in the subtropics we held winter on a Tuesday. For the past few months the AC has been on more than usual over our summer, thankfully it’s tapering off now.
    Two months ago I took the family on a three week driving holiday to our highest-latitude state with the specific intent to experience the sensation of being cool (and hopefully, cold) again.
    It was fabulous, I got to wear jeans and even a jacket whilst there.

  19. I think most of you have taken this for something it wasnt meant to be……IF HE SUPPLEMENTS THE HEAT FOR HIS HEAT PUMP WITH THE MINING RIG AND IT LOWERS HIS HEAT BILL…….Even by a cent….he is in the win column

  20. Using waste heat from electronics should be looked at as a way to potentially offset heating bills. When I was younger we had a finished basement with a bedroom (which was mine) and with the heat off in my room it would (as one can imagine) get fairly cold.

    The first pc I ever bought was an alienware and that thing generated enough heat to keep the room at almost 70 degrees fahrenheit.

    I used to get yelled at by my father because there was a water pipe put in just to heat that bedroom and he didn’t want it to freeze because it was right by the exterior wall. If an old pc could keep a room warm in the winter when it was 0 degrees outside then maybe we should look at stationary electronics and the heat they generate… Then use that heat where it’s needed elsewhere in the house.

  21. This is not good for the miner itself. It can’t push enough hot air away from the mining rig, when pipes are used. I imagine there is a significant increase in temperature of the miner, because of this setup. Most important aspects of mining, is regulation of the mining equipment at all times, and perfect airflow. Hooking up more airflow devices, is just using more electricity and pointless as well. Nice idea, but other ways to do this with without interfering with the actual miners temperature readings.

  22. So one evening it dropped his energy usage by half. Considering he said it covers its own power costs plus half his heating bill I assume he simply adjusted the usage to account for miner profit. Meaning there wasn’t really any savings based on the sample size.

    Savings would do with spreading the rig’s heat around the house. If 1 rig can raise 1 room’s temperature by tens of degrees then it’s conceivable that it could raise an entire house’s by 1 or 2. If it could do that then you might save $25 or so a year on heating costs but only if you heat all year round. It would work against AC and would provide no savings during times of the year when you don’t use the heat. The only real benefit is that it should keep the rig nice and cool without sounding like a jet during takeoff.

    1. I placed mine in the same room as my heat pump hot water heater. Year round that room is like 62 degrees in the basement door a mining rig Lowe’s the west and tear as well as electric costs of the heater.

  23. In Pompano Beach we hooked up a new eight hundred amp service 4 Bitcoin servers the heat generated from these computers was enormous there was a Industrial 3 foot box fan mounted to an external wall when you stood three feet away from it there is a 15 mile an hour wind blowing by you I felt like a turkey in an oven from the hot air blowing by me I agree that yes you’re going to use more electricity for fans to vent it around the house but heaters are quite expensive look at an 1800 watt hair dryer I get all that free heat for one little fan the main work would be routing the pipes to move the air to spots

      1. If you search “bitcoin destroying the planet” you’ll find plenty of unhinged rants about that, if you search “bitcoin miners using heat for..” you’ll find articles on “co-generation” type outfits where they’re heating neighboring communities, using heat for greenhouses, hobby scale miners making dehydrated foods such a fruit leathers and jerkies, and any number of what you would call “useful” ways of using the energy.

        1. Finding other uses for the heat you’re generating while wasting energy doesn’t mean you aren’t wasting energy. Greenhouses are usually solar heated, so someone who’s heating their greenhouse with bitcoin miners is probably having to flush most of that excess heat out anyway. And do you know anybody who mines cryptocurrency only in the winter?

          Finding ways to use the waste heat from bitcoin mining is a little like “making reefs for the fish” by dumping tires and old cars in the ocean.

        2. And by the way, the title of this article is just clickbait. You do NOT “lower the electric bill” by wasting electricity. While you may recover SOME of the wasted energy, electric resistance heating is one of the most expensive kinds of heating. Offsetting some of the cost of running your heat pump means you are replacing a high efficiency heat source with a lower efficiency heat source. This does not in any way lower your electric bill.

  24. It’s not “wherever you are in the world” that you have to worry about heating. I can attest that a total of 0 kwh of my overall energy consumption, i my entire life, have gone for heating here in Brazil. And I’m also pretty sure that my fellow humans from Australia and southeast Asia don’t have to worry about that either. This is so eurocentric.

    1. HA! Maybe for you, but certainly not exclusive to the northern hemisphere. I was in Melbourne in July, and wearing a light jacket because it was in the mid-50s (sorry, 13degC), and all the locals were bundled up like it was the next ice age.

  25. What many, but not all, of the previous commentators seem to have missed is that the heat from the rigs ends up in the living space either way. The difference is that, by increasing the supply air temperature into the heat pump, the EFFICIENCY of the heat pump increases so it uses less energy to get the same output temperature. It pushes the heat pump operation curve into a more efficient area. If you look at heat pump efficiency curves you’ll see they are very sensitive to small changes in supply air temperature (or lower delta temperature from supply to discharge).

    1. And what YOU appear to have missed, is that in heating the heat pump’s incoming air, instead of just exhausting it into the area you want to heat, you’re just making the system pump more heat. Thermodynamically, it’s a push, and mechanically you are just increasing wear and tear on the moving parts. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

    1. And do you know what happens when you mine cryptocurrency with machines that use less power? It creates a new surge in miners, who can then burn many more CPU or GPU cycles before they reach the break-even point again. So not only are they still wasting as much energy as their mining can pay for, but they’re also producing multiple generations of e-waste, since there is no market for the obsolete mining rigs.

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