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Engine (preheating) block heater

Discussion in 'Prius v Technical Discussion' started by syscon, Feb 11, 2012.

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  1. syscon

    syscon Member

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    Not everybody needs block heater but in Alberta dealers install them in every Prius (and charge us).

    I was just experimenting with the block heater and I think it is worth it.

    Outside temp -12C (10F)
    Inside garage: 0C (32F)

    I have hooked up UltraGauge to ODBII port and was reading coolant temp.
    Coolant temp. same as inside garage 0C (32F)
    Prius V plugged in for:
    30min. (coolant temp.) 23C (73.4F)
    1hr. 10min. (coolant temp.) 30C (86F)

    After starting Prius the coolant temp. dropped down by 3C (5.4F) as coolant start circulating.

    So plugging the Prius only 30min will definitely help to start the engine better and in break-in period.

    The RPM of Prius is relatively low but I'll post the result in few days (still collecting data).
  2. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    True
    Not everybody NEEDS a block heater, but even here in So Cal, where the summer temps may only drop to 68 degrees everybody CAN BENEFIT from a block heater. Whether your block is pre warmed from sub zero temps, or pre warmed from moderate temps - your first 5 minute's -10 minute's mileage will increase. It's money well spent. Even in a nice warm winter area.
    epoch_time likes this.
  3. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    True
    Not everybody NEEDS a block heater, but even here in So Cal, where the summer temps may only drop to 68 degrees everybody CAN BENEFIT from a block heater. Whether your block is pre warmed from sub zero temps, or pre warmed from moderate temps - your first 5 minute's -10 minute's mileage will increase. It's money well spent. Even in a nice warm winter area. We never dipped below 55mpg in the winter, using a block heater, for about 1.2 hours each morning.
  4. syscon

    syscon Member

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    I was doing quick experiment.

    Energy prices in Alberta: 15.114¢ / kWh

    Prius V was plugged for 40min
    Bock heater takes about 390W
    Temp. outside -5C (23F) - inside garage about +2C (35F)
    After 40min. engine coolant temp. was 28C (84F)

    Based on my O-meter it cost me about 3.7cents to have Prius plugged for 40min.
    It is definitely worth it.

    When the engine starts the engine coolant reaches 40C (104F) in about 1min. I have observed that at that temp the engine shuts off.
  5. GaryP.

    GaryP. Junior Member

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    So, how much does 1 minute of gas cost? That is what we need to compare, correct?
  6. Winnipegger

    Winnipegger New Member

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    What temp would you say you would need to plug in at? 0? 5? 10? (Celsius...)
  7. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    I plug in my EBH if the garage temperature is below the low 40's (5'C roughly). Maybe 10'C would be better cut-off point, I don't really notice much mpg gain at higher temps (and I do track that informally). At 68'F I'd think you'd need a micrometer to measure any difference in gas consumption. Hitting one red light differently will make more of an effect than that.

    It's not needed to actually start the car, it's always started just fine for me, but around here it rarely gets below -20'C.
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  8. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Zero for sure, to keep the block from freezing, but you'll likely see benefits at most temperatures in Winnipeg, except maybe during Summer heat waves.

    Do shopping centres on the Prairies still have electrical outlets in public parking stalls? I remember seeing them in Saskatchewan, but I haven't been there recently. Would they be useful to charge an EV?
  9. RichardAK

    RichardAK Member

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    The antifreeze in the cooling system will keep the block from freezing way below 0C and when mixed properly, it'll prevent freezing down to about -55C.



    I know you asked about Canada but here in Alaska, the shops usually have plug-ins for their employees but they aren't required to turn them on continuously (by local unenforced ruling) until -20C for lower emissions but many leave them off to save money. BTW, the Prius starts just fine at -30C without being plugged in and the engine is toasty warm within a few minutes. The interior takes a bit longer. Will it warm up faster if its plugged in? Definitely but not enough to really matter.
  10. Winnipegger

    Winnipegger New Member

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    I've never seen it. And the weather's been a gongshow here lately (not all bad). Last week was +25ish (77) but today it's 0 (32). And over the summer it'll rarely go lower than 15 (59) overnight. But winters can get worse than -40 (-40!). Good times...
  11. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    :doh: Yes, I knew that...didn't quite come out that way, though, did it? :rolleyes:



    Yes, that's the whole idea. The engine reaches efficient operating temperature much sooner, and requires less fuel to do so. I can't quote the numbers, but I understand the mileage is significantly better, and the interior reaches a comfortable temperature faster, too.



    It's been crazy all over. I hope the flora and fauna aren't too badly hit - blossoms and baby birds aren't at all keen on freezing temperatures.
  12. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    I might need to up that a bit. This morning was 46'F (8'C), I had my car outside (because I got my classic car out of storage, and it's now in the garage), and I could tell that I should have plugged in, as I wasn't able to hit stage 3 glide until I was in the parking lot at work. I forgot what exactly I did last fall, and this spring was crazy - went from 30's &40's to a couple days in the 60's, then a week of 80's so we skipped the whole 50's section. Getting some reality back now though.

    So I'm now thinking it might be useful on my 3-mile commute up to about 12'C (54'F). At some point though, the electric cost will outweigh the gas benefit. (Unless you have hydroelectric or some clean energy).
  13. GWhizzer

    GWhizzer not so Senior Member

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    Not the 1 minute of gas it takes to warm up, but the extra 4 or 5 or more minutes of gas it would have taken had it not been plugged in...
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  14. Braddles.au

    Braddles.au DEFAnitely using an EBH

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    Does the EBH only work at 120 volts? It looks like a 3 pin earthed socket, which I could rewire for a 3-pin Australia plug easily. But can it cope with 240 volts? If so, then the engine will warm twice as fast, right? :)

    I live in one of the few parts of Australia that regularly gets below 0°c (32F); about 60 nights of the year. The local Toyota dealer parts guy lived in Canada and confirmed that the EBH is not imported to Australia and that it would be nice to have in Canberra. His suggestion about removing it before getting the car serviced 'just in case' seems a little ambitious, however. Australia doesn't have an equivalent Magnussen-Moss Act, but I'm sure that a decent mechanic would see the benefit of an EBH.
  15. RichardAK

    RichardAK Member

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    Given that it is a probably a simple resistance element, if you double the voltage you double the current. I suspect that it may burn out pretty quick. I think I have my formulas right...
  16. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    not enough to matter? to some that may be true. Starts just fine? Also true. Engine warm within a few minutes is true too (as I mentioned above). But during those first 5-10 minutes of initial warmups? ... in sub zero temps - your mpg is below 30mpg. Several AK Prius folks have so stated ... and if all you drive is 5-10 or 15 minute trips? You're really hosed. But that's why many seriously cold winter folks install EBH's ... because their average commutes are short enough to make the install worth it .... for both mpg's as well as warmer cabin temps. The older I get the colder get. The colder I get, the more I appreciate a few minutes of warmness.
  17. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    You can buy a lot of gas for the cost of the block heater and the cost of the installation labor. I wouldn't think it worth it if you lived in a moderate climate.

    I recall in the early 70's being recruited by a company based in Minneapolis. I took one look at the pigtails hanging out the front of all the cars and said no thanks. My sympathy for those who put up with it (said after it was 19F overnight but 50s in the afternoon in late March in NC. This is spring?)
  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Block heaters would be a lot cheaper if it was a factory install. Depending on the vehicle there is a total waste of coolant involveed when the dealership does the install (not with the Prius, but they're kinda the exception). And it tends to be prohibitively expensive: it's not the most efficient/easy time for install.

    We're in the temperate coastal climate, use the block heater year 'round. Yesterday I happened to keep an eye on the temp's: ambient was 7 degrees Centigrade. According to ScanGauge our coolant was at 35 degrees initial, and climbed to 40 degrees within a block (the heat tends to homogenize, raising the temperature quickly, within a block or two). This is with the block heater plugged in for a couple of hours.
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