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Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:33 pm
by specialgreen
I have an S-model leaf (no heat pump). I've seen some instructions to insulate heater pipes to improve heater efficiency. But I can't tell if they are only for the 2011/2012 ceramic heater, or also for the later PTC (like my 2017 S). If it's an option for later Leaf S, then I'd like to do that this summer, as the car seemed much slower to warm-up than our ICE did last winter.

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:59 pm
by GerryAZ
2011 and 2012 have small electric hot water tank type heater under the hood with associated liquid lines to the heat exchanger in the dash. They benefit from insulating the tank and lines to minimize heat loss to the outdoor ambient. The dry type PTC ceramic heater in 2013 and later Leafs is in the dash so all of the heat produced by the heating element goes into heating the interior. Therefore, there would be no benefit to insulating the heater. You could add insulation to the doors, etc. to minimize heat loss from the passenger compartment to the outside, but I don't know how much it would help.

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:12 pm
by LeftieBiker
You'd be better off trying to implement 'Driver's zone heat' in which all of the open air ducts are aimed at the driver only.

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:58 am
by Nubo
specialgreen wrote:I have an S-model leaf (no heat pump). I've seen some instructions to insulate heater pipes to improve heater efficiency. But I can't tell if they are only for the 2011/2012 ceramic heater, or also for the later PTC (like my 2017 S). If it's an option for later Leaf S, then I'd like to do that this summer, as the car seemed much slower to warm-up than our ICE did last winter.
This seems odd, since the ceramic heater in your 2017 should give you much quicker heat than an ICE which has to heat up an engine block and several quarts of fluid before you begin to get appreciable cabin heat. One thing to note is that Eco mode limits the HVAC system. If you want quicker heating, take the car out of Eco mode until the cabin is warmed up.

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:52 pm
by LeftieBiker
Great, another lowlife spammer.

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:26 pm
by specialgreen
Nubo wrote: One thing to note is that Eco mode limits the HVAC system. If you want quicker heating, take the car out of Eco mode until the cabin is warmed up.
Thanks, Nubo. I have always used Eco-mode, so I'll try without that next winter.

Does the PTC element heat-up faster if the fan is on med/high (like 4 bars)? I usually leave the blower on 1 bar, until I feel some heat, and then turn the fan up. In subzero temps, it takes about 1.5 miles and 8 stop-signs (about 4-6 minutes) before I feel some heat. But having the fan on 4 bars, blowing subzero air for several minutes, would make me wish for a snowmobile helmet :) (plus, then I'd look like The Stig!)

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:16 am
by Stanton
specialgreen wrote: Does the PTC element heat-up faster if the fan is on med/high (like 4 bars)? I usually leave the blower on 1 bar, until I feel some heat, and then turn the fan up. In subzero temps, it takes about 1.5 miles and 8 stop-signs (about 4-6 minutes) before I feel some heat. But having the fan on 4 bars, blowing subzero air for several minutes, would make me wish for a snowmobile helmet :) (plus, then I'd look like The Stig!)
The quickest path to HEAT is:
1) No ECO mode
2) Let "Auto" do it's thing (it knows when the element is "hot" and when to crank the fan)

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:40 am
by jjeff
specialgreen wrote:
Nubo wrote: One thing to note is that Eco mode limits the HVAC system. If you want quicker heating, take the car out of Eco mode until the cabin is warmed up.
Thanks, Nubo. I have always used Eco-mode, so I'll try without that next winter.

Does the PTC element heat-up faster if the fan is on med/high (like 4 bars)? I usually leave the blower on 1 bar, until I feel some heat, and then turn the fan up. In subzero temps, it takes about 1.5 miles and 8 stop-signs (about 4-6 minutes) before I feel some heat. But having the fan on 4 bars, blowing subzero air for several minutes, would make me wish for a snowmobile helmet :) (plus, then I'd look like The Stig!)
Yes the heater only puts out so much heat, if you have a very high fan speed, the air will be cooler. I generally run with a fan speed of 2 and only turn it up if the windows start to fog up or say someone in the back is cold. As mentioned taking the car out of ECO will also give you more heat, at the expense of a bit of range.
Preheating is definitely the way to go in the cold but you really need L2(240v) to get warmth, L1 or just plugging the factory 120v EVSE into an outlet will just take the chill out and you'll lose charge to boot.
I use a 20a L2 for preheating and step into a nice toasty car in all but sub zero temps :)

Re: Insulate PTC heater on 2017 Leaf S?

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:02 am
by Nubo
specialgreen wrote:
Nubo wrote: One thing to note is that Eco mode limits the HVAC system. If you want quicker heating, take the car out of Eco mode until the cabin is warmed up.
Thanks, Nubo. I have always used Eco-mode, so I'll try without that next winter.

Does the PTC element heat-up faster if the fan is on med/high (like 4 bars)? I usually leave the blower on 1 bar, until I feel some heat, and then turn the fan up. In subzero temps, it takes about 1.5 miles and 8 stop-signs (about 4-6 minutes) before I feel some heat. But having the fan on 4 bars, blowing subzero air for several minutes, would make me wish for a snowmobile helmet :) (plus, then I'd look like The Stig!)
There are several variables. PTC means "positive temperature coefficient" -- the resistance of the element increases with temperature and so the hotter it gets, the less current it draws. Thus, increased airflow over the element helps reduce its temp and may allow it to consume more power and thus introduce more heat energy into the cabin. This is offset by the fact that there is always some recirculation going on and higher fan speed can mean more outside air entering the cabin. And there's the physiological and psychological effect of higher airflow as you noted.

Use of the "energy info" display can help you find the lowest fan speed consistent with maximum power for the HVAC, but I think maybe the S doesn't have that display?

Shortest answer is "auto" does a pretty good job of balancing the variables.