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Last week, the temps at around 4:00am around here were running in the low to mid 60'sF and, with my block heater set to come 4 hours before I left for work, I was seeing coolant temps around 155F and I was getting lean burn from .2-.3 miles from home.
 

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Last week, the temps at around 4:00am around here were running in the low to mid 60'sF and, with my block heater set to come 4 hours before I left for work, I was seeing coolant temps around 155F and I was getting lean burn from .2-.3 miles from home.
If one's goal is to minimize total energy consumption, running a several hundred watt engine block heater for 4 hours when ambient temperatures are in the 60's is almost certainly a waste of energy. I.e., more energy was used running the block heater than was saved running a warmer ICE.

The instructions for the 600 watt DEFA engine block heater in my Insight include a graph of ambient temperature (ºC) vs. block heater run time (minutes) (see attachment). It recommends only 15 minutes use at 10º C (50º F) and a run time of 3 hours at temperatures below -20º C (-4º F). Apparently, at ambient temperatures below -20º C, heat is lost as fast as it is added, especially for the Insight's small aluminum engine block. According to the Swedish research paper, DEFA's recommendations appear to be a bit conservative, so I'll probably shift their temperature axis down by 5º C so that I will turn on my block heater for 15 minutes when ambient temperatures are around 15º C (59º F).
 

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My concern is if there is any thermal protection. Its my under standing its just a 400 or 600 watt heater depending on model and if the ambient temp is x, then you could literally over heat your car or damage something.

I know in 100 degree weather my cold engine light maybe on for a few seconds, then it goes off. In the usual cold here in VA Ive seen it on as long as 7 minutes.


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My concern is if there is any thermal protection. Its my under standing its just a 400 or 600 watt heater depending on model and if the ambient temp is x, then you could literally over heat your car or damage something.

I know in 100 degree weather my cold engine light maybe on for a few seconds, then it goes off. In the usual cold here in VA Ive seen it on as long as 7 minutes.


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400W won't cause any issues. Even with continuous use in our summers in northern IN, I've never seen coolant temps over 170F. It reaches this temperature in just a couple of hours but I plugged it in and let it go on a Saturday and kept an eye on it to see what would happen. So basically in the summer, anything over 2-3 hours is wasting energy.
 

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If one's goal is to minimize total energy consumption, running a several hundred watt engine block heater for 4 hours when ambient temperatures are in the 60's is almost certainly a waste of energy. I.e., more energy was used running the block heater than was saved running a warmer ICE.

The instructions for the 600 watt DEFA engine block heater in my Insight include a graph of ambient temperature (ºC) vs. block heater run time (minutes) (see attachment). It recommends only 15 minutes use at 10º C (50º F) and a run time of 3 hours at temperatures below -20º C (-4º F). Apparently, at ambient temperatures below -20º C, heat is lost as fast as it is added, especially for the Insight's small aluminum engine block. According to the Swedish research paper, DEFA's recommendations appear to be a bit conservative, so I'll probably shift their temperature axis down by 5º C so that I will turn on my block heater for 15 minutes when ambient temperatures are around 15º C (59º F).
I am thinking about a block heater for my 01 MT....can you recommend what I should purchase..thanks
 

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I am thinking about a block heater for my 01 MT....can you recommend what I should purchase..thanks
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend a 120 v. block heater because I am in Sweden where I needed a 230 v. block heater. I'm confident that a North American Insight owner will provide the information you need.
 

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There is a lot of discussion about this on here under various topic headings.
Hot Frog is one pre heat system. Try some searches.

Also adding the prius thermos system to a G1 insight has been discussed. I did quite a lot of work on this a few years back and still have the bits for when I eventually get some free time. :roll:

You can run the 120v block heater on a 240v supply with a simple 50 cent 600V 6A diode in series with it which cuts the effective AC voltage to the heater in half.
 

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I am thinking about a block heater for my 01 MT....can you recommend what I should purchase..thanks
I'm in Canada with it's winters etc and my car came equipped as purchased from previous owner with this:
hondainsight2000blockheaterIMG_7237-2.jpg picture by AbCaRed00 - Photobucket
It works 'ok' but i don't have any numbers/hr heating vs. ambient temps yet as didn't have an OBDIIC&C last year. Search as advised on the forum and others have noted a few reference points iirc..
In hard winters a piece of cardboard in front of the rad will help preserve the heat and if you can park the front end of the car out of the wind all the better.
I've acquired an accessory shutoff switch [basically an electrical cord with with a thermostatic switch built in and the sensor end next to the plug in is zip tied to the coolant hose] . It will cut power once a certain coolant temp as measured from the outside of the rubber hose is met. [temperature for cutoff is undetermined as yet via the 'gauge but i will give it a go when the snow flies.].
 

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It recommends only 15 minutes use at 10º C (50º F) and a run time of 3 hours at temperatures below -20º C (-4º F)
This seems extremely wasteful. I can see running the heater 5-10 minutes but not much more than that.
BTW most of the diesel engine owners I've talked to recommend *coolant* heaters rather than block heaters. The coolant gets warm and then flows through the engine making it warm too.
 

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The block heaters we are talking about are coolant heaters. You remove a large plug in the back of the block and install the heater. The hot element is in the coolant inside the block. To install you need to drain most of the coolant, remove the plug, and install the heater. Make sure you follow the Honda procedure when you refill the coolant to get rid of trapped air or you will damage your heads or block.
 

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BTW most of the diesel engine owners I've talked to recommend *coolant* heaters rather than block heaters. .
I think you likely heard a "circulating block heater".
This will lessen a stratification of temperatures within the block from the simple element like used in the photobucket link and most insights. [Stratification is where hot coolant is rising and tends to stay there and often significantly cooler fluid remains near the base of the block .
Best always to unplug any coolant heater before cranking over.
[Reason for that is in extreme temperatures with significant stratification occurring upon cold startup, it can result in the heater element suddenly getting a slug of much colder coolant from the warm stuff around it which has been known to cause failures to the heater element. ]
fwiw: The larger diesels usually have an oil pan heater as well and both heating systems are usually plugged in at the same time to ensure starting on sub zero days.
There's a youtube video presentation [/watch?v=eLm4efPSQaU] of the air purging that is required [with our cars having the rad cap lower than the coolant level] if installing a coolant heater etc .
 

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This seems extremely wasteful. I can see running the heater 5-10 minutes but not much more than that.
Plugging a block heater in for only 5-10 minutes would do little to reduce the amount of time the engine runs rich while warming up thus using more gasoline than when at operating temperature. The study I referenced compared the electrical energy used by the block heater with the energy saved because the engine ran rich for less time.

So warming up an engine with a block heater saves energy if the block heater isn't on too long and the ambient temperature is less than 50 F.
 

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I don't have an Insight yet ... But I added a lower radiator hose heater in my old diesel Mercedes ... Mine was 1500w, but they make them much smaller ... But I have a large CAST IRON block and head to warm up, plus 10 quarts of coolant and 7 qts of oil!

However the nice thing was if I left the heater control on it would circulate heated water through the entire cooling system, and when I started the car it would already be at 60 celsius and heat blowing out before I backed out of my drive!

By keeping the heater lower than the thermostat it would circulate all by itself without the need for any pump, but running it for 1.5 - 2 hrs each morning ran the elec bill up! Yes we get many mornings in the low 20's F
 

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Plugging a block heater in for only 5-10 minutes would do little to reduce the amount of time the engine runs rich while warming up thus using more gasoline than when at operating temperature.
My solution is to not drive the insight during cold winter months. I drive my other car which runs "rich" all the time.
 
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