Elecricity Audit: Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'Environmental' started by BailOut, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    I believe the newer more efficent air source heat pumps put out heat until -15. So they have really improved in this area. The only problem is, is to find somebody to install one! H
  2. desdemona

    desdemona Well-Known Member

    I have been reading up on a lot of really cool things one can do who is handy with his/her hands esp. with solar. Given I have a couple left thumbs, I am envious.

    Anyway, this is an interesting video (not for its video qualities at all).

  3. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    re: Kotatsu. The modern Kotatsu used in Japan are no more of a fire hazard than electric blankets. They don't get anywhere near warm enough to start a fire.

    re: Heat pumps. We had a an AC/heatpump (Trane XE 1100) on the condo we sold earlier this year. It had a circuit that would cause it to run briefly in reverse to melt things off when it detected ice buildup. Worked well down to the mid 20s, which is about as cold as it gets most of the time in Western OR.

    This wastes some energy, but is way more efficient than resistive electric heat. At one point the ice-removal circuit went bad on ours, causing it to ice up anytime the temps dropped into the 30s. This forced us to use resistive heat for a couple months before we got around to getting it fixed. Our heat bill doubled.
  4. desdemona

    desdemona Well-Known Member

    Maybe not. I went to wikipedia which you know is not always entirely accurate. It sounded like a fire or space heater with a blanket over it.

    As for electric blankets, I have one. But I have to be careful not to mention the blanket to a friend of mine as he gets all worried and says it will electrocute me or catch fire.

  5. Kermit

    Kermit Active Member

    Just a quick note. A co-worker spoke with our mechanical engineers about which A/C unit to get for his house, and he pointed out that R22 is being phased out, so it would be wise to invest in a unit that does not use R22.

    Read this for more information:

    This is similar to the removal of R12 from car a/c systems, which is now replaced with newer 134a.
  6. run2w8s

    run2w8s Active Member

    Some have mentioned waiting until light bulbs burn out before replacing them with CFLs. Perhaps you should replace them now with CFLs, then replace the CFLs with the old bulbs when you sell the house. That way you can take the CFLs to your new house.
  7. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I gave all of my incandescents to a friend that has a lot of rental houses. Most of the time that people move out, several bulbs are either burned out or missing.
  8. muhkuh

    muhkuh Member

    We use natural gas for heating and warm water. Electricity takes up only 9% of our annual energy usage (~20000 kWh gas, ~2000 kWh electricity).

    Our house is very old (~100 years) and badly insulated. Especially the windows are drafty. To save energy I bought about 40m of tesa moll to fix the windows. It's rather expensive (0,8€/m) but lasts very long (8 years they say). I expect big savings.
  9. swoon

    swoon Well-Known Member

    I've got a 60 year-old house that had no insulation whatsoever and old single pane, double-hungs. This past summer I resided and put insulation in the walls, blew insulation in the attic and installed new double-hungs and my gas usage declined by 50% over last winter, plus the temperature in the house is much more pleasant since it's not dropping so fast.
  10. Bike123

    Bike123 Well-Known Member

    With a big enough incentive, how much could we reduce our consumption?

    Avalanches earlier this month knocked down transmission lines and cut off Juneau's source of low-cost hydroelectric power. Threatened with a fivefold increase in utility bills, Juneau quickly powered down.

    Stores, though open, went partially dark. Neon signs were switched off and vending machines unplugged. At home, residents of this former Gold Rush town began living a little bit like pioneers, dusting the snow off the grill, stringing clotheslines in the backyard and flicking off their TV sets. Within a week, electrical usage across town was down as much as 30 percent.

    Energy conservation is a hard sell in much of the U.S., but Juneau has proved that people will change their ways if the financial incentives are big enough.

  11. mparrish

    mparrish Rosie the Riveter Redux

    Our attempts to reduce energy consumption are really paying off big time. We've pretty much finished off all the low hanging fruit, as CFLing, weatherization, and religious attention to usage are peaking. With that in mind:

    May 2007 - 1,192 kwh
    May 2008 - 747 kwh

    We are down 37%, and getting close to our 50% goal.
  12. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    That's excellent, Marc! Quite a reduction indeed.
  13. kwj

    kwj I hypermiled this

    I got real low once, and they charged me at a higher rate!!!

    Congratulations on your achievement.

    Didn't one of you post about a tiny house? If so, what was it called?
  14. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

  15. Parasite

    Parasite Well-Known Member

    An 11 SEER unit would cost $471 a year to run. A 17 SEER, $305. This is based on Middle of the US (where official ratings are set for) and use energy cost from the 1990s. The ratios should be right in line though.

    P.S. Thanks for plugging Lennox. Check out a Heat Pump if you have an all electric house. It is much better than using straight heat strips like in a hair dryer.
  16. NiHaoMike

    NiHaoMike Well-Known Member

    There are clothes dryers that use heat pumps to recover a significant amount of the heat while extracting moisture, which means they use less than half the energy of a regular dryer. Note that the newer ones use semiconductor heat pumps instead of HCFCs.

    There is a new, more efficient heat pump in development that is more efficient at heating as it uses a much more efficient defrost system. Instead of melting the frost like most heat pumps do, it uses a wire embedded in the coils but insulated from them. It connects to a high frequency power supply that supplies 800v at 915MHz during defrost. The intense alternating electric field causes the frost to flash to steam almost instantly, blowing the rest of the frost out of the coils. I'm not aware of any production unit on the market that does that, however.

    Digital and hybrid audio amplifiers are much more efficient than analog audio amplifiers. They both use digital amplification, which involves converting the input signal to a digital stream, amplifying the stream, and using a passive filter to reconstruct the analog signal at a very high efficiency. (Note that digital audio amplifiers accept a PCM stream while hybrid audio amplifiers accept an analog signal.)

    LED DLP TVs are some of the most efficient big screens available. For smaller screens, high efficiency LCDs are also good.

    Note that in cold climates, the inefficiency of most items is much less than you would think. The lost energy simply becomes useful heat. Of course, that means the losses would be greater in hot climates.
  17. oilburner

    oilburner Active Member

    I commend you on taking the time to do that audit. It sounds like a lot of work. Your post looks like a great reference point for others to use. It sounds like the typical household setup, so many should be able to relate and make the same changes.

    I have not done the same because I have a really good idea where our power is being consumed the most. At the moment I am unable to afford to change much of that, but will gather ideas for when that time arrives.

  18. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Oilburner, you would be amazed how much money is lost to the little things. 5W watts here 10W there and all of a sudden you taking major money. Most look at the high priced items first instead of the putting their efforts into the small numerous power vampires and low cost to corrections for heating and cooling energy wasters. In my case I'm down to the very expensive items that will have a minimal impact on my heating and cooling bill. New front door and storm door, new windows, spray insulation in both my attics. I might save $20 a month in utility bills on average by doing all three with a total cost of around $7,000. They will get done over the next few years but they are not must do today items.

    The roof mounted attic fan, $450 installed, saves me more than the three items above. Sealing a major air leak, building an attic stair insulation box and installing draft busters under all the doors probably is saving me $30 a month in the summer and $25 in the winter.

    One item that was costing me major money was hidden behind my microwave on the kitchen counter. My house was built in 1960 and they use to put in wall mounted exhaust vents in the kitchens to pull the hot air out when cooking. Well it still worked BUT the outer door didn't seal very well and the spring that held it down was getting weak. Packed it up with some fiberglass insulation and sealed the opening into the kitchen with insulation tape put the cover back on and the problem was solved for less than $20. Nothing worse than standing in your kitchen on Christmas morning and there is an ice cold breeze running across your feet. :eek: The man who sold me the house said that his mother (original owner) could never get her feet warm in the winter when on the first floor or in the game room in the basement. Well I found the reason for that problem with the kitchen exhaust fan.

    When I fixed the kitchen exhaust fan I also built an attic stair insulation box, two hours of my time and less than $50 in materials at most.

    Cheap simple and easy repairs that almost anyone can do will save you more money than most could ever comprehend in the cost vs benefit formula. The best philosophy is when it is time to replace an appliance in your home find the most energy efficient that you can afford at the time.
  19. Reading this reminds me I need to plug the kill a watt meter into a few more things. Our refrigerator is 14 years old now
  20. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    I need to pull out my Kill-A-Watt and use it again. I almost forgot I had one ! The last thing I used it for was my home theatre system. With Sony receiver , Panasonic plasma , Sony Bluray player and subwoofer , it pulls 250 watts. After the refrigerator , it's probably the biggest energy hog ( we seldom use A/C).

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