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Old 09-23-2011, 11:00 AM   #61
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I do lots of things to save energy, except for cutting my shower short. I've tried and no matter what I do I still need the same amount of time. It's ok, I deserve it

I'm conservative with lights and heat or A/C. On the other hand, DH turns lights on but does not turn them off. I can come in the house and walk from room to room just turning lights off. He also lets the bathroom fan run forever even when the A/C or heat is on. I just don't get it.

Our city has always given away free light bulbs and back when CFLs first came out they were one of our options so we've been using CFLs for a long time. They really make a difference.

We finally replaced all our windows (LowE w/ argon) last fall and noticed a big difference in the heating/cooling usage and then in January we replaced our ancient furnace and also the A/C and again noticed a big drop in utility costs.

Our biggest energy savings came from our son moving out last October. His computer was an energy hog and having one less person had a nice impact on our water usage.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:13 AM   #62
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In my townhome, I turn off all circuit breakers except the Fridge and downstairs lights. All others I turn on when needed then flip them back off.
Mike, a lot of circuit breakers are not designed to be used as switches. Some of them have designed cycle life as low as 300 cycles. Only circuit breakers rated SWD (switch duty) should be used as switches.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:48 PM   #63
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Mike, a lot of circuit breakers are not designed to be used as switches. Some of them have designed cycle life as low as 300 cycles. Only circuit breakers rated SWD (switch duty) should be used as switches.
A good example of (possibly) being pennywise but pound foolish.

I have a number of devices that use between 0.5 watts and 3 watts when in standby mode or off. I don't worry about switching them all off from a main breaker. I may be "wasting" $20-30 a year, but that is a small price to pay for stuff to be on whenever I need it.

Similarly, I stopped worrying about squeezing every last cent out of keeping the house as hot as bearable (summer) or cold as bearable (winter). Also I stopped nagging DW about ridiculously hot and long and high powered showers. This spendthrift nature about a/c, heat, and hot water probably add up to a hundred or maybe two hundred bucks a year in energy costs. But being comfortable year round is worth it, given the many many thousands we pay for our house every year. An example of paying 1-2% more to get way more than 1-2% more comfort.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:57 PM   #64
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Every time I turn off a light in an empty room, DW turns it back on. It is a zero sum game...........
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:08 PM   #65
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A couple years ago I spent $200 on some blow-in attic insulation. Wasn't real difficult to blow that stuff in the attic, and we immediately noticed a difference.

I just wish there was an easy way to put insulation under the house in the crawl space.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:13 PM   #66
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We finally replaced all our windows (LowE w/ argon) last fall and noticed a big difference in the heating/cooling usage and then in January we replaced our ancient furnace and also the A/C and again noticed a big drop in utility costs.
I'm glad to see this. We're replacing all our east-facing windows with low-e double-pane tinted versions. I'm looking forward to having our old sweatboxes of a familyroom & master bedroom turn into chillers... and that'll reduce ceiling fan run hours.

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I'm conservative with lights and heat or A/C. On the other hand, DH turns lights on but does not turn them off. I can come in the house and walk from room to room just turning lights off. He also lets the bathroom fan run forever even when the A/C or heat is on. I just don't get it.
Our biggest energy savings came from our son moving out last October. His computer was an energy hog and having one less person had a nice impact on our water usage.
Before we went photovoltaic I was seriously considering having our daughter pay the electric bill. Back then it was averaging about $100/month, and I'd give her that amount of money in her allowance. She'd get to keep (or pay) the difference. $10-$20/month wouldn't be much incentive to me but it'd be huge to her-- in both directions.

It's always easier to reduce consumption than it is to raise production, and I think the biggest "consumption reduction" is going empty-nester. Exhibit "A" is our electric bill's annual consumption broken down by month. See if you can figure out which months our daughter was home for 1-3 weeks...
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:27 PM   #67
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I do not practice any of these tips, but I am careful about using too much water (i.e. turn the dishwater on only when full, etc.).
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Does anyone practice these supposed money saving tips? I have never heard of the last three.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:41 AM   #68
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I found a great 32 page document on line for making R9+ shades for your windows. Since I live in a winter cold climate, and live in a house with an enormous amount of windows, these shutters have saved me mucho bucks in fuel costs in the winter:

http://www.warmcompany.com/warmwindow/Warm.pdf

There is anotehr page for saving energy with great ideas at:

Home Energy Conservation
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:01 PM   #69
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Well, I caved and just forked over plenty of $$$ for four GE LED light bulbs:

Amazon.com: GE 62180 9-Watt LED Soft White A19 Light Bulb: Home Improvement

I'll be using them for my bathroom vanity light. The advantage to this bulb over other LEDs is light goes in all directions instead of only forward.

I know, that's alot of bucks to spent on light bulbs. At least half of the price was covered by my Amazon credit card cash back points.

Looks like I may never need to replace them again the rest of my life
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:19 PM   #70
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Well, I caved and just forked over plenty of $$$ for four GE LED light bulbs:

Amazon.com: GE 62180 9-Watt LED Soft White A19 Light Bulb: Home Improvement

I'll be using them for my bathroom vanity light. The advantage to this bulb over other LEDs is light goes in all directions instead of only forward.

I know, that's alot of bucks to spent on light bulbs. At least half of the price was covered by my Amazon credit card cash back points.

Looks like I may never need to replace them again the rest of my life
Interesting, but they will need to drop in price a lot more before I'm interested. That's quite an investment.

I wonder if they really will last as long as stated? Many of my CFLs have died way early.

Using your Amazon credits is irrelevant, those were already 'earned' and can be used on anything. If you want to count the 3% you earn using Amazon, OK.

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Old 11-26-2011, 11:38 PM   #71
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Interesting, but they will need to drop in price a lot more before I'm interested. That's quite an investment.
Yeah, at $35 per bulb, I'd have to take out a heloc to re-bulb the whole house!

I did buy 2 LED replacements for one of the 12v incadesent fixtures in my camper. The LEDs use approx 10% as much energy as the 12v incadesent automotive-type bulbs they replaced. We like to dry camp and wanted to have one fixture we could use without worrying about running down the camper battery (which we like to save for running the exhaust fan in summer or furnace fan in winter).

The LED replacements were $20 each, so $40 for the fixture. They're actually 48 SMT LEDs mounted on a PC board with the necessary support circuitry and a short cable and adapter which plugs into the bulb socket. We had a choice of 2 colors, warm and bright white. We went with the bright white and that was definitely the right choice.
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:24 AM   #72
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I installed a wi-fi enabled thermostat on our HVAC system about 2 months ago and I'm seeing some significant savings in our natural gas useage. Much of the savings comes from setting the temperature down to 55 when we are gone for a few days to visit the kids or while we are on vacation. I can monitor the temperature on my smartphone while we are gone, and then turn the temperature back up about 2 hours before we arrive back home.
The other reason I installed it is for peace of mind while we are in Florida this winter. I can monitor the temperature of our house (set at 55). If the HVAC system fails for any reason it will send a text message to me when the indoor temperature reaches a set point that I have selected.
I expect to realize significant electricity useage reduction next summer from useing less cooling while we are gone.
The thermostat cost about $99 at Home Depot and I installed it in about 8 hours.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:29 AM   #73
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I do all the usual stuff to save electric, not only to save money, but also to not 'waste'. I would suppose most ER types are opposed to 'waste' as well.

My brother and his wife recently spent around $35K to go solar electric on their house (this is before tax credits etc). I figured I would need to spend at least 50K, and probably a whole lot more to tame our $250/month electric bill. Instead I took the same amount of money,and invested it in utilities (namely national grid), paying almost 5%, and that covers my electric bill each month.

Won't save the planet, but does give me a better return on my investment and no maintenance.

I am all for renewable energy (in fact I heat 100% with wood from my own property), but solar electric needs better cost/benefit ratio before I can jump in.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:22 AM   #74
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...
My brother and his wife recently spent around $35K to go solar electric on their house (this is before tax credits etc). ... Instead I took the same amount of money,and invested it in utilities (namely national grid), paying almost 5%, and that covers my electric bill each month.

Won't save the plant, but does give me a better return on my investment and no maintenance.
Interestingly, it seems like Google came to a similar conclusion:

Google Ends Renewable Energy Research Program | Joseph Baker

Quote:
Launched in 2007 the Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative's mandate was to bring the cost of renewable energy down, mainly solar power, to compete with the cost of coal-fired generation.
...
For Google, the end of RE>C does not seem like a failure as much as it does a clear business choice to not invest more money in technology that may have a long way to go before it is competitive in the market.
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I installed a wi-fi enabled thermostat on our HVAC system about 2 months ago ...
The thermostat cost about $99 at Home Depot and I installed it in about 8 hours.
That's pretty cool, but I'm really 'old school' when it comes to thermostats. I've got the old round mercury-bulb-bi-metallic strip kind. I believe I save more energy with this set-up, over any automatic setback type. I set it only warm/cool enough to be as comfortable as I choose at that time, rather than some arbitrary time/temp.

In the heating season, before I go to bed, I turn it down all the way (essentially OFF). It'll drop from 68 to maybe 60 by the AM, but we are already under the covers and stay warm. DW rarely decides to turn the heat up when she wakes - she says shes running around to get ready, she doesn't feel chilled. I sometimes leave the heat off until ~ 4PM. If I'm active in the house, I don't even notice that it is only 60-64. But by evening, we'll be sitting around and then 66-68 feels better. If I do feel chilled during the day, I turn it up, but that's actually pretty rare. It's surprising what you can adapt to, and it doesn't seem like 'sacrifice' at all.


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Old 11-27-2011, 11:33 AM   #75
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Best bang for your buck is generally better insulation and sealing of drafts.
Anyone considering solar should first do conservation measures. Then solar if you want to go further.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:55 AM   #76
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\It's surprising what you can adapt to, and it doesn't seem like 'sacrifice' at all.
+1

IMO this is the key to saving heating/cooling energy. Just push your level of comfort a little bit and before long you will adapt. I don't think this is so much dependant on the type of thermostat that you have, as how you use it.

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Personally, I'm in charge of walking from room to room turning off all the lights and fans where SOMEONE ELSE has left a light burning or fan running. It's amazing how much exercise I can get doing this over and over, day after day.
One of the nice things about living alone is that only one lightbulb is turned on at any given time in my house. I don't know if this saves much energy or not, but I like it that way. When I leave a room, the light goes out.

On the other hand, yesterday I forgot that I had left the porch light on when going out for the evening and didn't turn it off after I got home. As a result, it was on all day. So maybe the other people in your house are saving energy by noticing things like that.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:05 PM   #77
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W2R, I deleted my post because I didn't realize that this was an older topic and that I had already replied and said almost the same thing.

But you did quote the best part!
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:19 PM   #78
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The wi-fi thermostat has real benefits for those who travel often or for extended periods of time. I agree that it provides minimal benefits at other times when one is home. My wife and I are gone many weekends from Friday to Sunday so we can set the temperature way back to save energy while we are gone, but have the house at a comfortable temperature by the time we return. One can't do that with a standard thermostat.
Also, we feel like the peace of mind of knowing that our furnace is working properly when we are in Florida for a month is worth quite a bit.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:24 PM   #79
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For most houses with heat pumps, roughly 1/3rd of electric goes to heating/cooling, 1/3rd to water heating, and 1/3rd to everything else. So, when I work to reduce electric use I concentrate on heating and cooling matters.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:28 PM   #80
 
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Put lamps in the corners: Our lamps are placed where our chairs and couch are to give us the best light to read by.

Switch to a laptop: When our pcs die we are considering getting laptops.

Choose an LCD TV: Hope our TVs last a long time but when they go we will buy 1 big flat screen and 1 smaller one.

Give your water heater a blanket: Good idea.

Turn off the burner before you’re done cooking: We use gas.

Add motion sensors: We have 5 dogs and 6 cats, with motion censors our house would look like we had blinking X'mas lights all year round.

Spin laundry faster: This we do.

Use an ice tray: We don't have an automatic icemaker on the refirgerator.

Use the dishwasher: We use the diswasher most of the time.
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