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Old 11-28-2011, 03:13 PM   #81
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I got my GE LED light bulbs in the mail today. I love them. Nice to know that each time I turn on the light, I'm only using 9W per bulb. Plus, instant-on, mercury free.

Also, the bulbs come with a 10 year warranty.

My only almost complaint...they are almost too bright
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:25 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
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.
-ERD50
If it's a heat pump system you don't want to setback too far overnight because you'll actually consume more electricity to warm things the next morning because the heat pump will engage the expensive resistance heating. I believe the maximum night setback often recommended is 5 F degrees, but the optimal number likely varies by the capacity of your system, the outdoor temperature, etc.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:13 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
If it's a heat pump system you don't want to setback too far overnight because you'll actually consume more electricity to warm things the next morning because the heat pump will engage the expensive resistance heating. I believe the maximum night setback often recommended is 5 F degrees, but the optimal number likely varies by the capacity of your system, the outdoor temperature, etc.
True, but we are straight natural gas furnace, so no issue for us. Long cycles provide higher efficiencies. I think some of the newer thermostats have a setting for just how 'aggressive' they are in triggering the resistance heaters in heat pumps, or may have other options for limiting the use.

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Give your water heater a blanket: Good idea.

Use an ice tray: We don't have an automatic icemaker on the refirgerator.
Those links didn't work for me (might need to be signed in?), but I question the oft-recommended heater blanket. I've been shopping for a water heater, in anticipation of mine dying, and the difference between the ones with 1" versus 2" insulation are pretty minor, and probably not worth the extra cost.

The ice-maker is an interesting one. I learned recently that the energy used by the ice-maker is NOT included in the energy rating stickers they provide! And it can increase energy usage by ~ 25% (due to the heaters to release the ice).

Energy Use of Ice Making in Domestic Refrigerators

So these claims about replacing an old fridge with a new to save energy might actually be backwards (or very marginal) if the old was w/o ice maker and the new is with. Too bad they decided to 'hide' this info - the whole purpose of the labels should be 'transparency'.

-ERD50
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:56 PM   #84
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We've relaced everything in this house but the windows but I'm afraid to even get an estimate on them. But, I think the energy credits have either expired or are about to expire soon. Maybe I out to get an idea anyway. Any ball park guesses out there?
How would you make a comparison? $3000, $4000, $5000?
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:16 PM   #85
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For my family it was the opposite. I was always shutting off lights, computers and televisions in empty rooms at their house. When I moved out of my parent's house their electric bill went up about $20-$30/month.

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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....

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 11-28-2011, 08:30 PM   #86
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We've relaced everything in this house but the windows but I'm afraid to even get an estimate on them. But, I think the energy credits have either expired or are about to expire soon. Maybe I out to get an idea anyway. Any ball park guesses out there?
How would you make a comparison? $3000, $4000, $5000?
We just bought 10 custom-size Jeld-Wen windows and an eight-foot glass lanai door for about $6500 from Home Depot. Double-pane (different glass thicknesses to reduce acoustic harmonics), low-e glass, tinted, bronzed aluminum frames. Two are large picture windows and four are hand-cranked casement windows.

The (termite-damaged) frame around our 22-year-old glass lanai door was collapsing onto the lanai door frame, making it impossible to remove the door for cleaning the track rollers. (Dirt and bunny hair.) The new door is built much stronger and is much easier to pull apart for cleaning.

Our contractor snorted in derision at the Jeld-Wen brand and spent a week trying to do better, including Fleetwood. For various reasons all of the more expensive options were missing features that were important to us. The Jeld-Wen price was lowest.

I think your biggest issue would be installation costs, especially if you have a cold climate. It takes time (and experience) to get all the framing, flashing, sealer, insulation, and window sills just right. It can be learned but it's not intuitive.

The energy payoff is nice. What's even better is the modern design, better materials, and convenience. I was no longer able to get parts for our 22-year-old windows (of which we still have over a dozen) and the old casement cranked windows were crumbling in their frames. Spouse is reflexively trying to put back up the venetian blinds and curtains, but I don't think they're necessary.
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:07 PM   #87
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I've gotten a little tired of wood production (cutting, splitting, moving) so we have adapted to lower temps this year. That is, 64 degrees instead of 72. Smaller fires less often. It has worked well. I wear thermal underwear top and bottom all the time. It's about 60 in the LR each morning and doesn't get to 66 for at least an hour.

I sure wish our LR didn't have a cathedral ceiling.
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:21 PM   #88
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We use have a hot water boiler for heating combined with an aquastat hot water heater which consumes less than 500 gallons of heating oil per year. Our electric bill runs about the same as our heating oil bill due to heavy dehumidifier use. an all electric kitchen, a bedroom air conditioner and a well piump. The heavy drapes are very helpful in the wintertime. I think it's likely that installing an attic fan would significantly reduce our summer cooling costs.
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:05 PM   #89
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Gas-fired hot water system. 60F day 50F night.
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