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Old 06-12-2015, 03:06 PM   #101
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... My reward for all this? Hmmm, let's see... the 6 bulbs ( 4 CFLs and two 4W night light bulbs to provide a resistive load for the old timer) add up to about 60W total, so one hour x 60W x 365 days/year is 21.9 kWh, or ~ drum roll...... $2.40 per year. Well, that's pretty anti-climatic. But it was a one time deal, so why not?
Hopefully, the set up will last so that you do not have to jump through hoops again to save $2.40/year.

Here's something I am pondering, when I dig down into my electric usage. Below is a chart showing the daily usage in a summer hot day that I already posted in a concurrent thread about solar energy. You can see the effect of the A/C starting to kick on at around 10AM, and it doesn't let off until 10PM. Actually the A/C runs on/off throughout the night on a hot day like this (minimum temperature still at 90F), but the duty cycle is lower during the night.



Anyway, look at the dollar chart, and one can see the shocking effect of the off-peak/on-peak difference in costs. It's the difference between 7.41c and 22.26c/kWh.

So, suppose I program the thermostat to cool the home down 1 deg in the hour preceding the rate change, then raise it back after the rate change. The precooling will delay the A/C running for a bit after the high rate kicks in.

I think the above will save me more than your $2.40/year.

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Old 06-12-2015, 03:18 PM   #102
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...

Anyway, look at the dollar chart, and one can see the shocking effect of the off-peak/on-peak difference in costs. It's the difference between 7.41c and 22.26c/kWh.

So, suppose I program the thermostat to cool the home down 1 deg in the hour preceding the rate change, then raise it back after the rate change. The precooling will delay the A/C running for a bit after the high rate kicks in.

I think the above will save me more than your $2.40/year.

I would definitely do that. I'd go as far as you can handle comfortably, like even 5 degrees cooler? Not only are the rates cheaper, but it is cooler in the AM meaning the A/C is running a bit more efficiently. You'll lose some of it, but at that rate difference I think it would pay off.

Now you need some of that phase change material, cool it in the AM and let it absorb heat from noon to seven.

What else can go on a timer? A fridge will stay cold for hours, but they aren't using anywhere near what A/C uses, but they are also kicking out heat that the A/C must pump back out again. Some industrial installations make ice at night, and use that for the next day's cooling.

Is a swamp cooler a possibility for you (as a supplement)? Or do water shortages limit that?

-ERD50
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:25 PM   #103
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I am doing 1 degree delta to start. I don't know about 5 degrees. When you are accustomed to cooler air, raising it in the afternoon will make it that much more miserable.

Swamp coolers are not too useful when we are in the monsoon season. When the air gets humid, a swamp cooler may cool the 115F air down to 85F, but loads it with humidity. An A/C dry output may be tolerable at 85F, but a swamp cooler output at 85F will make you miserable.

By the way, I keep mine at 78F around the clock, but am thinking about varying it +-1F.
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:11 PM   #104
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Am not into the tech part of this, but the individual homes (now 79 of them) in our CCRC, each have three coach lamps... one on each side of the garage, and a pole lamp in front.
In our HOA benefits, maintenance of these lamps is included. Because of the location on the garage and the design of the lamps, replacement requires a ladder, and the dismantling of the top... a process that for just one light, takes at least five minutes... We had an unofficial "lamp patrol"... people who on their way home at night, would notify the HOA manager, who would then inform the maintenance group that a light had to be replaced. A separate trip for each bulb change.
Last year, the decision was made to replace all of the lamps with energy efficient bulbs.
I can only guess at the savings, but know that since the changeover, no bulbs have needed replacement.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:04 PM   #105
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I don't know about lasting 22 years, but we started the switchover to LEDs a few years ago and have not had to replace a single one of them, which was not true at all for CFLs. I'm taking a pile of old CFLs to Home Depot today for household hazardous waste (mercury) recycling.
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:39 PM   #106
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This sounds dumb, but it really has saved me some money ( or officially this year it will ). I got this idea from an internet article on energy costs. Last year I bought a window A/C unit for my bedroom. I like a cool house at night because I prefer a thick blanket when sleeping. Before I go to bed I turn house thermostat off and crank the bedroom unit up. The house naturally cools down slowly overnight while the bedroom stays ice cold. I figured about $25 a month savings in AC costs for the $100 unit. This year the savings goes into my wallet as it has paid for itself now.


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Old 06-12-2015, 08:54 PM   #107
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No, not dumb at all. I do that in the winter with a small electric heater in the master bedroom, and keep the central heat thermostat in my boondock home down to 45F. Yes, you get that right. 45F.

But for cooling, I am reluctant to hang window A/Cs for aesthetic appeal. And it is particularly tougher now that I have installed wonderful and expensive dual-pane low-E windows. I guess if I really want to, I can find a way to vent the exhaust of a portable free-standing A/C.
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:59 PM   #108
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No, not dumb at all. I do that in the winter with a small electric heater in the master bedroom, and keep the central heat thermostat in my boondock home down to 45F. Yes, you get that right. 45F.

But for cooling, I am reluctant to hang window A/Cs for aesthetic appeal. And it is particularly tougher now that I have installed wonderful and expensive dual-pane low-E windows. I guess if I really want to, I can find a way to vent the exhaust of a portable free-standing A/C.

My bedroom window is facing woods in backyard. If it was a front facing window facing my cul de sac neighbors I would not have considered exposing myself to being such a cheapo!


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Old 06-12-2015, 09:36 PM   #109
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This sounds dumb, but it really has saved me some money ( or officially this year it will ). I got this idea from an internet article on energy costs. Last year I bought a window A/C unit for my bedroom. I like a cool house at night because I prefer a thick blanket when sleeping. Before I go to bed I turn house thermostat off and crank the bedroom unit up. The house naturally cools down slowly overnight while the bedroom stays ice cold. I figured about $25 a month savings in AC costs for the $100 unit. This year the savings goes into my wallet as it has paid for itself now.
It sounds smart. We don't have a good spot for a window A/C in the bedrooms, but maybe we should look at ceiling fans. I do have low energy room heaters flagged on Amazon to purchase before next winter. There is no point in heating the whole house overnight.

I bought a personal heater for one of the kids to use at work as they kept it kind of chilly, and it cranked out a surprising amount of heat for something like 300 watts or less.
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Old 06-12-2015, 11:22 PM   #110
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For heaters, radiant heat (infrared) falling on your skin will feel a lot warmer than the same amount of wattage that is used to heat the air. Other than that, any 300-watt heater will deliver the same 300 watts of heat into the room.

A/C's and refrigerators on the other hand vary in the amount of electric energy they use up in order to move the heat from a colder source to a hotter heat sink, i.e. fighting the natural heat flow.
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:08 AM   #111
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It sounds smart. We don't have a good spot for a window A/C in the bedrooms, but maybe we should look at ceiling fans. I do have low energy room heaters flagged on Amazon to purchase before next winter. There is no point in heating the whole house overnight.

I bought a personal heater for one of the kids to use at work as they kept it kind of chilly, and it cranked out a surprising amount of heat for something like 300 watts or less.
Agree on what NW-Bound said about electric heaters - watch out for claims of 'efficiency', or 'low energy use' (that just means low heat output), - other than the infrared effect, they are all the same. And watch out for that real scam where they claim that the oil-filled ones are better because they give off heat even after they turn off (yes, the heat they absorbed as they warmed up - no free lunch in the world of thermodynamics!). And of course, the ones made by the Amish are much better!

I'm curious if a window unit A/C or electric room heater makes sense - they might in some cases, I don't know. I considered the room heater by my computer, as it's just me in a big house all day, but the difference in paying for electric heat versus lower cost NG heat just didn't seem to provide any benefit, or maybe even a cost.

For A/C, make sure the vents are getting plenty of air flow to the room you want cooler (edit/add - a duct-booster fan might make sense?). A ceiling fan helps a lot, IMO. I'd say it provides the equivalent of ~3~ 4 degrees of thermostat setting. It also can help to keep the central air fan set to "ON" rather than "AUTO" - the blower fan will switch to a lower speed when the A/C cycles off, but that helps keep the cool air circulating. Our bedroom is upstairs, and this really helps, especially on not-so-hot nights - the thermostat is downstairs, so when the A/C cycles off, the cool air drops and keeps the A/C off, but the hot air rises to our bedroom. Circulating helps.

But a window unit could make sense I think, but it's hard to estimate just how much less the main unit would run, versus (I assume) a probably lower efficiency window unit. And the initial cost of the window unit, install it, the noise?

Those ductless units are becoming more popular, do they make sense? I haven't looked in a while, but IIRC, they are more aesthetic than a window unit, and the noisy compressor is outside.

-ERD50
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:25 AM   #112
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Agree on what NW-Bound said about electric heaters - watch out for claims of 'efficiency', or 'low energy use' (that just means low heat output), - other than the infrared effect, they are all the same. And watch out for that real scam where they claim that the oil-filled ones are better because they give off heat even after they turn off (yes, the heat they absorbed as they warmed up - no free lunch in the world of thermodynamics!). And of course, the ones made by the Amish are much better!



I'm curious if a window unit A/C or electric room heater makes sense - they might in some cases, I don't know. I considered the room heater by my computer, as it's just me in a big house all day, but the difference in paying for electric heat versus lower cost NG heat just didn't seem to provide any benefit, or maybe even a cost.



For A/C, make sure the vents are getting plenty of air flow to the room you want cooler. A ceiling fan helps a lot, IMO. I'd say it provides the equivalent of ~3~ 4 degrees of thermostat setting. It also can help to keep the central air fan set to "ON" rather than "AUTO" - the blower fan will switch to a lower speed when the A/C cycles off, but that helps keep the cool air circulating. Our bedroom is upstairs, and this really helps, especially on not-so-hot nights - the thermostat is downstairs, so when the A/C cycles off, the cool air drops and keeps the A/C off, but the hot air rises to our bedroom. Circulating helps.



But a window unit could make sense I think, but it's hard to estimate just how much less the main unit would run, versus (I assume) a probably lower efficiency window unit. And the initial cost of the window unit, install it, the noise?



Those ductless units are becoming more popular, do they make sense? I haven't looked in a while, but IIRC, they are more aesthetic than a window unit, and the noisy compressor is outside.



-ERD50

It probably depends on the variables. For me it is cheaper, but I like sleeping room temp in mid 60s because I like a comforter blanket on. If I could sleep say in 73-74 degree temp like I have it on during the day I doubt it would be worth it. Im one of the few oddballs who would turn down the ac before going to bed from 74 to 67. If you like sleeping with a backgound noise, the window unit makes a perfect background noise. An article I read went into details of the math behind the 220 system versus one room 110 unit and showed a lot of savings to be had but of course those variables assumed had to be the variables you would need.


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Old 06-13-2015, 09:43 AM   #113
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I have looked at window ACs, and they are not bad at all in terms of efficiency, even the inexpensive ones. I have seen EER of at least 10, and that's not shabby. A small 5,000 BTU unit can keep a bedroom cool at night, and that takes only 500 Watts if running non-stop, compared to the central AC at several tons of cooling and many kWs. I just cannot find a nice way to mount one.
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:47 AM   #114
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I have looked at window ACs, and they are not bad at all in terms of efficiency, even the inexpensive ones. I have seen EER of at least 10, and that's not shabby. A small 5,000 BTU unit can keep a bedroom cool at night, and that takes only 500 Watts if running non-stop, compared to the central AC at several tons of cooling and many kWs. I just cannot find a nice way to mount one.

I just pulled the top window down on it and pulled out its wings. Stuffed the perimeter with foam. Its appearance looks fine on the inside. On the outside it looks like a mountain zit on a teenagers forehead!


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Old 06-13-2015, 09:58 AM   #115
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I understand what you say, but that works for a narrower window, which opens vertically.

I am looking at my large bedroom window (6'W x 5'H) right now, the fancy dual-pane whose movable half slides sideways. Installing a window AC means having a big vertical opening that must be filled somehow, voiding all the wonderful insulating quality.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:10 AM   #116
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I understand what you say, but that works for a narrower window, which opens vertically.

I am looking at my large bedroom window (6'W x 5'H) right now, the fancy dual-pane whose movable half slides sideways. Installing a window AC means having a big vertical opening that must be filled somehow, voiding all the wonderful insulating quality.

Those are so fancy NW, I do not know what you are describing. If you can afford those windows, you can afford the 220 rumbling through the night without a window unit!


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Old 06-13-2015, 10:19 AM   #117
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Imagine a large window that opens sideways, like a glass patio door. Window ACs are not meant for them.

A smaller bedroom has two smaller vertical windows. I guess I can install an AC there, and move into it if another energy crisis hits.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:23 AM   #118
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I understand what you say, but that works for a narrower window, which opens vertically.

I am looking at my large bedroom window (6'W x 5'H) right now, the fancy dual-pane whose movable half slides sideways. Installing a window AC means having a big vertical opening that must be filled somehow, voiding all the wonderful insulating quality.
They do have portable air conditioners....(aka a form of a dehumidifier)

Portable Air Conditioners - Air Conditioners -*The Home Depot
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:26 AM   #119
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You still need to mount the hot air exhaust, which is typically mounted at a window that is partially opened. That vent mount is installed in the same manner that you mount a window AC, like Mulligan described.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:45 AM   #120
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Speaking of windows, I just replaced 12 of 21 windows with the "fancy" low-E type. The other 9 are already dual-pane (but not low-E). Besides the superior insulating property, the windows also block all infrared. I still have blinds and shades on them, but these windows need no sunscreens. The house interior is brighter, and I need no light during the day.

I am waiting to see how much I will save on cooling/heating costs. The payback may will take more than a decade, probably two.

PS. The nice thing about better windows is that they eliminate hot spots in the house near the windows, and the temperature inside is more uniform. And I already mention the better lighting through them.
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