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Old 04-25-2008, 04:04 PM   #221
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My MIL never bought wax paper; she just reused the wax paper in cereal boxes.
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:10 PM   #222
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Needed to pick-up a couple fishing poles for the kids fishing derby tomorrow (good ones are at the lake). So DW is volunteering at the school (where the kids are) 1/4 mile away. Rather than drive the gas guzzeling SUV, I walk 1/4 mile, grab DW car (with the spare keys) and run the errand and repark the car. Walk home.
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Old 04-25-2008, 05:35 PM   #223
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I see potential for a new product.

"This year's must-have gift for the cost-conscious traveller, the Ronco In-Tube-ator. Now you can quickly refill those convenient travel-size tubes with toothpaste purchased in the economical large sizes. Simply screw the male ends of both tubes into the In-Tube-ater and transfere the valuable paste. Order now and you'll also get our Blade-Alive disposable razor blade sharpener. Don't throw those blades away!"

(discussion of "screwing," and anotomical inuendo concerning "male," and "female" components might make this ad most appropriate for late-night cable)
So this got me thinking ....
If I save one cap from each of two old tubes (yes, I will have to buy one more minitube to make this work), I can cut off the "top" of each cap, leaving just the threaded portion. Then, I can glue them together with a little plastic cement (or, wrap with some cut-down duct tape to maintain the appropriate "look" for this project) thereby making my own In-Tube-ater.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:09 PM   #224
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My MIL never bought wax paper; she just reused the wax paper in cereal boxes.
wow ... that's tight good.
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Old 04-26-2008, 03:52 AM   #225
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wow ... that's tight good.
Yeah, the wax paper is definitely in the top ten.

CFB, yeah in winter it is a trade-off. I always wondered why they didn't build refrigerators into the sides of buildings to take advantage of the cold outside air for 1/2 the year. Either you'd have a summer fridge and a winter fridge, or there'd be some way of insulating it from the heat in summer. Or, better yet, there could be a system of cold-air exchange pipes with the outside that you'd close off in summer. Why spend energy to make stuff cold in your 68° house when the outside is freezing?
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:56 AM   #226
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You've now identified why I keep my garage fridge on in the winter when its around 50 out and off in the summer when its 110 out.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:52 AM   #227
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Yeah, the wax paper is definitely in the top ten.

CFB, yeah in winter it is a trade-off. I always wondered why they didn't build refrigerators into the sides of buildings to take advantage of the cold outside air for 1/2 the year. Either you'd have a summer fridge and a winter fridge, or there'd be some way of insulating it from the heat in summer. Or, better yet, there could be a system of cold-air exchange pipes with the outside that you'd close off in summer. Why spend energy to make stuff cold in your 68° house when the outside is freezing?
Years ago (late '70s ?), I read of someone doing this (using outside winter air to cool the refrigerant); I think it was in Mother Earth News.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:44 AM   #228
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I always wondered why they didn't build refrigerators into the sides of buildings to take advantage of the cold outside air for 1/2 the year. ... Or, better yet, there could be a system of cold-air exchange pipes with the outside that you'd close off in summer. Why spend energy to make stuff cold in your 68° house when the outside is freezing?
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Years ago (late '70s ?), I read of someone doing this (using outside winter air to cool the refrigerant); I think it was in Mother Earth News.
I'm always thinking about stuff like this, it bugs me to see waste and inefficiencies, but in the end, it almost always seems like more trouble than it is worth. I figure, everyone needs to heat their water, why not have your fridge coils do a direct liquid transfer (much more effective than to air). You could cool those coils with 60F water (at least around here) instead of warmer air, and pre-heating your water to boot. So, why not?

Quote:
A 2001 ENERGY STARŪ qualified refrigerator's estimated annual operating cost is $56.
That's why - how much are you really going to save? Let's be generous and say 1/3rd - round up and it's $20/year. Figuring the cost of installing that plumbing, and the chance of a leak, etc - it just does not seem worth it. With an air duct, and the fridge on an outside wall, you might still lose more through the ducts (harder to insulate well), air leaks etc. I don't know.

I just looked this up, and air conditioners are more efficient than I thought. A decent one (SEER ~ 11-12) will use only 1/3kW to 'move' 1 kW of heat to the outside. So if half of that $56 from the fridge is during the AC season, it will add 1/3 * 1/2 * $56 to your AC bill; about $9.

There must be some lower hanging fruit?

-ERD50


* COP (Coefficient of Performance) is the energy moved divided by the energy consumed

SEER = COP x 3.792

Energy Star A/C are about 14 SEER
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:12 PM   #229
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During college...

Go to the $1 movies where if you bought a large bucket of popcorn, you could get a free refill. Would search the floor of the movie theater for an empty bucket, take it to the bathroom to clean it, then take it to the snack counter and ask for a refill.
I think we have a winner!

That one got me laughing.
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:23 AM   #230
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When we were growing up poor, Dad did the haircuts and made all our clothes. Mom used an old baby carriage to bring home the groceries. She sent me to school with lunch in a paper bag and insisted that I bring the bag home. It was used until it started to fall apart. My bike was recycled from a neighbors castoff. Bread bags were reused to store leftovers. Bread was always marked down day old stuff. Never ate out. It is a long list but most has already been covered. Dad would use the same toothpick for weeks!

Although some of these habits linger, many were dropped as bad memories of those tougher times. I consider paper towels, kleenex and ziplock bags to be luxury items.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:05 AM   #231
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I've been reading the biography of Chuck Feeney, and I have to say that living frugally in order to give away $3.5 b-b-b-billion sets some kind of new "cheap" record.

Just like McDonald's franchises after reading about Ray Kroc, I'll never look at a DFS store in the same way again.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:45 AM   #232
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I always wondered why they didn't build refrigerators into the sides of buildings to take advantage of the cold outside air for 1/2 the year. Either you'd have a summer fridge and a winter fridge, or there'd be some way of insulating it from the heat in summer. Or, better yet, there could be a system of cold-air exchange pipes with the outside that you'd close off in summer. Why spend energy to make stuff cold in your 68° house when the outside is freezing?
Problem is the food in the freezer goes bad (we keep a second fridge outside year round)... the condenser never comes on even if the temps are above freezing. Need to wrap a heat coil around the condenser to "trick" it into coming on.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:23 AM   #233
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mm.. well that's a 'defect' in how they are built. I'm talking about a new way of designing them. I understand the energy savings might be minimal (nowadays), but I would also like a fridge that had a "root cellar" temperature compartment for fresh vegetables; this would often mean a lower offset from the prevailing outside temps. Most produce would last longer if somewhere in-between room temp. and normal fridge temp.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:18 AM   #234
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I'm always thinking about stuff like this, it bugs me to see waste and inefficiencies, but in the end, it almost always seems like more trouble than it is worth. I figure, everyone needs to heat their water, why not have your fridge coils do a direct liquid transfer (much more effective than to air). You could cool those coils with 60F water (at least around here) instead of warmer air, and pre-heating your water to boot. So, why not?

That's why - how much are you really going to save? Let's be generous and say 1/3rd - round up and it's $20/year. Figuring the cost of installing that plumbing, and the chance of a leak, etc - it just does not seem worth it. With an air duct, and the fridge on an outside wall, you might still lose more through the ducts (harder to insulate well), air leaks etc. I don't know.

I just looked this up, and air conditioners are more efficient than I thought. A decent one (SEER ~ 11-12) will use only 1/3kW to 'move' 1 kW of heat to the outside. So if half of that $56 from the fridge is during the AC season, it will add 1/3 * 1/2 * $56 to your AC bill; about $9.

There must be some lower hanging fruit?

-ERD50


* COP (Coefficient of Performance) is the energy moved divided by the energy consumed

SEER = COP x 3.792

Energy Star A/C are about 14 SEER
So, the higher the SEER, the better. Ours is at 14 SEER unit.
What we should do is take the $1,000 bite for instant on heat (i.e. heat as you use it). Heck, the unit takes up a lot less physical space too!
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:30 AM   #235
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Well see, theres where you discover the confusion and marketing hoo-hah.

Current energy star outdoor air conditioners have to be 13 seer at minimum. The highest is 21, although there are some 24's coming out.

BUT...seer is measured in a manner that produces a higher number in many cases than the consumer will actually experience. EER is a more reasonable measure of efficiency.

The sweet spot in terms of efficiency/performance is around 15 seer/12.5 EER. The 16/17 SEER units are often so much more expensive that even with mounting electricity costs, it'd take 8 or more years to get a payback.

THEN...unless you match that outdoor unit with the right coil on your furnace, you may lose a .5-1 seer or more. In some cases the installing company uses what they want to get rid of, what will fit in your space, or what will mate to the furnace/air handler you bought.

THEN...unless you have a variable speed fan to pull the last little bit of chill from the coil without sucking back in all the condensate thats still on it and rehumidifying the air, you'll lose another half seer or so in normal ops.

For example, my new furnace comes with a 4 ton 15 seer outdoor unit. Its rated for 14 seer with the regular carrier coil and may drop to 13.5 seer with a regular one speed air handler/furnace. With the variable speed fan I got and a slightly oversized 5 ton coil, I should be seeing something in the 15-15.5 seer range.

So a common trap is to sell you on what you understand...a more expensive higher seer a/c, then slap in a cheap single speed fan unit and a cheap unmatched coil.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:34 AM   #236
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Well see, theres where you discover the confusion and marketing hoo-hah.

Current energy star outdoor air conditioners have to be 13 seer at minimum. The highest is 21, although there are some 24's coming out.

BUT...seer is measured in a manner that produces a higher number in many cases than the consumer will actually experience. EER is a more reasonable measure of efficiency.

The sweet spot in terms of efficiency/performance is around 15 seer/12.5 EER. The 16/17 SEER units are often so much more expensive that even with mounting electricity costs, it'd take 8 or more years to get a payback.

THEN...unless you match that outdoor unit with the right coil on your furnace, you may lose a .5-1 seer or more. In some cases the installing company uses what they want to get rid of, what will fit in your space, or what will mate to the furnace/air handler you bought.

THEN...unless you have a variable speed fan to pull the last little bit of chill from the coil without sucking back in all the condensate thats still on it and rehumidifying the air, you'll lose another half seer or so in normal ops.

For example, my new furnace comes with a 4 ton 15 seer outdoor unit. Its rated for 14 seer with the regular carrier coil and may drop to 13.5 seer with a regular one speed air handler/furnace. With the variable speed fan I got and a slightly oversized 5 ton coil, I should be seeing something in the 15-15.5 seer range.

So a common trap is to sell you on what you understand...a more expensive higher seer a/c, then slap in a cheap single speed fan unit and a cheap unmatched coil.
When my a/c unit died, I upped the size to 3t from 2.5t. The unit is rated 12 SEER; to go any higher required an extra $4k...

Maybe next time. Better now to spend money on more attic insulation, and better windows. Ah, the joys of home ownership.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:41 AM   #237
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Always better to do insulation than buy a bigger a/c. You only have to pay for insulation once.

BTW, while its counterintuitive, you may cost yourself a bit of money by buying a larger tonnage unless your cooling profile called for it. Theres something called a "Manual J" which an a/c installer can do (or you can do it yourself in about 4 hours) where you plug in your room sizes, insulation levels, windows and so forth and it'll spit out the right tonnage.

An oversized a/c unit will cycle on and off too frequently, and long run times generally are more efficient as compressors suck a lot of juice to start up and bring the refrigerant down to temp. An oversized unit also wont be very good at removing humidity.

Its not a good idea to just replace with what the builder put in either. In my house the builder stuck a 100k btu furnace in. It needs about half that.
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:00 PM   #238
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Always better to do insulation than buy a bigger a/c. You only have to pay for insulation once.

BTW, while its counterintuitive, you may cost yourself a bit of money by buying a larger tonnage unless your cooling profile called for it. Theres something called a "Manual J" which an a/c installer can do (or you can do it yourself in about 4 hours) where you plug in your room sizes, insulation levels, windows and so forth and it'll spit out the right tonnage.

An oversized a/c unit will cycle on and off too frequently, and long run times generally are more efficient as compressors suck a lot of juice to start up and bring the refrigerant down to temp. An oversized unit also wont be very good at removing humidity.

Its not a good idea to just replace with what the builder put in either. In my house the builder stuck a 100k btu furnace in. It needs about half that.
The 3t unit still huffs and puffs when it's 100+. Seems like about a 25-30 degree differential between outside and inside is all it can muster. I've added soffit vents, but I think my ridge venting needs replaced, and maybe a couple of whirlygigs for extra oomph. Going by Home Depot today to see if I can find loose fiberglass, since that's what I have. I don't want to mix the cellulose with the glass I already have, if I can help it.
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:35 PM   #239
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Ridge vents are good but I've found most attic ventilation to be useless in very high heat areas. I'd replace the ducting with newer r-8 flexi with the shiny surface, add a layer of attic insulation and maybe some of that nifty spray-on radiant barrier paint on the underside of the roof areas that take the most sun.

Excessively long duct runs can really lose a lot of cooling power.

If your outdoor unit is in the direct sun, putting something near (but not over or too close to it) to shade it can give you a little boost. I have a nice 6" deep hedge about 2' away from the front of the unit thats about 7' tall, and a little tree about 7' away that shades it for much of the day.

Its hiding there in the back. Huge honking thing...must be 3x the size of the original 17 year old 9 seer Payne unit

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Old 04-28-2008, 04:59 PM   #240
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oo we have a small one of those red bottle-brush bushes. What do you call it? (We have no idea.. bought it at a street market).
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