Energy Saving at Home

Discussion in 'Energy & Fuel' started by Ruth Belena, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    If I owned my home I would definitely want to have solar panels and use renewable energy. Unfortunately I have to pay a utility company for all my energy use. I don't like to waste resources and I want to keep my utility bills as low as possible.

    I know a lot of people wear very little clothing indoors during winter, because they keep the home heated at such a high temperature. I would rather wear a few extra layers of clothing at home, rather than have the heating turned up high. I grew up in a house without central heating or double glazing. I remember how in winter I would often wake up to find a layer of ice on the inside of my bedroom window.

    I switch electrical equipment off when not in use and I don't leave lights on in rooms that are not occupied.

    Do you make an effort to save energy in your home?
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I live in Maine, so we pretty much have to. I live in one of the first houses that were built in Millinocket. As far as I can determine, the place was built as a boarding house for some of the first mill workers, since the mill was here before the town. When we bought it, the building was a three-unit apartment building. We converted it into a home, but it's large and it's old; not old like some houses are old, but I found a 1910 postcard that showed our street and, at that time, it was dirt and our house and the even larger house across the street were the only houses there, so I guess it was built around that time. The town doesn't have records because there wasn't a town here yet.

    Anyhow, it is large and it wasn't particularly well insulated. One of the walls was stuffed with newspaper and magazines, for example. As I've been working on parts of the house, I have been insulating them, but I've never been able to afford a large-scale insulation project. Still, I think we've got it fairly well insulated now, and we've replaced all of the windows with double-pane windows. There were, I think, 36 of them so that wasn't cheap. Plus, I finished the attic, which had previously consisted of sheets of insulation draped over the rafters. Now we have a sizable insulated room there, although unheated. With insulation in the floor, ceiling, and walls of the attic, more of the heat remains downstairs.

    Last year, we qualified for an energy saving program that provided heat pumps for homes that were thought to benefit from it. Rather than an income qualification, they were looking for houses that could save a lot of energy costs with the addition of a heat pump. Normally costing a few thousand, that was installed in our upstairs living room free, and that saves a whole lot on our heating oil costs. It comes on only when it senses that someone is in the room, so we can keep the thermostat very low there. Interestingly, we found that a cat jumping up on the couch will trigger it, so that cats have been taking advantage of that. The heat vent from the heat pump is pointed right at the couch so when I notice that I don't have any cats in my office, I know that I'll be able to find them on the couch upstairs. The heat pump will also cool during the summer, which will be an added advantage. This adds to our electric bill, but saves more on our heating oil costs than it adds to the electric.

    This spring, we are going to separate the water heater from our oil heating system, replacing it with an electric on-demand water heater, which should keep the oil pump from having to come on throughout the summer, just to heat water that we may not even be using.

    Otherwise, we keep the thermostats at about 65 degrees during the winter, and use space heaters and slankets in the rooms that we are in. My cats have heated cat beds in my office too, since they are particularly averse to cold.
     
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  3. Priscilla King

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    It's hard enough to pay the bills without running them up higher than they have to be. I don't even run a refrigerator in winter--buy things that need to stay cold for just a few cold days in advance, and store them in a bin out on the north-facing porch.
     
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  4. Priscilla King

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    This brought back memories...When my husband was alive, his blood pressure medication made him feel cold most of the winter. He'd be wearing three shirts and a sweater and still feeling chilly with the thermostat set to 75, and I'd think the house was stifling...well, we had a clothing-optional home anyway. He didn't like paying gas bills, but what could he do? I still have the ability to get accustomed to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and do. He had lost that ability. So when I see people wearing summer clothes in overheated houses, now, I always think of blood pressure medication.
     
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  5. Priscilla King

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    I love the idea of an electric on-demand water heater. Please tell us more about installation, how it works, how much you do or don't save, hazards, etc. (I can't afford one but will keep dreaming...)
     
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  6. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    If it were my house I would install solar also but this is my daughters house and she does not want to go thru the expense of installing solar for this house. It is not so much how much money I would save on the bills as much as the need to not be helpless if the power goes out for days. This house is all electric so you are completely helpless when the power goes out.
     
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  7. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    We have already looked at the possibility of solar power but we find it not practical for the moment. To save on electricity, we make sure that all bulbs not used should be turned off including the electric fan. And when the air conditioner is working, doors and windows should always be closed. That's what increases the consumption of power in air conditioning, when you leave the door open. Even the refrigerators activate its compressor when it senses heat coming inside.

    On the contrary, we spend a lot of power at night. We have night lights in the following areas - terrace, driveway, garage, backyard, grotto and living room. And why so? That is to deter potential intruders. Robbery is somewhat a common occurrence here so we invest in those lights.
     
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  8. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    I made my own solar water heaters and use all led lights. This is not needed because the electricity here is on a flat rate. I love trying to be as independent as possible from the grid.
     
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