Questions about ways to measure and improve the ability to get useful work out of devices that consume energy. This includes coal, oil and gas as well as electricity.

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5
votes
4answers
181 views

Air sealing a whole house fan

I have a whole house fan installed in my house from the previous owners. I love the fan, as it lets me cool down the house quickly in the evening -- or after I fill the house with smoke from ...
3
votes
3answers
13k views

How much less power does a three-phase A\C unit use as apposed to a 220v unit?

I'm planning to install a 5 ton central AC. I'm deciding between a condensing unit that runs on 220V and a costlier unit that runs on 207Y three-phase. My understanding is that three-phase motors use ...
7
votes
2answers
150 views

Why are furnace/central AC blowers so inefficient?

I can buy a ceiling fan from Home Depot capable of moving 5,000 CFM of air for about $50, and it uses a mere 50-60 watts while doing it. By contrast, most furnaces seem to have blowers that operate in ...
16
votes
10answers
6k views

Is it more economical to use hot water before boiling or to bring cold water to a boil?

Since the arrival of our newborn, we have been using the stove to boil water in order to sterilize the nipples, bottles and rings. Which got me thinking, is it more economical to start off using hot ...
-4
votes
2answers
77 views

What is the best way to store energy?

I want to store 6 months of energy with one of these applications. which type of system would be the best way to store energy for a house, which last for approximately 6 months. (heating/air ...
4
votes
7answers
5k views

Would putting a sprinkler on my roof help cool my home?

Anyone ever put a sprinkler on your roof to help out your A/C on unusually hot days? Just wondering if it helps.
0
votes
3answers
139 views

Unplugging vs running an empty refrigerator

We have a community Pea Patch that has 2 older refrigerators that are empty 5 days a week and used to store produce on 2 of those days. Does it take less energy to leave them running for those 5 ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Energy Saver on new A/C doesn't work well

I just got a GE AEW12AM window a/c and the energy saver mode doesn't work that well. I'm used to the in-wall a/c that usually run for a few minutes then turn off for ten. This GE unit seems to turn ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Will a single ductless mini-split heat pump be able to distribute its air evenly throughout my ranch house?

I am in the middle of a deep energy retrofit of my house, and a quick-and-dirty online manual J calculation of the projected loads once my projects are completed shows an estimated heating and cooling ...
10
votes
6answers
14k views

Can I save energy costs by turning off the refrigerator for 1-2 hours every day?

Now that I'm looking into home automation, I'm thinking about automatically cutting off the fridge power from 3am ~ 5am. Given that modern refrigerators are well insulated, it should be able to ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the most economical and energy-efficient way to winterize windows?

We have vinyl windows (mostly double-paned) and live in a shady greenbelt in Seattle (i.e. wet and dark). We don't have much severe weather to worry about, just a pervasive damp cold that settles in ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the process for draft proofing windows

I need to try to prevent drafts coming through and around my double glazed window units as much as possible. How can I go about detecting and sealing any leaks that are letting air through the window? ...
8
votes
3answers
23k views

What's the difference between dimmable and non-dimmable LED lamps?

I have a large room in my house with 3 light fittings with a total of 10 40W GU10 bulbs. So, this is using 400W when they're at max output. (They're all on dimmer switches) I'm interesting in ...
0
votes
3answers
147 views

Why don't American homes have blinds on the outside of their windows?

Traveling through Europe, seeing many different construction methods, I try to take an objective look at why things are done a certain way. One of the most positive things that I see done in Europe ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

outlet bypass for multimeter

seeing that I (and i bet 99.9% of the people here) already have a nice multimeter, i find it kinda of silly to buy a kill-a-watt type of device. But, on the other hand, it is really impractical to ...
1
vote
4answers
82 views

Leave the water heater on?

When I lived in France and the US, we can an electric boiler for hot water. It was "always on", probably with a thermostat. Now I live in an area where most people have a power switch that they turn ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Is it really energy economy to use movement sensor for turn lights on?

I want to install those movement sensors in my house in replacement for the old light switch. I want to use those from elevator halls which has a 3 way switch to leave on, leave off and leave ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are almost all of my house's HVAC floor registers placed near exterior windows?

My current house is a single story built over a crawlspace and all the HVAC registers are in the floor. In all of the larger rooms, at least one (and usually more) register was placed near an exterior ...
0
votes
2answers
150 views

Energy efficient bulb takes a long time to get bright

Ive recently moved into a newly built house (im in the UK). When I turn my bedroom light on it takes a long time to get up to full brightness which is quite annoying. Ive unscrewed the lightbulb to ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

What's the minimum amount of electricity used by an appliance?

My Kill A Watt P4400 by P3 International shows 3 watts electricity usage if anything is plugged in. Do things plugged in, regardless of whether they are ON or OFF, really use a minimum of 3 watts or ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Understanding results of an energy audit

We had an energy audit done a couple of years ago on our 20 year old home. Basically, they hooked up a blower to the front door, and tested the amount of air leakage. The written report suggested a ...
3
votes
1answer
331 views

Should fan on heat pump be delayed turning off when system stops?

I have a heat pump system with emergency heat. I have a Honeywell RTH7600D thermostat. When the heat is running and I turn the temperature down, the system immediately stops. Isn't this inefficient ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

How can we protect this furnace from environmental conditions?

I was recently asked to look over the utility closet of a friend, and several things I saw looked very concerning, from an energy-efficiency standpoint. This closet is approximate 3' x 6', and is in ...
3
votes
2answers
314 views

Can upgrading my boiler save me money?

I've just received my annual gas usage statement. It came as a surprise to me that I'm using almost the average gas consumption in the UK. The average is 16,500kWh and I used 15,000kWh over the year. ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Are radiator reflectors as effective as claimed?

I recently completed a survey to determine the energy efficiency of my home. The results weren't great but got me thinking about the quick and affordable things I could do to improve things and ...
12
votes
4answers
798 views

Which water heater types do you recommend?

I would like to upgrade my current water heater with one that Is able to produce/store more heated water so I won't run out Energy efficient Inexpensive What are the advantages/disadvantages to ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

My fridge runs way too much - is this because it doesn't seem to be level?

My refrigerator runs way too much - is this because it doesn't seem to be level? It doesn't seem to be any other reason.
12
votes
3answers
336 views

Would providing shade for my air conditioner's condensor improve its efficiency?

Our house has two A/C systems; one for the bedroom level, one for the remainder of the house. The compressor/consdensor units are outside the south side of the house, and in direct sun all day, now ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

What type of wiring should bedroom overhead lighting have?

On the phone with a friend in Cali this morning. He said that some municipalities are requiring /4 (12-3 or 14-3 romex) wiring for all new construction or rewiring for overhead lighting components. ...
1
vote
0answers
62 views

How do I maximize light gain and minimize heat gain for my glass wall?

How to get maximum benefit of daylight while optimizing air-conditioner benefit for a glass wall (currently) of size 11' * 8' (total 88 square feet exposed). Facts: The glass wall never gets direct ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Is it time to replace my water heater?

I have a 20+ year old, 115 gallon, electric water heater. Works like a champ, but I'm considering replacing it for a couple of reasons. It's leased - I pay $20/mo. It's 115 gallons for a house with ...
2
votes
1answer
331 views

Is a roof sprinker a good idea?

I live in an area where temperatures often reach 95°F (35°C). I have attic fans and soffet vents and radiant barrier. Is it worth adding a roof sprinkler? I have read about it working wonders ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Where am I losing heat from my house?

My house is about 5 years old and our local building codes required a 5-star energy rating (Melbourne, Australia). This means there's solar hot water and both the walls and ceiling are insulated. But ...
1
vote
3answers
762 views

How do I know if my windows are energy efficient?

Hope this is a known one. New double glazing should be labelled, shouldn't it? But rather than getting new windows, are my uPVC windows fine? What checks? To elaborate - what should I look at on the ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

How should I landscape my yard to make my home more efficient?

At some point in the future, I plan on owning a home and I would like to use landscaping to improve both the appearance and energy efficiency of the property. I have heard that the right landscaping ...
9
votes
4answers
12k views

Does lowering the blower speed of a forced-air furnace lower its efficiency?

My gas furnace has two options for the blower speed: MED, and MED-HI. It had been set on the higher speed, but that was too harsh, so I lowered it to the slower speed. Does that have any impact on the ...
3
votes
1answer
612 views

What are possibilities of balancing 3-phase consumption?

A lot of homes have a 3-phase electric connection. Each of the phases has some appliances connected to it. That implies power consumption in any moment on each phase is different, we have an ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Are there efficient ways to provide combustion air to heating appliances?

In a previous question we established that there probably should be a vent between my utility room (which opens into the kitchen and living space in general) and the outdoors (in my case the attic, ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I audit my furnace?

I want to keep track of when my furnace is on, with an eye to reducing how much energy I use to heat my house. I could compare it with weather data (temperature, wind speed, precipitation). I could ...
1
vote
4answers
5k views

Will wrapping the stove pipes with copper pipes increase wood stove efficiency?

I've heard that wrapping my wood stove's chimney - the parts inside the house that go from the stove the the actual chimney - with copper pipes will increase the amount of heat generated. Has anyone ...
3
votes
5answers
5k views

What are my options for replacing 50W GU10 lightbulbs?

I've been looking at replacing 50W GU10 halogen lightbulbs for something more energy efficient. Some people say that LEDs cannot give you the same light (even 10W LEDs), and to use 11W CFL instead, ...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

Should I tie into the ERV or just vent outside to increase bathroom ventilation?

Our bathroom currently only has an intake connected to the Energy recovery ventilation (ERV) to remove humidity, and it's completely inadequate even for a quick shower. Should I install an exhaust fan ...
7
votes
3answers
681 views

How do I add an exhaust fan to an old attic?

Our house's attic retains a great deal of heat during summer. While we now have a good layer of insulation between the attic and the rest of the house I wonder if it would be worth it to add some ...
3
votes
2answers
126 views

Is there an online way to check my appliance power usage?

I'm considering replacing my old appliances (refrigerator, washer & dryer) with a more efficient model. Is there a website or simple method to look up their measured power usage ?
2
votes
1answer
220 views

looking for a WATT-O-METER with specific features

Recently i have bought an OWL+USB WATT-O-METER and got very disappointed. Making a long story short, i'm looking for a device that will give me: accurate readings good software for data management a ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

How best can I discover what is up with my electrical bill?

This might be subjective, I don't know. However, it's a serious problem for me. My electrical bill is outrageous. It's three times as large as my next-door neighbor, and four or five times the size of ...
4
votes
3answers
494 views

Calculate savings from/cost-effectiveness of installing a tankless hot water heater?

Following up on "Which water heater types do you recommend?" and "Are tankless water heaters worth it in cold climates", is there a way to calculate the point at which installing a tankless water ...
2
votes
3answers
832 views

How do I install plastic window insulation without damaging the trim?

I'm planning to install plastic window wrap on my windows for the winter, but the trim around the windows is nice wood and I don't want to leave a mark on it where the double-sided tape will be. I've ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a device that will allow a bathroom fan to run for 5 minutes after it is switched off?

There is one switch that controls the lights and fan in the bathroom. Users turn the light/fan on when they enter, and off when they leave. I'd like for the bathroom fan to run for a time after they ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I use a stairwell ceiling fan to save energy?

We have a two story house, with a small ceiling fan mounted above the main stairway. The house has separate thermostats for heating/cooling the upstairs and downstairs. During the day, we spend 90% ...