Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

27

For devices that plug into an electrical outlet, you can use Kill-a-Watt or equivalent to monitor how much electricity they're using. If that doesn't give you a clear culprit, one low-tech method is to look at the electric meter as you turn off circuits at the service panel one at a time until you see a big change in speed at which the wheel is spinning ...


25

I think you will just waste a lot of water compared to the cooling effect that you get. A better way to cool the roof is to change its color. A roof with a clean, smooth bright white surface can reflect about 85% of incident sunlight and emit thermal radiation with 90% efficiency. This surface will be only 9°F warmer than the outside air on a typical ...


25

You'd need to run an experiment to confirm this, but I think it would be a false economy. Even though the fridge is well insulated it will warm up by some amount. Then when it's switched on again the cooling would have to work harder/for longer to bring the temperature back down again probably using the same (if not more) energy in the process. Let the ...


24

Absolutely it's worth insulating. Concrete is a poor insulator. 8" concrete blocks have an R-value of 1.1 - about the same as 3/4" particleboard. In my neck of the woods the frost line is about 3' down. So, assuming that a house here has a 40x40 foot square footprint and the basement is 8' high: 160 lineal feet x 6" = 80 square feet exposed to air; 160 ...


18

You could invest in a clamp on Ammeter like this Then open up your electrical panel and measure the draw on each circuit, this will show you which circuits are drawing the most. Also as Mike Powell pointed out, you could clamp on to the main lines and then turn off each breaker noting how much the value drops. (You will have to do this for each leg of ...


18

When most people think of a water heating system, they think of a tank (40-75 gal. on average) with a heating source. However, a robust water heating system probably shouldn't be so simple. How you want to configure things depends on what your exact situation is, and what features you want maximized. Some examples: 2 tank, parallel This kind of setup ...


17

I have a tankless heater, and I love it for the efficiency (energy and space wise) and of course the endless hot water. But there are some drawbacks: There is a minimum flow rate required for it to "fire up". That flow rate is high enough that you won't get hot water out of a faucet unless it's turned all the way over to "hot" and on full blast. In ...


13

Most LED bulbs on the market are in fact dimmable, IF you use a CFL/LED dimmer. Your "standard" dial or track dimmer is either just a big potentiometer or Rheostat that reduces voltage through resistance, or a slightly more efficient design called a TRIAC dimmer, which uses a specialized transistor design to attenuate the line voltage by turning the line on ...


10

Sounds like you could use one of these... http://www.amazon.com/P3-International-P4460-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B000RGF29Q/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1294406639&sr=1-2 Then you could take this power saving feaver beyond the computer.


10

TL;DR: the dimmers aren't switching off completely: they're allowing some current to leak through, which is why you're seeing a voltage across the CFL. A different make of bulb may behave better with the leakage current that you're getting. Or perhaps a different brand of fan (if you haven't installed them all already). I do know that operating CFLs in ...


10

Yes, placing registers (or other heat sources such as radiators) near exterior windows and doors is the usual practice. This is done in order to combat cold drafts and ensure a more even temperature throughout the room. Here's a Q&A on the subject from Ask This Old House: Window glass is the coldest part of a wall. When warm room air hits it, the ...


10

You want a timer switch. They are quite common. As Tester101 states, you have to make sure the switch is either: a. rated for the load of the motor (most should be for a standard fan) or, if not... b. you need to have the switch control a relay, which in turn will turn the fan off/on. I did this to install the lutron timers that I like on a ceiling heater ...


10

It helps for sure. There have been a ton of studies done on this and I have read at least 10-11. At one point in time I was going into a partnership for a "greening" business. Your variance is somewhere between 1-15%. There are a ton of variables. Here is an OK study I read a few weeks ago from FSEC. I personally don't like this study because they ...


8

I live in south texas, last week we had a terrible heat wave, temperatures outside where in the 110F-115F range, I installed a wireless thermometer on the attic and it read 130F on the hottest days. Ac would not cut off when set at 77. Went to home depot, got a set of 3 sprinklers that you can connect in series, I had an extra 24v solenoid water valve around ...


8

Tankless heaters are rated by the amount they raise the temperature of the water at a specific flow rate (and as the flow goes higher, the amount they raise the temperature is lower), for example: Rise in Temp: 50°F 75°F 100°F Flow rate: 3.8 gpm 2.4 gpm 1.9 gpm Basically, the lower your incoming water temperature, the larger a unit you ...


8

In the winter, windows can be one of the biggest sources of heat loss in your entire house. In an older house with no or low insulation, this can be particularly true. One thing that you can do with minimal fuss - if you feel cold drafts coming from around the window its entirely possible that you've got air leakage around the window frame itself. A quick ...


8

Some of the more advanced thermostats will track how often they are running. I have a Filtrete Wifi-Enabled Progammable Thermostat. It gives you a per-day total of how often the heat and A/C are run. You can also download an hour-by-hour export of the usage in CSV format. I am in no way affiliated with this company. It is simply a product I have ...


7

There are solar-powered gable fans - an Air Vent-brand fan can be picked up at Lowe's for just over $200: The solar panel is on a cord, so it can be installed in the most sunny area while the fan sits in the gable. From the Air Vent website: The Gable-Mount Solar Vent is an exciting alternative to traditional attic ventilation. That's because it is ...


7

I have an ancient oil-fired steam boiler with a "tankless" hot water heater. I built an Arduino-based board that connects in parallel to the thermostat wires at the furnace. It uses a MID400 AC optocoupler to detect when the thermostat is calling for heat (24VAC when not calling for heat, 0VAC when it is), and then sends that to a computer via an XBee ...


7

Wait a minute... that may be a very, very bad idea. sorry kacalapy. All I can see is messy carpet after that try. If this carpet is laid on concrete, then the tack strip is fastened with masonry nails, and if installed properly is chiseled over the edge. No way caulking is going to seal the gaps causing the air leaks. If your leaks are that bad, then do ...


7

As Tester mentions, new windows are the most cost and energy efficient in the long haul. However, the upfront cost is substantial, especially if you want to do a lot of windows. The concept is the same with all window coverings, add an additional layer of air between the primary window and the covering to slow down the transfer of heat. A single pane ...


7

A fridge motor is controlled by a thermostat - a device that reacts to temperature inside the fridge. So fridge motor starts/stops are completely agnostic to whether the fridge is level, the only practical consequence of fridge being non-level is extra noise. The most likely reason for fridge motor running too often are the following: loose gasket around ...


6

The basic rule: It takes a certain amount of work to move a certain amount of heat out of your fridge. You can do it now or later, but it's the same amount of work. So the first approximation says you save (or lose) nothing. Turning the motor on and off takes some energy, but it's pretty small compared to the actual cooling load. How quickly the fridge ...


6

While this won't specifically isolate your furnace from the rest of your energy usage, I'd recommend getting a Blue Line PowerCost Monitor (or the Black & Decker branded version, which is cheaper) their WiFi Gateway, and a free Microsoft Hohm account. Current Amazon links and prices: Black & Decker EM100B Energy Saver Series Power Monitor, $43.99 ...


6

At this point, it's not a DIY project. You need to consult an engineer or an architect/engineer that is used to these kind of building envelopes. A sealed envelope with an ERV needs to be designed and PROPERLY sealed, and the ERV capacity needs to be determined and designed by an engineer in order to meet building code and pass inspections. Note: I'm in TX ...


6

Before I remodeled my house to have vents and radiant barriers and lots of insulation, I did put a water misting system on my roof using PVC pipes and drip mist emitters. The mist emitter was helpful because it broke up the water into a fine mist and sent it into the air, giving me evaporative cooling before the water even touched the roof. Also I had some ...


5

Depending upon how interested you are, there are several home energy monitors on the market, some of which are DIY installs. The Blueline Powercost Monitor is a definite DIY install (for the most common meter types). It is a little box which interfaces with the meter (even the analog style), and monitors the usage in real time. It integrates with ...


5

I live in Michigan, so it get's pretty cold here, and I'm pretty happy with my tankless water heater. Might want to check out my answer to this question for some other pros/cons though.


5

A lot of utility providers will provide a basic home energy audit for free. If this is the case, it's a no-brainer. If they don't provide an actual audit, then they often provide statistics for what an average home should be consuming, so you can assess if you think you're using too much. Besides for that, you can check for drafts or cracks in windows ...


5

After a bit of research, (translated: "mad google skills") I found an article claiming that lowering the blower speed may increase efficiency. I'm not completely convinced on this, since the claim is made by a company that sells variable speed blowers for retrofitting HVAC systems. I would think adjusting the heating element would save more energy than ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible