# How well do you control your energy usage

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1. Oct 5, 2016

### wolram

Like is your house insulated to updated code, double glazed widows, cavity wall insulation, Do you control you energy usage

2. Oct 5, 2016

### Sophia

Yes, I live in an insulated building and have new plastic (vocab?) windows. There are regulators on radiators and we try not to heat more than necessary.

3. Oct 5, 2016

### Greg Bernhardt

Well I live in a 1922 house so there are many energy issues. I have done my best to seal cracks, update storm windows on original windows and set a reasonable heat temp in winter.

4. Oct 5, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

I monitor and control mine pretty well (because that's what I do!). Most of the building construction issues are taken care of by building codes, since my house isn't that old. But I did have an issue that my unfinished walk-out basement wasn't insulated, so I fixed that by finising and insulating it. That made a big difference.

I am constantly adjusting HVAC vents (registers) to push heat/AC only where it needs to go, which also makes a big difference. Little things like turning off an entertainment center at the wall outlet add up too. And I have a real-time energy monitor installed.

5. Oct 5, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Heh - that is the one thing I will not do: I'll conserve where reasonable, but I will not make any changes that impact my comfort. I'm willing to pay a little more to be comfortable in my own home!

6. Oct 5, 2016

### wolram

I agree one must be comfortable in ones own home, but would it be wise if one is feeling chilly to put a sweater on rather than crank up the air con .
I have noticed a shed load of new houses being built in my area, non have solar cells fitted, I would have thought that all new builds should be required to have them.
We have them and save about 20% on our electricity bill.

7. Oct 5, 2016

8. Oct 5, 2016

### mheslep

On the contrary, some US states have blocked or discontinued the Net Metering plans that oblige the utility to pay the customer retail rates for generated solar electricity. Hawaii was the first to stop NM. The large majority of the average electric bill goes to building and maintaining the infrastructure of the electric grid; only a small part goes to pay for the fuel used for actual generation. So substantially reducing the electric bill while remaining connected to the grid pushes the costs onto the neighbors.

9. Oct 6, 2016

### Dr Transport

I find it ironic that people cool their houses to $65^{\circ}$ in the summer and keep the heat on to almost $80^{\circ}$ in the winter and yes, I am accounting for the humidity difference.....

10. Oct 6, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

The bulk of energy use is for heating or cooling. During cold period the house uses natural gas heating, but I open blinds to use sunlight to heat the house, and allow inside to get cool at night ~ 60 F. During the hot summer, I'll set the AC, but as much as possible, open windows at night to allow the cool outside air to cool the house. During the day, I'll let the temperature get to 80 F inside, open windows when the outside temperature drops.

I'm looking at ways to shade the south side of the house, which gets direct sunlight and heat radiating from the driveway.

I've been able to reduce peak electrical consumption by about 50%. For about 8 or 12 months in the last year, I used less than 280 kWh/month, and for 6 of those 8 months used less than 240 kWh/mo. Electrical demand increased during July, August and September, due to outside temperatures > 90 F (32.2 C), with several days at or above 100 F (37.8 C).

11. Oct 7, 2016

### Rubidium_71

Switching to LED lights doesn't hurt.

12. Oct 7, 2016

### Greg Bernhardt

ah yes I've done that too. Pricey at first, but my electric bills are quite a bit lower even compared to CFL.

13. Oct 7, 2016

### Kevin McHugh

When 93 octane was well over $4/gal, I controlled my energy usage by not driving my 70 Chevelle with a 383 ci engine, 195 cc heads (runners), long duration cam with almost 0.5" lift, and a Holly 750cfm double pumper. 7 mpg around town, 10 mpg on the highway @ 60 mph. Now I just pour the fuel in, and run it rich My house is very energy efficient, my monthly electric bill running A/C all summer is about$100/mo.

14. Oct 7, 2016

### OCR

Well, I was skeptical at first... but, now I know... ..

15. Oct 8, 2016

### Kevin McHugh

Yeah, bored and stroked. Rotating assembly balance to within 0.5 g. Blue printed the engine myself.

16. Oct 8, 2016

### 2milehi

Split by hand with an ax or a maul. And we make a fire daily in the cold season (living at 9100 ft).

17. Oct 8, 2016

### OmCheeto

Did you consult with PF members before sealing cracks, and updating storm windows?
I haven't researched the "cracks" thing yet, but "storm windows" can be a waste of money, if you don't understand the physics behind them.

I talked my mother into installing storm windows, about 35 years ago.
I was very embarrassed when I discovered that my suggestion was, um, "Sorry about that. But these are nearly worthless."

18. Oct 8, 2016

### Greg Bernhardt

hmmm I have some old thin single pane windows facing west and north. Last windows there was noticeable drafts. I tried various weather striping, but it's a pain and looks terrible. Wouldn't adding storm windows reduce that and help protect the original windows?

19. Oct 9, 2016

### OmCheeto

Yes.
In looking over my notes from 1989, it would appear that all of my numbers were "theoretical".
Having looked at about 15 different websites this morning, it would appear that "empirical" numbers are quite a bit different.

In my defense, I will quote energy.gov; "Even though storm windows add little to the insulating performance of single-glazed windows (that are in good condition)"

And in your defense, I will finish their quote; "field studies have found that they can help reduce air movement into and out of existing windows. Therefore, they help reduce heating and cooling costs."

I guess this means, that I have to start doing window experiments now.

20. Oct 10, 2016

### OmCheeto

I've done all of that, with the exception of looking at insulation codes.
Which I've just done, and found the title somewhat odd: Additional Measures / Required Options
Isn't the phrase "Required Options" a bit oxymoronic?

Anyways, my house is definitely not up to code, nor do I think it ever will be. But the improvements, so far, have cut my costs in half.

I also don't quite have double glazed windows, as such improvements always seemed a bit labor and capital expensive.
So I opted for the lowest price option: Shrink wrapping! About $1.50 per window. On the windows which do not receive sunlight, the system lasts quite a while. On those that do receive sun, the double sided tape eventually gives up the ghost, due to the temperature. But, there's always duct tape, and then they're back to spec. My sister, a couple of years ago, talked me into building a solar thermal collector. I had vacillated over building one, for at least a decade, as I didn't really think it would work, precisely where I live, exactly when I needed it. It is sitting in my living room. But! About a week ago, I started a project, which I had designed in my head, about 10 years ago. (04-07-2007 11:09 AM, to be exact) Of course, as a pauper, my current incarnation little resembles the above drawing. If you throw out all the watery stuff, replace the "radiator and fan" with a garage sale "bathroom fan" ($6, new!), and the "plastic pipe" with "dryer exhaust hose", you will have a pretty good picture of what's going on.
So far, my numbers have been a bit "iffy", as the weather has turned a bit "Londony".
But I've been collecting said numbers since September 21st, and plan on collecting them until spring.

The other thing I tried this year, was reducing the temperature of my water heater, in the summer, to make bathing just tolerable.

summer setting​

It made no sense to me, to have that much thermal mass, just sitting there, at 125°F, just counteracting upon what I was trying to accomplish.

winter setting​

But, of course, in our latitudes, this time of year, 120°F kind of makes sense.

Last edited: Oct 10, 2016