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Thread: Energy efficiency

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Energy efficiency

    I'm trying to become more energy efficient. I'm a bit limited though, due to being in an apartment. Can't replace windows, improve insulation, get HE appliances, etc. So, I'm doing what I can.

    All of our light bulbs are CFL's. We replaced them on this past billing cycle, so I've yet to see what the change in cost was. Most of them are the 60 watt, except for about 5 that are 100 watt (2 in each bathroom, 2 lamps, and one in the laundry room). I've got both of the larger windows sealed off with the window plastic, and the living room has thick curtains over the door. The overall heat in the apartment is set at 60ish. I've been sleeping in the living room with a tiny little heater. It takes the edge off the cold, and has the added effect of making the thermostat think it's warmer then it is.

    My concern with the heater is that it may be drawing more energy than I suspect, so I guess we'll see. Our usage has normally been from 400-600, much lower then average. It jumped to 1044 for December. The bill, while still manageable, got my attention, and we went out and started trying to improve our electrical usage.

    Does anyone have any ideas about what else we could do? Our meter will get read again on the 20th, so I guess I'll see then what sort of impact it's had.

    What do you guys do?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Sweden
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    I have books about energy efficiency for private homes , in swedish tho. But there may be something in your library/amazon?
    I just mention this cause sometimes we overlook the obvious in the haste.

    http://www.amazon.com/Energy-Efficie.../dp/0965792676
    http://www.amazon.com/Homeowners-Han.../dp/1880120186

    ??
    Last edited by SacredNight; January 17th, 2011 at 08:42 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    546
    At walmart, kmart, homedepo, maybe even pharmacy you can get various supplies to help insulate the house. If you don't have 'doubble paned' windows it might be a good idea to either 1) line the edges with weather stripping or B) shrink wrap the windows.

    My dad and I just shrink-wrapped a leaky window at my grandma's house. It was easy, the box came with doubble sided tape, plastic was sized to the window, ya stick it, then shrink it with the hairdryer. You almost couldn't see it :P. If you have good windows though, might not help much? If you think your heat is the most energy, try your windows, or blocking the cracks under the doors etc, so the heat doesn't have to work as hard.

    Do you know anything about how your heater works? My mom-in-law's has a 'backup' that kicks in when it get's really cold. This might account for the jump.

    I'll keep thinkin'.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    244
    Quote Originally Posted by RoseKitten View Post
    I'm trying to become more energy efficient. I'm a bit limited though, due to being in an apartment. Can't replace windows, improve insulation, get HE appliances, etc. So, I'm doing what I can.

    All of our light bulbs are CFL's. We replaced them on this past billing cycle, so I've yet to see what the change in cost was. Most of them are the 60 watt, except for about 5 that are 100 watt (2 in each bathroom, 2 lamps, and one in the laundry room). I've got both of the larger windows sealed off with the window plastic, and the living room has thick curtains over the door. The overall heat in the apartment is set at 60ish. I've been sleeping in the living room with a tiny little heater. It takes the edge off the cold, and has the added effect of making the thermostat think it's warmer then it is.

    My concern with the heater is that it may be drawing more energy than I suspect, so I guess we'll see. Our usage has normally been from 400-600, much lower then average. It jumped to 1044 for December. The bill, while still manageable, got my attention, and we went out and started trying to improve our electrical usage.

    Does anyone have any ideas about what else we could do? Our meter will get read again on the 20th, so I guess I'll see then what sort of impact it's had.

    What do you guys do?
    For your windows, you could tape some of that plastic sheeting you can get at home improvement centres.
    Where your housecoat and slippers around the house more often.
    Only use one or 2 lights at a time.
    Limit your time in the shower or have baths instead.
    Ask the landlord for permission to culk around the window frames and door frames and fix any other cracks in the walls and corners.
    instead of turning on numerous stove burners at once, cook food mixed together in one pot. Or make a cassarole.

    other than that, you can't expect to get a bill reading 0. And careful when handling those energy save light bulbs, they contain mercury.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    St. Petersburg, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnydawn View Post
    Limit your time in the shower or have baths instead.
    Unless you use almost no water... a bath wastes at least twice as much water as a shower. It's something we learned when I was in elementary school living in the desert.



    other than that, you can't expect to get a bill reading 0.
    Erm... what? Where did I even suggest that I wanted a reading at zero?

    Also, as I mentioned in my OP, the windows are already covered. I do have to keep a minimum warmth to the apartment since I have a gecko. Her heat lamp only does so much, and it probably draws the most energy on a daily basis. <_<
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Arizona
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    I don't know how large your apt. is- which could make a difference.

    When I was living in colder weather (where it snows, etc) I used to use the oven to heat my apt instead of the heater. If I could double it up by cooking with it as well- two birds, one stone.

    I always plug things into surge protectors, and turn those off while not in use- that way no electricity is escaping while I'm gone. I would also double check if there are ways to insulate your fridge, or make sure that the lock on the fridge is tight.

    The only other things I've found that help is to use my lights and water as little as possible. Which can be hard or easy, depending on your lifestyle.

    -Devo
    dA | FB | LJ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    Wash cloths in cold water.

    The surge prtector idea from Devo is right on!! Fact is many of our electrical items like TV's dvd players, coffee pots even, dont shut off when we turn them off. They go into a standby mode meaning they are still using electricity and often its almost as much juice they use as when fully on! So always unplug or use a serge protector with a off switch to really shut off things when not in use. We saved 20 per month just by really shutting off things.

    Any little electrical heaters like you described are energy hogs, Dont use them!

    As for what we do, you couldn't do what we do as we own our place and live in the country. We started by ripping out the furnace and switch to a wood stove for heat since for us wood is free. We also are ripping walls apart to better insulate.
    And we are slowly replacing our appliances with HE's. We also dont use aircon in summer but we spend almost all our time outside in summer.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devo View Post
    When I was living in colder weather (where it snows, etc) I used to use the oven to heat my apt instead of the heater. If I could double it up by cooking with it as well- two birds, one stone.

    -Devo
    Using an oven to heat with is dangerous and foolish!!! Bad advice. Thermostats in ovens are not meant to regulate to heat a room! Its a fire hazard to do such a thing and can wreck the oven!
    If its a gas oven its even more dangerous!!! The gas regulator is not made for room heating! People have died from such ideas! Every year there is news of someone that died trying to heat their house with an oven!

    If cooking in your oven heated up the room enough to make a difference, your oven was shot and far from energy efficient and again bad thing. The oven needs new seals and is over working.

    Now if you have a stove thats actually designed for heating a room and cooking on, thats do-able. I only know of wood stoves that are designed for such use and again, you better know not only what a safe installation is, safe usage is a major issue as wood burning is dangerous if you don't know enough.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the advice.

    The only time I use my oven as a heat source, is once it's been turned off after use. It's going to cool off either way, may as well let the heat out into the apartment.
    Check out my shop for a variety of jewelry, salves, crafts, and more: www.divineessencecreations.com

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  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Arizona
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanti View Post
    Using an oven to heat with is dangerous and foolish!!! Bad advice. Thermostats in ovens are not meant to regulate to heat a room! Its a fire hazard to do such a thing and can wreck the oven!
    If its a gas oven its even more dangerous!!! The gas regulator is not made for room heating! People have died from such ideas! Every year there is news of someone that died trying to heat their house with an oven!

    If cooking in your oven heated up the room enough to make a difference, your oven was shot and far from energy efficient and again bad thing. The oven needs new seals and is over working.

    Now if you have a stove thats actually designed for heating a room and cooking on, thats do-able. I only know of wood stoves that are designed for such use and again, you better know not only what a safe installation is, safe usage is a major issue as wood burning is dangerous if you don't know enough.
    I've never use a gas stove/oven for that. Definitely wouldn't. All of the times I've done it, my house was tiny, and seemed to help. I got the idea from my grandmother, who has been doing it for years. Perhaps it's a bad idea, but it has always worked for me. Most of the ovens I've had were crappy apt. ovens, and perhaps were on their last legs. I personally feel that an oven can heat a house while cooking (in AZ in the summer, we never use the oven- because it makes the house warm). So I guess it's a case of YMMV.

    -Devo
    dA | FB | LJ

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