Author Topic: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?  (Read 32613 times)

Kaspian

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2014, 01:12:02 PM »
...Many CFL's die prematurely because of that. If you have CFL's die in areas where you flip them on and off frequently, consider LED's simply to extend their lifespan, maybe breaking even.. You also get the instant on benefit, and no mercury. (I used up my collection of CLF bulbs before going to LED's- we still have a couple CFL's in use)

I've been using CFLs for about three years (I guess?) and still haven't had one die on me.  (Except for that one which rolled off the counter onto the tile floor.)  According to FAQs on them a CFL running 5 hours per day should last 4-8 years.  I never run any one bulb anywhere near that many hours, but I'm just wondering--have you been using them even longer?  (I know they seemed to be commonly available in the USA before they hit Canada.)  Is it possible there are some weird power grid fluctuations in your area?

Yeah, I still don't like the mecury thing.  But fiinding out there's less mecury in a CFL than in a can of tunafish made it easier to overlook.  Yeah, I've met parents who feed their kids tuna, have no problem sticking grandma's old thermometer (contain 100 times more mecury) in a kid's mouth or bum, but are scared of CFLs.

Scandium

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #51 on: October 10, 2014, 01:20:49 PM »
Power Saving ideas:
- LED light bulbs everywhere.
- Electric kettle for boiling water. Using the stovetop is 2nd, and microWAVE is least efficient way to boil water.
- Pre-boil water for cooking (rice, pasta, etc) in the electric kettle.
- Smart Strips for PC's, and TV's.  I used a Kill-A-Watt on the entertainment devices (Blu-Ray player, XBox, and TV) and discovered my TV uses the least power (when off), so I put all 3 on a smart-power-strip.  Now the Blu-Ray player, and XBox can only be turned on once the TV has been switched on.
I'm still not totally sold on LEDs. I'm at least not going to switch out perfectly functional CFLs for new LEDs. Even new ones I'm not sure about untill they come down in price. I have bought a few for our most used lights.

For most of my lights I'd use ~10W less by switching (20ish W to 10-13W). If I've done my math right it's about $1/year per 1 W if it's on 24/7. But our lights are only on a few hours in the morning and evening, and only in the room we're in. So buying $9 LEDs (vs $1 CFLs) to save maybe $1/year? Not adding up.

My main issue with them (for now... ) is that the non-standard shapes and sizes of LEDs are still pretty expensive.   And finding name brands to get that expected 30 year life: they're even more so.   I will buy in when they come down a little more... and I'm pretty sure there will be a cliff where they all come down to roughly the current price of a normal A type bulb.
ohyes. One of our bedroom fan/lights has those smaller sockets. The only philips LEDs I saw were $22 each, and I'd need four!

The standard 60 W Crees I've seen down to $6 now though, so I'll probably pick up some next time I need a new standard bulb somewhere. But I'm doing this as I go along, not changing out every bulb just because. I've had a couple CFLs burn out on me, mostly in bathrooms I think. It's probably right that the ones we cycle more die first, so I'll consider putting LEDs there if I have to change

Spork

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #52 on: October 10, 2014, 03:41:03 PM »
Power Saving ideas:
- LED light bulbs everywhere.
- Electric kettle for boiling water. Using the stovetop is 2nd, and microWAVE is least efficient way to boil water.
- Pre-boil water for cooking (rice, pasta, etc) in the electric kettle.
- Smart Strips for PC's, and TV's.  I used a Kill-A-Watt on the entertainment devices (Blu-Ray player, XBox, and TV) and discovered my TV uses the least power (when off), so I put all 3 on a smart-power-strip.  Now the Blu-Ray player, and XBox can only be turned on once the TV has been switched on.
I'm still not totally sold on LEDs. I'm at least not going to switch out perfectly functional CFLs for new LEDs. Even new ones I'm not sure about untill they come down in price. I have bought a few for our most used lights.

For most of my lights I'd use ~10W less by switching (20ish W to 10-13W). If I've done my math right it's about $1/year per 1 W if it's on 24/7. But our lights are only on a few hours in the morning and evening, and only in the room we're in. So buying $9 LEDs (vs $1 CFLs) to save maybe $1/year? Not adding up.

My main issue with them (for now... ) is that the non-standard shapes and sizes of LEDs are still pretty expensive.   And finding name brands to get that expected 30 year life: they're even more so.   I will buy in when they come down a little more... and I'm pretty sure there will be a cliff where they all come down to roughly the current price of a normal A type bulb.
ohyes. One of our bedroom fan/lights has those smaller sockets. The only philips LEDs I saw were $22 each, and I'd need four!

The standard 60 W Crees I've seen down to $6 now though, so I'll probably pick up some next time I need a new standard bulb somewhere. But I'm doing this as I go along, not changing out every bulb just because. I've had a couple CFLs burn out on me, mostly in bathrooms I think. It's probably right that the ones we cycle more die first, so I'll consider putting LEDs there if I have to change

Most of ours are recessed cans.  I've seen them range from $22ish to about $35, depending on brand.

falcondisruptor

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2014, 05:41:02 PM »
We recently found out we were power hogs and and been cutting back.

We lowered our electric water heater from 140 degrees to 125 degrees.
Unplugged our xbox 360 and ps3
Put the tv/computer combo on a power bar (so we don't just turn it on mindlessly)
Moved the TV upstairs, downstairs has halogen lights.
Obviously turned off lights when not using them.
Bought a drying rack to dry clothes inside.
Turned switched dishwasher to regular cycle no heat dry
Do the dishes and laundry at night (time of use billing)
Turned off the furnace fan that had been running continuously.
Unplug phone chargers and such when not in use.
Unplugged the central vac and air purifyer systems we never use.
Turned off AC

I can't wait until we get our next bill to see our lower usage!  I know I won't be crazy low like some people here, but we had a high of 38 kwh/day last year and I was happy to be at 20 kwh when I found out that that's still pretty high.  Can't wait to find our new number.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2014, 11:08:42 PM »
oh yes. One of our bedroom fan/lights has those smaller sockets. The only philips LEDs I saw were $22 each, and I'd need four!

Lowes carries a brand called OSRAM which I picked up a few 40-Watt replacement bulbs for $9 each at the start of July this year.  They are rated at 6-watts of power draw although my Kill-A-Watt showed draw actually at more like 4 watts, although I can't vouch for how perfectly accurate it is at such light power draw.  I suppose there's worse problems to have than your lightbulbs drawing so little power that you're having trouble measuring the power draw accurately!  At any rate, they are performing beyond my expectations so far.  I would say they are brighter than any of my CFL's that say they are 40 watt replacements, and probably halfway between CFL's rated for 40 and those rated for 60 watt replacement, in spite of the LED only being rated for 450 lumens.

I think at this point I don't see the need to ever buy CFL's again.  The LEDs like this latest crop have sufficient brightness, low power draw, and low enough cost relative to their lifespan that they are (finally) superior to CFLs.

justajane

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #55 on: October 11, 2014, 06:44:20 AM »
Turned off the furnace fan that had been running continuously.

Eureka! This is precisely why I started this thread, because I knew people would bring up to the rest of us things that we had never thought of. Thanks!

We have a "high efficiency" furnace with a fan that runs all year long. The original installer said this would be good for our air flow in the home, but now I'm wondering if it is an energy hog.

Have you noticed anything different about the way your home feels, since you have turned it off?

wwweb

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #56 on: October 11, 2014, 07:12:35 AM »
In our case, the low hanging fruit is to replace it, but it would take four years to make back the cost of a $500 fridge. I'm hoping for it to conk out on its own and force the issue.

Other forum members have pretty well covered electricity savings.  I just wanted to go through the math on fridge replacement. 

If you buy a $500 fridge which saves you $125 per year in electricity costs then...
After 4 years you've recovered the cost of the fridge
After 13 years (average fridge life), you've recovered the cost of the fridge and saved an additional $1125 which you can invest.

If you use the $500 to buy a bond returning 4% you will have $841 after 13 years.

In either case, you'll likely have to replace a fridge at the 13 year mark.

Just looking at the numbers, I'd replace the old fridge immediately.



Sid Hoffman

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #57 on: October 11, 2014, 10:32:24 AM »
On the topic of refrigerators, I've actually not yet had a power hog one, and my first fridge was a side-by-side that came with my house in 2000.  I'm guessing it was maybe 5 years old when I purchased the home.  I used a Kill-A-Watt and left it plugged in for several days of regular usage.  It worked out to about 2.4Kw/h per day.  Three years ago I purchased a slightly larger, but brand new bottom freezer unit that Consumer Reports listed as a most efficient model.  It used almost exactly the same amount of power when measured over a period of several days.  Now I'm in a rental home with an old side-by-side again and the fridge is likewise almost exactly the same: right around 2.4Kw/h per day when averaged over several days of regular usage.

I'd suggest measuring the usage of your current fridge over the course of several days to know what you're starting with and not assuming a new fridge will be much better than 2.4Kw/h per day.  As was mentioned, if you're only saving a couple hundred watt-hours a day, you'd potentially never make up the difference in cost of replacement, barring any other factors, such as the old fridge being broken and having a $500 repair estimate or something like that.

falcondisruptor

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #58 on: October 11, 2014, 10:43:21 AM »
Turned off the furnace fan that had been running continuously.

Eureka! This is precisely why I started this thread, because I knew people would bring up to the rest of us things that we had never thought of. Thanks!

We have a "high efficiency" furnace with a fan that runs all year long. The original installer said this would be good for our air flow in the home, but now I'm wondering if it is an energy hog.

Have you noticed anything different about the way your home feels, since you have turned it off?

Yup.  Dampness.  Especially in the basement.

But we didn't do A/C this summer, it's been a wet fall, we haven't installed our new shower fan, and we started hanging our laundry to dry inside.  So, there are a lot of factors at play and we're still working everything out.

Now that it's October, I turned on the furnace.  It's only come on once or twice so far but when it has I've noticed that it hasn't seemed nearly as moist. 

So I think for us occassional use when needed is a good idea, but always on is a waste.

Guses

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2014, 02:41:53 PM »
In our case, the low hanging fruit is to replace it, but it would take four years to make back the cost of a $500 fridge. I'm hoping for it to conk out on its own and force the issue.

Other forum members have pretty well covered electricity savings.  I just wanted to go through the math on fridge replacement. 

If you buy a $500 fridge which saves you $125 per year in electricity costs then...
After 4 years you've recovered the cost of the fridge
After 13 years (average fridge life), you've recovered the cost of the fridge and saved an additional $1125 which you can invest.

If you use the $500 to buy a bond returning 4% you will have $841 after 13 years.

In either case, you'll likely have to replace a fridge at the 13 year mark.

Just looking at the numbers, I'd replace the old fridge immediately.

In the US, the average rate per KWh is 0.13 $.

In order for a fridge to save you 125$ per year in electricity, it would mean that the new fridge would consume 961 kwh less than the old fridge.

That is technically possible but probably a bit optimistic.


An unrelated question that I have is whether it would save money to buy a cheaper electric hot water heater vs the better insulated one if you insulate the cheaper one yourself?

250$ HWH + 20$ insulation material vs 500$ energy star HWH



DarinC

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #60 on: October 11, 2014, 02:54:00 PM »

hwstar

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2014, 02:58:53 PM »
What everyone overlooks are "Wall warts" These are  Death by a Thousand Cuts. They are supplied with all of your gadgets, and sit there getting warm dissipating anywhere from 1-10 watts each, even when the device they are powering is off. The gadget manufacturer has no interest in making wall warts energy efficient; it just drives up their costs.  Even though there are standards for Standby power consumption, they are not mandated.

Wall warts come in 3 flavors. AC (transformer only), linear DC (regulated and unregulated), and regulated switching DC. The first two use iron core transformers at mains frequency (50 or 60 Hz). The ones with iron core transformers are built with as little iron as possible as it is metal and expensive. In these types, the iron core slightly saturates, and this is why they feel warm to the touch. The switching types are better at conserving energy, but again making them more efficient drives up the cost.

My advice is to put all wall warts on a power strip, or if you are technically inclined replace the switching types with CEC-certified equivalants or level -V equivalents. Make sure you match current, voltage and jack polarity. Make sure any replacement wall wart has got the safety marks for your region of the planet (e.g. UL,CSA, TUV, or VDE). Cheap adapters without these marks could cause a fire or be s shock hazard, or cause radio frequency interference.


PabloHoney

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #62 on: October 11, 2014, 04:37:34 PM »
The thing in our house that uses the most electricity, is the GAS clothes dryer. I setup a clothesline outside, and asked my wife to use it as often as possible.

LOL!
What's funny about that? I think it's smart to use a clothesline instead of a dryer. It drops our electric bill $30 a month.

I think (just guessing here but it was my thought as well when I read your post) that if you want the clothesline used instead of the dryer, maybe you should use it?  It may be that you DO use it but I think that it could come off as a bit sexist/old fashioned to say that your wife should use it.

I work 48 hours a week, (12 hour shifts) and my wife works 25 hours a week, 5 hours a day at a job that pays barely over minimum wage and refuses to get any sort of training or education to do better. I don't do house work as that's her job. Yes I'm old fashioned and I'm going to stay that way. We've been married 33 years, and that's the way both of us prefer it.

Whatever works for you and your spouse is none of my business, so if that is the way you two have decided is best, who am I to judge?  Anyway, I was just trying to let you know why someone may have LOL'd at your comment.  I think I was right as they did highlight the part about asking the wife to use the clothesline.


I was amazed by how much dryer balls cut down drying time, believe it or not.  Combine that with a clothesline when possible and you're golden.
http://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-6754-3655-Dryer-Balls-Set/dp/B007Y2TBI4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413066995&sr=8-2&keywords=dryer+balls

Spork

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #63 on: October 11, 2014, 07:53:09 PM »
Most of ours are recessed cans.  I've seen them range from $22ish to about $35, depending on brand.
There are some for $15 at hd.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/TCP-65W-Equivalent-Soft-White-2700K-6-in-Dimmable-LED-Retrofit-Downlight-RL12DR6527K/204664711?AID=10368321&PID=361116&SID=ebs2d326372d8816d1413060707949sbe&sourceName=detailpage

Occasionally I'll see them around $10.

Wow... thanks for that.... looks to be sold out online, but I will check the stores.  I don't know that brand (and I've been burned before by the cheaper brands).  But at $15, I could do one room as an experiment.

falcondisruptor

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #64 on: October 12, 2014, 01:03:15 PM »
I was amazed by how much dryer balls cut down drying time, believe it or not.  Combine that with a clothesline when possible and you're golden.
http://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-6754-3655-Dryer-Balls-Set/dp/B007Y2TBI4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413066995&sr=8-2&keywords=dryer+balls

When I tried dryer balls I noticed that our clothes seemed to wear out faster.  Have you noticed anything like this?

Goldielocks

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #65 on: October 12, 2014, 02:26:02 PM »
Turned off the furnace fan that had been running continuously.

Eureka! This is precisely why I started this thread, because I knew people would bring up to the rest of us things that we had never thought of. Thanks!

We have a "high efficiency" furnace with a fan that runs all year long. The original installer said this would be good for our air flow in the home, but now I'm wondering if it is an energy hog.

Have you noticed anything different about the way your home feels, since you have turned it off?
We live in a very moist climate now, and I notice that the basement is a bit mustier.  I will put a tiny circulation fan in there this fall / winter.  In summer, without the fan we don't get as much cooling from the basement in the house, but that's OK.

 The Direct Current (on / off only) fan at our old home was using $45 of electricity per month.  Variable fans, as most high efficiency furnance have,  are a lot better for efficiency. 

happy

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #66 on: October 13, 2014, 06:02:09 AM »
My electric kettle pulled tons of power. The "instant" nature also created a bad habit of heating the water, then getting distracted and not making the tea, then just hitting the button again.
I now use an old fashioned whistling kettle on the gas stove. Its slower, and I never waste a boiled kettle. gas is cheaper than electricity where I am, but I don't have a direct costing. The gas bill didn't noticeably increase when I swapped over.

Also turn off and unplug the teenagers, those critters just eat up the power.

catccc

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #67 on: October 13, 2014, 08:07:08 AM »
Unless they are being used, the following are unplugged in our home- microwave, television (and auxillary devices), toaster.  So what stays plugged in- alarm clocks, stove, fridge, washing machine and dryer, lights.

And we have other things on outlet timers- wifi router & box.

I'm not really sure what this actually saves but I like to think it is doing something.  But the wifi on a timer helps me get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Jules13

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #68 on: October 13, 2014, 08:17:13 AM »
I have been wanting to do this in my house.  Our electricity usage/bill is nuts.  Can someone recommend a good kill a watt meter?  There are several on Amazon.  My instinct would be to go with the cheapest one/good reviews.  Recs?  Thanks.

quelinda

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #69 on: October 13, 2014, 08:25:09 AM »
If you have a dehumidifier, use the bucket vs. the constant drain method.  Minus the South in summer, let the humidity build for 1-2 days, then run the unit until the bucket is full.

We purchased a new dehumidifier this year (50 pint) with an energy star rating but with the %RH set at 60, it was still using  6-8 kW's per day.  This is in Wisconsin during a quite nice (not hot or muggy) summer.

I ended up going on to a "time-of-use" plan. I pay like 28 cents/KWH from 7AM to 7PM M-F. But I pay <6 Cents/KWH at all other times. I set up the dehumidifier to constant drain, but then put it on a timer so it only runs during the off-peak hours. Seems to work out well enough!

I live in the Milwaukee area too, also have the "time-of-use" plan and do the same thing with our dehumidifier (except that we still have a bucket and empty it manually every morning). We also only do laundry and run the dishwasher during off peak times.

quelinda

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #70 on: October 13, 2014, 08:26:36 AM »
Unless they are being used, the following are unplugged in our home- microwave, television (and auxillary devices), toaster.  So what stays plugged in- alarm clocks, stove, fridge, washing machine and dryer, lights.

I've always thought that things with "regular" plugs like toasters don't pull electricity when they're not in use. Am I wrong?

Goldielocks

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #71 on: October 13, 2014, 09:25:51 AM »
Unless they are being used, the following are unplugged in our home- microwave, television (and auxillary devices), toaster.  So what stays plugged in- alarm clocks, stove, fridge, washing machine and dryer, lights.

I've always thought that things with "regular" plugs like toasters don't pull electricity when they're not in use. Am I wrong?
Most plugged appliances are drawing power, even toasters and such.  Usually very little, but there are the occasional surprises.  Then there are modern appliances with clock displays and standby features that pull quite a bit when off.

Here is a pretty good article describing phantom energy, with a nice comparative example of typical items and their annual cost, at the bottom.

Note that the electricity cost is less than 8 cents per kWh, plus taxes and variable fees, to arriv at close to 11 cents per kWh all in.  Even so, one family is spending $260 per year on power for devices that are turned off.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/phantom-power-leaving-electronic-devices-on-standby-will-drain-your-finances-1.944814

BlueMR2

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #72 on: October 13, 2014, 09:58:01 AM »
And we have other things on outlet timers- wifi router & box.

I'm not really sure what this actually saves but I like to think it is doing something.  But the wifi on a timer helps me get to bed at a reasonable hour.

I've noted that those timers can be pretty warm.  I'd check the power consumption on the timer itself.  It might not be a savings to do it that way.

We put our networking gear on a power strip with a physical switch, so we can cut the power completely when not in use.

TomTX

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #73 on: October 13, 2014, 10:19:48 AM »
So, we have a compromise on the dryer, as our washer leaves serious wrinkles due to drum speed. Shirts and pants get tumbled on low with dryer balls for up to 5 minutes to remove wrinkles,  then hung to dry. This works well enough that we don't iron the martial arts uniforms anymore, except for a special event (such as belt testing about every 3 months.)

Sid Hoffman

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #74 on: October 13, 2014, 10:23:35 AM »
I have been wanting to do this in my house.  Our electricity usage/bill is nuts.  Can someone recommend a good kill a watt meter?  There are several on Amazon.  My instinct would be to go with the cheapest one/good reviews.  Recs?  Thanks.

Energy usage is very different between different climate zones and with regards to what the energy users are.  For example many could look at my energy usage and say it's high, but I don't have natural gas for stove/water heating and don't have gas/oil for winter heating either.  I see a lot of people talking about how low their electric usage is, but then they live in a cool climate and have gas/oil for water & home heating.  Energy usage is very much an "it depends" situation.

As for meters, I've been using the original Kill-A-Watt since 2002 or something and like it.  I do see some alternatives on Amazon around $16-17, although I have only used the P3 International one linked above.

justajane

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #75 on: October 13, 2014, 10:28:44 AM »
So, we have a compromise on the dryer, as our washer leaves serious wrinkles due to drum speed. Shirts and pants get tumbled on low with dryer balls for up to 5 minutes to remove wrinkles,  then hung to dry. This works well enough that we don't iron the martial arts uniforms anymore, except for a special event (such as belt testing about every 3 months.)

We don't line dry everything, just shirts, kid PJs, baby clothes and a couple of other things. This still reduces how much drying we have to do. Plus clothes last longer when they are hung up. With many of our heavy pants, I pull them out before they are dry and hang them up. I hate to run the dryer an extra 15-20 just because a pair of jeans haven't dried yet.

But towels and sheets? Underwear and socks? We definitely dry those, especially in the winter. I don't think clothes dryer versus line has to be an all or nothing proposition. 

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #76 on: October 13, 2014, 10:30:20 AM »
I notice lots of people discussing zombie loads from wall warts. I've always been surprised that from a total energy use of a family, idling a car for 1 minute uses FAR more energy than unplugging ALL of your wall warts for a full day. Granted it is kinda is apples to oranges with gasoline vs electricity but in terms of watts of energy you use, don't idle your car.

deborah

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #77 on: October 13, 2014, 01:46:26 PM »
I have been having a great time following this discussion, but at the moment I am a bit lost by the terms used. From googling, I assume that "wall warts" are AC/DC adapters. What are zombie loads? And am I right in thinking that US power points don't have a switch on them (ours do) - so you need to have a powerboard to be able to switch things off while leaving them plugged in?

CrazyinVA

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #78 on: October 13, 2014, 02:45:52 PM »
I have been wanting to do this in my house.  Our electricity usage/bill is nuts.  Can someone recommend a good kill a watt meter?  There are several on Amazon.  My instinct would be to go with the cheapest one/good reviews.  Recs?  Thanks.

First check your library or local energy programs, I was surprised to find out my library checks them out like library books!

bacchi

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #79 on: October 13, 2014, 03:01:45 PM »
What are zombie loads? And am I right in thinking that US power points don't have a switch on them (ours do) - so you need to have a powerboard to be able to switch things off while leaving them plugged in?

A zombie load is when you think something is off but...it's still ON! :o It's common for TVs and stereos to draw power even when turned "off." Sometimes they're waiting for the remote signal and sometimes they're just not well made.

Correct, US plugs don't have switches. We need power strips, which I assume is a "powerboard," to actually leave something plugged in but cut the circuit.

dorothyc

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #80 on: October 13, 2014, 03:06:08 PM »
I have been having a great time following this discussion, but at the moment I am a bit lost by the terms used. From googling, I assume that "wall warts" are AC/DC adapters. What are zombie loads? And am I right in thinking that US power points don't have a switch on them (ours do) - so you need to have a powerboard to be able to switch things off while leaving them plugged in?

That's correct about US power sockets - they look like this : http://cdn.innovativelanguage.com/wordlists/media/thumb/3517_fit512.jpg

Some houses have a wall switch to control some of the outlets, for plugging floor lamps in, but most don't. Zombie load is the power draw that items on standby consume.

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #81 on: October 13, 2014, 03:08:06 PM »
I have been wanting to do this in my house.  Our electricity usage/bill is nuts.  Can someone recommend a good kill a watt meter?  There are several on Amazon.  My instinct would be to go with the cheapest one/good reviews.  Recs?  Thanks.

The model I have is the cheapest... about $20.  It works for any US 120volt/15amp or less outlet.  If you need to go bigger than that (i.e, 240volt), you'll probably have to get a clamp on ammeter.

dragoncar

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #82 on: October 13, 2014, 03:45:51 PM »
I was amazed by how much dryer balls cut down drying time, believe it or not.  Combine that with a clothesline when possible and you're golden.
http://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-6754-3655-Dryer-Balls-Set/dp/B007Y2TBI4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413066995&sr=8-2&keywords=dryer+balls

When I tried dryer balls I noticed that our clothes seemed to wear out faster.  Have you noticed anything like this?

Depending on the responses here, I'm getting these:



Unless they are being used, the following are unplugged in our home- microwave, television (and auxillary devices), toaster.  So what stays plugged in- alarm clocks, stove, fridge, washing machine and dryer, lights.

I've always thought that things with "regular" plugs like toasters don't pull electricity when they're not in use. Am I wrong?
Most plugged appliances are drawing power, even toasters and such. 

I really doubt the toaster, unless it's some fancy push-button model.

Was recently trying to decide if I should remove my motion sensor light switches, since I've heard they draw about 1 Watt (optimistically)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 03:48:14 PM by dragoncar »

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #83 on: October 13, 2014, 04:48:20 PM »
Was recently trying to decide if I should remove my motion sensor light switches, since I've heard they draw about 1 Watt (optimistically)

Why bother? If they draw about 1 watt, its going to take 40 days for them to use 1 KWh. Average electricity cost around the US is $0.13/KWh. So each of these sensors will use about $1.15/year in electricity. Use your electric clothes dryer for two hours less per year and you'll save more energy.


dragoncar

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #84 on: October 13, 2014, 05:04:20 PM »
Was recently trying to decide if I should remove my motion sensor light switches, since I've heard they draw about 1 Watt (optimistically)

Why bother? If they draw about 1 watt, its going to take 40 days for them to use 1 KWh. Average electricity cost around the US is $0.13/KWh. So each of these sensors will use about $1.15/year in electricity. Use your electric clothes dryer for two hours less per year and you'll save more energy.

Well I don't really know how much they use.  Could be a lot higher.  Plus, who has $1.15 just lying around?

PabloHoney

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #85 on: October 17, 2014, 11:46:54 AM »
I was amazed by how much dryer balls cut down drying time, believe it or not.  Combine that with a clothesline when possible and you're golden.
http://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-6754-3655-Dryer-Balls-Set/dp/B007Y2TBI4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413066995&sr=8-2&keywords=dryer+balls

When I tried dryer balls I noticed that our clothes seemed to wear out faster.  Have you noticed anything like this?

Depending on the responses here, I'm getting these:



Unless they are being used, the following are unplugged in our home- microwave, television (and auxillary devices), toaster.  So what stays plugged in- alarm clocks, stove, fridge, washing machine and dryer, lights.

I've always thought that things with "regular" plugs like toasters don't pull electricity when they're not in use. Am I wrong?
Most plugged appliances are drawing power, even toasters and such. 

I really doubt the toaster, unless it's some fancy push-button model.

Was recently trying to decide if I should remove my motion sensor light switches, since I've heard they draw about 1 Watt (optimistically)

Look at those cute little hedgehogs!  I, myself, haven't had a problem with clothes wearing out due to dryer balls.

colganc

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #86 on: October 17, 2014, 12:56:53 PM »
Last year I worked on reducing my electric bill. Cut usage by one third and got it down to 200kwh per month average.  Located in Portland OR.  This year I purchased n electric car (had to replace previous vehicle due to accident) and then purchased a PV system to cover my electric needs including the car.  I estimate I am up to 300kwh per month average again and now as long as I stay within my PV system I am paying around .02 per kWh for the next 20 years.

Looking for added insulation and other passive methods for keeping my home inside a comfortable band.

deborah

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #87 on: October 17, 2014, 01:25:36 PM »
Last year I worked on reducing my electric bill. Cut usage by one third and got it down to 200kwh per month average.  Located in Portland OR.  This year I purchased n electric car (had to replace previous vehicle due to accident) and then purchased a PV system to cover my electric needs including the car.  I estimate I am up to 300kwh per month average again and now as long as I stay within my PV system I am paying around .02 per kWh for the next 20 years.

Looking for added insulation and other passive methods for keeping my home inside a comfortable band.
What did you do last year?

colganc

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #88 on: October 17, 2014, 01:48:00 PM »
Last year I worked on reducing my electric bill. Cut usage by one third and got it down to 200kwh per month average.  Located in Portland OR.  This year I purchased n electric car (had to replace previous vehicle due to accident) and then purchased a PV system to cover my electric needs including the car.  I estimate I am up to 300kwh per month average again and now as long as I stay within my PV system I am paying around .02 per kWh for the next 20 years.

Looking for added insulation and other passive methods for keeping my home inside a comfortable band.
What did you do last year?

Right that would have been smart to include, sorry.  Purchased a kill-a-watt and systemically went through my house.  Unplugged my gaming system that still took 20w when in "sleep mode".  Stayed in bed to watch movies instead of using the large flat screen.  Put my laptop in my closet and stuck to using a smaller tablet.  Swapped all possible bulbs to LED.  I have a few CFL T5 circular bulbs in rooms left.  They only pull 20w each and are infrequently used, no big loss there.  Measured my total drain per day when I'm away from the house and no heating or cooling being used is at 2kwh per day.  About 1kwh per day due to my fridge (doesn't seem to fluctuate much when I use it).  Rest was due to always on internet "modem" and router and something else I still haven't identified (500watt hours per day unknown).  Watched electrical use day to day to understand the impact of my dishwasher and clothes washer/dryer.  The dishwasher electric use halved or so (may not be remembering this correctly) once I turned off heated drying and played with my hot water heater (it runs on gas).  Tuning my hot weater heater reduced the pre-heating my dishwasher did and made for less time waiting for heat when showering etc.  The washer is a front loader and I started loading it with more clothes to reduce the amount of water per clothing item, thus reducing the amount of drying needed.  The increase in load size also reduced the number of times I need to run it.  The dryer is now my largest user (besides the car) and it takes up 1/3rd to 1/4th of my total usage each month (again ex-car).  Ex-car I am now in the 4kwh arena when I don't run laundry and 10-15kwh on a day where I do.  Laundry is run every 4 days.  The car is still new.  I projected a 75kwh usage rate per month, but currently I'm running around 100kwh due to it.  I expect that to go down as I bike in the summer and the novelty of the electric car wears off.  My 4kwh system should deliver about 4mwh per year so even with the extra due to the car, I should be fine even with degradation over the 20 years with the system.  Pay back is expected on the solar system within 5 years (not accounting for savings in gas vs electricity and only for the electric use due to the car).

deborah

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #89 on: October 17, 2014, 02:18:33 PM »
My 4kwh system should deliver about 4mwh per year so even with the extra due to the car, I should be fine even with degradation over the 20 years with the system.  Pay back is expected on the solar system within 5 years (not accounting for savings in gas vs electricity and only for the electric use due to the car).
Thanks for that! Are you charged net usage or actual usage for your electricity now? Most providers here charge actual, so if you were to charge the car at night, you would be charged for that usage - or do you have batteries with your PV system?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 01:23:43 AM by deborah »

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #90 on: October 17, 2014, 02:28:19 PM »
We have a gas stove, gas water heater and gas furnace.

You are on the correct path with the kill-a-watt.  However, big changes can be made without one too.  We did 2 things:
- Changed our light bulbs to a mix of CFL/LED - The power company gave them to us for free!
- My wife line dries everything (dryer is electric)

Our average use for a family of 7 is now half of what it was.   For example, 268kwh this September vs. 587kwh last September.  This is before changes from kill-o-watt.

Now, our neighbors just sold us a refrigerator that should run < 50% of the previous, so I think our usage, which is currently 8kwh/day will go down.  I would run your kill-o-watt on the fridge, my estimation was that we could save up to $80/yr. this made purchasing a new one harder to justify.  We had better things, insulation in attic, to do first with our money, and then luckily this fridge fell in our laps.  Check Craigslist, try used.

Surprises?  Garage door opener that pulls 10w constantly (not when operating).  Coffee pot and microwave.

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #91 on: October 17, 2014, 02:46:42 PM »
I just got my electric bill today (150 kWh at .10 cents/kWh - $15 plus some fees and taxes - for the month single person plus sister here on weekends) and there was something called a "Calif Climate Credit" for a $40 credit on it. Don't know what that is but like it. Computer is biggest electric use and it's often unused and unplugged. Pretty much unplug everything that's not in use, and don't use much lighting.

 Natural gas bill was 14 therms and also around $15 for the month. Gas is for heating (which I don't need or use often) cooking, water heater, and gas dryer.

colganc

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #92 on: October 17, 2014, 11:35:24 PM »
My 4kwh system should deliver about 4mwh per year so even with the extra due to the car, I should be fine even with degradation over the 20 years with the system.  Pay back is expected on the solar system within 5 years (not accounting for savings in gas vs electricity and only for the electric use due to the car).
Thanks for that? Are you charged net usage or actual usage for your electricity now? Most providers here charge actual, so if you were to charge the car at night, you would be charged for that usage - or do you have batteries with your PV system?

I'm on a net metering plan.  If I make 100kwh more than I use in a summer month, I receive credits that can be applied during the winter.  The credits can be banked over a 12 month period.  No batteries on my PV system.  With my relatively quick payback and net metering plan, I get to use the grid as a battery.  Eventually the plans could change and I may be forced off the net metering plan, but I don't believe that will happen in the next five years.

deborah

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #93 on: October 18, 2014, 01:27:29 AM »
My 4kwh system should deliver about 4mwh per year so even with the extra due to the car, I should be fine even with degradation over the 20 years with the system.  Pay back is expected on the solar system within 5 years (not accounting for savings in gas vs electricity and only for the electric use due to the car).
Thanks for that! Are you charged net usage or actual usage for your electricity now? Most providers here charge actual, so if you were to charge the car at night, you would be charged for that usage - or do you have batteries with your PV system?

I'm on a net metering plan.  If I make 100kwh more than I use in a summer month, I receive credits that can be applied during the winter.  The credits can be banked over a 12 month period.  No batteries on my PV system.  With my relatively quick payback and net metering plan, I get to use the grid as a battery.  Eventually the plans could change and I may be forced off the net metering plan, but I don't believe that will happen in the next five years.
That's a really good deal! Even the people here who got net deals (a few years ago) just get it settled monthly, so there is no credit banking.

BlueMR2

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #94 on: October 18, 2014, 11:13:42 AM »
I notice lots of people discussing zombie loads from wall warts. I've always been surprised that from a total energy use of a family, idling a car for 1 minute uses FAR more energy than unplugging ALL of your wall warts for a full day. Granted it is kinda is apples to oranges with gasoline vs electricity but in terms of watts of energy you use, don't idle your car.

Gasoline really is an excellent, dense, way to store energy, even once the conversion costs are calculated.  It's astounding how much energy is wasted by accessories on cars yet it barely touches the MPG at all! 

mozar

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #95 on: October 19, 2014, 04:29:11 PM »
Surprising energy hog: my ex doing their laundry all the time.
Solution: kicking them out.

Seriously though I just put up an attic barrier today, and plastic over my windows. I hope it helps.

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #96 on: November 02, 2014, 08:16:42 AM »
Quote
A very surprising energy hog is a portable space heater.  Our 1500 watt unit uses a much power as it takes to run the entire house unit.   Electric space heaters are major power suckers.   We still use one in the bath in the morning for about 30 minutes rather than try to heat 40,000 cubic feet of air in the house.

This is surprising. I was thinking of using a space heater to just heat the living room where I spend my evenings rather than running the gas furnace to heat the whole house. Maybe that isn't such a good plan.

daverobev

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #97 on: November 02, 2014, 12:53:39 PM »
?! A 1500W space heater is going to use 1.5kW for the time you have it on! That should be self evident!

They are great for 'topping up' smaller spaces - assuming the space has a door. Two years ago I'd work in our smaller bedroom with the door shut, house at 15 degrees C or less, and me nice and toasty at 20. It clicks on and off as needed.

Not sure how it can be surprising that something literally called a 1500W heater uses 1500W!

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #98 on: November 02, 2014, 09:18:40 PM »
?! A 1500W space heater is going to use 1.5kW for the time you have it on! That should be self evident!

Modern space heaters have thermostats.  They will only draw power on an as-needed basis.  Power is not energy.

You could have a 100,000 watt space heater and still only use the same amount of energy to heat a room from 60 to 70 degrees.  The 100,000 watt space heater will just do it 67 times more quickly than the 1500 watt heater.  Each would use the same amount of energy to maintain the room at 70 degrees, per the thermostat setting.

dragoncar

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Re: How low can you go: surprising energy hogs in your home?
« Reply #99 on: November 03, 2014, 09:05:19 AM »
?! A 1500W space heater is going to use 1.5kW for the time you have it on! That should be self evident!

Modern space heaters have thermostats.  They will only draw power on an as-needed basis.  Power is not energy.

You could have a 100,000 watt space heater and still only use the same amount of energy to heat a room from 60 to 70 degrees.  The 100,000 watt space heater will just do it 67 times more quickly than the 1500 watt heater.  Each would use the same amount of energy to maintain the room at 70 degrees, per the thermostat setting.

Also, you'd be dead