Author Topic: Lowered electrical usage  (Read 4253 times)

swiper

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Lowered electrical usage
« on: January 15, 2013, 09:48:58 PM »
This thread -> http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/share-your-badassity/why-do-you-use-so-much-electricity!!/ motivated me to cut back my electrical costs.

I hesitate to post this as "bad-ass" because we still use WAY TOO MUCH electricity. So it is really just relative badassity: we cut our electricity usage by 50% in December (started trying in November). I hope to see even more benefit in the cold Jan/Feb months as we heat with electricity.

Started basic energy conservation:

  • Thermo: 15C @ night and when we are at work. 18C Evenings and weekend
  • Caulking up window and door leaks
  • Infrequent dryer usage (we now hang dry almost everything now)
  • Turning off lights when not in the room etc

And a bit of capital work:
Me installing foam insulation across 2/3 of the exterior basement walls with more to come.

marty998

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 10:15:30 PM »
Well done. No matter what the starting point, 50% cut is a pretty decent job.

Tom Reingold

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 08:19:21 AM »
Well done. No matter what the starting point, 50% cut is a pretty decent job.

In fact, I would argue that the amount you cut is more significant than either your starting point or the percentage cut.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2013, 08:45:41 AM »
Solid stuff! The heater and insulation will probably give you the most drastic effects. Do you have an electric water heater? Tweaking that down can be an enormous saver. Make the hottest setting on your shower the hottest temperature of water you have- if you're heating your water hotter than you need it, you're just wasting money. (Unless you happen to be an enormous hot water user, which might allow you to get a bit more hot water before running out). Slightly more involved options are discussed elsewhere.

Skyn_Flynt

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2013, 08:51:19 AM »
I can understand with a family needing to leave the hot water at a constant temperature. But since I live alone, I'm training myself to view hot water for showering and washing clothes/dishes the same way as I view heating water to make coffee. You only raise the thermostat when you need it - then drop it back down to "washing hands and shaving" temperature.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 08:52:53 AM by Skyn_Flynt »

swiper

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2013, 09:14:12 AM »
Solid stuff! The heater and insulation will probably give you the most drastic effects. Do you have an electric water heater? Tweaking that down can be an enormous saver. Make the hottest setting on your shower the hottest temperature of water you have- if you're heating your water hotter than you need it, you're just wasting money. (Unless you happen to be an enormous hot water user, which might allow you to get a bit more hot water before running out). Slightly more involved options are discussed elsewhere.

Yes we do have an electric hot water heater (electricity is the only utility option we currently have). It is currently set at 60C (140F) as per our hydro's recommendation. I've researched it a bit and there is apparently an increased risk of Legionnaires disease by setting it lower. (http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/is-it-safe-to-turn-down-your-water-heater-temperature.html)

Conflicted at the decision of turning it down. Electric savings + less chance of burn vs increased risk of Legionnaires.  Anyone care about this?

 



zug

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2013, 10:02:33 AM »
If (using the worst statistics) 18,000 Americans contract Legionaire's and 30% of the infected die, then 5400 people in America die each year to the disease. Let's see how that compares to other causes of death:

Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
Kidney Failure: 44,362
Car accidents: 35,332
Accidental Poisioning: 33,041
Murder: 16,259
Emphysema 10,034
AIDS: 8,369
Anemias: 4,852

In addition, this is ignoring the fact that most of the deaths are probably in very young/very old/immunocompromised individuals. If you're living with a sick elderly grandmother, maybe you shouldn't lower the temperature your hot water heater. Otherwise, the risk is small enough that I personally wouldn't hesitate.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/deaths_2010_release.pdf

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2013, 07:10:27 PM »
Ok, based on those numbers, I'm not going to get a flu vaccination for myself or my kids ever again.  Because the number of people who get and then die from the flu is pretty low, why should I worry about it?

Of course, the reason the number is as low as it is, probably has something to do with the fact that many people are vaccinated.  Just like the numbers for Legionnaire's may be low because most people's water heaters are set at an appropriate temperature.

Personally, I do worry about it, but not obsessively so.  After we've been away for a while (and had the water heater switched off), I'll run quite a bit of water through it to flush it out.  Then I'll turn it on at near max (whatever that may be, 160, 180 degrees).  I leave it that way for a few days, making sure everyone knows to be extra extra careful when using the hot water.  After a few days, I'll turn it down closer to 140 (probably a tad higher).  If I stayed in the house long enough, I'd probably repeat this once or twice a year, just to kill any baddies that tried to start growing in there.  Maybe not the best way to go about it, but that's just what I do.

Skyn_Flynt

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 08:13:23 AM »
My city water supply is very clean, so I know what goes into the water heater is good quality to begin with. As long as you're using the tank contents regularly, not allowing it to stagnate, I think the health risk is not worth obsessing over.

James

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 08:41:56 AM »
Excellent work cutting your electric use! I've made some progress, but it's slow going. I'm having a hard time getting my family to keep lights off when not in the room, something I need to make a priority. Hearing other people having success in this area is a great motivator!

happy

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 03:51:11 AM »
Quote
es we do have an electric hot water heater (electricity is the only utility option we currently have). It is currently set at 60C (140F) as per our hydro's recommendation. I've researched it a bit and there is apparently an increased risk of Legionnaires disease by setting it lower.

Conflicted at the decision of turning it down. Electric savings + less chance of burn vs increased risk of Legionnaires.  Anyone care about this?

I'm not an expert, but I did a bit of research about cutting the temp and settled at 60C. There is an increased risk if its lower, but its pretty dam low. Reducing from 70C to 60C halved my hot water  electricity usage.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2013, 09:15:52 AM »
Apparently this is a concern for larger tanks found in hotels. I wouldn't worry about it. If you look at a number of energy saving sites, they'll suggest 120 degrees.

Another option, depending on your configuration and water usage, would be to turn down the bottom heater on your tank if you have one.

My one-person apartment has a 48 gallon tank and I never use hot water for much more than a shower and a shave once a day.  If my 1.5 gpm showerhead would use at most 24 gallons for an extremely leisurely 16 minute shower, I figured why bother paying to keep the bottom half of the 24 gallons at 120 degrees all day every day if I was never going to use it? I turned the bottom heater temperature all the way down (90? it wasn't labeled clearly). Haven't noticed any change in water temperature during showers. Even if I did need that much hot water, 90 degree water isn't the same rude awakening as completely emptying the heater.

Tami1982

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Re: Lowered electrical usage
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2013, 09:40:12 AM »
That is major!  Way to go!  Since December my bill has almost tripled from heat usage:(  Luckily, I only use heat 3 months of the year, and this summer I'm going to be doing insulation and all kinda of stuff to make next year better, but right now it is hurting!  That is an amazing accomplishment!  Go power!