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Old 10-08-09, 02:32 AM   #1
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Default Hello from Ecomodder!

Typoed the title. Ouch.

A few days ago 'Piwoslaw' referred me to here, and I just now got a chance to check it out. Read a few things and decided to sign up.

I've been modding the house way longer than the car!

Partly because I'm cheap, and partly because I have 3 tenants in my home, I've done a lot of work trying to get it relatively efficient. The more I save the faster I can pay off this place.

Lately I've had trouble sleeping and been working on a project at night, but its too cold and rainy and I'm out of materials at the moment, so I figured I'd sign up here and show a few things I've done.

This will also be a "Look what I dumpster dived" thread because, well.

Thats who I am.

I started by just sealing the house up. It was built in the 20s I believe, there is a fireplace and chimney but its sealed and replaced with a replica gas unit, which heats nicely and dont look too awful cheesy. Most of the windows in the house are doubles, so there is an upper and a lower, and I found that most of the upper windows sag a bit, creating a gap. Sometimes as much as a whole inch! Simply locking the windows prevents this. I can't blame some of the tenants for not locking a second story window, but I do make sure they're locked now. The doors all needed a new rubber seal and that was easy enough, and after that, all doors and window in the house had no air leaks!

One summer I decided to crawl into the attic (access is a small panel in an upstairs closet) to see the insulation up there. I really should have checked this place out before I bought it. Its weird to live in a house for 4 years and never realize that this was above you the whole time:



It actually still picked up channels quite well. But I had cable so it was of no use, and I wasnt going to go without internet. Moving on, you can see the minimal insulation in the attic. R-13 ish foil backed I believe, which here (near Pittsburgh) isn't nearly enough. I added some R26~ later that summer, but never got pictures of the process. It was quite expensive though, costing nearly 400$ for just the attic! Seems to have really payed off though.. Moving on:

I recently replaced my thermostat:



Theres no tax on Energy Star items purchased until December, and I got a sweet deal (20$ + 10% discount + no tax) on a new programmable one. On top of it all, it works great. it drops to 60 degrees at night and in the morning. Basically it only heats the house to normal temperatures (70) from noon to midnight, and then allows the house to cool off while no one is here/asleep.

Next item:



I read about people using bubble wrap to insulate windows that arent for views, and since I have several in the house that fit the bill, I decided to try it. I took some used bubble wrap from the office and cut it roughly to shape of the windows. It's not precise and there is an edge, but it makes a very noticeable difference in temperature! It's held on with water mist sprayed onto the windows by a spray bottle. I've done it to all the windows in the house I can get away with.

I also accidentally modded my fridge for less power consumption, by setting it on its side. It was simple and there's already an 'instructable' on it, so I'm not going to post it.

I had some spare wood in the garage and needed a tv stand, so I made one with a simple double box design:



I'm really happy with it for free. And its sturdy enough to hold 2 people plus that TV I dug out of the trash..

Which brings me to my last item.

Dumpster Diving!

Oh wow, I can't explain how much stuff people throw away in a college town.

Not counting the cost of picking it up (gas) Everything in this picture set me back a grand total of 25$:



The piano was free, the desk was from a retiring lawyer friend of a friend. The lamps, table the printer is on, keyboard, speakers, mouse, tower, and tripod were all LITERALLY pulled from the side of the road in the trash. The speakers were actually still in the original box!

The monitor and router set me back 5$ (22" CRT, has a problem with low resolutions but running it about 1280X1024 seems to get rid of it.) The printer was 20$ and is an HP Laserjet 5. Parallel port. Uses 1400 watts which is a bit much, but in 3 years since I got it has never needed new ink and I usually flip it off at the breaker/surge strip when not in use.



Everything here was also free, although I had to work a bit more for it. I had a friend move and he was emptying his storage shed and we found this stuff, he had 'forgot he had it' and I offered to help him move with my car in return for payment for it. He agreed.

Seriously why buy new furniture?

Sorry for the long post. But.. Hello EcoRenovator!


Last edited by Brucey; 10-08-09 at 03:28 AM..
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Old 10-08-09, 06:18 AM   #2
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Welcome to ER Brucey!

Very nice post. I love all the free stuff. It really is amazing how much people throw away.

It also looks like you have done quite a bit already to the house. Any future plans?


BTW, I fixed your thread title.
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Old 10-08-09, 02:37 PM   #3
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Welcome to ER.

I think a college town would be perfect for dumpster diving since most of the students will have to move every year.
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Old 10-09-09, 01:32 AM   #4
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Daox, thanks man. (:

No near-future plans with the house right now. Eventually I would like to get it as self sustaining as possible, but wouldnt we all? I've been considering growing a few herbs indoors this winter. But a green thumb is something I've always lacked.
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Old 10-10-09, 11:48 AM   #5
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Oh "I had some spare wood in the garage and needed a tv stand, so I made one with a simple double box design"...pfff...you people make me sick. WHY CAN'T I KNOW HOW TO MAKE THINGS THAT NICE!!!



Nice pick ups man. I hope my kids can scrounge stuff like you can when they get older...I don't like spending my money.

And nice bubble wrap in the window...I may have to try that in some of my windows here.
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Old 10-10-09, 01:45 PM   #6
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Thanks. The tv stand was really simple to make, the only downside being it is a bit heavy for something its size. I can explain how if you'd like. Staining it was the longest/hardest process and I was even sloppy with it.

As for the dumpster diving, another thing I see in the trash often around here are those generic wal-mart computer chairs. The backs on them seem to break often. It's not a hard fix if you ont mind it being ugly.

And even better, they make great stools for the garage if you dont feel like doing that. Just rip everything but the base off and tada!

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