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-   -   Batten down the hatches (https://ecorenovator.org/forum/showthread.php?t=4500)

zorander6 07-27-15 11:52 AM

Batten down the hatches
 
So to keep from further sidtracking the thread about how much power you use I'm starting this thread.

The house is a very fine house in the middle of the street........ok maybe not so much but still.

One story Ranch style house with a full basement and attached garage. 1056 Square feet of living space. Basement is concrete stand up with a concrete floor. Slight drainage issues during downpours.

Heating: 80K BTU furnace installed in 2010 I believe (will need to double check) 80% FUE (bad I know but it's what I've got.) External condenser was stolen before we bought the house.

Currently for cooling we have an 8k BTU window AC that runs full time at 96F and keeps the bedroom about 70F and the rest of the house 80-85 F depending on where you are in the house.

Windows: The garage on on the south side of the house and has one window. A door between the garage and house that is not 100% sealed. The west wall has a huge window and two smaller windows as well as the front door. We have four large trees shading the house most of the day.

Lighting is currently of the CFL variety of the bulbs not replaced. 21 total light bulbs, currently have replaced 9 with LCD bulbs (leaving 12 CFL's.)

Appliances include a refrigerator we just purchased (old was 30+ years old,) a super old freezer (I grew up getting stuff out of this freezer.....,) electric stove, Hi E washer but really old dryer (it's obvious on the bills what days I did laundry.)

zorander6 07-27-15 11:55 AM

Now that the basics are done I'll mention that over the last couple days I've had the dehumidifier that is in the basement unplugged and there has only been about a 3kwh drop in power usage.

I know the AC is killing us since it runs pretty much non-stop but until we can either get another unit that covers the difference or get a new condenser we are pretty stuck.

Daox 09-09-15 10:41 AM

Hey zorander6, any updates with the house?

zorander6 09-09-15 12:47 PM

Not much has changed really, with the high electric bills most of my budget is just keeping those caught up. Hoping that once it cools down I can start investing in a little more insulation and sealing up the house. At least our gas is on level pay now so I won't be killed this winter when it gets cold again. Hoping to get electric on level pay as well.

Basically once that is done and I get my bonus I'm going to replace the sliding glass door and if there is enough left over buy some more insulation. Haven't been back into the attic but I'm pretty sure it's only at about R19 right now and would like to bump that up. Of course need to fix my truck and some other projects as well so may depend on that too. :/

Have been tracking daily usage though and have information back to April. My average usage is 38.9396 KWh per day and max was 78 (doing laundry, lots of laundry) and low was 5 (power went out at 3am and wasn't back on till 10am the next day.) Unfortunately I don't have a full year's daily readings yet but I'm hoping to start working on dropping it. Right now arguing with dawife over what our first project should be. I really want the sliding glass door which doesn't seat properly gone. She wants to put new floors down.

Wish me luck.

And for some financial numbers, based on my averages I spend about $988.68 per year on gas and $1480.80 per year on electric. I'd love to halve those. Summer gas can't drop much more but winter definitely and summer electric would be nice.

NiHaoMike 09-09-15 10:30 PM

How about get a clothesline or drying rack? That is a small investment that pays back quickly.

zorander6 08-28-18 01:22 PM

So it's been three years since I posted last and not much had changed other than I've gotten divorced recently. I've gotten all but three of the CFL's replaced with LED lights and before I moved back into the house the ex nearly tripled my electric bills. So here I am starting projects. First thing is going to be replacing the sliding glass door and doing some weather sealing on the house. Cut the laundry to basically a load and a half a week instead of the nine loads I was doing with her there. Most nights turning off the AC's if it's cool enough and on cooler days just leaving the windows open.

Considering the clothesline as well but need to get out and do some yard work first. Unfortunately the trees shading the house are going to have to come down as they punched a hole in the roof last year and are rotting out from the inside. Started painting the interior as well and got one room halfway done with the second coat.

Might buy some extra insulation in a month or two once it cools down a bit and get the roof closer to R60. Don't think I'll hit that without removing and redoing everything but I plan to sell the house in four years so time and budget is limited. Still need to replace the AC.

Daox 08-29-18 08:24 AM

Doh, sorry to hear about the divorce. Glad to hear you're working on projects though. Thanks for the update!

Elcam84 09-05-18 09:37 AM

Your usage is around 1100kwh a month which is close to being inline with a house of around 1800sqft house here in TX where its much hotter for much longer.

That was allot of laundry you were doing. Its just the two of us (until daughter moves back in to save $ for a house ugh) and we really don't do much laundry. But when she moves back in we will be doing a massive amount of laundry usually 3x to 4x or more than what we have between us.

Your biggest issue is running that window unit instead of a conventional condenser. Here I can get condensers or packaged with a furnace/coil or air handler pretty cheap on craigslist. Less than my friends cost at the supplyhouse.
$1800 for a 16 seer 2.5 ton condenser and air handler. He also has just the condenser for 1k. 3 ton is 2k for both units(electric heat).

Some may prefer a heat pump but i have had poor results with them. My parents have one that i installed and it like the neighbors runs forever and sucks down power while barely heating. I put in the biggest heat strips the unit would take so when it gets below 35 they switch over to them as below that point the heat pump is not efficient. Since doing that the house has been more comfortable and their elec usage has dropped. The heat pump wastes more power blowing air around than heating it.

u3b3rg33k 09-05-18 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elcam84 (Post 59769)
Your usage is around 1100kwh a month which is close to being inline with a house of around 1800sqft house here in TX where its much hotter for much longer.

That was allot of laundry you were doing. Its just the two of us (until daughter moves back in to save $ for a house ugh) and we really don't do much laundry. But when she moves back in we will be doing a massive amount of laundry usually 3x to 4x or more than what we have between us.

Your biggest issue is running that window unit instead of a conventional condenser. Here I can get condensers or packaged with a furnace/coil or air handler pretty cheap on craigslist. Less than my friends cost at the supplyhouse.
$1800 for a 16 seer 2.5 ton condenser and air handler. He also has just the condenser for 1k. 3 ton is 2k for both units(electric heat).

Some may prefer a heat pump but i have had poor results with them. My parents have one that i installed and it like the neighbors runs forever and sucks down power while barely heating. I put in the biggest heat strips the unit would take so when it gets below 35 they switch over to them as below that point the heat pump is not efficient. Since doing that the house has been more comfortable and their elec usage has dropped. The heat pump wastes more power blowing air around than heating it.

something is wrong. a heat pump should be more efficient than strip heat until 0F or lower. if it stops working at high temperature like 35F, well... wow?

for example:
https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/fi...40616-1135.pdf

COP of 2.0 down to -13F. that means for every $1 you spend on strip heat, you get $2 of heat with that heat pump.

the average heat pump you buy now will have a COP >1 until it shuts down due to low outdoor temp. switching over to strip heat at 35F = you need your unit serviced/replaced.

I would look at something like the Bosch BOVA 5 ton outdoor inverter unit. it will modulate compressor capacity from 25%-110% to maintain a 47F/108F indoor coil temp regardless of outdoor temp or AHU airflow. seen it online for $2400.

Elcam84 09-05-18 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by u3b3rg33k (Post 59770)
something is wrong. a heat pump should be more efficient than strip heat until 0F or lower. if it stops working at high temperature like 35F, well... wow?

for example:
https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/fi...40616-1135.pdf

COP of 2.0 down to -13F. that means for every $1 you spend on strip heat, you get $2 of heat with that heat pump.

the average heat pump you buy now will have a COP >1 until it shuts down due to low outdoor temp. switching over to strip heat at 35F = you need your unit serviced/replaced.

I would look at something like the Bosch BOVA 5 ton outdoor inverter unit. it will modulate compressor capacity from 25%-110% to maintain a 47F/108F indoor coil temp regardless of outdoor temp or AHU airflow. seen it online for $2400.


Been through this before the unit is operating properly and not just this unit its a common issue with conventional heat pumps here. the heat pump function is still basically an afterthought on them but they don't have the issues with constantly failing reversing valves anymore.

Yes the heat output is better per dollar for a heat pump however you negate that benefit by the blower motor running and running and running. Its not uncommon for heat pumps to be replaced with conventional electric units here especially when overall ROI is looked at. Even with a high end heat pump that delivers on its efficiency it doesn't pay for itself as 10 years is replacement interval time here because of the extreme long summers.

You would only save a couple dollars over maybe 4 months here so it just doesn't make sense just like having a 25 seer ac in canada. And of those 4 months it only gets below 35 for a very short period of time most winters.

Some have also replaced theirs with gas units if they have gas available in their neighborhood which most all do.

u3b3rg33k 09-05-18 11:35 PM

a 300W blower motor that contributes its waste heat as strip heat shouldn't hurt COP much. either way those must be some really poor heat pumps. I know people much further north than TX that are in areas not served by natural gas who live on heat pumps. all of them save tons of money by coming up with strategies to avoid strip heat, not use it!

jeff5may 09-05-18 11:48 PM

Heat pumps don't blast out the toasty hot air like gas furnaces and electric heat strips. The fan runs longer too. For many people, the house never seems quite warm enough. I don't know what to tell you, I'm saving loads of cash running my heat pump.

At the house I'm in now, the HVAC guy had rigged up the defrost control wrong. The first winter electric bill told me something was awry. I quickly figured out the outdoor thermistor was plugged in backwards. The outdoor unit thought it was minus a hundred degrees always, so the unit was running a full defrost cycle every time it could. I have been saving money heating the house ever since.

It's nothing fancy. Good man contractor grade system that was installed when the house was built.

NiHaoMike 09-08-18 12:24 PM

Why not use infrared heat lamps for secondary heat? Pretty much instant response, very easily throttled with an ordinary light dimmer, and are very good at delivering the heat where it's needed.

In a cold climate without cheap heating fuel, I would get some used servers and dual mine earnhoney and Monero on them to get "subsidized" electric heat. At current difficulty, such a setup can easily end up cheaper to run than a heat pump or even generate a profit if the CPUs are new enough.

zorander6 10-10-18 09:23 AM

During the winters the Ex liked the house at 75 F. I'm more comfortable at 67 F but am slowly building tolerance to get down to 65 F and using a space heater when I'm cold. As for the AC until I get some debt paid down and get my finances a little more in order I won't have the money to replace the condenser and furnace (want to do it all at once and go high E if at all possible.) I also can't easily get equipment into the back yard to install a ground source heat pump because the houses are too close together unless I can either bribe or get to know the neighbors behind me, take the fence out and hope whatever equipment clears the power lines.

I've gotten my average daily usage (with the window units off) down to less than 15 Kwh/day most days. Need to set the dryer to blow the heat back into the house for winter though. I have so much time now that I'm not doing all that laundry I almost don't know what to do with myself. :P

zorander6 10-16-18 08:36 AM

Finally programmed the thermostat to set the house to 60 while I'm at work and 67 when I get home. Drops to 63 overnight and warms up a bit when I get up in the morning. Might set the overnight to 60 as well but still debating it. Furnace isn't running much but it's gotten chilly early here. Of course this is swimming weather for people from Minnesota but still.

zorander6 01-21-19 03:38 PM

So after a particularly nasty snow storm (for my region) I lost power for about 13-16 hours (not sure exactly when it went out.) Over that time the temperature only dropped about 1 degree per hour which considering some of the leakage around the sliding glass door and a couple of the windows I thought was pretty decent.

Thankfully no damage done to the house but definitely need to start getting some of the loose ends taken care of like the sliding door. Maybe if I get a tax refund this year that will be the first thing I do after I drop some money into my truck (yes I know it's not fuel efficient, no I am not buying a more efficient car at this time.)

Daox 01-24-19 04:29 PM

I drop my temperature to 50F at night and while nobody is in the house. An extra set of covers on the bed and I don't notice a thing. As long as it warms up before I get up (and it does), I'm more than happy.

I am very glad that you were able to last out the power outtage! Those can be an un-fun time in the cold.

zorander6 01-25-19 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daox (Post 60525)
I drop my temperature to 50F at night and while nobody is in the house. An extra set of covers on the bed and I don't notice a thing. As long as it warms up before I get up (and it does), I'm more than happy.

I am very glad that you were able to last out the power outtage! Those can be an un-fun time in the cold.

Definitely not fun but did make me feel a little better about not tearing the walls out and re-insulating. That's about the only thing they did right when they remodeled the house before I bought it. I'm just hoping that we have more than one weekend of spring this year so I can do some of the wall work I want to do. (IE replacing a few windows and the door.)

zorander6 02-04-19 10:14 AM

Got the front door mostly re-sealed, not seeing light around it except for right around one of the hinges (ran out of the seal and didn't bother cutting more yet.) Door is a little harder to close than I'd like but that will break in over time. Not a 100% seal but definitely better than before. Probably need to replace the bottom seal as well.

zorander6 02-11-19 09:40 AM

Goodbye allergies..............kind of. For years I wanted to get rid of the carpet in the house and the ex refused to let me do so (we couldn't afford new flooring but still.) Got bored this weekend and pulled the carpet up in one of the rooms and discovered a nice wood floor that needs some TLC.

Tore the hallway out where the cats marked and also the dining room. Now just need to do the living room, library, and take the laminate flooring out of the master bedroom (why you would put cheap laminate over a good wood floor boggles the mind.)

Daox 02-15-19 01:17 PM

Nice find! We'd like to see some pictures if you have them.

zorander6 02-18-19 07:38 AM

Green Room (formerly walls were green)
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7927/...bdfc0aa8_k.jpg
Hallway
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7921/...f2f254c4_k.jpg
Dining room is a mess
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7891/...9e7c7b1c_k.jpg

zorander6 02-18-19 07:44 AM

The white paint on the floor in the green room is water based it appears so when I sand the house it should come right up. In the left door of the hallway you can see the fake wood floor they put in, it looks like it sits right on top of the hardwood but have to move a bunch of furniture which means I need to finish the green room and the library.

Pulling that carpet up was pretty disgusting, never want carpet in another house.

Edit: I lied about the car, I was finally talked into buying a more fuel efficient vehicle (price was good) but still have my truck for off roading and hauling sheet-rock or whatever else I need to haul. With as many miles as the truck has (300,000) need to have a daily driver that won't break down suddenly (hopefully.)

zorander6 03-04-19 09:37 AM

Got to the library this weekend. There is a madness to my method:
Before (dirty nasty carpets, we hates it precious)
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7899/...0ef69af5_k.jpg
After:
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7802/...0c6ceb79_k.jpg

Still have the living room carpet to remove and the laminate from the master bedroom then need to rent a roll off or find somewhere to recycle the old carpet.

MN Renovator 03-07-19 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zorander6 (Post 60658)
Got to the library this weekend. There is a madness to my method:
Before (dirty nasty carpets, we hates it precious)
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7899/...0ef69af5_k.jpg
After:
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7802/...0c6ceb79_k.jpg

Still have the living room carpet to remove and the laminate from the master bedroom then need to rent a roll off or find somewhere to recycle the old carpet.

I called my garbage hauler and they put me on the list of houses to stop by their rear loading garbage truck that they roll through the route every two weeks. I think it was $20 to get added to the route and the cost was like $4 for each 40 gallon or less garbage bag and a certain amount per yard of trash. I got rid of 4 garbage bags full of stuff, a couch, 2 computer chairs, and a bunch of torn apart IKEA discards(old roommate abandonded a bunch of stuff for under $100. I imagine it would have been about $40 for the fee for them to show up and $20 to haul a room's worth of carpet. Call your local garbage hauler before you consider getting a dumpster because I almost paid hundreds for a dumpster but ended up paying $80. Get the pile as tight as you can and get a length, width, height measurement to give them and see if you get a reasonable estimate to haul it.

I was also told by the actual trash hauler guy that if I could get things down to a load the size of the garbage cart, I could bribe most of their guys $5 to take each additional trash can load of stuff if I was there to toss it in the trash can, and they'd just run the machine to dump it in the truck from the cart. ..so you if you are around when those guys are coming by, it might be worth asking. If you are at work or otherwise away, it's probably just worth calling the hauler.

zorander6 03-07-19 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MN Renovator (Post 60661)
I called my garbage hauler and they put me on the list of houses to stop by their rear loading garbage truck that they roll through the route every two weeks. I think it was $20 to get added to the route and the cost was like $4 for each 40 gallon or less garbage bag and a certain amount per yard of trash. I got rid of 4 garbage bags full of stuff, a couch, 2 computer chairs, and a bunch of torn apart IKEA discards(old roommate abandonded a bunch of stuff for under $100. I imagine it would have been about $40 for the fee for them to show up and $20 to haul a room's worth of carpet. Call your local garbage hauler before you consider getting a dumpster because I almost paid hundreds for a dumpster but ended up paying $80. Get the pile as tight as you can and get a length, width, height measurement to give them and see if you get a reasonable estimate to haul it.

I was also told by the actual trash hauler guy that if I could get things down to a load the size of the garbage cart, I could bribe most of their guys $5 to take each additional trash can load of stuff if I was there to toss it in the trash can, and they'd just run the machine to dump it in the truck from the cart. ..so you if you are around when those guys are coming by, it might be worth asking. If you are at work or otherwise away, it's probably just worth calling the hauler.

Wish mine was that cheap, it's 80$ per large item and only one large item per week allowed. I have a couch, loveseat, and chair I want to get rid of (240$) and then the carpet which might take two weeks to get rid of unless I cut it down into smaller portions.

Last couch I got rid of I tore it apart and used one of the cannister's to throw pieces away for no extra charge but it was a lot of time and work. Took almost 3 weeks to get rid of it all.

Plus a bunch of other old junk that I want to clean out of the basement. If I'm not using it and it's beyond repair I want to get rid of it.

zorander6 04-20-19 07:08 AM

Now doing laundry every other week (and still less than before) and on Tuesday my refrigerator decided to die. It was a 22 cf refrigerator with freezer on top. Since it was an emergency I bought a cheap 3.3 cf refrigerator from the hardware store. Previously I was using an average of 14 kwh/day. Last couple days have averaged 9 kwh/day. Curious to see if this trend continues.

The question is can I live with a super small refrigerator or will it drive me up the wall to the point of buying a larger one. Only time will tell.

I still have the 50 odd year old deep freeze that I'd been planning on getting rid of. Sadly it won't go for the time being since the little fridge doesn't have a freezer.

All but the living room carpet is gone. Need to get rid of the couches next and start tearing that up. Then I can rent a floor sander and sand the living daylights out of the floor and refinish them.

zorander6 05-09-19 03:35 PM

Electric usage this last billing cycle was less than 400 KwH. Lowest I've ever had. Unfortunately by the end of the month I'll be putting the window ac's back in since I haven't gotten to where I could replace the central ac. Still considering a mini-split but they are ugly and I want to sell the house so not sure the next owners would appreciate the look. Regardless am probably going to have to replace the furnace as well. If I get the job I just did the first interviewed for at the rate I'm asking some projects will speed up. If not I'll just keep crawling along. Still trying to get my truck fixed as well which is holding things up.

zorander6 05-24-19 10:12 AM

Finally replacing the sliding glass door, window in the living room which is huge, and the kitchen window which has needed to be replaced for years. Spending a little more than I wanted to on them but hopefully they will be worth the cost. Can't afford to do the rest of the house yet but hopefully in a year or two I'll have the cash saved up to do some more. Just replacing the sliding glass door should help keep the house cool without AC considerably.

Still haven't put the window AC's back in. With all the rain we've been having I haven't really needed it though there have been a couple days that were warmer than I like. Hoping I can last out another couple weeks without the AC's.

zorander6 06-05-19 10:07 PM

Gave in to the dark side yesterday and put the window AC back in the bedroom. Currently it's the only room that is cooled and I keep the door mostly closed (because cats are annoying.) Also had to turn the dehumidifier back on because of all the rain. 91 F today, supposed to rain tonight and be cooler for a couple days so might be able to turn the window AC off. It's still as hot outside as it is inside so will have to leave the AC on tonight to be able to sleep.

Looks like I'll be right at 500 Kwh this month. Depends on how much I need to run the AC to sleep.

zorander6 06-18-19 10:33 PM

Been turning the window AC on about one day a week but looks like I'll have to start running it more. New doors and windows scheduled to be installed July 5th which means I need to move a bunch of junk out of the living and dining rooms. Get the couches torn down and rid of this weekend and maybe start working on finding someone to take the laminate wood flooring I have. Need to box some crap of the ex's up that she forgot and take it over to one of the sisters in law as well.

On the plus side will also be able to get the rest of the carpet out once they are done with the living room window. Electric bill is averaging about $92 a month since the ex left. Will have to see how July goes but so far this summer has been cooler than it was last year thankfully.

zorander6 07-08-19 07:44 AM

Two new windows and a new sliding glass door are making a nice difference. Spent the 4th frantically cleaning the living room, dining room, and kitchen for the crew to install the windows and doors and then the weekend painting the rest of the living room that I'd not finished painting yet. Looks like a different room. Next to tackle I think will be the dining room once I get rid of the china cabinet. going to knock a stub wall out in between the kitchen and dining room and add some more cabinets because counter and storage space is limited.

zorander6 08-05-19 08:44 AM

Haven't done much on the house, still working on fixing the truck. 16 years of rust has been a royal pain to remove. On the plus side last month my electric bill was down 67% and this month looks like it will be down about 30%. It's been a lot cooler summer which is nice. Have not broke 1,000 kWh since the end of August last year. Once I pay off some debt considering looking into some solar panels but really should probably rewire the house first. Biggest problem is I want 20A to each room (three bedrooms, living room, dining/kitchen) and I want each room on it's own circuit. Also want a 210 outlet in the garage and it on it's own circuit as well. Considering separating the lights to their own circuits since I can run the outlets through the basement and then run the lights up the area the stack for the furnace goes up or the area where the vent goes.

Will have to replace the fuse block as well to get it up to code. May be next years project to rewire the house.

Daox 08-05-19 09:12 AM

That is a lot of work to do! Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

zorander6 09-11-19 10:08 AM

So it has now been a year since I broke 800 KWh in a single month. My next goal is to figure out how I can get my average below 600 KWh. Shouldn't be too much change, currently the average is 614.58. I know one of my biggest consumers (outside of laundry) is my 60+ year old freezer. I need to start shopping for an affordable but more energy efficient one. Considering setting up some drying racks in the basement that I can use over the winter as well but not sure how well that will work. I have multiple fans I can put in place to move air around. Also considering doing more hand washing of stuff.

Finally got the rest of the carpet removed and also removed the vinyl "wood grain" flooring. Found my first unknown but expected problem. Apparently there was a water leak that damaged the sub floor and instead of fixing it they just put carpet and the vinyl over everything. On the plus side just gives me another reason to remodel the master bath and add a small shower before I do the main bathroom. Downside is I have to remove the wood flooring without damaging it as much as possible.

zorander6 01-12-21 10:54 AM

Well it's been over a year since I last posted. Due to layoffs and covid and a lower paying job haven't really made any progress on the house like I'd hoped. So far I'm averaging 752.75 KwH working from home and installing some solar powered exterior lights. There is a short somewhere in the kitchen/dining/garage/living room circuit which means none of the front exterior lights work. Found some cheap LED solar powered lights on Amazon and they are pretty bright and turn on when they detect movement so I'm going to give them a shot. Trying to decide if I want to install them on the soffit or not though. Biggest problem is I'm not sure if the switch will detect people approaching the house or not based on the angle. Upside of soffit installation is the panels on the lights will have direct sun for at least 4 hours a day to charge.


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