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Old 06-24-10, 06:49 AM   #1
Piwoslaw
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Default Stickies: 60+ Home Energy Saving Tips

I just noticed that ER doesn't have a general "How to save water/electricity/energy" list, with tips for beginners. Do you think we should start a project like that? Something like EcoModder's 65+ Efficiency Mods and 100+ Hypermiling Tips, a sticky list and a forum to discuss it. I'm thinking one list for water conservation and one for reducing electricity/heating needs.

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Old 06-24-10, 07:16 AM   #2
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Thats a great idea Piwoslaw. This thread can be the start of that list. I'm sure our list will be a fair amount larger and will be broken into sections like EM's list. For now we can just list them. Later I can organize them all and make a nice list.

Here are a quick few:

- Use CFL or LED lights
- Turn your water heater temperature down
- Turn your heat down and A/C up as much as is comfortable
- Wear appropriate clothing for the season (bundle up in summer, dress light in summer)
- Use a clothes line to dry your clothes
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Old 06-24-10, 09:39 AM   #3
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- Insulate your hot water tank
- Put a timer on it
- Block sunlight from entering through windows (eg. blinds, even better are awnings)
- Unplug electronics when not in use (powerstrip)
- Buy a Kill-a-Watt
- Buy energy efficient appliances when the time comes
- Go solar

Each tip should have scale of how easy/fast/expensive it is do and how big gains can be expected.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:28 AM   #4
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Yup, I was thinking the same thing.
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Old 06-25-10, 08:56 AM   #5
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Turn off the circuit breaker for the electric hot water heater (HWH) when you are going to be gone for a couple of days or more. By the same token, turn your gas HWH to its vacation setting when you're going to be gone.
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Old 06-26-10, 01:16 PM   #6
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get up in your attic and seal up all penetrations, all phone lines, electric wires, pipes, and heating duct penetrations. use expanding foam. you may need to bridge the gaps using scrap wood if openings were cut sufficiently large
make sure your duct work is not losing air to the outside. go along them and pull back insulation at joints and apply a good foil backed duct tape to ALL joints.
add additional insulation to duct work if needed. In my house, some of it was coming lose. At a minimum, tape it all back into place.
when the above three are done (in the attic at least) blow in more insulation. Make sure your soffits are not blocked
make sure your attic door has a good seal and is insulated, make an insulated door if you don't already have one
buy programmable thermostats, then install them
if your basement/crawl space is not insulated, do so.
If your walls are in poor shape, you may want to look into removing the drywall/plaster and installing a Mooney Wall for a higher R-Value
If you are going to replace your windows, get ones that do a better job at keeping sunlight out and heat/cool in.
If you are replacing your roof, consider going with a lighter colored shingle, the lighter the better, better yet, consider a non-asphalt based shingle, or steel roof... better than any of these, consider a thin-film-solar steel roof, like Marathon Solar Roofing has.
When doing your roof, consider adding overhangs for windows to keep sun out during the summer, but allow it in during the winter
Check the seal around your doors, odds are it's pretty old and could use replaced. Very easy to do, and prevents some major drafts
Seal up windows in the winter, use the plastic kits you can get almost anywhere to prevent leaks, and increase the insulation between you and the outdoors.
Grill out during the summer, or look into making a solar oven, or eat more salad... anything to avoid using your oven indoors!

I would suggest we break it down further into "summer tips" and "winter tips"
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Old 06-28-10, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyatt View Post
I would suggest we break it down further into "summer tips" and "winter tips"
That's a good idea. Maybe small symbols for winter and for summer. For example insulating the attic and/or walls would be both winter and summer, but shading windows would be only summer.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:23 AM   #8
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- If your attic doesn't have any, add some soffit vents and ridge vents.
- Plant trees on the south side of the house. Deciduous trees, so you get shade in the summer, but sun in the winter.
- Plant evergreen trees on the north side.

- Use the microwave in the summer, stove top and oven in the winter.
- Don't use the dishwasher dry cycle. When it finishes, open the door and let the steam out.
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Old 07-02-10, 09:14 AM   #9
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Biggest energy use in the house tends to be heating and cooling, having an energy audit done will give you insight as to where your house needs sealing, most houses need more insulation in the attic, houses with crawl spaces also almost always need insulation in the crawl space and every house needs more in the sill box, digging around your house to add insulation to the outside will also help with keeping the basement warm and if you make a foam skirt with 2" foam it will help shed water and keep your basement dry.

Heating water is the next big energy use, insulate the snot out of the water heater and the pipes, if installing a new water heater get the most efficient you can (forced vent gas is normally ideal) and install anti-siphon traps, any water heater with an electrical input (pure electric or forced vent) can be put on a timer, time it so it turns off before your main use so it's not reheating water that you don't need hot.

Cooking is another big users, a plug in counter top tea kettle water boilers use half of the energy of heating in the microwave and the microwave uses half of heating on the stove top, most counter top water boilers also have a toaster style switch so it pops and turns off when your water is hot so it only uses as much energy as it takes to boil and then stops.

Fridges and freezers do not belong in garages, they stop working correctly if it's to cold and they draw alot of power if it's too warm!
I like fridges that don't have a freezer, they tend to use less energy and your food is at a hight that you can see it, you can then have a small chest freezer in your basement and use it for storing foods that you stock up on when they are on sale.

Computers and other electronics use alot of power just sitting, switches on power strips can help alot _if_ you remember to use them, for things that you have a set schedule for, like watching your favorite TV show in the evening, you can put a cheap timer on your home entertainment system to kill the phantom loads.
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Old 07-10-10, 12:20 PM   #10
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Another tip for saving water popped up at Ecomodder.com: Put a brick in your toilet tank to decrease the amount of water in each flush. Nice read: EcoModder - Pooping Bricks:)

And here's a controversial tip that the Wife and I practice: We try to pee one right after the other. This allows the first person to not flush, while the second flushes using grey water from washing hands. Saved water = 8-10 liters, 2-4 times a day.

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