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Old 07-31-21, 10:17 PM   #61
ME_Andy
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: New Mexico/Texas
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It has been a long time since I've posted. The family has grown by one and we moved once, downsizing from 1950 sf to 1450 sf. Being smaller and two story, I figured utility bills would drop. But, they actually went the other way. Previously we were topping out around $100/mo in electricity. Now it's not unusual to see $150/mo. I think the problem is that the smaller house is about 10 years older and just not built as well.

I haven't done a ton of efficiency upgrades in the new place. Here's what I can think of:

- heavy drapes
- seal some gaps with foam
- foam in the wall outlets
- Google Nest, upstairs and downstairs

I got the Nests on eBay. Coming from eBay and with a city incentive, they were basically free.

We are also driving less and biking more. Wife picked up a bike trailer in Craigslist recently and that has been great. I bet we drive less than 10k miles combined this past year

I mentioned the reusable AC filters previously. I brought them with me to the new house, but the AC filter size is smaller here. So I carefully chopped and resized the filters. That was kind of fun. I still recommend these filters. They are heavy and well built, very easy to clean. One $13 bottle of cleaner should be enough to last us about 4 years, I figure.

My only caution on the reusable filters is not to use them in overhead applications since they are heavy and could fall on somebody.

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Last edited by ME_Andy; 07-31-21 at 11:13 PM..
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Old 07-31-21, 10:26 PM   #62
ME_Andy
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: New Mexico/Texas
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The real reason I'm excited to write is that we're moving again soon. Rather than sell the previous houses, we're starting to build up a little collection of rentals. Given the home price surge in Austin recently, let's just say we're doing well.

The new place has a bigger yard (0.21 acres). We are planning a gazebo surrounded by garden in the back. Overall it should be much more energy efficient and bigger (1750 sf).

The new place is being built by Lennar. An interesting aspect is, a solar roof is mandatory. It's called the Lennar "Solar Community" if you would like to Google the program. I think it's cool to see capitalism at work, making PV mandatory to generate a profit. Because that's what this is all about-- I'm not naive enough to think the builder is doing it for green credentials.

I know it would be cheaper to get solar via third party installer, but, again, I'm happy to support this "mandatory" solar program.

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