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Offline giaka

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Reducing power consumption
« on: January 30, 2014, 02:11:53 PM »
The first year that we lived in our house our electric bill was just under $300 a month. Between 2009 and 2011 all I did was replace all of the bulbs in the house that were used on a consistent bases with lower wattage bulbs. The house came stocked with 60 watt bulbs in every socket. And 100 watt, spot type bulbs in all 30 recessed light fixtures. I could pretty much heat the kitchen with just the lighting.

It didn't help much so I installed florescent bulbs in a majority of the fixtures and dropped out usage by almost $50 a month. I also installed a whole house fan to cool the house in the evenings instead of the AC. The whole house fan would push the superheated air out of the attic and that really helps with the heat soaked effect (see the Dec 2013 cost).

During last part of this last December I installed a bunch of LED bulbs both inside the house and the landscaping. Our projected bill for Jan 2014 is $84. Progress.....WOOT!!   :bigok:
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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 02:15:08 PM »
Keep the heat low and turn off the lights. 

Offline bomber

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 02:17:10 PM »
Well done!

We had our 1972 ranch resided this summer, said work to include a layer of solid foam insulation . . . . . . cut our gas consumption by about 80 per month . . . . about 35%.

Given the lower than normal temperatures this winter, the ROI on the extra cost will be about 1 season ;-}

There are saving to be had -- just takes a little effort.
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Offline Mr. Whippy

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 02:29:31 PM »
We did a whole reno this last year.  Included were new energy efficient windows, up to code insulation and new furnace.  The house had virtually no updates since it was built in 1978.  Our electric bill dropped $70 and fuel oil usage precipitously dropped (1 fewer refills this year already despite MUCH colder weather).

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 02:46:33 PM »
Share body heat, baby!
 8)
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Offline CLAY

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 04:23:04 PM »
Anyone have a decent site to LED bulbs they have used?  I need to do some changing of the commonly used ones here...
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Online Black Hills

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 04:40:39 PM »
C'mom guys, those of s at the electric company have to make a living too!!!!


actually it is pretty easy to cut down usage, your power provider should have a lot of information. Old refrigerators/freezer are a good place to start. for northern climates a timer on vehicle block heaters saves a lot too. it's simple math to figure out how much something is costing you.
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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 05:17:37 PM »
Not really much to cut here. The whole house is electric so heat and hot water drive our bill. Other than that there may be a single lamp or television running.

Offline mxvet57

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 08:21:35 PM »
C'mom guys, those of s at the electric company have to make a living too!!!!


actually it is pretty easy to cut down usage, your power provider should have a lot of information. Old refrigerators/freezer are a good place to start. for northern climates a timer on vehicle block heaters saves a lot too. it's simple math to figure out how much something is costing you.


I haven't run the refrigerator in the basement in in over 2 years. The power company here has a program that they will pick up old outdated appliances for free.
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Offline fourstring

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 08:39:58 PM »
Our power bill, even in the throes of a heat wave, as never surpassed a hundred bucks.  At our condo the bill was often in the $20 or less range.

Not having a TV, preferring cold home temps, and setting the thermostat low while we're out has always paid big dividends.
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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2014, 11:06:19 PM »
I think my total monthly bill which is city and consists of trash, gas, sewer, electric, and water is around $200 a month all year (gas furnace balances the electric AC; nice days cut the bill by $40 or so for a few months). I have 18 months of bills so I can create a nice graph now :)

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Offline SuperHans

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 06:03:44 AM »
If you have teenage/20 something kids, get rid of them as soon as possible. That will really safe you a boat load of money. They like to turn on every light in the house, leave the front door wide open in the dead of winter/summer, leave every TV on, change their clothes ten times a day and use two towels so you have to do a ton of laundry, not to mention jack up the heat when you re not home.

Thieving little bastards.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 06:52:26 AM by SuperHans »

Offline R Doug

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2014, 06:34:12 AM »
Sheri works from home.  Her office is running from 8 to 5:30 M-F.  She generally keeps the TV off and only has lights on in her office and not through the house.  We use foresent bulbs in lamps, which is mostly what we run in the evenings but the house is dominated by overhead can lights.  We've tried LEDs in them and no matter which ones we try, they all look like crap.  I hate the light they put out.  It's too harsh.

Sheri's mom has a 1800 sq. ft. MIL suite in our daylight basement.  It seems that no matter when I run downstairs, she has on more lights and TVs on than needed.  Also, her suite has its own heatpump.  The main house's hot water and furnace are gas.

Despite what I believe is limited power usage from me and Sheri and moderate from the MIL, I find our energy bills to be a little high.

Our gas bill runs $65 per month on average.  Our electric, on average, runs $205 per month.  Part of the problem for us is the electric company is run by the municipality.

The rates for the municipal electric company are as follows:

Basic monthly charge:  $18.20 per month plus…
First 500 kWh  $0.1282
Next 500 kWh  $0.1238
Over 1,000 kWh  $0.1209

I we were on Duke Energy, our rates would be 25% less!

Basic monthly charge:  $12.19 per month plus…
$0.096701 per kWh
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Offline R Doug

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2014, 06:38:19 AM »
Of course, if we moved 2.5 miles north (where we would be on Duke Energy), we would also be in a different county and the annual taxes on our real and personaly property would nearly double.

(i.e. $3,800 per year now for home and personal property to $6,300 per year).

We'll pay the higher electric rates, thank you.
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Online HipGnosis

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2014, 07:43:43 AM »
Anyone have a decent site to LED bulbs they have used?  I need to do some changing of the commonly used ones here...
LEDs are still an emerging technology, and the technology is changing pretty fast.
By the time a single product has been out long enough to get a substantial number of reviews, it's been replaced by something newer.
There are lower (relatively) cost LEDs showing up, I suspect they're coming from China - and no, I don't trust their quality.
I recently got a 4W LED bulb, at a big box store, major bulb brand.  It was on sale for $12.  I got it to be my supplemental light for my computer room / desk - for when I'm doing paper bills or reading print material.  It's so bright that I made it my main light, and I'm bouncing the light off the ceiling.
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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2014, 09:02:54 AM »
Yea, I've been replacing the kitchen floodlights with led. The bathroom vanity lights are a third screwed in. I also have a programable thermostat. Cool at night and during the week, kicks in about 30 min before I get up and 30 min before I get home.

I do tend to have a couple of lights on upstairs when I'm in the basement so it looks like someone is home. They're the flourescent ones though.

Carl
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Offline giaka

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2014, 10:50:35 AM »
I also have a programable thermostat. Cool at night and during the week, kicks in about 30 min before I get up and 30 min before I get home.


Same, its off (heat and AC) while we are at work M-F and kicks on about 10 minutes before we get home if needed. Its off at night but turns on the same time the alarm goes off so its warm enough to take a shower.  :bigsmile:
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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2014, 10:54:11 AM »
I'd need to check but I think it's 62 during the day and 68 first thing in the morning and at night.

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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2014, 11:15:44 AM »
We've never turned the heat on on the second level (bedrooms) and the first floor is probably in the fifties.  We don't get many visitors.  ;D


The beds sheets are like laying down on an ice cube some days.  REFRESHING!

Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2014, 02:20:21 PM »
To me, upstairs is the main level.

The main level of the house looks like some old guy lives there, maybe watches TV and/or reads a lot. My library is in one bedroom, the TV mounted on the wall with a DVD and old stereo in the living room, a tiny TV with a DVD and VCR in the keeping room, a dining room table with 4 chairs, and a very clean kitchen.

Downstairs, in the basement are the guitars, basses, amps, piano, PA system, pool table, computers, monitors, and a shitload of games.

So I generally spend most of my time downstairs on the computer or playing guitar/bass or playing pool or just kicking back. I will spend time upstairs reading or watching a DVD. I'm a hipster so "I don't watch TV" :D

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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2014, 02:24:17 PM »
We use the TV for light and heat.   ;D

Online sodapop6620

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2014, 11:35:37 AM »
This webiste (http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Half/Half.htm) along with http://www.homepower.com/ are my go to sites for energy consevation and time killing.

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2014, 11:59:50 AM »
You can pick up a kill a watt at harbor freight for $11.  This will give you an accrate reading for each appliance that you plug into it.  I use a switched power strip on my pc and another one for the tv.  When they are not in use I switch off the power strip.  I also only turn on the water heater (gas) just before I plan on using hot water.  The house is set at 62 when I'm home and 50 when I'm away.

Offline SuperHans

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2014, 08:30:58 AM »
Our electric bill was outrageous. I noticed the electric dyer was taking a long time to dry the clothes. I checked the dryer vent and found it loaded with lint. I spent half the day cleaning it out with a brush and some PVC conduit. I dont think it was ever cleaned in the 15 years prior to me living there and the people who lived there prior to me probably rarely checked the lint screen on the dryer.

For one I think the vent line is too long and it was never cleand. I probably got half a garbage bag of lint out of it. Our electric bill has dropped significantly since I cleaned the vent.

Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2014, 08:47:55 AM »
An added bonus...your house is probably less likely to burn to the ground now.   :smiley_thumb:

Offline SuperHans

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2014, 09:11:14 AM »
An added bonus...your house is probably less likely to burn to the ground now.   :smiley_thumb:

My thoughts exactly.

Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2014, 09:39:36 AM »
Our electric bill was outrageous. I noticed the electric dyer was taking a long time to dry the clothes. I checked the dryer vent and found it loaded with lint. I spent half the day cleaning it out with a brush and some PVC conduit. I dont think it was ever cleaned in the 15 years prior to me living there and the people who lived there prior to me probably rarely checked the lint screen on the dryer.

For one I think the vent line is too long and it was never cleand. I probably got half a garbage bag of lint out of it. Our electric bill has dropped significantly since I cleaned the vent.

I clean the filter after every load and have a yearly alarm for cleaning the hose. Same with the heater filter although that's set to every 6 weeks since the AC goes through that too.

Carl
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Offline Blunder

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2014, 11:49:18 PM »
Kinda like has been mentioned but turn off the damned things if they're not needed! I sound like my old man now.  :gerg:

Here's another thing to consider, especially if your electricity is generated by hydro in the drought afflicted west. Conserve your water usage. Every drop saved adds up to another acre-foot of generation capacity. Or pray for rain
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Online miles

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2014, 12:37:30 AM »
We just reroofed and added solar panels.  We will start getting checks from our local utility now.    :chili: :banana:
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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2014, 01:05:12 AM »
Surf less InterWebs? 
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Online Black Hills

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2014, 08:04:17 AM »
We just reroofed and added solar panels.  We will start getting checks from our local utility now.    :chili: :banana:

Not sure about getting checks, but your bill will be lower anyway. Are you in a net-metering state? that would make a huge difference.
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Online miles

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2014, 08:16:28 AM »
Yeah, we are.  The way it will work is that there will be no more monthly bills, just statements showing how positive or negative we were that month on the electricity.  There will be an annual summing-up, and either we will write a check for the difference if we used more electricity than we generated, or the utility will write us a check if we used less. 

We paneled up an estimated 20% more than our average monthly use, so we expect money to flow our way.
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Online Black Hills

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2014, 08:25:52 AM »
Yeah, we are.  The way it will work is that there will be no more monthly bills, just statements showing how positive or negative we were that month on the electricity.  There will be an annual summing-up, and either we will write a check for the difference if we used more electricity than we generated, or the utility will write us a check if we used less. 

We paneled up an estimated 20% more than our average monthly use, so we expect money to flow our way.

New solar installs are very impressive and I assume you are in a good area for sun. locally we have a commercial account that added 150KW of solar (about 3 acres) and it is working fairly well for them. Unfortunately their peak demand doesn't coincide with their solar output so their bill hasn't been reduced as much as possible? watching what they are putting back on the system is interesting, a cloud has a big affect. I think you will be happy with your installation. how many watts did you install?
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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2014, 08:41:13 AM »
Solar is a nonstarter here.  I think we have about 6 sunny days on average from November till May.   >:(

Online Black Hills

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Re: Reducing power consumption
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2014, 08:43:00 AM »
Solar is a nonstarter here.  I think we have about 6 sunny days on average from November till May.   >:(

looking at a solar map is interesting, I discovered western south Dakota is actually pretty good for it?
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