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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

Just curious if there are any other's who have researched, used, experimented with, or know of ideas to save money, and thereby reduce energy use.
Let's just share ideas and discuss with no disparagement.

I'll start with a couple easy ones.
Hot water heater went out so painted a tank I had black, ran water lines through roof, sealed holes. We used it for 6 months before I bought a new water heater and let roof tank preheat water during warmer months. Almost needed a pop off valve as it would get scalding hot. One reason I never built a glazed box to put it in as it would have been boiling.
I never boxed it in to keep it from freezing in winter so drained it.

An engineering friend in deep south set misters on an electric switch, to come on and off with his heat pump this year as an experiment. Showed his bill before and after. Almost cut his electric bill in half.
ETA: His bill was over $300 a month. Dropped it to high hundreds. Said was going to add more but haven't heard on that yet.



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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 08:32 PM
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

When I lived in a foreign country they had on demand water heaters in each bathroom and the kitchen. They were only about 1' x 2' and hung on the wall. When water ran through them the flame went on and immediately heated the water. Saved water and gas.

I've looked into that here in the USA, but since it is a "green" idea, the heaters are very expensive. That is so stupid, since I know they don't cost much in the country where I saw them, since the average person earned waaay less than the average person in the US earns.

When I build my next home I am going to look into those again and see if the price has come down.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

Never knew my grandparents to have a gas or electric hot water heater growing up.
Tank on roof supplied hot water in summer, and since we heated with wood in winter my grandfather, using natural flow of hot water, piped the water lines from the tank in an adjoining room, to the wood heater.
Wood heater served dual purpose.


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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

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Originally Posted by Adelais View Post
When I lived in a foreign country they had on demand water heaters in each bathroom and the kitchen. They were only about 1' x 2' and hung on the wall. When water ran through them the flame went on and immediately heated the water. Saved water and gas.

I've looked into that here in the USA, but since it is a "green" idea, the heaters are very expensive. That is so stupid, since I know they don't cost much in the country where I saw them, since the average person earned waaay less than the average person in the US earns.

When I build my next home I am going to look into those again and see if the price has come down.
They do save a bit. Still high here though.


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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

@Adelais
My comment on growing up wasn't direct at yours. We were typing at same time.


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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 08:53 PM
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelais View Post
When I lived in a foreign country they had on demand water heaters in each bathroom and the kitchen. They were only about 1' x 2' and hung on the wall. When water ran through them the flame went on and immediately heated the water. Saved water and gas.

I've looked into that here in the USA, but since it is a "green" idea, the heaters are very expensive. That is so stupid, since I know they don't cost much in the country where I saw them, since the average person earned waaay less than the average person in the US earns.

When I build my next home I am going to look into those again and see if the price has come down.
Electrical showers are very common in Britain and Ireland. However they use between nine and ten thousand watts but as the voltage is roughly two hundred and thirty volts the actual running cost is quite economical because youíre just heating the exact amount of water you need.
Having such a high demand electric appliance which also needs water in a bathroom means safety is very important.

When someone says itís not the money itís the principle,itís always the money.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 10:21 PM
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

I supervised the installation of these in commercial and industrial applications (gas and electric) over 10 years ago.

These natural gas tank-less units have come a long way since then. The average warranty is 5 years for residential and 2 years for commercial use. I hope they last long enough to recoup your material and labor costs.

I am not in favor of the single units, the under the sink types. The internal resistance heating coils seem to burn out quite quickly and the water does not heat up enough when using a 'dedicated' 120V circuit. A 220/240 volt unit would likely heat up the water more and would certainly require new wiring in most homes.

Insulation galore, in the attic and walls and the best windows you can afford will help with utility bills. Wrap your hot water pipes to keep them from radiating heat away.

I installed a 97% efficient furnace and halved my winter gas bills. The old one was ancient, worked well but was, at best 60% efficient. Most of the heat went out the exhaust damper pipe. I also got a new hot water tank that was rated for best efficiency. However, they are still not all that efficient!

My hot water and furnace gas bills went way down when my teenage daughters and a niece moved out and went to college!

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out. The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

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I supervised the installation of these in commercial and industrial applications (gas and electric) over 10 years ago.

These natural gas tank-less units have come a long way since then. The average warranty is 5 years for residential and 2 years for commercial use. I hope they last long enough to recoup your material and labor costs.

I am not in favor of the single units, the under the sink types. The internal resistance heating coils seem to burn out quite quickly and the water does not heat up enough when using a 'dedicated' 120V circuit. A 220/240 volt unit would likely heat up the water more and would certainly require new wiring in most homes.

Insulation galore, in the attic and walls and the best windows you can afford will help with utility bills. Wrap your hot water pipes to keep them from radiating heat away.

I installed a 97% efficient furnace and halved my winter gas bills. The old one was ancient, worked well but was, at best 60% efficient. Most of the heat went out the exhaust damper pipe. I also got a new hot water tank that was rated for best efficiency. However, they are still not all that efficient!

My hot water and furnace gas bills went way down when my teenage daughters and a niece moved out and went to college!
I agree the Electric under sink units are a waste of money. Never seen any around here last long or heat water well.
Depending on brand tankless water heaters warranties now usually run around 1 year on labor, 5 years on parts and 12-15 years on heat exchanger.
Longevity is dependent on maintenance also.
Most consumers don’t read their owners manuals and know they are supposed to have them cleaned at least every couple years depending on water quality. Thus the 1 year labor warranty. Especially applies to the electric ones.
Always remember to register the product warranty and get a receipt with model and serial numbers from installer. It can help in some situations.

Surely teenagers don’t use that much water. LOL


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Last edited by red oak; 12-31-2019 at 12:30 AM.
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 03:10 AM
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

Solar water heaters may not appear to be old school but our initial $4,000 investment and the low cost yearly maintenance (mostly do myself) - flush the tank, replace anode rod and PRV, has saved us close to 10x it would have cost through traditional water heating.

Solar roof fans another great investment. Electric cost (nearly $0.36/kWh), makes AC unmanageable. The fans cool our hole sufficiently.

PV panels will eventually be cost effective, 10 year investment. We pay $20/month for electricity (line fee). We have received payment credits every year from our electric company since we tend to use less power than we make.

While I am not exactly sure whether these qualify as old school, it uses prime energy, solar energy. Far more efficient than I had originally imagined.


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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 09:11 AM
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

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I agree the Electric under sink units are a waste of money. Never seen any around here last long or heat water well.
Depending on brand tankless water heaters warranties now usually run around 1 year on labor, 5 years on parts and 12-15 years on heat exchanger.
Longevity is dependent on maintenance also.
Most consumers don’t read their owners manuals and know they are supposed to have them cleaned at least every couple years depending on water quality. Thus the 1 year labor warranty. Especially applies to the electric ones.
Always remember to register the product warranty and get a receipt with model and serial numbers from installer. It can help in some situations.

Surely teenagers don’t use that much water. LOL
Ha!

What would help these units (all water served devices) last longer would be a whole house water filter, to remove calcium, sediment, heavy metals, and other minerals.
It is the naturally occurring minerals that bond, clog and reduce efficiencies in heat exchangers and pipes, especially when hot water is involved.

Well water, more so than 'spring water' often seems to have the most minerals in it.

The reverse-osmosis types of water filters are best, but are the 'mosis' expensive. We used them in the military, extensively.

THRD-


This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out. The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall.
The Host, Rd is ill, any years left, remain now, in doubt? Red Dog is now lost to us.
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 10:01 AM
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

From my understanding one of the biggest reasons tankless water heaters arent as prevalent in the US still is venting. Where basements exist, the hot water heater is there. And again to the best of my knowledge a tankless heater requires more robust venting. (probably double walled or something for safety)? Replacing all that venting that goes up through the walls to the roof is usually not worth it for most people. Adding a butt ton in labor cost im guessing.

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 10:06 AM
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

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From my understanding one of the biggest reasons tankless water heaters arent as prevalent in the US still is venting. Where basements exist, the hot water heater is there. And again to the best of my knowledge a tankless heater requires more robust venting. (probably double walled or something for safety)? Replacing all that venting that goes up through the walls to the roof is usually not worth it for most people. Adding a butt ton in labor cost im guessing.
Probably true for the gas versions, but the electrical ones don't need venting. We considered getting a tankless, just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Considerable space savings, though, particularly in a modest two bedroom, 950sqft home, haha.

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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

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Solar water heaters may not appear to be old school but our initial $4,000 investment and the low cost yearly maintenance (mostly do myself) - flush the tank, replace anode rod and PRV, has saved us close to 10x it would have cost through traditional water heating.

Solar roof fans another great investment. Electric cost (nearly $0.36/kWh), makes AC unmanageable. The fans cool our hole sufficiently.

PV panels will eventually be cost effective, 10 year investment. We pay $20/month for electricity (line fee). We have received payment credits every year from our electric company since we tend to use less power than we make.

While I am not exactly sure whether these qualify as old school, it uses prime energy, solar energy. Far more efficient than I had originally imagined.


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I probably should have said, simple tech solutions to conserve energy, money. Just too long a title.
Most, aside from PV panels, are old school. Even solar powered stirling engines old school. It’s actually been around a long time.


Solar water heaters are awesome and are old school. William Bailey’s thermosyphon system was patented in 1909 if memory serves correctly and by WWII most water heaters in Florida were solar. After the war Florida Power & Light offered electricity and electric water heaters at a reduced price. That was basically the end of solar power in Florida.
The power of the sun is amazing.


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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

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From my understanding one of the biggest reasons tankless water heaters arent as prevalent in the US still is venting. Where basements exist, the hot water heater is there. And again to the best of my knowledge a tankless heater requires more robust venting. (probably double walled or something for safety)? Replacing all that venting that goes up through the walls to the roof is usually not worth it for most people. Adding a butt ton in labor cost im guessing.
It can be done simply depending on the contractor and local codes.
They make them for many applications.

When I was doing new builds they would put them in the actual wall on the outside. The vent was right at the top. No piping required.

Also many installed in crawl spaces underneath pier and beam.

For many itís the cost.

Can buy a tank heater for around $350 which usually last 6-18years depending on water quality with no maintenance.

Tankless $900-2k and no idea how long they will last. Some here have been in 10yrs. But they need to have maintenance occasionally.

Most people I know look at the upfront cost not the longterm costs.


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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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re: Conserve energy and money: Simple ways

@Ikaika just curious. If you’re allowed to say; What is the rate they pay you per kWh versus what they charge customers?


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