Make the Power Company Cry

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Introduction: Make the Power Company Cry

i don't know about you but i live in the north eastern united states and i pay out my rear end for electricity and got tired of it. so a few tips that you may or may not have thought about to help cut down on the power and heating bills and make the power company cry. (bastards)

Step 1: Loose Those Stupid Lights.

i have a big problem with lights. my roomate used to come home and turn on the portch light, the hall light, the light at the top of the hall, the light in the living room, the light in his room, the light in the kitchen, and the light in the bathroom and leave them on. yea. so what i do now that my roomate is gone... i got rid of the stupid low efficency lights. and

i have replaced all the lights in my apartment with energy efficent bulbs and only turn the lights on in the room im in.

most of the lights are in cealing fans witch have 4 sockets and they had 4 100w bulbs in them. i dont need day light in my room i just need enough to see. so i took out 3 of the bulbs and put 1 high efficency 40w bulb.

also my roomate used to close his curtains and turn the lights on mid day. and turn lights on in the bathroom mid day. theres no fricken reason to do that unless its dark.

Step 2: Doors

doors are killers for heating. close the closet doors, the pantry, the bathroom, the old roommate's room that's not being used and any other area that's not being used. honestly you don't need to heat your closet.

daft guards
draft guards are your friends. there inexpensive and greatly help keeping the heat where you want it. if your don't want to buy draft guards you can use a rolled up towel. it works almost as good. you just have to re position it after.

weather stripping
some weather stripping can go around the door too not just under it . and don't forget the mostly over looked top of the door that's right heat gets out there too.

Step 3: Windows

windows
don't have thermal windows well there's still ways to keep the heat in. curtains are a good start they keep a good amount of heat in. that's curtains, not blinds or shades.

caulking cord
using caulking cord is an inexpensive way to stop drafts around old windows

weather stripping
not just for doors, weather stripping is good for windows too the advantage is you can still open the window but the caulking cord seals the best.

Step 4: If Your Not Using It Turn It Off

if your not using something turn it off. how about the entertainment system in your living room. ya you know the one on the other side of your place that is on right now with no one watching it. or take it a step further. OK the TV is off but every thing is still plugged in right, well how often do you actually use it if your like me i have a TV in my room with my PC so im never in the living room. so switch the power bar off and when you actually want to use it turn it back on. you might think "ok what is that gona save me a dollar total a month" well its probably more but this is about saving money use your noggen im sure you can look around your place and find all sorts of little things to save a buck or two. and a buck here and a buck there starts to add up.

Step 5: Heating Options

when choosing how to heat your place consider all the options available.

natural gas forced air heating
my parents have this its not bad but not great and the air really gets dry to the point where we had to put a humidifier in.

radiator
radiator heat usually works off gas or oil and are more efficiency than forced air or electric but have higher maintenance costs.

electric baseboard
electric baseboard is small and has relatively low maintenance but are more expensive to run.

electric space heater
electric space heaters are very inefficient unless your heating a small space like one room only. there cheep to buy but expensive to run.

pellet stove
pellet stoves are cool the fule they use is saw dust leftover mainly from manufacturing that is pressed into a pellet no glue no chemicals just sawdust and pressure. when they first came out i was going to buy one but i couldn't afford one.
now they are gaining in popularity so fast that the demand for pellets has gone through the roof
i can get 1 ton of pellets for around $350 ish. not bad but the price for pellets continues to rise so not for me.

Step 6: Things I Would Love to Do

if only i could afford it. i want to put solar panels in even if i use more power than they put out its a little less money spent. another idea is the fiber optic lighting. my place is dark even with the windows open in the day. they make a unit that delivers the natural sunlight collected from a mirror about the size of a satellite dish"the new age ones not the old hot tub sized ones" mounted on your roof via fiber optic cables that will light 1000 square ft of floor space. that's my entire apartment. more info on that here http://www.sunlight-direct.com/ and there's more but that's for another time. so i hope this saves you a little cash. happy saving.

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    I took solar yard lights that are three lights wired to a single panel and mounted the panels outside my house on the roof-line or on the side of the house near the roofline, ran the wires inside the house, and mounted the LED lights in corners of rooms so I have "moon lighting" in my house for free every night! It looks and works great!

    FREE NIGHT "MOON" LIGHTING...

    It adds safety by always having some level of light in hallways and other dark areas. It works even when the power goes out. The cost of changing three NiMH batteries every few years is quite minimal.. No more "night light" power wastes for kids, their bedrooms are also "moon light" equipped..

    ON the CFL bulbs, just be aware they contain ALLOT of Mercury. I used to use them for the energy savings, however the more I learned about their Mercury content I decided to go back to incandescent bulbs. LED lights are energy efficient AND safe, but they're expensive as all get out!

    A Site called www.oksolar.com, that has solar shingles, which are like regular shingles for the roof, but generate power of 17 watts per shingle. The only problem is that one 45 standard pack of shingle cost about $8,400.

    Talk about hurting for funds to do this

    SHR-17 PV Shingles cost $185 per unit.
    Standard 45 Pack of SHR-17 PV cost $8,325 (only sell in 45 pack)

    $8325 x # = P

    # - How many shingle pack are need to finish a house
    P - Cost of the SHR -17 to finish a house

    ya know .. I have an idea to try taking blinds and painting the outside facing side of the blinds black and mounting the hardware about an inch to an inch and a half below the top of the windows and see if that would create a solar heater effect leaving the inside of the blinds white so in the summer you could put the white on the outside facing position so not to raise the cooling costs and would add a nice blackout effect for those such nice people the sit at the stop sign in front of my house with there brights on at night if I have holes in my theory let me know.

    2 replies

    been awhile since this post, but my cousin made some similar units that were boxes on the south facing windows of his house. They would warm the air coming out of the top to 115degrees ....they definitely work.  We live in lower central ny. Good Luck.

    i cant think of any problems with that im intrested to know how it goes. will you be testing its efficency? i think it would be a really cool expeariment to do over a few weeks. record the data and see if it really helps. oh yea and pls make an instructable about the design and efficency outcome. :)

    yea im in bridgeport we got alot of old houses here

    Who did your contracting work? Did they just cut a rectangle in the wall and hang the door there? :P

    1 reply

    lol its not my house i would have smacked the contractor then handed him a level and a 90 degree ruler.

    You forgot geothermal heat pumps. They use no fuel at all, and about as much electricity as a forced air system. They are very expensive, though (about 40k, most of which is the drilling and installation costs).

    8 replies

    i think that you can only use them in certain geological areas. but good thinking i forgot about them. if you can afford it go for it. :)

    Well technically you can use a geothermal heat pump anywhere. Assuming your house isn't built on solid rock, you just have to dig down far enough to reach a point where the ground stays a constant temperature all year round. In North America, 10-15 feet is all you need.

    You're right, 10 to 15 feet deep is good for a horizontal piping system, which requires significant amounts of yard space. If you have the acreage, it's a great option, or if you have a lake, that works well too. Typical vertical wells are 200 to 300 feet deep because of the required surface area of the piping to obtain the correct thermal transfer. Jim Cencer, PE, CEM The Trane Company

    what he's not telling you is the system alone will not be enough if it get very cold at all form what I know about these systems is that there's not that much difference of heat I'm talking if its 20 degrees f out is only gonna make the house 35 to 45 degrees f inside yeah thats not enough alone to heat my house and for the cost you can keep it considering I'd have to buy a furnace from this guy as well geothermal has been around since the sixties there's a reason why its not used more frequently just like solar panels .... the cost! granted the cost of the latter has come down a lot in recent years

    i live on the coast i. and i think that 10-15 ft would be right in the water line. but still very good idea.

    Even better! You can sink pipes into lakes, ponds and groundwater aquifiers just as easily. Still pricey, though. ;)

    A good rule of thumb for geothermal is $6500/ton installed, which includes drilling and equipment. I've put in about 4,000 tons of it commercially around the U.S. Regards, Jim Cencer, PE, CEM The Trane Company

    If that had been the cost here, I would have a geothermal system of my own. *sigh* As a side note, I ended up installing a Trane high efficiency furnace and A/C. ;)

    In Japan they mount a 40 watt light bulb under the dining room table and put a blanket over the table. Then everybody works at the table. Heat only where you are, not where you aren't.