Picture of 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.

Picture of loose those stupid lights.
low energy light bulbs.jpg
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.
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mcarrell4 years ago
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!


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..
dadoffour4 years ago
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!
Dragon11274 years ago
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.
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.
deathpanda (author)  clintsmithgsm5 years ago
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. :)
Solderguy5 years ago
Who did your contracting work? Did they just cut a rectangle in the wall and hang the door there? :P
deathpanda (author)  Solderguy5 years ago
lol its not my house i would have smacked the contractor then handed him a level and a 90 degree ruler.
jeff-o6 years ago
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).
deathpanda (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
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.
jcencer jeff-o6 years ago
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
deathpanda (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
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. ;)
jcencer jeff-o6 years ago
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
jeff-o jcencer6 years ago
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. ;)
traynor696 years ago
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.
deathpanda (author)  traynor696 years ago
this is a great way to save on some heating $$ if your doing work that has you sitting in one spot. but no teacher, parent, threat of violence, or medication has ever gotten me to sit in one place for more that 5 min lol (my teachers hated me). thanks for the comment i cant believe i missed this one when i was putting this together.
PKM deathpanda6 years ago
You can still heat a smaller space- rather than heat my big rambling old leaky house with the central heating we used to only use a gas fireplace (a bit like step 5 image 4 but less snazzy, ubiquitous in older UK houses) or an electric fan heater in the room that was occupied. It was a great incentive to shut doors behind you if the rest of the house was freezing :)
deathpanda (author)  PKM6 years ago
good point thanks for the comment.
Here's something I've done in the past and hope to do next winter. I used a quartz radiant heater with 4 elements that were vertical I got at Ace Hardware.
Most of the time I only needed it on low setting. What I do differently, I make an aluminum tube frame welded together. The heater and tube frame is elevated off the floor about 6 inches. It also has a thermostat control to shut off when you reach desired temp. I paint the tubes facing the heater with high temp black stove paint, and after it cures, take it outside and let it cook off unwanted stuff that stinks a lot. Now you are ready to take it back inside, set it up, fire it up, and let it heat up the pipes as they will do so evenly, and will naturally draw the cold air off the floor and heat it quickly exiting the top of the tubes. You can use square tubes if you want too. My next one will be 2 inch square tubes. Treat with the same respect you would with a wood stove.
I call it my indoor solar furnace that works 24/7 if needed. You will be surprised how much heat comes out of that thing. I forgot to mention I cut the tube tops about 4 inches above the heater unit top. If needed, you can frame it in with non combustible materials so it won't turn over, or a pet knock it over, kid get burned... Just make sure cold air can get underneath it, this way no blower motor is needed.
I hope this provoked some thought for you or anyone else reading this. I cranked mine up on high my first night and it didn't take long for me to start turning down the heat as it got hot in there pretty quick in that apartment. On the extreme cold nights, I will not hesitate to light up my candles and oil lamps. I have over 200 candles I made, and I think a dozen large oil lamps I use in case an ice storm knocks out power here, I'll have plenty of light and heat. Got a nasty draft at my sliding glass door. I also make and use vegetable oil lamps too. Only 23 candles warmed this apartment up. I make 3 inch by 9 inch pillar candles from candles others throw away or I got cheap at the thrift store and melted it down for a new candle. Last month my electric bill was only 48 dollars. It has been unusually cool for this time of year here in Missouri. I'm near Kansas City. It stretches 70 miles North and South now after they quit annexing a few years ago.
Overall I hope you or others find this info useful. Many don't consider the amount of heat they waste with radiant heaters wasting power directed at themselves. Use it like a man made solar furnace that works 24/7. You'll be surprised how low you energy cost to heat will drop.
deathpanda (author)  extrordinary16 years ago
great ideas you got me interested. but now i vote you make an instructable on it :)
I will post one when the time comes next fall, possibly sooner. Good clear pics and all the details. : ) I need another one. I'm currently working on altering a wind turbine desgin I found on here. I'm hopeful it will generate enough power to operate this heater for free. What I save in energy costs, repays the cost of building this stuff quickly.
I use a SolusAir halegon heater, consuming only 400watts on low, it keeps me and my cats comfortably warm on a cold winter's night. I save by keeping the unused areas of my home at about 61 degrees. I've never had to use this heater on its high (800watt) setting. It may be bright but I can deal with it! I save further by using CFLs in as many of my fixtures as possible.
conky6 years ago
You are right about starting with the windows, but shade are a must. Cellular window shades actually stop the convection that causes heat loss, and they have a R-value of 4.6. Not bad. Here is a link to the brand that I put in my house http://www.ecosmartshades.com/index.html. They look good too.
deathpanda (author)  conky6 years ago
the cell shades or just good thick shades that cover the windows and a little wall help too but convection isn't the problem there. convection means heat goes up insulating your attic would do more to save on heating and ac when it comes to heat loss due to convection. mainly its extra draft protection and also stops a little heat loss from conduction ie. in winter the glass in the window gets cold from the temp outside and transfers that colder temp in.
bwpatton16 years ago
My grandparents have a type of heating in their home, it is hot water being pumped through copper pipes that run along the base boards in their home. It is very interesting and I would think energy saving becaue the hot water that is just normally sitting in your hot water heater is being used to heat your house. That is my theory.
deathpanda (author)  bwpatton16 years ago
thats base board heating. typically the water is heated by a furnace and pumped from a tank through the system (correct me if im wrong). Evan if you hooked it up to your hot water heater it would be cooled by the process of heating the house and would have to be constantly reheated witch uses more energy.
planethalia6 years ago
I live in chicago and we have forced air gas heating. Also, our heat system was added well after our building was built, so we have one long duct the length of our apartment that leads into every room. If we don't leave our doors open, my roomate's room and the bathroom gets stifling hot, and my room and the front room are freezing!!! But the real killer was our windows. We discovered last winter that by using packing tape and reused bubble wrap to insulate our windows we saved over hundred dollars a month on average I think. I didn't do the exact math but our gas bill dropped like crazy and we didn't even turn down the thermostat. i guess it was because the furnace wasn't working so hard. I don't know if bubble wrap insulation will help with your heating bill, but I thought you'd like the idea.
deathpanda (author)  planethalia6 years ago
good work bringing the bill down. its not necessarily the bubble wrap but any polymer put over the window and sealed properly will let sunlight in (heat and light), and keep drafts out. you can essentially turn your house into a greenhouse is you do a good enough job sealing it my uncle did all the windows in his house with plastic. your heating bill went down because your house wasn't loosing heat as fast therefore took less energy to heat and less gas and money. thanks for the idea keep em coming.
bobobob12306 years ago
the sunlight collection thing is pretty sick
deathpanda (author)  bobobob12306 years ago
yea i tried to sell it to my boss at work but i got shot down.
eh, not much you can do about that i guess :/
MaryWit6 years ago
One easy, inexpensive way to increase light--either from a window or low-watt light bulb--is to use well-placed mirrors to reflect the light--the more the brighter. Thanks for your tips and ideas!
oniman7 MaryWit6 years ago
If you don't care so much about being tacky, you could place aluminum/tin foil over the blinds.
deathpanda (author)  MaryWit6 years ago
great idea. I never would have thought of that
Plasmana6 years ago
Maybe you can make your own fiber optic lighting, it will save you a crap loads of money. I an going to try make one someday...
deathpanda (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
i thought about it. but i just don't have the cash to try, not to mention that the land lord would probably kill me. but i always wanted to try. if i get this new job i might try. if i do i will make it an instructable :D.
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