Introduction: Not Your Average Save Energy Advice

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Most of what I write isn't relevant to Instructables.  My main blog is here:
**End Digression... On to the Good Stuff**

Everyone has a reason to use less energy.
-For the environmentalist, obviously, all forms of energy have some ecological impact, and the ones we use the most (oil and coal) happen to be the ones which are most destructive.
-For the patriotic, using less energy means less dependence on foreign oil (and natural gas).
-For the selfish (I don't mean that in a bad way), it means lower bills, and therefor more money in your bank account (or cash under your mattress) that you can spend on other things.

Using less energy is definitely a win all around.
And yet, as much talk as the idea gets lately, few seem to be very serious about it.

There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of articles consisting of tips and tricks to conserve energy and be a little more ecological.
While they have plenty of valid ideas, a great many of the most common suggestions are things which either:
1) cost a whole lot of money upfront (with a promise of saving money in the long run), making them impractical for most people - things like "buy a hybrid" or "replace older appliances with Energy Star models; or
2) are tiny steps which will save an insignificant amount of energy.  You may as well do these things, but you aren't going to see reflected on your next bill, and they aren't going to change the world - things like "clean your air filter" or "turn up the thermostat a few degrees" or "keep your car washed for less wind resistance".

These suggestions seem to be geared towards a very specific demographic, implying that being "green" is limited to middle class families who can afford to be.
In reality, the change to be more environmentally friendly means spending much LESS money than the typical American consumer; not only in the long run, but upfront as well.

I will not suggest that you buy a new hybrid or turn down the heat a few degrees.
If you take some of the steps to follow you will reduce your "carbon footprint" and have more cash in your wallet as well.

Step 1: Buy Less Stuff

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It seems that the "green" craze has finally caught on in America.
But first and foremost, this is the land of consumerism, so of course just about every company is jumping on the bandwagon, and marketing their product as "green"

This leads people to think that being environmentally conscious means paying a premium.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 
Because, no matter how much better a "green" item is than whatever it is replacing, not buying either one is always the most environmentally benign choice of all.

The truth is that, due to technology, Americans today have access to more stuff for less money than any point in our 500 million year history.  Even the poorest among us can afford cars and TVs.  And we have long past the point where getting more stuff actually leads to any tangible long-term increase in happiness.  We basically buy stuff for no other reason than that we can.

The really great thing about it is, by doing right by nature (by not buying lots of crap, which necessitates stuff being mined, manufactured, and shipped - frequently from the other side of the world - only to eventually end up in landfill a few years later) you also end up saving a truly shocking amount of money.

Personally, I was turned on to this concept less than a year ago, by Jacob of Early Retirement Extreme

All of my life I have made a fairly low amount of money.  Due to various life events outside my control, combined with my low income, I had varying levels of debt all my life (or so I thought!). 
Well, I finally paid down the last of my debt about a year ago, and started saving a little bit, just before I stumbled across Jacob, who was promoting the idea of early retirement via spending less money.
Not that I was ever an ultra-consumer to begin with: outside of the occasional broken down auto, cross country move, new motorcycle, or going back to school, I generally lived within my means.

But once I discovered this new idea of becoming rich simply by not buying stuff, I started to pay much more attention to what I spent my money on.
So far its only been 8 months. During that time I made about $26,000.
In that time I have saved $17,000 dollars.
And in all honesty, going from spending 100% of my income to spending less than 50%, I haven't really felt any change in my lifestyle.

The trick is really simple.

Literally anytime you are about to reach into your wallet, stop for a second and ask yourself a few questions:
  1. Is this purchase going to last at least the next 10 years?
  2. Will this purchase continue to make me significantly happier for the next 10 years?
  3. Is there an alternate way I can accomplish the goal that buying this will serve, without spending money?
  4. Can I borrow this item from someone?
  5. Can I buy this item used?
  6. If this is a replacement item, have I tried to fix the old one?

If the answer is "no" to questions 1, 2 or 6, put your money away.
If the answer is "yes" to questions 3, 4, or 5, put your money away.

If the answer is "yes" to 1 2 and 6, and "no" 3 4 and 5, put your money away anyway! 
Wait for a month or two.  Then ask yourself the same questions again.  If after two months you still want whatever it is, go ahead and buy it.

Obviously this does not apply to food - although you can save both money and environmental damage by buying less pre-prepared food and by eating more plants and less animals.  As with all shopping, food fits into this general rule for acquiring things: 
"If you want it: grow it, raise it, build it, or fix it yourself." (that was taken verbatim from PS118 in the comments)
This concept should seem like a given to readers of Instructables.

For some of the most accessible and fun elaboration on the topic of getting rich by buying less stuff that I have found, try the Mr Money Mustache blog. (When you feel confident enough to call yourself Mustachian - or at least understand the idea - go on to the more advanced and sometimes esoteric ERE blog)

Step 2: The Hybrid Alternative

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Buying a Prius will cost you around 23 thousand dollars.

Contrary to what auto ads might have you believe, that is an incredibly enormous amount of money to spend on something whose sole purpose is to transport you from where you are to where you want to be.

A good quality bicycle will cost you between $100 and $1000, and it will serve the exact same purpose!
If you don't already own a good commuter bike, I have some tips on getting a good one used, here:

Unlike a hybrid, or even electric car, it causes zero air pollution during use, and caused only a tiny fraction of the environmental cost of a car during manufacturing.  At the same time, it saves you at least 22 thousand dollars up front, followed by saving you an additional $3000-$7000 per year in gas, insurance, maintenance, repairs, parking, tolls...

Over a decade, choosing to buy a good bike in place of a hybrid saves you almost $75,000!!!

Now I know, I know, you are going to say that for whatever reason, that just isn't an option for you.
But I'm going to say - without knowing anything about you - that unless you use a walker to get around, you can replace at least some of your driving with bike riding. 

Live in a snowy climate?  Ride in the summer! 

Live 25 miles from work?  Ride to get groceries or other errands
(and the next time you move or change jobs, make living within 15 miles of your work one of the top priorities!!) 

Have kids?  Get a childseat or trailer for babies or their own bikes for older kids! 

Don't have time?  Riding 15 miles to work will take about an hour, as opposed to 20 minutes by car.  However, when you consider that your commute has also just become your daily exercise and your daily recreation, it turns out you are actually saving time overall:

Option A) Drive to work and back (40 minutes), workout at the gym (60 minutes, plus 10 minute drive each way), recreation time - because running on a treadmill or picking up weights and putting them back down isn't much fun - (30minutes). 
Total time spent between the three activities: 150 minutes.

Option B) combine all three activities into one, by riding a bike to work (60minutes each way).
Total time spent: 120 minutes.

So you free up half an hour.
Then there is always option

C) don't get any daily exercise at all, spend your life weak and tired and pathetic, and most likely die early of a totally preventable disease. 

I realize that option C is kind of the American Way, but if you are reading this you are most likely a DIYer, and that makes you special.  You have already opted out of the mainstream consumeristic "buy it ready-made" doctrine...

Afraid of traffic?  Statistically, driving is one of the most dangerous activities you can do, (its just so ubiquitous that we take it for granted.)

In fact, according to various studies, you are anywhere from 2 to 6 times as likely to die on a given trip done by car than had you done the same trip by bicycle:

Death rate per million miles traveled...
By Bike - 0.016        By Car - .039

Death rate per million miles traveled...
By Bike - 0.2            By Car - 1.3

(Note that the numbers vary widely depending on the source of the statistics.) 
Other statistics find bicycling to be more dangerous per mile. 
However, none of those studies correct for the fact that you don't need a license to ride a bike and traffic laws are rarely enforced on bikes, both of which lead to cyclists doing things which are obviously unsafe and would never be tolerated by car drivers- things like riding on the wrong side of the road, riding on the sidewalk, and blowing through red lights without even slowing down.
Somewhere between 70 and 90% of cycling accidents are a direct result of the cyclist breaking the law and being unsafe.
As long as you ride properly, you can correct the statistics to find your own risk, and even the studies which conclude bicycles are more dangerous, when corrected this way, will end up showing you are far safer riding a bike then driving a car.
Which should come as no surprise, because the single largest factor in the severity of any crash is speed, and while a car can easily go 80MPH or more, most riders top out at about 25MPH (and that's going downhill)

Please read: for tips on how to stay safe on a bike (and an actual study to back up the claim that most bike accidents occur due to bike riders riding unsafe)

Especially since the majority of households have 2 vehicles, most of the potential excuses don't pan out.  Using a bike instead of a 2nd car still gives all the same benefits, while allowing you to drive those times when you really need it.

Step 3: Turn the Thermostat to "OFF"

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This is actually one of those "plugged into the Matrix" things which everyone takes for granted for no other reason than because everyone else takes it for granted, and it is what we have done all our lives.

When I first heard this idea a few months ago (From Jacob of Early Retirement Extreme) it seemed pretty radical to me.

But, by the time I finished reading the blog article, I was ready to try it.
It only took a bit more to convince my girlfriend to go along with it.
I thought it would be difficult, but actually, believe it or not, I went the rest of the winter without missing the heater once.

This is the actual issue: it is winter time, and you feel cold.
The traditional solution: heat up the ENTIRE HOUSE, including about 15 thousand cubic feet of air space, just so that you will be warmer.

The (should have been obvious) alternative: conserve your existing body heat.

Say its winter time, and you want to go to the store.
Do you rig up a portable propane powered radiant furnace that you can carry with you? Of course not! You just put on a jacket and hat, and you go to the store, feeling quite comfortable in even the coldest of weather (assuming you have lived in your climate long enough to own the right clothing).
Come to think of it, there are those radiant propane heaters at fancy-pants hoity-toity type restaurants, so that you can take off your jacket and eat out on the patio in the dead of winter. And you end up paying for such silly luxury when you get a bill 45 times more expensive than the same ingredients would have cost you at the grocery store. As an occasional treat, sure, eat out.
But wasting that much energy everyday, at home?
Now that's just crazy!

Instead of using gas or electricity to heat up the entire house, just put on a jacket, a hat, some warm socks, and maybe a scarf. Problem solved. You end up equally as comfortable, while using zero energy.

The same principal applies to cooling (although, granted, it is easier to stay comfortably warm in cold weather then to stay cool in extremely hot weather). Instead of using the A/C, start by wearing less clothes. There are a few steps you can take to keep your home cooler (which will be in the next step) but by dressing the way you would if you went outside, you reduce how cool you need the air to be in the first place. If 89 degrees (F) outside is considered nice weather, there is no conceivable (legitimate) reason one would ever need to turn an A/C thermostat lower than 89.

At the same time as you are saving the earth, you are also saving hundreds of dollars a year in utility bills ($900 for an average US household, assuming you turn off both the heat and the AC permanently)

CAVEAT: If you live in a place where the indoor temperature will drop below freezing, you should set your thermostat to at least 35-40 degrees (F), as pipes and appliances can be damaged if water freezes inside them. Also, if you have pets, their water bowl could freeze. I've had that happen!
For unheated spaces (under the house, in the attic, etc) its much more efficient to use pipe heaters and plenty of insulation to protect the pipes, rather than to heat the interior of the house so much that the spill over keeps the unheated spaces from freezing.

In the winter time, when you want it to be warmer inside, don't pour heat down the drain!
If you boil water for cooking, instead of pouring the hot water in the sink when its done, pour it in a container and place it in whatever room you would like to warm up. Leave it there until it cools off naturally - all that heat went into the room. When you shower during the winter, close the drain so that the hot water collects in the tub like a bath. Keep the shower door / curtain closed to contain the steam (which will condense back into the tub as it cools). When you are done all that heat from the water will radiate out into the bathroom, and, once the door is open, into the rest of the house. Once the water has cooled off, then drain it.
You already paid to heat up that water, reclaim that heat! No reason to heat up the sewers.

Step 4: Keep the Heat Out

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Running your old inefficient A/C 24/7 all summer is both expensive and bad for the ecosphere we depend on to live.
But buying a brand new energy efficient A/C or heat pump is really expensive, and it requires additional mining, manufacturing, and transportation, so its not exactly benign either.

If you read the last step, you realize how idiotic it is to turn the A/C thermostat down to 65 (or even the frequently recommended 72), and then wear a sweater indoors, in the summer.  If you consider 89 to be a nice comfortable day outside, it would be silly to set the thermostat any lower than 89.

Depending on your climate, and with the right steps, that may mean the A/C never needs to go on at all.

Of course, as any energy saving advice list will tell you, you should weatherize doors and windows.  This is fairly inexpensive, easy to do, and in many places you can get it done for you for free from the local utility company.
But don't stop there!

Start by figuring out the path of the sun over your house each day.  Whichever window it comes in in the early afternoon is the best place to start.
A roll of heat blocking film costs $15 at the local auto parts store.  A roll of plastic wrap is about $2.
Squeegee on the heat-block film-tint following the directions on the box.  This blocks up to 90% of infrared light  (solar heat).
(As an added bonus, you can now walk around naked with the shades open in the day time.)

Next, stretch some plastic wrap across the window frame, leaving as large a gap as possible between the glass and the plastic (you could use any kind of plastic sheeting, but I find plastic wrap to be cheap, readily available, and clearer to see though than most other options).  Tape it to the frame around the outside, using as many strips as necessary to cover the entire window.

This will keep heat out in the summer, as well as keep heat inside in the winter.
Will it be as effective as a brand new double-pane?  Certainly not!  But double panes will cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 - each.
This project costs less than $5 per window.  The time it takes to make that back in energy savings is considerably shorter, even if the energy savings isn't quite as high.
And if you already have fancy new double panes, you can still use this trick, to save even more energy!

Once you have finished the window that gets the most afternoon sun (and found how easy it is) you might consider doing other windows in your home as well - but keep in mind, you will want to open some windows at times for breeze and temperature control, so while you can tint every window in the house, the "poor person's double-pane" trick is appropriate for only windows you don't need to open.

Fans have become under appreciated as A/C and electricity have become so (relatively) cheap, but an exit fan in the attic to draw heat out of the building and a small fan in an occupied room to provide a breeze go along way toward cooling the whole building and making any given temperature feel more comfortable - while using under 100 watts (compared to 3000 to 5000 watts for A/C  - 30 to 50 times as much power).

If you live somewhere hot and dry, an evaporative cooler can lower temperatures as much as 30 degrees, and uses no more energy than a similarly sized fan. 
You don't need to necessarily go out and buy something new.  Just hang a thin towel or sheet so that the bottom lies in a container of water.  Then set up a fan to blow across the wet cloth into the area you want cooler. 
(Do a search on instructables for 10 pages of DIY evap coolers)

If you live in a humid climate where an evaporative cooler won't work, a dehumidifier will make it feel much cooler inside, and uses far less power than A/C

In the night time, when the sun is down, it gets cooler outside - often even cooler than it is inside.  Take advantage of that by leaveing your windows open at night
(depending where you live, you may want to install locks that allow the windows to open partially without opening all the way, to avoid accidentally inviting anyone in!)
Put a fan at one end of the home facing the window, to blow hot air out of the house, and another at the opposite end facing in to suck cool air in.  (If you have more than one floor, put the exit fan on the top floor and the in fan at the lowest floor, because heat rises)
Then close the windows again in the morning, trapping the "cool" inside.  As soon as the outside is cooler than the inside in the evening, open the windows back up.

If you have a gas furnace, shut off the pilot during summer.  Use the microwave instead of the oven.  Don't leave computers or electronics on any more than necessary (of course, if you are trying to save energy, you should be doing this anyway, but in addition to wasting electricity directly, they also generate heat)

Slightly more involved, and potentially more expensive (depending how creative you are in acquiring used items) would be make shift awnings above the windows that get the most summer sun. A patio umbrella placed right beside the building would be perfect, if your yard happens to have just the right orientation.   When it comes time to redo the roof, use a reflective material for the outer layer.  I have a white rubberized coating on the roof of my home, and painted the roof of my truck reflective silver.

Keeping the air inside from getting too hot in the first place makes a lot more sense than trying to get rid of it using A/C once its there.  It makes a lot more dollars too.

Here are a lot more great tips for staying cool without using A/C:
I was tempted to steal his ideas and list them here, but Bindlestiff deserves credit for his excellent instructable

Keep the heat out of your fridge too:

Step 5: Cut the Cord

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In addition to providing us with 10-14 hours of free light every day, the sun also provides us with heat, at no additional charge.

Can you imagine anything sillier than spending one's hard earned money on generating heat when you can get it for free just by walking outside?
Today I did the laundry.  I walked down to the laundrymat, ran my 2 week's worth of clothes through the super-size washer, and then walked back with them - still wet - to my side yard.  Then I hung a bag of clothes pins in the middle of the clothesline I put up (for all the neighbors to use) and hung up the wet clothes to dry.  That was a few hours ago.  As soon as I stop typing this instructable I'll go and take them down, just as dry as if I had spent $10 worth of quarters in the machine.  Plus, since they were hanging straight down instead of being tumbled around, I won't have to iron anything (who am I kidding, I wouldn't have anyway).

True, it takes a bit more effort.
However, that was time I spent in the sun, getting (a little bit of ) exercise, instead of sitting indoors at the laundrymat, watching terrible daytime television.

In the right climate, the same thing works in the winter, although it will take more hours for the clothes to dry.  If the temperature is below freezing outside or it is raining, you can dry your clothes indoors. 

Wash your dishes by hand.  It takes no electricity, and considering the "pre-rinse", it takes about the same amount of effort.
When some people claim it uses more water to wash by hand, they are assuming you turn on the water and then just leave it running the entire time you are washing!  That's just stupid.  Why would anyone do that? Just wet a sponge, put a little soap on it, use it to wash all of the dishes, and when they are all washed, then turn on the water and rinse them all off.  This will usefar less water then any commercial dishwasher.  Did I mention it also uses zero electricity?

Nearly every "labor saving device" is a way to use electricity to do a task which more than likely was not that hard to begin with.   Power locks, windows, and steering on a car comes to mind.  Nobody minded doing these things by hand before the automatic version was invented, yet now it seems that we think we are physically incapable of opening a window or pushing a lock by hand.
Even the most sedentary of activities, watching TV, feels impossible to many without having a remote control, to avoid the herculean effort it would take to stand up, and walk across the room to change the channel or volume by hand. 
(And we continue looking for genes, hormones, and food additives for answers to why America is becoming so obese...)

Use a wisk instead of a mixer, a broom instead of a vacuum, the sink instead of the gentle wash cycle, a swiss army knife instead of an electric can opener, a razor instead of a trimmer, earplugs instead of a noise machine. Mix it, open it, move it, clean it, yourself.  You save energy, you don't have to buy so much stuff, and you get a little bit of exercise, all at the same time.
Its win/win/win.

Step 6: Go to Bed!

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I don't quite understand why I seem to be the only one who has thought of this one.
It is completely free, and can save a very significant amount of energy over time.

Go to bed no later than 8 hours before the sun comes up each morning.  If the sun rises at 6am, go to bed by 10pm at the latest.  If the sun rises at 5am, go to bed by 9pm.  (If you need more than 8 hours of sleep, go to bed an hour earlier, or 9 hours before the sun rises).

Because, you see, if you aren't using lights at night, you don't need to use them at all! In the daytime, there is this great big old ball of burning hydrogen that you get to use for FREE - no strings attached. It turns out there is such a thing as a free lunch after all, and it's called "the sun". All you have to do to enjoy its massive power is open the curtains on your (newly insulated!) windows.
When it gets dark, go to sleep.
When the sun comes back up, wake up, and pick up where you left off. You spend exactly as much time sleeping either way, which means you have the exact same number of waking hours to get stuff done, but you never need to use electricity to see.

As an added bonus, you don't have to spend any upfront money to buy florescent or LED bulbs which would supposedly eventually "pay for themselves". Your old incandescent will use even less power - if you never turn them on.
The average US home will save just shy of $20 a month by cutting light use down to zero.

There is an extremely common myth that some people are "naturally" night owls.
But there is nothing "natural" about using electric lights to see all night, and then blocking out the sunlight with curtains until late in the morning.  That's just using energy to artificially turn night into day and day into night.

I challenge anyone who claims to be a "natural" night owl to go the next month using no electricity - nor any other form of artificial light - after the sun goes down.  That means not only no lamps or ceiling lights, but no flashlights, lanterns, or candles either.  It also means no TV or computer after dark, as these things also produce light.
In addition, you must not use any form of light blocking curtain or sleep mask after dawn in the morning.

I bet, outside of  few rare individuals with actual neurological conditions, everyone would begin to adapt to the real day night cycle that the universe and our biology set up for us.  If we were really meant to be nocturnal, we would be able to see in the dark as well as a cat, and hear as well as a bat.   What self professed "night owls" really are, is people who never out grew that toddler age feeling that if they go to bed they might miss something.  Its just that once they grow up, they don't have anyone telling them its bedtime, so they stay up all night.  I bet I'm going to offend a few people with that last comment!   

,My real point is just that' in addition to the extra energy and health you may get from not fighting your biology, you also end up using less electricity, which is better for both the planets health and the health of your pocketbook.

Step 7: Turn It Down

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Not the heat thermostat, we already established that should be set to 35 degrees max, if it isn't just turned off altogether.

The water heater thermostat.
Water heating is generally the single largest use of energy in a home after heating and cooling (which we know better than to do now)

Here is another situation, much like the heater issue from step 3, where I feel like I have been in the matrix all my life, and only recently unplugged.

Part 1) I noticed about a year or so ago that when I washed my hands, I would turn on both the hot and cold taps, and then start washing my hands.  Since it takes a while for the hot water to travel through the pipes, I would end up finishing before the water ever got warm.
So all I was really doing was pulling hot water into the pipes, and then letting it radiate out of the pipes while the water heater worked to heat up fresh cold water.  It was serving no purpose.  And I realized that I actually didn't mind washing my hands in cold water one bit.
So I went around the house and removed part of the handle of all the hot water faucets at sinks (only part of the handle, so that it would remind me not to mindlessly turn on the hot if I didn't really need it, but still allow me to turn it on when I really did want to).  For the past year all of my hand and dish washing has been with cold water only, and I haven't missed the warm one bit, not even in winter.

Part 2) When you get into the shower (or fill a bath), what do you do?  You turn on the hot water, wait until the water heats up - and then turn on the cold tap to balance it out and adjust it to be comfortable.  Tell me this is not insane!
Imagine doing the same thing with the heat and AC: you turn the furnace up to its maximum setting, and then you make it comfortable by turning on the AC at the same time.  Or the same analogy in a car:  you floor the accelerator at all times, and then to regulate your speed you step on the brake at the same time.
Why not just heat the water to the temperature that you want it in the first place?

A nice hot shower is between 100 and 105 degrees.  Turn the water heater down to 110 degrees - just barely high enough so that with the temperature lost in the pipes, you get between 100 and 105 out at the shower head.
In addition to using less energy, you also spend less time fiddling with the handles every time you take a shower.  You just turn the hot tap on, and the temperature is perfect!

Before anyone brings it up in the comments: yes, you increase your risk of incubating Legionella bacteria in your water tank if you turn it below 120 degrees. 
This concern is pretty much akin to the hysteria over bird flu - and then swine flu - and next monkey flu, or whatever, who knows...
Legeionellosis affects 0.006% of the US population annually - almost all of whom are elderly or have otherwise compromised immune systems and many of whom are smokers as well.  It kills 0.001%
There will always be innumerable places where water is stored at less than 120 degrees (pools, lakes, rain barrels, fountains, dehumidifiers, windshield wiper fluid tanks...).  Considering the amount of stored water we come into contact with every day, and how rare the disease is, increasing the chances of incubating it still means the chance of contracting it are very remote.
Most water systems are not contaminated with it in the first place (and in order to grow in your water tank, it has to get in there from somewhere).  Most people who do come into contact with it aren't affected.  Most people who do contract it, recover.

If you live with elders, or anyone with a condition that leads to a compromised immune system, or you are just concerned and want to be extra careful, all you have to do is turn your water heater up to 150 for a few hours once a month, thereby sterilizing the inside of the tank.  This is enough to kill any growing population of bacteria that may be there.
Then turn it back down so you aren't wasting enormous amounts of energy the rest of the time. 
When it comes time to replace your water heater, go with a tankless (instant) water heater, and you don't have to worry about the (extremely unlikely) possibility of incubating bacteria in the tank.

And remember, there is a much higher risk (especially to young children and people with restricted mobility) of serious injury due to scalding from having the temperature too high than there is of contracting legionellosis.


Turning it down to 110, instead of the industry standard 140, will save you 15% of the energy (and therefor the cost) of heating that water.  Using less of it (by only using hot water to shower) will save you 60% of your water heating energy.
Together, an increase in efficiency of 75% is far more than upgrading to the latest Energy Star model would save, and it cost you nothing!
For an average household, that 75% translates to somewhere around $400 a year.

Step 8: Take the Bus

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Flying from one place to another is one of the most inefficient ways you can get from one place to another. 
Even driving in a Hummer is more efficient (as long as you take along a couple of passengers).

This should come as no surprise, since in addition to the energy it takes to transport your body and luggage, there is also the energy to transport a 47 ton vehicle, as well as the energy needed to make a 47 ton vehicle fly through the air!!
If that were not enough, it does so at speeds of over 500MPH.  Just like highway mileage for a car, air resistance increases with the square of the speed, so going 500mph, even in something as aerodynamic as a plane, comes with a huge added energy cost.

A plane requires 4 to 7 times as much energy (per passenger) to transport people than a bus going the exact same distance
(depending on how full each is, and how long the trip is)

And not only does the ecosphere pay the cost of the luxury of getting from CA to NY in 6 hours, you pay a pretty penny premium for it as well.

The most environmentally friendly way to travel long distances is also often the cheapest (notice a pattern?)

For example, a one way trip from NY to Chicago by plane, booked 2 weeks in advance, costs anywhere from $130 to over $500 (depending on the airline).  That trip on Greyhound is $80.
A plane trip from SF to LA will set you back $90.  On the Chinatown Busline, its only 20 bucks.

(Unfortunately, for long trips, such as coast-to-coast, bus lines can't compete with the highly subsidized airline industry for cost.  They are still the better option for ecological impact.  If you want to be greener than flying, but not pay more money for it, consider looking for a rideshare by googling "rideshare")

Step 9: The Hybrid Alternative (version 2)

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I realize that as a country, we have gotten so spoiled by cars that expecting people to give them up is just not realistic.
Heck, even I have both a truck (that runs on biodiesel) and a motorcycle (that gets over 70mpg).  Sooner or later most of us are going to buy a car.

Many times the question has been asked, "does the amount of gas a hybrid saves make up for the higher price?"

The answer is no. 

A hybrid is not worth it.
The reason this seems like a reasonable question is because it is always posed as a false dichotomy:  a  new high-efficiency hybrid vs. a new moderate efficiency non-hybrid.

What if I told you you could have a car that gets about the same mileage as the Prius, and only cost about $2000?
The purchase of which, unlike the first two options, caused zero additional ecological damage in the form of mining materials, manufacturing energy, and transporting the final product.

Buy a used sub-compact car from the local paper or Craigslist.  The Geo Metro got around 50mpg.  The Chevy Sprint, Ford Festiva, and Suzuki Swift all got around 40.  These numbers are EPA ratings, but if you put even a minimum of thought into how you drive, you can easily get much better than the EPA rating in any given vehicle

(The first step to efficient driving is watching your speed.  Much more detail on that:
A very good primer on efficient driving:
You can see how I get 100% better mileage out of my truck here:   )

You should easily be able to beat the Prius for mileage in any one of these cars.


1)"Small cars are unsafe".  This extremely pervasive myth comes from the fact that in crash tests which simulate a head-on collision, a vehicle with more mass fairs better (all other things being equal).
This is due to physics, and can only partially be mitigated by the design of safety restraints and crumple zones.

However, how a vehicle fairs in a head-on collision is only a small part of overall safety.

For one thing, head-on collisions are the not the most common type of collision.  In a rear or side impact collision, a roll-over, or a single-vehicle collision with an inanimate object, vehicle mass has little or no impact on passenger safety.  I won't get into the details, but, again, this relates to physics more than car design.
If you live in a rural area with high-speed undivided roads, you may have reason to worry about head-on crashes.  Most of us live in a city or suburb where freeways have dividers down the middle, and city street speed limits are too low to worry about fatal crashes.

The other reason crash tests are misleading is that not all vehicles are equally likely to get into a crash.
Think about it - which would you rather:  get into a crash and survive; or avoid the crash altogether!?!?
A vehicle with twice the mass takes twice as long to stop (physics again!)

You don't believe me do you?

This is from a 2000 NHTSA study of actual fatality rates by different vehicle classes.
If being heavy really made a vehicle safer, then fatality rates would drop in proportion to weight.  That isn't at all what happens:

Class                          avg weight in lbs    fatalities per bil. miles

Mid-size 4-door cars           3,061                9.46
Small 4-door SUVs             3,147                10.47
Compact pickup trucks       3,339               11.74
Mid-size 4-door SUVs         4,022                13.68
Large 4-door SUVs              5,141               10.03

The reality doesn't exactly match up with conventional wisdom.  A 3,000lb mid-size car turns out to be safer than a 5000lb SUV when you look at fatalities per mile instead of just crash test ratings (and these results include all situations, including the undivided highways that most of us don't travel on very often)
Mid-size cars are safer than any size SUV.

Assuming you aren't at high risk for head on collisions, the things to look for are braking distance, maneuverability, and lack of blind spots, and a small car beats out a large SUV on all three points.

2)"The car is too small for my needs".  Considering most American households have between 2 and 5 people and one car per driver, and the majority of US car trips have one passenger or less, it's hard to understand why anyone would think 5 seats and a trunk wouldn't be enough.
Instead of sizing for a trip that comes up a few times a year, consider your day-to-day use.  On those rare occasions you actually need something bigger, rent it.

3)"Used cars are unreliable".  Fair enough. 
Say, after a year or two, you need to do a major repair - say, it needs a new engine or transmission.  It costs you a couple grand, at the most - as much as you spent on the car.  On the other hand, you are not paying for full-coverage insurance - which would have cost you a couple grand within a few years.   You are also not paying interest on a car loan.  Or making any payments, for that matter, because what you would have spent on just the down payment of a new car was the total purchase price of the used car.

Simply put: for the cost of one new car, you can buy five to ten 20-year-old used cars.
It doesn't matter how much you sink into a used car in repairs, you will NEVER come close to breaking even with the cost of a new car with a warranty. 

Worse case scenario, the car is totaled, and you don't have full coverage insurance.
Now you have to buy a new car.
But again, the new (used) car costs about as much as 2 years of full coverage insurance would have cost you.
Unless you total a car every two years, you come out ahead. 
(And if you do total a car every two years, you really should have your license revoked)

This stands to reason, since (like with all insurance) the insurance company is in business to make a profit, and they set the price to insure that 90% of people pay them more than they will ever get back in claims.  You can beat them by buying a car that doesn't warrant full coverage.


"kretzlord" pointed out in the comments "it might not be the coolest thing to ride, but at around 100 mpg, it's a good midpoint between bike and car..."
I don't know how I missed that myself!  I actually own a 250cc motorbike.  Mine is a motorcycle, not a scooter, but it has a scooter sized engine, (as well as a scooter sized pricetag).  My Kawasaki EX250R gets between 60 and 80MPG (depending on how fast I drive, whether I have a passenger, and the amount of hills). 

One of my earliest blog posts was on this very topic:

I won't write any more on the topic, as that link addresses all of objections you have against commuting by motorbike.

Step 10: Small Change

Picture of Small Change
As I mentioned in the introduction, there are many other lists online (including on instuctables) of ways to save energy.  They do give valid advice, but most of it consists of small changes (and/or expensive changes).  I do recommend looking up a few, and following the suggestions you find.  Small changes do add up.

Here is one example:
It is very thorough (although some items are listed more than once).  It also has some pretty screwy suggestions which you should ignore: turn the AC to 78 degrees when nobody is home!?!?!?!?!  Really?  That's way lower than it needs to be when people are home.  When nobodies home it should be off!  And, "hang up your clothes after running them through the drier"?  Is that a joke?  If you are going to take the time and effort to put your clothes on a clothesline anyway, why not justput them directly from the washer to the clothesline, and use zero energy (or money)? Despite these shortcomings, I put the link here because I don't feel like typing out their 200 or so good suggestions.

The following are smaller changes than the previous pages, but they are left off of other lists altogether, and every little bit helps.
I'll most likely add to this list as I think of things (and/or people make good suggestions in the comments)

-Plug everything with a plug into a power strip. Plug that power strip into a timer that shuts off automatically - but has to be turned on by hand.  The simple cheap dial ones you can get at the grocery store or pharmacy work perfect for this.  They have a tiny red tab and a tiny green tab.  Take the tiny green tab out and throw it away.  Set the red tab for about an hour after you normally go to bed (9 or 10, maybe earlier, if you are following step 5).  This way, if you forget to manually turn off the power to anything, it will not stay on all night (and all the next day when you forget to turn it off again before going to work).  It also serves as a reminder of how late its getting when you stay up working or watching TV.

-If you cook, get a pressure cooker. It will cut cooking time dramatically, saving you both energy and time.  Dry beans, for example, cook in 5 to 10 minutes in a pressure cooker, as opposed to an hour or more in a pot.   ok, I admit it, this means spending more money upfront, so that you can save money in the long run, but a good quality pressure cooker should last forever, and it has a concrete benefit, so it passes the tests in step one.  If you don't cook, use the microwave.  It only heats the food, not the air, so it is more efficient than a stove.  Either way, preparing your own food is both more ecological and cost effective than buying prepared food or eating out.

-Rechargeable batteries; again, this requires an initial investment in a charger as well as the batteries, but price per amp hour has dropped dramatically over the past decade, to the point where it doesn't really make any sense to keep buying use-once-and-throw-away batteries anymore.  Plus, you can find them anywhere alkaline are sold these days, so its not even any additional trouble to get them.  There is basically no excuse for not using rechargeables.

-Use the battery powered version over the plug in version.  When things come in both battery and plug-in form, the battery version usually uses much less total power (even considering the loss in the charger).  The most common example is the bedside alarm clock.  A plug in alarm clock uses around 2-5 watts.  A battery power alarm clock uses about 0.01 watts.  (Of course, a wind up alarm clock uses 0 watts, making it the best option of all).

-When you go to the store for a few things, and realize you forgot to bring your cloth bag, just carry things loose in your hands.  You avoid another plastic bag, and you can usually talk the cashier into giving you the "bring your own bag credit" that most large chains offer these days (saving you a few cents each time)

Step 11: Some Big Changes

Picture of Some Big Changes
These are not things which anyone is going to go out and do right after they finish reading this webpage, but they are things to keep in mind the next time a major life transition comes up anyway.

-Move! As in, move to a new house. One which is no more than a 10 min walk from groceries and/or public transit, and no more than a 15min bike ride from work. This is a big step, but one which will save you thousands of dollars in the long run (assuming you keep the same rent/mortgage) and perhaps even more importantly, will save you hundreds of hours of time. Hours of your life which are currently wasted sitting in your car in traffic.  Living close to work and food makes following step 2 (hybrid alternative) a realistic option, and for that reason it may be cost effective even if it means paying slightly higher rent.  Even just the maintenance, insurance, gas, and registration on a fully paid for car amounts to thousands of dollars a year (and generally the highest negative environmental impact that each of us makes), so moving out of the suburbs so that you can sell your existing car may be worth considering.  If you already live within walking distance of groceries and/or public transit, you could also consider getting a new job closer to home, or finding a way to telecommute or otherwise work from home.

-Move! (part 2). As in, move to a new house. One which is as small as you can practically live in. Notice I used the word "practically", not "comfortably" - because comfort is subjective based largely on expectations and what everyone else around you is doing. Nobody felt cramped in 1000 square foot homes 40 years ago, but today the average new home is over 2500 square feet... even though the average family size has gotten smaller since then.
As a very rough generality, I'd say you don't really need more than 100 square feet per person to be comfortable (so long as you don't go over to your neighbor Jones' house across the street and see what they have).  A smaller home means every form of energy use and every home related expense drops.

-12v solar, non-grid-intertie-system. This takes an initial investment, but tens of thousands of dollars less than a typical grid-intertie residential system. I will make a detailed instructable about this topic in the near future.Done:

-Live in an RV.  RVs are designed to allow someone to go "off-grid" into the woods for weeks at a time, and still maintain all the comforts of civilization.  In order to facilitate that, they are built to use water, propane, and electricity more efficiently than a normal household.  For example, if you wanted an ammonia-gas-absorption-cycle refrigerator for your house you would have to pay a premium of several hundred dollars over a conventional compressor fridge.  In an RV they come standard.  They also have tankless toilets, 12v low wattage lighting and a small amount of total cubic air space to heat or cool.  Because they already have a 12v electrical system with battery backup, adding in a non-grid-intertie system is very easy.  And in addition to saving energy and water, you also pay a fraction of the rent you would pay in a similarly sized studio apartment by staying in a trailer park.  In some areas trailer spaces (with full hookups) can be had for under $200 a month, while even in the most expensive areas of the country (just outside of San Francisco CA or NYC) spaces are less than $500.
MAJOR CAVEAT:  RV living only saves energy and money if you find a place to put it and leave it there!  RVs are terribly inefficient when it comes to driving around.
See this video tour of my RV home for more:
(There are some errors in this video.  I didn't prepare for this video in advance at all. I also had a faulty electric meter at the time, that was reading low.  My actual electric use is about 1/10th the national average, not 1/30th.  My water use s about 1/4 the national average.  And I have about 250 square feet, not 150.  On the other hand, my girlfriend now lives with me, so our per capita energy/ consumption is only half of those numbers)

-Run your auto (if you still have one) on used vegetable oil.  In keeping with the trend of this instructable, I'm not suggesting you go out and buy a diesel engined vehicle just so you can run it on veggie grease.  But if you are shopping for a new car anyway (or if already own a diesel), get a diesel and find a restaurant that currently has to pay to have their old oil hauled off, and offer to take it for free. I'm sure there are already plenty of instructables that will walk you through the details of the conversion process.

Step 12: Get Rich by Saving the Planet

Picture of Get Rich by Saving the Planet

If you have been following along, and adding up all the numbers, you may have discovered that by following these steps a household could save over 30 thousand dollars a year, while at the same time doing a whole lot less damage to the world around them.
That was not a typo.  $30,000!

For many people (like me!) 30 thousand dollars is more than an entire years income.  I doubt there is any one reading this who would mind waking up a year from now to discover an unexpected 30grand smiling back at them from their bank statement (well, would you?)

This flies directly in the face of the conventional wisdom that says you have to choose between saving money and saving the planet.
Consumer marketers hope to tempt you into believing you can buy forgiveness, much like the medieval Catholic church sold "indulgences" (today they are called "carbon offsets"). 

Too often "green" means "moderately less destructive version of something nobody really needed in the first place".
The true alternative is doing without it all together.
There is a certain freedom that comes with not having mountains of stuff to look after.  (Not to mention a certain freedom that comes with a spare 30Gs!)

In addition to the massive amount of money you are saving, by combining your commute, exercise, and recreation into a single step (by riding your bike to work), spending less time at the mall, never having to fiddle with the shower temperature again, using a pressure cooker, and maybe even moving closer to work, you are saving a couple hours of time every week.  Hours you can spend however you want!  In a country as wealthy as our own, time is probably more valuable than money. Just as the health of the planet goes hand-in-hand with the health of your bank account, so to it goes hand-in-hand with the health of your appointment book.

Some of this may sound like major lifestyle changes.  But most of it comes without any commitment.  Try some!  See how you like it.  Sam ended up enjoying his green eggs and ham.  But he would have never known if he had never tried.
You don't have to sell you car tomorrow.  Just try riding your bike to work one time.  Try washing your dishes by hand, or hanging up clothes to dry, just one time.  Turn down the thermostat for a couple days.  If you don't like it, you can always go back to your old ways.


nicksyl (author)2014-08-14

Just as a thought, for the light-conservation suggestion, and to answer your first sentence. There actually are people, genetically, who are night-active, and useless in the mornings. My family is among them. For decades I tried to conform, got up early and went to bed early out of sheer impossibility to work otherwise - no help. I am still a night owl. And the regime flips immediately the moment next morning is free.

The Brits have in fact identified the gene responsible. so it's now a scientific fact. :)

We'd like to conform - but alas... this suggestion is not for everyone.

JacobAziza (author)nicksyl2014-08-14

Yes, it is true that there are some people whose biological clock is offset from the rest of the world. Its considered a medical condition, delayed sleep phase disorder and it's extremely rare: 0.15% of the population. I.E. not remotely enough to explain all of the self professed night owls. For everyone other than that one fifteenth of one percent, its some combination of artificial light, life stress, and getting into a pattern.

nicksyl (author)JacobAziza2014-08-14

Not getting into the medical terms, I really don't know how the 0.15% has been established. None of the numerous night owls I know, including my whole family, have never been tested or participated in any sort of statistical review. I think, like so much ese, there is more unknown than known on the subject. As I said, none of us ever (since rather young childhood) could tune the clock to "normal" if we wanted to.

To answer your phrase "self-professed night owls":

It is difficult to explain to a morning person what it's like to live your whole life "raped" from a biological clock point of view. That it is NOT a CHOICE. I imagine it's much like gender or sexual orientation: there just is no point in time when you "decide" to become one. You just ARE. It's not fashionable, it's not to be or not to be like someone... it just is. Night is the time my mind works in its clearest, most intense potential. I get the most done. I solve problem I can never solve in the fog of the pre-noon time of day. For me - the time to go to sleep if after I watch the dawn, around 5AM. :)

Think of all the "free-professions". Many of them are night owls. I think it is one of the reasons they chose these professions. I am an engineer and have worked at a plant for 18 years, before I finally understood I could change that, and step out of this forced lifestyle, hoised on me by the society.

I don't blame you if you won't understand. My step father is a morning lark, he has lived with us for 35 years and STILL thinks it is laziness and lack of willpower. :)

JacobAziza (author)nicksyl2014-08-14

I don't really understand what you are arguing. I already acknowledged, both in the original 'ible and in my comment response, that delayed sleep phase disorder is a real thing.

Here, since you have never looked it up yourself:

I never claimed that you personally (or your family members) aren't part of that 0.15%. It sounds like you probably are. My point is that the vast majority of the human population - the other 99.85% - don't have delayed sleep phase disorder.
In other words, I agree with you, it isn't a choice FOR YOU. That doesn't prove that it isn't a choice for anyone.

nicksyl (author)JacobAziza2014-08-14

Well, since you don't understand what I am arguing, I will explain:

1. I did look at what you mentioned.

2. I usually do not rely on Wikipedia for my information. If you look up psychology today, or some other source of information, you will find studies that show a completely different picture: that the % of people with night preferences only is reported to be about 20%, and those who prefer to go to sleep late but would prefer to get up early - about 60 %, and those who prefer only morning and early sleep - about 20%. There are about 40% of people for whom changing the rythm is a choice, but they still have a natural preference. In addition, there are changes in the clock which have to do with hormonal imbalances, age, and other things.

The percentage varies from one study to another, I have taken an average of three I read. As I said earlier - more is not known that known on the subject.

So what am I arguing? I am not. Just letting people know, if they happen to read your fine recommendations, that they need not feel like they are "non-normal" if they find it an impossibility, and that this is a very well know and far from common phenomenon. And that the ignorance about it is what makes our life so difficult.

I did not say it earlier, but thank you, btw, for your comprehensive manual. Very interesting suggestions, the rest of them. :)

nicksyl (author)2014-08-14

In Israel we heat water by solar power. Most houses and apartments have a solar boiler, connected to solar panels on the roof.

There are many countries and regions where this makes sense. We have 300 sunny days per year. On a rainy winter day we heat the water electrically. :)

Look at this picture: the view of rooftops in Petah Tiqwa, Central region of Israel:

Teachable (author)2013-07-31

Nice ideas, I think those questions cover most purchases with a few exceptions.

kretzlord (author)2013-03-29

minor idealistic discrepancies aside, this is a great guide to get people thinking about how to change their lives. One addition i have (and a change i'll be making soon) is for the long commuter: Find a used scooter/moped. it might not be the coolest thing to ride, but at around 100 mpg, it's a good midpoint between bike and car when you don't have a choice in where you live. And, buying used reduces the savings/payoff time

JacobAziza (author)kretzlord2013-04-01

You have got an excellent addition there, and I have no idea why/how I missed it!
I mean, I drive a 250cc 2-wheeler myself!! Its a motorcycle, not a scooter, but it has basically the same advantages (60-80mpg, very small upfront cost, highway speed transportation)
Not only that, but one of my earliest blog posts was about why everyone who drives should own a motorbike:

Thanks for reminding me of it!

adunster (author)2012-12-19

Did you request and receive permission to use that image from the original artist? I'm going to speculate no as you have provided no link back to his website. I can't find the link to the exact image itself but it is very definitely an image produced by WB Skinner I understand he has not been active online in some time but it is not appropriate to use art that he took the time and effort (not to mention hiking around Lake Superior in the middle of winter) to produce without crediting, not to mention the majority of artists do not appreciate their art being used without their permission. Legally he could take action against you if permission was not received. At the very least you would want to link back to his gallery so that your readers could enjoy the rest of his amazing photography!

JacobAziza (author)adunster2012-12-19

I could be mistaken, but I believe I got all the images which I didn't upload myself from free (for non-commercial use) image sites

I can't remember where I found that particular picture specifically, but I've never seen his site before you linked it in this comment

adunster (author)JacobAziza2012-12-22

Ok, that case it's the fault of the free image hosting site or whoever is supplying them with images unless the artist himself allowed them (I never had the impression he was someone that just gave them out like that but I couldn't say for sure)
not all 'clipart' sites get their images legitimately unfortunately.

joshfromga (author)2012-12-22

I agree that its cheaper to travel by bus than plane, but why not drive? I would think not having to rent a car or pay for a taxi would offset the price of fuel.

JacobAziza (author)joshfromga2012-12-22

Well, like I said in the 2nd line of this step: "Even driving in a Hummer is more efficient (as long as you take along a couple of passengers)."

IF you take along two or more passengers, driving can be very efficient, and much more so than flying, but unless you drive a Prius and all 4 seats are filled, the bus usually wins for minimal environmental impact.
As for cost, if its your own car you have to factor not only gas, but also increased depreciation, maintenance, and repairs. It still may come out ahead, but you have to do the math to be sure. As a rough guide, use the IRAs number of 55 cents per mile.

Whether or not you'll need a taxi depends on where you are going on what you will do when you get there.

adunster (author)2012-12-19

To say you could save 30k when you not only weren't spending, but didn't even have 30k to begin with is a fallacy. All of your savings and tips are proportional to what a person is spending and making to begin with anyway. Not that I don't appreciate the tips, a lot of this is good ideas to think about. Just not needed to overhype it.

JacobAziza (author)adunster2012-12-19

? I am saying that an Average American, who both earns and spends far more than 30k a year, could save 30k in a year, with no significant reduction in life quality. Not that everyone could, even if they only earn minimum wage. Although, given enough time, even the minimum wage earner eventually does spend 30k (just not all in one year), so even if I had meant that, it would still be true.

stringstretcher (author)2012-12-14

Why not put a timer on an outlet set to recharge your batteries in the middle of the night, when the price of electricity has gone down? You may not save a lot on this, but for discussion's sake, it is right in line with many of these other ideas. It is also the idea behind the flywheel battery (at least for future home use)

Because I charge my batteries 100% solar. And the sun is down in the middle of the night ;)

I do have a timer on the outlet of my 120V electronics that use stand by power, just in case I forget to turn it off manually when I'm done.

even better!

crazyg (author)2012-12-16

i own a suzi swift and its really slow, but quicker than a bicycle.

rush_elixir (author)2012-11-19

very good not very good but ultimately very good for humans and our planet. tried for 2 years now and still going...saves me a lot of money and keeps me and my family in good health. thanks for posting...hope others will follow. God bless

schumi23 (author)2012-01-25

Great instructable!
I just wanted to add that heavy curtains block out cold (and probably heat too) very well.
I live in an apartment, were i have no control over amount of heating, and there is often too much. So, the other day, i opened to window a little bit before going to bed, but leaved the curtain closed over it.
In the morning, I was surprised that my room was even warmer then when i had gone to bed, despite my having opened the window!
So, i made sure that i had opened the window, as, as i parted the curtain, i was blasted with freezing cold air. The curtain had blocked all the cold at the window sill.

The next day, i learned from it, and opened another window, in front of which i don't keep the curtain closed, and it worked, i didn't wake up sweating from the heat.

So, this is just to show, that, if you don't want those Poor-mans double pane windows, which do not allow you to open windows (As temperatures vary wildly from here (15 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, to 105+ in the summer), you want to be able to open the windows, and curtains (while i think a little more expensive) are very efficient way to do that.

Note: They do have to be thick curtains. (also, i have no idea to the true cost of mine, as they are 15+ years old (I'm only 14).

Once, more, great instructable, though many of your options i will be unable, or just to unwilling (ie: dishwasher, as we don't give it a pre-rinse, or going to sleep, as i play online some, and most people are on after 11 (though if that were not the case, i would gladly go to bed earlier.(Also, your thing about only buying whats necessary... well, i sorta have to do that XD since, because of my age, i get hardly any money XD)

JacobAziza (author)schumi232012-01-26

Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely add that in.

I don't know why I didn't the first time - every day I open the curtains in the morning specifically to let in the sun's heat, and every evening I close them all to keep it in. Mine aren't especially thick, but I have both blinds and curtains, and they seem to do better than no curtains at all.

I totally understand about the online games. I recently started playing the MMORPG DCUO. Its pretty addictive. I'm sure it's helped me break a few of my own rules, going to sleep on time being the main one. At least, unlike most games, it is both free to download and there is no subscription fee...

schumi23 (author)JacobAziza2012-01-26

It is too addictive... though since i discovered instructables, I've been playing less :) I play Dungeons and Dragons Online (
It is a truly Great Game!

Though lets not start a Conversation on gaming on... an instructable on saving energy XD :)

Ranie-K (author)2011-08-29

Don't turn the water heater down to 110°F! Legionella will thrive in your heater -it doesn't die before 158 °F! THIS TRICK HAS KILLED PEOPLE IN THE PAST!

Did you make any of these pictures yourself? If not, did you get the picture owners' expressed permission to post them here without crediting them?

JacobAziza (author)Ranie-K2011-08-29

Dang it!

I was kind of hoping to preemptively cut off this comment by addressing it myself.

Oh well.

The whole massive outbreak of legionella that has caused people to be paranoid of water heaters set too low was in 1976, when it killed the outrageous number of 34 people!

This may sound scary when taken out of context, but you have to keep in mind the size of the population. Like I said in the original post, the annual fatality rate in the US is less than 0.001% of the population.

Nearly all of those people are elderly or have otherwise compromised immune systems, and are frequently smokers as well.

In comparison,

Alcohol kills .008% of the population each year - 8 times more.

Accidental poisining kills .01% - 10 times more.

The flu kills .017% . Not "swine" flu or "bird" flu - the plain old ordinary flu that most people catch every couple of years.

Car accidents kill .014%.

It makes no sense at all to get into a car every day and drive to work, and yet be afraid of your water heater being set to 120. Assuming you are not an elderly smoker, you are many thousands times more likely to die from driving your car than you are from legionellosis.

We can not possibly go through life trying to find every possible way to avoid every possible risk, no matter how remote. We should pick and choose those risks which are most realistic to be cautious of, although in reality most of us base what we are afraid of on what we are used to and what media hysteria is focused on. So instead of having kids walk to school (setting them up for a lifetime of obesity related health problems) we drive them to avoid the one in a hundred million chance they get abducted by a stranger.

Having a hot water heater doesn't erase your risk of coming in contact with legionella anyway. It has been found in hot tubs, pools, fountains, windshield wiper fluid tanks, commercial plumbing systems, humidifiers, and air conditioners.

Most particularly humidifiers, which have a warm supply of stagnant water which is open to the air and produces a fine mist - the absolute ideal for legionel growth. You don't find warnings to never use humidifiers unless they are kept at 140 degrees. If we aren't concerned about humidifiers, it makes no sense to be concerned about water heaters - which are a closed system and have new water cycling though regularly.

If all that still doesn't allay your fears, might I suggest getting a tankless water heater, rather than heating 50 gallons of water far hotter than you need 24/7.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-09-12

If your hot water tank is set at a hotter temperature, you use less of it overall... you're running more cold water to have a comfortable shower than if it were lower... you need to run mostly water from the hot-tank.
You do need to keep it reasonably high.
It helps if the tank is inside the house, like in a closet, rather than a basement...

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-09-12

The heater has to maintain whatever temperature you set it to, 24/7. It takes about 25-40% more energy to maintain 160 than to maintain 110!!!

Stand-by heat losses (heat lost through the tank walls, even if all hot water taps are off) accounts for between one quarter and one half of the energy used by a tank water heater.

The reason turning the heater lower saves energy is because it reduces stand-by losses.
(This is also the reason that tankless heaters are so much more efficient)

Therefor, the fact that you mix cold water at the tap and use less hot flow in a shower does not matter.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-09-13

Oh, and too... Allergies... I have to wash my stuff in hot sometimes...
140*F or 60*C is what it takes to kill allergens... and then not even all the time...

But anyway... I am the greenest person I know Because I've got the least money! :p hahaa I live on nearly nothing...

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-09-13

Depends what you are allergic to. Pet dander isn't alive, so you can't "kill" it. Temperature will not help any more than regular washing.

Dust mites are killed by direct sunlight, so if you line dry your clothes (which, of course everyone should anyway) it will have the same effect as a 140 degree washing.

And yes, having no money is definitely the greenest way to go.
The trick is to maintain your lifestyle of living on nearly nothing, while having a decent income. If you can do that, you will not only be green, you will also have lots of green - as in you will become rich very quickly!

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-09-13

It doesn't have to be *alive* to be allergenic, and by *kill* I meant *deactivate*

The part that you're allergic to is a protein and the only way to *frag* it enough so it's not seen as an allergen my the immune system is to cook it at over 140* for animal dander.

I'm an allergy expert. :p

Line drying is very bad for allergies, since most people live in areas that aren't *real* country. In town cat dander is found everywhere and even in places cats have never been just by clothing transfer. Also in the mattresses of people that live over a mile away from cats.

If you hang clothes to dry and have any pollen or dust allergies, you're impregnating your fabric with it. Some people can't even go outside for half the summer... Luckily not the case with me.

Wasn't meaning to pick or anything. But allergens can only really be killed with ozone, and high heat. Regular washing in cool or warm water only wets the allergens and does nothing to remove them any more than blowing on them does. :p The dust mites themselves aren't all that allergenic, it's their shed skin, and dead dust they produce that is the problem for most people.

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-09-13

Assuming everything you say is true (and I'm very curios about your source for saying that 140 will denature dander), then the clothes dryer would be more than enough to both kill dust mites and "deactivate" dander.

Also, washing does a lot to remove allergens: it washes them away! (Incidentally, ozone will not denature existing proteins - it could kill living dust mites, but it won't do anything for dander)

Either way, still no need for overly hot water, given that you are already using a clothes dryer.

love4pds (author)JacobAziza2012-01-17

just use a tank-less water heater and you don't have to heat the water 24/7. they are not that expensive either. I was so surprised it was under 150 on ebay!! :) I think you are both on the same side.
God Bless!!

JacobAziza (author)love4pds2012-01-18

I agree with you 100%

I have a tankless heater, and I recommend them to everyone.

The suggestion to just turn it down a bit is something one can do immediately for no money, but instant water heaters are definitely the long-term solution

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-09-13

Just look it up. That's the degree that destroys the protein. It's easy to find references.
Ozone is very well known to destroy allergens. It is used directly on dogs and cats to make them more acceptable for mildly allergic humans. The main thing I use it for is dander and pesticide removal. It binds to the proteins and then as it turns back into oxygen, it pulls the molecule apart, rendering it ineffective/useless... it does the same for smoke, pollen etc.

It is indicated for use in homes that have allergic people in them... It doesn't harm living tissues, but does kill mold, like bleach for the air, only it doesn't cause cancer and is way better environmentally. (you can use ozone air or ozone water generators)

I have an energy efficient dryer, it has settings that aren't that hot too...
Allergens stick to fabrics and really, you can still have severe life threatening reactions after washing clothes in not so hot water... it washes some away, but some isn't good enough for people that really are allergic.

Really not picking on you though. :)
You don't have to agree or believe me... but if you want to know about it, it's jsut a google search away. :)

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-09-13

I don't think you are picking on me!

In fact, I would let this go, but this is actually pretty important, both for you and for anyone else who might stumble upon this.

I don't know everything there is to know about allergies, but I do have a background (and degree) in biology, as well as a decent understanding of chemistry.
But don't take my word for it!:

Ozone is the main component of smog. It is very very bad for your lungs. It will also do nothing to help allergies - in fact, it will probably make them worse.
The only reason manufacturers can claim it helps is because no one has sued them (yet).

As to denaturing proteins, I looked that (before I wrote last time), and found some proteins have their structure damaged at as little as 105 degrees and many by 120:

There are a few proteins that can withstand up to 180 degrees F. So, with a range of 105 to 180, with 120 being most common, thats why I asked where you got the specific number 140 for "allergens" (remember, not all allergens are the same - dander has totally different proteins than dust mites or pollen).

Remember that there is a lot of information on the web, but anyone can write a webpage, so a lot of it is wrong.  A forum is just as likely to have misinformation, myths, and urban legends (not to mention false marketing claims) as random people you meet day to day.  For something as important as your health, I recommend sticking with legitimate scientific sources.

Back to the main topic though: turning the clothes dryer to high heat to dry clothes for 40 minutes once a week will use much less energy overall than keeping the water heater at 140 degree for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-09-24

I only get my information from the CDC WHO research studies and my own personal experience. I am obsessively scientific and have researched for 10 years, whole heartedly because I was unable to leave the house for much of that time, and I really wanted to be alive and able to do things... there's no better motivation than extreme pain and suffering.... and not being able to work. As far as specialists go, I was told to have surgery and that it wouldn't help and would make things worse, but that there's nothing else they know to do... and that I would be sick forever and die... early... that was all... so I learned... and implemented... had I done what they said I would have remained sick and died... simple as that. They gave me drugs that kill you in about 8 years... that was fun... :p

There are 2 kinds of ozone and it can save lives... just like aspirin if you use it wrong it isn't good for you. There's liquid ozones and gas ozone. the ozone in water and oils are used when antibiotics no longer work, like in cases of bedsores and immune system problems, etc. It prevents more rot and promotes healing because it's oxygen.
I use ozone in water almost daily. It kills mold and bacteria. It can stop a sinus infection just like that without any harmful effects. It's just like bleach, only it doesn't degrade fabrics or living tissue.
It is also used to purify water that would otherwise be harmful : bacteria, viruses, pathogens in general. It can make filthy water safe. It removes about 40% of fluoride, a poison that destroys the immune system, and all chlorine... it leaves the good minerals like calcium and iron,... so it's great to treat your tapwater and for aquariums.

The gas kind can cause asthma to worsen, a scratchy throat, or wheezing. You shouldn't use an ozone generator in the house full time, but it's better than breathing smoke from the neighbor or mold. It can be used in basements as an *ozone bomb* while you're out. Mold is a big problem here and just about everyone is allergic to it.

Ozone leaves a clean fresh smell like after a thunderstorm or near a waterfall because of the negative ions it produces.
The ozone adheres to allergenic substances and icky smells and as it reverts back to water and oxygen, it yanks those particles apart. It's really amazing stuff and when used properly it really does improve and save lives... but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for general use as an air purifier unless there's a specific reason for it.

I never live anywhere that I don't soak with ozone first. I can't. I spray anything and everything with it. It's safe for plants, good for skin, cures yeast problems in the sinuses, gets white mold off plant pots...and so on... it's good for stains on car seats and clothes too. I use the water to wash the pesticides off my fruit... it makes the wax on apples turn white and the if you put them in the fridge it flakes off... there's a LOT of it...

so all in all, for me ozone has been a really good thing. I can do a lot more because of it. We change cars a lot and some of them, or most of them give me full body hives, dripping nose, wheezing, polyps, and a ton of other rubbish... but after a few hours with the ozone generator, and the water on the fabric it's fine... I find that after a couple of days if I haven't done the plants/pots I have some really serious rhinitis....
I've used ozone for a bit more than 10 years. You can find all kinds of anti-ozone information, but a lot of it is either snake-oil or anti-snake-oil... and not so much based on fact.
They do use it to sterilize surgical tools in hospitals and various therapies in Europe, and they have way better outcomes than in North America with chronic disease... Pharmaceutical companies don't make money curing disease, they make money selling drugs to cope with the side effects of the disease...

An MD. has absolutely no allergy training. All the courses are post graduate... and entirely up to the person to learn or not learn about them. There is a ton of mis-information and ignorance about allergies on this continent.
Even allergists skin test for immuno-globulin reactions that can only be found with blood tests. It's pretty much useless.

Everything is an allergen, so I say allergens in general, one person's dog can kill another person... or a cat, or a peanut... The general temperature stated in most books is 140, maybe they like a bit of overkill to make sure.

Ok, water heaters right?!
Oh, and here you can only hang clotehs out to dry maybe 4mo. of the year... otherwise you have wet and frozen towel sheets! :p and town... not always space...

They Hydro-Quebec site is all into reducing consumption and says:
Improving your water heater's efficiency can be as easy as turning down your water heater thermostat (no lower than 55ºC and no higher than 60ºC) and insulating your pipes. If you have an old inefficient heater, replacing it with a more efficient unit will bring you the most long-term savings.

In addition to contributing to reduced power demand by using a three-element water heater, you can also adopt more energy efficient water heating practices that will lower your electricity bill.

Here are a few examples:

Keep your water heater’s temperature at 60°C (140°F).
Insulate hot-water pipes.
Take shorter showers and use a reduced-flow showerhead.
Use your clothes washer efficiently; for example, by doing your laundry in cold water.
Use your dishwasher efficiently—by running it only when it is full, for instance.

A tank is supposed to last 13 years.
My water tank closet is barely any warmer at all than out of the closet, so I think it's insulated well and that it's not a big issue, the dissipation thing...
If a new water heater saves an average of a dollar a month in energy costs, that amounts to a savings of $12 a year - or $156 over its expected lifespan.
Really not much for all the trouble involved. although insulating is probably a good idea and trying to not have it in an ice cold basement.... Our hot water pipes froze last year at the place we lived... and the foundation had holes to outside... so you could imagine the cost of having a hot water tank in a snow bank pretty much. From what I've found, a tank that's warm to the touch needs insulating... but then again, if you start with a decent one it helps.

The reasons I like hotter water:

1. Washing dishes in hot water actually helps to lift away and clean dirty dishes reducing the amount of time you'll have to spend scrubbing and reducing the need for extra dish cleaning products. (while saving arthritic knuckles..)

2. Killing Bacteria and Microorganisms.-Hot water is needed to effectively kill bacteria on dishes. It may seem like you can squeeze a little more use out of a dishpan full of cool water, but compromising your families exposure to bacteria is not worth the extra trouble of running a new pan of hot water.

3. Water temperatures under about 90 degrees will leave a nasty greasy film on your dishes as they dry. Grease cutting ability is severely hampered by cool water leaving your dishes less than clean. Especially plastic...

4. Drying Time- Hot water dries much more quickly on dishes than warm or cool water. Dishes can essentially dry themselves if the water temperature is right. As an added benefit, dishes will dry spot and streak free with hotter water. Many people try to conserve hot water during the rinsing part of dishwashing and just hand dry dishes. Keep in mind that pools of water and wet dishtowels are a haven for bacteria. You may have just spent a lot of effort to get dishes clean only to allow them to become contaminated.
(around 170 is the recommended temp. for dishes) Then you have ot wash the towels...

All that could sound a little paranoid, so here's this:

Bird cages can't be cleaned without really hot water,
dripped candle wax on things,
Cleaning aquarium things, or reptile tanks is really important.
If you boil water every time you need really hot water it would be crazy.
I don't want mold in my shower head and in the shower hoses... and bio-film and slime. It can really build up.

I am absolutely for conserving, etc. I am interested in Solar Water Heating and house heating, but I'm not sure I'm in the right climate for it, but it would be something of interest to look into at some point.
It says this:
Typically, a homeowner relying on electricity to heat water could save up to $500 in the first year of operation by installing a solar water heating system. The savings over time increases due to increasing electricity rates. The average solar heating system pays for itself in four to seven years.

The sun's heat has been used for decades to heat water for homes and businesses. At the turn of the 20th century, solar heated water systems were common in Southern California. Some countries have made their use mandatory. For example, all homes in Israel have solar hot water systems.

More than one-half million solar hot water systems have been installed in the United States, mostly on single-family homes. The majority of these systems are used to heat swimming pools.


But as far as debating allergy-related things, it's been my whole life every day for so long it's disgusting... so I'd like to stop talking about it. :)

I do laundry almost every day... our electricity bill isn't bad at all... and I cook a lot more here than the last place... the wires there were all jumbled, and I think that dissipates more than people think. Some plugs didn't work, some in an office room were on the same breaker as the fridge and counter plugs... it was just all jumbled up.

anyway... there's my piece... :p

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-10-09

Ozone does not become a liquid unless it is cooled to negative (-) 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
In other words, for all practical purposes, on planet earth, there is no such thing as liquid ozone, and never will be.

What you are talking about is ozonated water (water with a tiny amount of ozone dissolved in it). This is used for killing bacteria and other living things only. It WILL NOT affect allergens. No one who manufactures the things to produce ozonated water claim it does. Also, be aware that ozone does not dissolve well in water, so it is likely to precipitate out into the air. It is normally used only in rooms that are sealed and unoccupied, because "Even very low concentrations of ozone can be harmful to the upper respiratory tract and the lungs. The severity of injury depends on both by the concentration of ozone and the duration of exposure. Severe and permanent lung injury or death could result from even a very short-term exposure to relatively low concentrations."
I don't know where you are getting your information, and clearly you are pretty set in your decision - but I implore anyone reading these comments to actually look this stuff up for yourself. There is lots of very false information in the diatribe above. Ozone is absolutely NOT safe just because it is dissolved in water. It should NEVER be deliberately put into your sinuses!!!!!! It is harmful to skin. It is extremely harmful to breathe. US and Canadian health agencies have stated that concentration high enough to affect bacteria are harmful to humans as well. Any type of ozone generator (including water based ones) should only be used when no one is in the room, or with a respirator.

I know you aren't going to believe me, since its such a big part of your life for so long, but I want to warn anyone who finds this discussion.


On to hot water!

I challenge you to set your water heater to 140 degrees, and then wash your dishes by hand with the cold water tap fully off.
Actually, that is a rhetorical suggestion. I would feel really bad if you did it, and had to go to the hospital with 3rd degree burns.

140 degree water will scald human skin in as little as 1 second. Anything above 130 will cause burns. The hottest water temperature humans can stand is 120.
My point was, (and still is), that if you are mixing the hot water with cold water to make the hotter water cooler, than the hot water is hotter than it needs to be. Nobody hand washes dishes with 140 degree water. It isn't possible.
So what is the point of making it that hot if you are just going to cool it down again anyway?

140 degree water will not kill bacteria unless the item being cleaned stays at that temperature constantly for at least several hours. In order to kill bacteria within seconds (which is how long it takes to rinse dishes) the water would have to be at least 165 degrees (which would cause severe burns instantly)


I am a big fan of solar hot water systems.
It is an interesting fact that in the 1940s and 50s solar heaters were actually very common. Utility companies offered households free gas and electric water heaters so that they would spend more money on utilities. They bought so many free heaters that eventually people forgot about solar heaters, and now we are where we are today!
There are two main reasons I didn't cover them: for most households it is very expensive and complicated to set up a solar hot water system, so it does not fit with the theme of this instructable. The other reason is I have no personal experience with it.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-10-09

oh and yes it destroys allergens, mold, yeast, and pathogens.. here are the numbers:

Bacteria Reduction percent Dwell time
Escherichia coli 99.99 5 - 13
Listeria monocytogenes 99.999 3 - 11
Salmonella typhimurium 99.99 11 - 13
Streptococcus faecalis 99.999 23 - 26
Legionella pneumophila 99.99 9 - 33
Bacillus cereus 99.999 9- 33

Viruses Dwell Time (Secs.) Reduction (%)
Bacteriophage F2 2 - 19 99.999
Norovirus 2 99.9
Hepatitus A 1 99.9
Poliovirus type 1 5 99.9
Rotavirus 63-126 99.99

Liquefied ozone kills 99.999 of common flu virus in as little as 2 seconds.

It's effective against:

Molds & Fungi
Alternaria solani
Botritys cinerea
Fusarium oxysporum
Pythium Ultimum
Rhizopus stolonifera
Sclerotium rolfsii
Vibrio clolarae
V. parahaemolyticus
Virrio ichthyodermis
Candida albicans
Chloralla vulgaris
Cryptoporidium parvum
Giardia lamblia
Giaria Muris
Nematode eggs
Algae & Yeasts
Cysts & Protozoa

* Ref: International Ozone Association - AOAC Official method 961.02; Germicidal Spray Products as Disinfectants; and Detergent Sanitizing Action of Disinfectants. FDA GRAS Notification. EPA Organic Program compliance. Data compiled from third party independent industry and academic sources, and is for general information purpose only.


To get rid of pesticides:

Micro-pollutants such as pesticides may occur in surface water, but also
increasingly in groundwater. Drinking-water standards for pesticides in the
European Union are strict: 0,1 μgl-1 for each compound.
Several surveys show that ozone can be very effective for the oxidation of
several pesticides. At a water treatment plant in Zevenbergen(Holland) it was
proved that three barriers (storage–ozonation–granular active carbon filter
(GAC filter)) are effective and safe enough for the removal of pesticides. From
23 tested pesticides, 50 % was degraded sufficiently (80 % degradation).
Table 1 shows an overview of pesticides that are easily degradedby ozone.

LenntechWater Treatment& Air Purification Holding B.V.



The use of ozone in the processing of foods has recently come to the forefront as a result
of the recent approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving the use of
ozone as an anti-microbial agent for food treatment, storage and processing. The FDA
approval marks a watershed event for the food industry. Prior to the approval, FDA had
approved ozone for use only as a disinfection mechanism for bottled water production
and the sterilization of bottled water lines. The recent regulatory breakthrough is a result
of efforts made by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the panel of
technical experts assembled to review and evaluate the efficacy and safety of ozone in
food processing.
It is worthy of noting that, the use of ozone in food processing has been allowed and
accepted in Japan, Australia, France and other countries for some time. There is a
of documentation and supporting literature attesting to the benefits of ozonation as a food
product sterilization methodology some of which will be reviewed herein.

washing fish in ozone makes it keep 5 days longer.

if you want to read the rest of this from the FDA it's here:

Over 2000 North American municipalities use ozone for their drinking water purification needs. The US Army uses it for portable water sanitization and the Olympics use ozone in their competition pools.

Harmless to people but deadly to bacteria, viruses and contaminants, the extra oxygen atom actively detaches and attacks them.
The ozone turns back into oxygen. Only pure oxygen and water remain after heavy duty cleaning and sanitizing has taken place.

USDA: The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) authorizes the establishment of the National List of allowed and prohibited substances. The National List identifies liquefied ozone as a substance that is allowed for use in organic crop and livestock production.8

OHSA: Regulations address the toxicity of gaseous ozone and acknowledge the safety of liquefied ozone. Strict limits are set for exposure to gaseous ozone while no limits are set for exposure to liquefied ozone even with high concentrations. Liquefied ozone is considered to pose no health or safety threats; requires no safety training, certification or reporting; and requires no protective gear or compliance for safe use.
It carries a zero health hazard, reactivity and fire hazard NFPA ratings.

if you did read all this, it's more than enough proof that ozone is more beneficial than harmful by a wide gap.

smcintyre2 (author)smcintyre22011-10-09


We are just going to have to disagree.
It is easily dissolved in water.

Wikipedia can be wrong and I've seen it wrong a lot of times, it's editable by random people, and often incomplete.

It is used in medicine every day and is the one thing that has been a godsend for my sinus problems. I can't get by without it... even a few days and I get incredibly sick. You don't seem to have any first hand knowledge in this issue.

I don't think I'm fireproof, but I can wash dishes in hot water.
I rinse my dishes in over 140* water... I don't leave my hands under that running water, that would hurt, but you don't have to hold a place full on with both hands either.

All of your bacteria and allergy information must be quite outdated from the studies I've seen, participated in and researched. I know not everyone has first hand experience in this field, or has studied so intensely for so long.

Let's agree to disagree on this issue anyway.

Solar water heaters seem like a great idea. Just here in the winter it's dark at 4pm and doesn't get light that early in the morning either... I'm thinking you'd have to be in a place that has longer days in the winter... as for summer use, I'm sure it would work fine here... bright hot sun all day.

Winter is why we have such mold problems here!

Ps. and I'm not being mean or anything negatively toned, just for informational purposes. If you start out against something you often overlook the benefits. :p

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-10-09


I can agree to disagree.
You kept responding, so I I kept responding. Like I said before, I never take any well-meaning debate personally. I hope you haven't either.

I used wiki just because it was quick and easy. They do link to their sources. But in my most recent comment I linked directly to the source material. One thing I avoid is using retail companies as primary sources.

A lot of things are used in medicine everyday, including homeopathy (water that once had some sort of toxin in it, and has been diluted so much that it is now just plain water) acupuncture (using needles in the skin to affect the bodies magic energy force) magnets, prayer...
People used bloodletting as medicine for hundreds of years, to allow evil spirits out of the body.
Thanks to the awesome power of the placebo effect, ALL treatments are effective. But that doesn't mean they are actually effective.

I acknowledge that if one starts out against something, they can stubbornly hold their ground in the face of new evidence. It is just as true that if one is invested in a particular belief, they will stick with it no matter what.

As to the ineffectiveness of solar in winter, that still leaves half a year for energy savings.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-10-09

Mold is destroyed by ozone, and mold is an allergen, so it does deactivate allergens... fungus, yeast... among others...

People don't end up in the hospital on oxygen because of placebos that they run out of... or didn't take... there are some actual things to this dimension.. lol..

There are some things that you can't say are all in someone's head.

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-10-09

That seems like a totally reasonable logical progression, and it is close, but not quite correct.
Ozone kills mold cells. Mold spores cause allergies.

If you kill all the mold in a room, and it does not grow back, there will be no source of new spores.  So, in the long run, using ozone would reduce the number of spores.  However:
"While ozone can kill microorganisms, it does not remove allergens from air, even if they are dead." (Department of Health Services
"Ozone generators are not recommended for mold control. Ozone is a reactive form of oxygen that is toxic to living cells. Ozone levels sufficient to kill microorganisms are predictably irritating to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs and can aggravate asthma. In some cases where ozone has been used for mold control, reported levels were high enough to present a serious health hazard in occupied spaces."


I do not respond to evidence based on anecdote.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-10-09

Hey, for mold though, aside from ozone if you ever need a mold killer, concrobium is cheap, very effective and prevents it from growing back. If you can get to the mold to spray it on it... it's plant based and safe to get in your mouth... just saying... and I have no ties to the company...

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-10-09

If a body such as the FDA does a study and a company posts a link to it, it can't be modified or altered.

You aren't just allergic to spores. You can be allergic to any part of any thing at all. An altered immune reaction to something is what an allergy is. You can be allergic to things like the mousepad, without anything ever atomizing or being in the air. You'd have to live with a severe case to know about it I guess.

You have said the same thing a few times on the ozone subject. Ozone doesn't harm healthy animal cells like it does a mold or pathogen.

Lotus must have gotten it from the same place I did then.

I got my info., through
I never said people should drink ozone water, I said it was used to make clean drinking water. Before I moved I used it on all of my water... it was full of oxygen bubbles after the ozone dissipated, and it was great water.
My fish love it too.
And yes, for oxygenating purposes some people eat baking soda, and drink ozone. (hahaa maybe not at the same time)
The more oxygen you can absorb the better, that's why they have Hyperbaric chambers, and oxygenated cells don't become cancerous... and blah blah blah... oxygen sprays and oxygen bars and tanks and so on...

Here's the FDA stuff:
I don't know if purfresh is a product, it might be but it's still put out by the FDA.

the USDA stuff:

You can't catch cancer.
The USA is 11th on the list of healthiest countries, Canada is at 8... according to here: but I don't know where they got that.

I said I wouldn't recommend ozone gas to anyone for constant use in their house, and that it would only be suitable when it greatly improves the situation. Most generators don't produce enough to be a problem anyway... the very expensive ones generate 600mg/h and the cheaper ones produce in the range of 0.09 and 30mg/h and that's insufficient to take care of allergenic substances or mold problems, that actually are causing problems.

Depending on how you look at it, all information is anecdotal.... even the studies....
The byproduct of ozone is oxygen.
If you use it in the house you should do it while away and of course not with animals in the house. They usually have a timer so when you come home you can feel like you're stepping into clean fresh woods.

Even if it were a placebo, then it's curing lyme disease and chronic fatigue, allergies and all kinds of stuff... if it's helping, it's helping... (I believe it actually does something, like the studies and my life shows)

I don't know anything about pvrs or any of the tv. box stuff.

at any rate, yep, I've had enough of the allergy thing and the ozone too...

hahaa, how about ozone being produced in the woods by waterfalls, after storms, by the ocean and after rain... it's clean, fresh and makes you feel alive. That's what everyone says about my place... accept the person that's allergic to certain plants I have... :p

I'm out.
See ya.

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-10-09

2 major points:
1) pathogens and allergens are two different things.
2) industrial use in a controlled atmosphere is not the same as home use.

What you wrote about OSHA was taken from a manufacturer of home ozone generators. It is false. There is a very specific limit set: 0.4 mg/liter
Its best to never trust anything written by someone who wants to sell you something.
OSHA also states "Ozone has a pungent odor, is a strong irritant, and is highly toxic by inhalation. It is strong oxidizing agent and a dangerous fire and explosion risk when in contact with organic materials. It is more soluble in water than oxygen; however, the minimal solubility results in the liberation of significant amounts of ozone after water is purified with ozone."

They don't need extensive separate rules for dissolved ozone, because the limits for gas ozone already covers it. If you try to dissolve too much in water, some of it WILL come out of the water and go into the air. If that amount is over the OSHA limit for air, its over the safe limit. Workers do not drink the water in the industrial processes they are working with, nor do they swim in it, so it doesn't need its own category.

This is the really important part that you don't seem to acknowledge, when treating aqueous ozone as something separate from ozone gas: "Dissolved ozone can easily outgas from the liquid and its solubility is inversely proportional with temperature" (Blonshine, 2006)

More specifically, because of its chemical properties, however much ozone is dissolved in water, (very roughly) twice as much will out gas into the air:

I never denied that ozone can be used to sterilize.
As I pointed out previously, pathogens and allergens are not the same thing. Killing a pathogen does not render its remains no longer allergenic. Ozone does not denature protein, and only denaturing protein can render an allergen ineffective.
"ozone does not remove particles... including the particles that cause most allergies." (Shaughnessy et al., 1994; Pierce, et al., 1996)

I also did not deny that ozone is used in large scale industrial processes. There is a big difference between using it in food processing etc. in an enclosed space where no humans are present, and using it in a household in an enclosed space with people in it. Especially sensitive people!
Aqueous (not "liquified", aqueous) ozone outgases out of the water. If there is enough ozone disolved in water for it to be effective, some of that ozone will outgas from the water into the air. The more dissolved ozone, the more that ends up in the air. The hotter the water, the more ozone will end up in the air. (Which is ironic in a way, since your two methods - ozone, and hot water, are defeating each other)

"Exposure of 0.1 to 1 [ppm] produces headaches, burning eyes, and irritation to the respiratory passages. Even low concentrations of ozone in air are very destructive to ... animal lung tissue." (Folchetti, 2003)
EPA proposes that the standard for safety be set within the range of 0.06 to 0.07 ppm

"Some data suggest that low levels of ozone may reduce airborne concentrations and inhibit the growth of some biological organisms while ozone is present, but ozone concentrations would have to be 5 - 10 times higher than public health standards allow before the ozone could decontaminate ... sufficiently to prevent survival and regeneration of the organisms once the ozone is removed" (Dyas, et al.,1983; Foarde et al., 1997).

Here is the FDAs comment on it:
Nothing about it being safe to drink directly, or being suitable for use in the home.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-10-09

Particles don't cause allergies though... things you're allergic to and active compounds, particles are just fine...

Homeppathic preparations also though, have strong allergens in them, I once took some and end up nearly dead from "water that had nothing left allergenic in it" so it's not all mapped out just yet. I had the notion that it would help me, but I ended up having lungs full of water... apparently I'm tremendously allergic from cockroach carcass .. that technically shouldn't be able to harm me since it was a 30x !! that's amazing.

When you freeze water that had flowers in it, the frozen crystals resemble the different flowers that were in it when magnified and taken pictures of... and we don't have perfect science for that either. So they call it water memory... but that's another thing.

The studies I refer to aren't from salesmen. it's the WHO the CDC and various other places, the info I put down was from those files.

Placebo effect does happen, but it's a clear difference from pregnant or not... or bleach or not... or dead or not! lol... bloodletting compared to ozone or homeopathy is quite a stretch.

a lot of your info. sites 2004 ... 1996 we've learned a lot since then...

as for half the year.... July/Aug/Sept. is when we have the good weather. :p but that's 3mo. anyway... ;p

I have the pdfs where the FDA says ozone water is safe to drink... that's where I got this... you can say it isn't ok all you want.. but we use it all the time... if you live in town you might be drinking it even.

I'm allergic to fluoride, it removes 40% of that... (I don't live in a place with fluoride water anyway)
People aren't just allergic to mites, fluff and fur... you can be allergic to chemical components and even your own hormones.

It does "take apart" proteins therefore it destroys protein based allergens...
anyway. I'm don't have that much time for looking up more reference things.
Luckily I can type really fast.

I just know my life has vastly improved, and I was told by the medical people that I could do nothing, take the drugs and that I would be dead from them at 30 years old.
Enter ozone, and hey I'm 30 on the 24th.

they thought asbestos was wonderful, mercury was great, women went insane and were not worth a thought after menopause, and that if you got sick you needed to have a pile of kids to cure it... at least now we know how things work and there's a better science to things.

at any rate, saving money is good and fine.
I never did use any cleaners other than baking soda... and it get rid of tooth decay, kills mouth germs... leaves a smaller footprint than vim counter scrubber and is a LOT less likely to kill you than the chemicals.

then again thinking, as a race we've never been sicker or more cancerous...
so we obviously are doing a lot of things wrong, from the products we use to the things we eat. everyone has something... diabetes at young ages, allergies, immune disease, etc. They need to start looking at alternatives, because they sure aren't getting anywhere looking at the stuff they have been all this time... cancer treatments don't work... so look into something entirely new... cancer isn't the cause... it's the effect of a "wrong" lifestyle/environment...

anyway, none of that is about saving energy!

I read that a PVR or some tv. box thing can take 37watts when it's not even on.

I'll shut up now.

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-10-09

Hey, I thought you said
a) you didn't want to talk about allergies anymore, and
b) we would agree to disagree?


The thing about water crystals resembling the flowers which were once in them was very entertaining.

Some of the actual words you pasted were verbatim from the Tersano and LotusPro websites. They claim that they are referring to information from OSHA, yet it is directly contradicted by the actual OSHA website (which I linked to).
I would be interested to read any links you might have to official sources that disputes anything I have said so far.

Science is constantly learning new things, but the basic laws of chemistry don't change.

Water which was previously purified with ozone is safe to drink.  At room temperature it takes between 10 and 20 minutes for the ozone to either out-gas and/or break down into oxygen.  It is safe because there is no ozone left.
Again, that it different from adding ozone, and then deliberately drinking it immediately (where the heat from ones body will cause the remaining dissolved ozone to precipitate out all at once, much the way drinking soda releases the dissolved carbonation due to your body heat.


"as a race we have never been sicker or more cancerous"
Actually, life expectancy (at birth) worldwide from the paleolithic era all the way until the early 20th century ranged between 20 and 40.
Current world life expectancy is 67.
In the US, with all of our chemicals and obesity and everything else, it is about 78.
This is one reason cancer is so much more common today than ever before.  In the past, most people died before they would have caught it!

So by that logic we must be doing something right - though overall, I definitely agree with you that American's have unhealthy and destructive lifestyles. 


A PVR is always on, so long as it is plugged in.  It just isn't sending signal to the TV when it is "off".  This is so that it can start recording at any time.  I admit that my RePlay TV is one of my luxuries.  I got it for free (would have gone to landfill otherwise) and I use it with old fashioned free radiowave TV signals.  I make up for the energy it uses other places, with a total monthly usage (for two people) of just over 200kWh.

smcintyre2 (author)JacobAziza2011-09-13

But still if you turn it down really low, you can't get a decent shower (like someone I know did. They made it too low to wash your hair or decently wash the dishes. Another person I know turned it so low that you can only take a cold 3min. shower before it freezes you.... they just did it wrong...)

We probably have more heater tank insulation where I am in Quebec, because in the winter it can be -50 out at times... -30 is bad enough! ;p

We just moved and our electricity bill is half, the place is bigger and I cook a lot lot more... The old place had the hot water tank in the basement and there were big cracks to outside and no insulation in the whole place.... we had ice in a corner of the livingroom... sorry suckers that might be renting it now... yikes!

There should be some laws in place so that dumps like that can't be rented... it's really environmentally unfriendly.
The closet that my water heater is in at this place just seems a little warmer than the other areas in here, and in the winter I think I won't mind. :p I like to be warm.

JacobAziza (author)smcintyre22011-09-13

I was suggesting that you turn it to whatever temp you need to make a nice shower at the tap without having to turn on the cold. In the circumstances you describe, that might mean 140 - and chances are in that case most people would have it up to 170. My point it, if you have to add cold to make a comfortable shower, the heater is hotter than it needs to be.

I can't say about Canada, but here there definitely are laws that spell out minimum standards for a rental unit. But the tenant has to know about them and act on it.

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Bio: I am an ordinary guy. Except that I live in an RV, drive a 250cc motorcycle, have a truck that runs on bio-diesel, am vegetarian ... More »
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