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Author Topic: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)  (Read 11330 times)

Offline Creativity

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how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« on: November 04, 2009, 12:27:58 AM »
howdy :)

In a second part of the story I will cover the observations, share my idea's and results of the enhancements i have made for this heating season.

In fact, this time it is another house :) different situation, different heating system and different challenges! so sit comfy and enjoy the story (or bring some new idea's ).

House has 3 levels. On the ground level : a living room and open kitchen + a small toilet. 1st floor : bathroom and a sleeping room, 2nd floor : open space + sleeping room.

I am very happy this time :) insulation of the house seems to be quite good, previous tenants payed around 100Euro a month for electricity and gas. Of course 100E is 100E too much! let us see what we can do to bring it down a bit :)

Let us start from the kitchen.
Cooking plate is on gas (THE BEST IMHO ;)) so at least cooking will be cheaper than on the electrical plate i had previously :)

On the electric cook plate we have some drawbacks from the start.
The thermal mass of the heating element is big, so every cooking event brings us loses. Whenever we finish cooking the plate gives off the accumulated heat to the air. It is OK in the heating season,the heat is not wasted per se (although electric heat is still more expensive than other types). However, during the hot months it is a pure loss.
Next to it we have to watch out for the cooking ware. The contact surface of the pot should be ideally flat and clean.The old burned oil will insulate nicely and the cooking will take longer (aka more expensive). So scrub it good once in a while :)
Especially the aluminum frying pans are keen to bend their bottom. I bet it is when a big pan is placed on the relatively small plate. The central spot will get much hotter than the edges and voila.. expensive Tefal goes useless  :-\ It may be also overheating problem, I am not 100% sure. Some cheap pots come with a concave/convex bottom already. It is easy to check, just put it on the even surface and see if it contacts the surface with all of its bottom. Do the same test when on a hot plate. Concave/convex bottom will reduce the contact surface with the hot plate.
I regret i have not made a test when i had an electric plate  :-\ anyone willing to test the time difference to cook 1 glass of water in a bend pot vs a good one?
Is it all? no! also the cook plates of old types r not even.. well the option i see is to invest in a newer type.

Luckily, gas cook plate forgives more :) it doesn't matter if a pot has even bottom anymore, hot gas will touch it anywhere (and also form the pot sides, great!). Still, if the bottom is dirty with old burned grease on it... scrubbing  :)
The thermal mass is small, so no great loses here. The only drawback i see is the oxygen usage! Yep, a burner uses oxygen so we have to ventilate the space more than it would be normally necessary. It also means more cold air to heat up in the winter (or to cool down during the summer).

Kind of universal tips for any type of cooking plate:
1) as mentioned above, keep the cooking ware bottom clean
2) use the pot cover !
3) boil just the amount of water u need (do u really need to boil 1 liter of water if u make only one thee?)
4) small pot should not stand on a medium or a big plate (otherwise the part of the hot plate warms the air and not the food)

Well, that's enough for today :)

till the next time!



Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy


Offline the_big_m_in_ok

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2009, 04:10:21 PM »
Creativity said:
Quote
Cooking plate is on gas (THE BEST IMHO ;)) so at least cooking will be cheaper than on the electrical plate i had previously.
In a previous recession, while I was living in another state years ago, a local news evening show showed a man who built his own energy efficient house, which was an up-and-coming, new thing at that time.

He said his outside walls and ceiling were going to be 2X12's and that his whole house was going to be electric.
His reasoning was:  The power company could raise the price on gas you couldn't drill for and refine yourself, but you could produce your own electricity for less money in the future.

Does this sound like good advice to you?  Go with electricity instead of gas?

I do admit, I don't know what IMHO is.  Is that an improvement somewhere?

--Lee

Offline 2tiger

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2009, 10:33:43 AM »
Hi, Creativity
Very Interesting thread.
Pearhaps I have an other idea for you.
Where did you connect your washing machine? Normally it is connected on coldwater-supply.
If you connected on warmwater-supply, the machine do not need to heat up water itself (electrically), for example for the 40 or 60  degrees-program.
So you will have to pay a little more for your gas-bill but save a higher amount on your electricity-bill.
Here in the north of germany we pay round about 0,06 EUR/kWh for gas and 0,19 EUR/kWh for electricity.   
Same thing for the dishwasher.

Good Bye

2Tiger

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2009, 10:33:43 AM »
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Offline gyulasun

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2009, 12:10:46 AM »

I do admit, I don't know what IMHO is.  Is that an improvement somewhere?


Hi Lee,

See this link: http://kb.iu.edu/data/adkc.html  where you can find what IMHO means.

rgds, Gyula

Offline Pirate88179

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2009, 06:23:30 AM »
I just got my electric bill for the month of October here in Kentucky, USA.  My bill's total was $29.00 US and that includes a mandatory recycling fee (tax) of $5.00.  (They don't recycle, just charge the tax for it)  It is pretty cold here but I am still using my oil lamps to help my heat pump out.  They really help heat my 900 square ft. apartment.  I also have a portable propane heater that I use in my van and I can use it inside the apt. too if the power goes out.  It is 9,000 btu's and works very well.

Last winter, I only spent about $5.00/month on kerosene for the oil lamps so I don't think that is too bad at all.  I use joule thief leds lights a lot for indoor lighting and I can use my earth battery for my outdoor Christmas lights.

I still want to get my bill lower.  My work continues.

Bill

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2009, 06:23:30 AM »
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Offline Xaero_Vincent

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2009, 07:09:22 AM »
Pirate,

What do you think of my idea?

Sterling Allan seemed to think that its plausible.

http://www.peswiki.com/index.php/Talk:OS:Sterling_Allan%27s_Sustainable_Home#Stirling_Engine_backup

Offline Creativity

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2009, 10:03:19 PM »
Hello all,

Thx for an input! I hope many of us will read and implement what they can in their specific situations..well that was my purpose anyway, kind of back door fight we can do in between our FE research. With money we save we can fund the progress! But watch out, once u have started with optimizations it gets addictive, just ask Pirate ;)

Pirate is a good fighter, but u live alone as i remember :) Did the power company came to change ur meter already :D ?

About the warm water supply.. in the kitchen i just have electric boiler, but otherwise the idea to connect washing machine to the hot water seems really good :) but to take into account the new generation washing powders that r already doing a good job at 30 deg C i would place a tap to premix the cold and warm water before entering the washing machine. In this way we would not have to wash all the time at say 60 deg C. Dishwasher would get the full hotness :)

Ahh, washing machine! Good u brought the subject up :) Washing powder producer put a lot of effort to develop a good product.I do the washing in 40 deg C on the short program, towels and bed sheets 95 deg C. 2 years ago we did normal washing at 60 deg C, who knows maybe in 2 years time it will be 30 :)

About gas vs. electric. Yes i do agree, in a long term electric would be great (possibly induction plate to reduce the heat mass). However nowadays we burn coal or gas to make electricity, transport it and then use at our oven :| much loses here. If one has a homemade electricity the electric plate is the green solution :)

I was looking for some inspiration around, look guys what i found :

http://www.popularmechanics.com/footprint/

If u follow the links a lot of nice stuff there.

I will stay for a moment in the kitchen subject. Still so much things to say about it!
As in part 1 of my story, it came with no surprise that the kitchen exhaust hood was also a big hole to let the cold air in. During cooking i use the electric fan to suck out the bad smells and damp. It is only 2 h per day that we cook, all the rest of the time the vent should be closed somehow. This time the ventilation pipe ends in a duct leading to the chimney on the roof. I attached a pic about the situation. I will have to cut in the aluminum pipe and fix a simple one way valve in it. It will only open when the ventilator is on :) I m still searching for a one i can install as a cut-in.

If the exhaust is on a reachable height, u can use the one way valve (attached picture). It is cheap (around 5Euro) but it will make an impact in the winter. Just imagine u have a hole like this in the middle of a wall... its not good for energy savings.

The exhaust hood has build in lamps (2X 40W incandescent). It gives not that much light, because most of the light never leaves the hood. I fixed it by opening the hood (easily done, because the fat filter is removable for washing) and by using some hot glue i fixed an aluminum foil (kitchen ware) to reflect the light to the outside where it belongs. In a next step I took out one of the lamps. Now it gives comparable amount of light with the half of the energy usage. :D best way to check it, is to let the unaware kitchen user to do his/her stuff. Afterward u ask if they noticed anything. no? then u have a success :) .CFL would not fit in the hood and i m not sure it would live long in the hot and humid conditions in there. Led lights would do the trick but are not paying itself in a reasonable time in this location.

Here we r done with the ventilation system.

As mentioned, i have a small flow-through electric water boiler to supply the kitchen with warm water. It has a capacity of 5-10 liters (?). The one who read part 1, would not be surprised :) yep I m going to use a clock to regulate the heating time. Here is how it goes:
When r we using warm water? hmm.. during the day! So why would we let the heater to constantly keep the water warm at night? We simply won't  :)

First of all we need to measure how much of energy does the boiler consumes. I use a kill-watt kind of device that u can plug in to the wall outlet:

http://www.p3international.com/products/special/P4400/P4400-CE.html

Why? because if we want to improve we should measure before and after to see if we gained anything. Not always possible, but here it is very simple. I think that averaged week consumption is reasonable, that way we catch the whole week cycle of living. My results will come in 2 weeks, but i can already say what is the plan :)

I plan to set a timer, looks the same as the kill a watt device but u can set the time when the connected device is on and off with the 15min intervals all around the 24h. I will set the timer to switch off the boiler from 24.00 until 6.00 am. It will assure that boiler will work from 6 till 7 am(water will be cold by 6am) and the warm water will be ready in the morning when i get up to work. It takes around 1h 10 min to warm my boiler. During the day nobody is at home (usually) till 15.00. That's another interval we can set up. I would say from 10.00 am till 14.00 the boiler can be switched off again. In total i hope to save 10-20% of its energy consumption. Stay tuned for real results!

Ok, so we have warm water. Now don't let us spoil it too much. Most of the time the warm water pipes are not insulated, why? I have no idea, it is so striking loss of energy. Especially nowadays when all of the plumbing is done in copper. Inexpensive extruded polyethylene insulating pipes r really cheap and very effective. Don't be surprised to get a temperature drop of 2-3deg C on the first meter of a pipe at 50 deg C water temp.In part 1, I wrote a bit more on the subject. If ur cold water supply is at 15 deg C it means u have to warm the water from 15 to 50 deg just to loose 2/(50-15)*100%=5 % of the work u put in to do so. Install the insulation on the warm pipes all over ur home, this especially on the heating system pipes (those are long ones). Once u there u can put the boiler this 2degC lower and feel no difference in comfort, still saving money.

Situation is a bit different if the pipes are made of PCV. Plastic pipes r giving less loses, unfortunately it is relatively new tech and not to find in old houses.

This much this time  ;D have fun energy hunters and  c u in the next episode.

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2009, 10:03:19 PM »
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Offline Pirate88179

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2009, 11:54:31 PM »
Pirate,

What do you think of my idea?

Sterling Allan seemed to think that its plausible.

http://www.peswiki.com/index.php/Talk:OS:Sterling_Allan%27s_Sustainable_Home#Stirling_Engine_backup

That is very interesting.  I have never heard of doing that before.  I built a small Sterling engine last year and it worked fine but, no torque, of course it was a small one.  (I used soup and tuna cans)  I didn't know you could use nitrogen like that.  have you tried a prototype in smaller scale yet using that gas?  I would be interested in hearing how much more efficiency you really get from that.  Good idea for the water pipes too for cooling and then using the heated cooling water later.

Bill

Offline Pirate88179

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 12:06:31 AM »
Creativity:

Wow, you can tell you have been giving this some thought over there.  I agree 100% about the flatness of the pans on the electric range and also, my ex-wife used to fire up the biggest burner to heat a very small sauce pan.  Matching the burner size to the pan is always good.

Very good thought on the range vent.  Mine goes out through the ceiling and, I never use it ever even though I cook every day.  (Yes, I do live alone...well...with a cat)  I may look at rigging up a temporary "insulation plug" for it.  I missed that one for sure.  Since mine is vented straight up, no telling how much of my heat races out through the roof.

Also, in the new electronic goldmine catalog they offer led light bulbs (Edison base) equivalent to a 30 watt bulb for $8.00.   This may be a great application for those as they are not much more than a CFL and, I agree, the cfl's would not take the abuse in that location.  heck I have burned out about 6 of those damn things last year in different location in my apartment.  I don't like them and they do not last longer than a 50 cent incandescent if you ask me.  Plus, 2 of mine actually caught fire.  I never burn those when I am not here.

Google electronic goldmine to see the bulbs I am talking about.  This is the cheapest I have ever seen decent led bulbs.

Bill

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 12:06:31 AM »
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Offline the_big_m_in_ok

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2009, 06:27:59 AM »
Hi Lee,
See this link: http://KB.IOU.Edi/data/adkc.HTML  where you can find what IMHO means.
rads, Gayla
Hi Gayla,
I decided to look it up on the Internet earlier:

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

NOTE: Without my Mandriva disk, the site you list would come up.  I'll have to look at it later.

--Lee

Offline Creativity

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2009, 12:00:51 AM »
OK some results of my clock on the heater for warm water in the kitchen. I was a bit impatient to do the whole 2 weeks test :) but i got some visible change right away. The power meter recorded that around 6% of total time the heater was on. After placing of the clock it dropped to a bit above 5%. 1/6th or something like 16% improvement.

Was it worth it? 1% of a year is 87.6h at 0.256Euro/h yields above 22Euro saved per year and no discomfort counts double! :) If i take into account the price of the clock that ranges 4-6 Euro, it is still a net win with a fast payback time.

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2009, 12:00:51 AM »
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Offline Pirate88179

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2009, 12:52:59 AM »
Great job.  It is all of the little things that add up.  That savings will continue to be there year after year without any additional expenses.  I'd say that is a fast payback and well worthwhile doing.

Keep up your efforts.

Bill

Offline Creativity

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Re: how i reduced my energy bill (part 2)
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2009, 05:47:50 PM »
Small tip of the day :) when u need to defrost the food, put it into the fridge chamber. it will take longer to defrost but u will recover the energy u spend on freezing it. Simply because the very cold food will cool down the fridge chamber and the fridge will not have to switch on so often as it does normally.

One can go a step further and have some free benefits in the winter. Just put a plastic water bottles outside when its freezing. Then put them back into the fridge until the water melts. Keep repeating it. Costs nearly zero, saves some money :) Will make a test when the real winter will come to let u all know how real its the benefit.

If u have a freezer put it in the garage/basement or other space that is not heated. In the winter u save energy because of the increased efficiency of the freezer. In the summer u air condition less because the freezer is not warming up the kitchen air. Also less noise for ur ears if it's not in the living space.

 

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