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Articles in the Do It Yourself Projects Category

Do It Yourself Projects, Home Energy Tips »

[4 Oct 2009 | 14 Comments | 144 views]

Which is better or most effective? Vote at the Solar Power vs Wind Power throwdown, then come back here and give me your opinion!

Do It Yourself Projects, Featured, Heating »

[10 Sep 2009 | 2 Comments | 158 views]

Summer is winding down, and the seasons aren’t the only thing in transition. Your energy bills are about to change too. For those of us with cold winters, the nights will get chilly and soon the leaves will be falling. For those in warmer climates, well, you’ll be experiencing a more pleasant transformation, where you’ll see your air conditioner usage decline and your energy bills go down somewhat dramatically.
No matter where you live, a change in season means a change in your energy usage. Since the biggest change right now …

Cooling, Do It Yourself Projects »

[2 Jul 2009 | No Comment | 509 views]

As the weather continues to heat up, most folks are turning on their air conditioners. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se, athough it will surely force electric bills to creep higher (and possibly spiral out of control). I think most of us would rather get a similar cooling effect without taking the huge hit on our energy bills. Considering that wall or window units can consume 500 watts of power easily (for a small unit), its only wise to consider at least some alternatives to air conditioning.
Note: Please …

Cooling, Do It Yourself Projects »

[23 Jun 2009 | 5 Comments | 12,221 views]

Fixing your window air conditioner instead of replacing it saves you money, hundreds possibly. Chances are, a rattling or noisy air conditioner unit is due to faulty installation, a loose part, loose or worn window frame, loose window panes, loose filter (or wrong filter size), fan obstruction, loose front or side panels, or the condenser coil hitting any moving part (such as the fan).
The good news is you can repair all these.
Faulty Installation
We’re all human, and in the course of “being” human, we’re going to mess up installing something. I’ve …

Cooling, Do It Yourself Projects »

[22 Jun 2009 | One Comment | 4,522 views]

Well without seeing the unit, there’s a small handful of things that could go wrong with the window unit air conditioner.
Is it dirty?
Believe it or not the number one cause of window unit air conditioner malfunction is dirty or grimey coils or condensers. The symptoms range from the unit smelling musty or blowing dirty air to the condenser not turning on at all even when the a/c unti is supposed to turn on (request for cooling was sent by the thermostat.) The fix is simple: clean the coils. Take a …

Do It Yourself Projects, Electricity »

[22 Jun 2009 | No Comment | 161 views]

I’ve been reading so much literature lately about solar power, namely, how crappy it is.  It seems there are a couple of sides to the debate. First, there’s those that talk about how wonderful solar power is, how it will “Save” us, its the future, etc. Then, there’s the naysayers. Those who say that solar power is complete crap, doesn’t work right, produces very little power, etc.
Understand there’s two sides to every story and this one is no different. To understand both arguments, let’s step into their shoes.
First, the proponents. …

Cooling, Do It Yourself Projects »

[8 Jun 2009 | No Comment | 420 views]

Before you plug in the AC and crank it up, there’s some things you can do to keep it running efficiently.

clean it. Remove the filter and clean it out, even if it looks relatively clean. A dirty or partially clogged filter can reduce efficiency dramatically.
wipe it down. Using a cloth, carefully wipe the outer coils or grill. (Be very careful – the grate is very sharp and can slice easily!)
inspect it. After you remove the filter, check the area around the compressor and coils. Vacuum it out if it is …

Cooling, Do It Yourself Projects, Heating, Home Energy Tips »

[9 Apr 2009 | 2 Comments | 416 views]

So the last experiment was disappointing, because it appeared that plastic did very little to prevent heat loss for your leaky hallway window. Things aren’t looking so good for the thin plastic as insulation.
Luckily, we have another scenario. Plastic over part of a window has come “undone” giving us the perfect side by side comparison of surface temperatures over a window with and without plastic – without interfering sunshine and the heat from solar convection.

Cooling, Do It Yourself Projects, Heating, Home Energy Tips »

[9 Apr 2009 | No Comment | 484 views]

This question is important to many homeowners and renters because we believe that placing plastic over our windows will halep us save energy on cold winter days and nights. Some plastic makers claim that plastic adds at least 1R value to the window.
I doubt this to be true. But using the information presented in the home energy audit kit, we can easily see heat loss with and without the plastic to see how much of a difference it makes.

Do It Yourself Projects, Electricity »

[15 Mar 2009 | One Comment | 53 views]

There is a real push online right now for renewable energy. In other words, clean energy that the do it yourselfer dreams of. The two types that are the most prevalent are wind and solar power. Both are clean, renewable and can really make a dent in your energy bills when done right.
That’s the key phrase – when done right. The problem is most people a) don’t know how to build effective and efficient systems, b) don’t understand the implications of their decision, and c) don’t know how much power …