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[29 Nov 2009 | 7 Comments | 6,380 views]

I was recently called to consult on an energy problem in a home with a portable, oil-filled space heater in the master bedroom. The owner was complaining that the room was still cold even after running the unit all night. Plus, he was concerned the unit was costing too much money to run every night for 12 hours. So…how much energy does the unit use? Let’s find out.

Do It Yourself Projects, Featured, Heating »

[10 Sep 2009 | 2 Comments | 176 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, Heating, Home Energy Tips »

[9 Apr 2009 | 2 Comments | 444 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 | 521 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.

Heating »

[16 Mar 2009 | One Comment | 10,796 views]

This is a loaded question and unfortunately is one I can’t answer without a lot more information. I can break it down for you as best I can generically and let you plug in the numbers yourself.
First, understand that all furnaces are not created equal. Some are energy star certified, some aren’t. Some are high efficiency units, some are not. Some are old, some are new. Some are sized correctly for the living space, some are not.
Let’s take the variables one at a time. First, I’m going to assume that …

Heating »

[28 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 79 views]

Its no surprise to people who watch home energy closely that energy prices are likely to rise soon. As quoted from Reuters:

“(Obama) believes that the price of oil and the price of energy is not likely to stay at the level it is now…”
(Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKWAT01085420090126)

Of course, this is interesting on several levels. First of all, I’m not sure about you, but I don’t recall an actual reduction of the rate of my home energy bill. It remains the same, and has remained the same for a while. If anything prices …

Heating »

[27 Jan 2009 | 14 Comments | 3,324 views]

Q: I was walking around my neighborhood today and saw that my roof barely had any snow on it, but my neighbor’s houses did. I think we have the same roofs. Is this a problem?
Probably. If you don’t have snow on your roof, this points to an energy leak through your attic to the roof. What’s probably happening is the warmed or heated air in your home rises, and the last place it gathers is the attic. Typically, there are attic vents or ventilation fans to disperse the additional heat. …

Cooling, Heating, Home Energy Tips »

[21 Jan 2009 | One Comment | 19,202 views]

Finding and setting the optimal temperature may be a science in itself. You have to take into account the heat you use with your comfort level based on your activity.
For example is it necessary to have the heat turned way up at night while you’re asleep in your bed?
Do you need the heat turned off at any time?
You need to find the balance that suits you best.
I suggest playing with it some, but don’t make it too high or low.
In the winter set it no higher than 68 or 70 …

Cooling, Heating »

[21 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 69 views]

Basically, make sure the thermostat location isn’t too hot, or too drafty. The thermostat measures the temperature and locating it in either location can throw off the reading.
The effects can be disastrous for your utility bill.
The area might be warm, so the thermostat will be tricked into thinking the heat has done its job and turn it off. Actually, just the area where the thermostat is located is warm because it is directly over or very close to a heating vent.
The opposite is true as well. If …

Heating, Home Energy Tips »

[16 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 369 views]

This is kind of a double edge sword.
You can save on heating costs if you spend a lot of time, say, in the living room and you already took steps to plug energy holes you found. Like I said previously, its impossible to get every hole or energy shortcoming.
The thing to be wary about is the power consumption. Some can consume as much as 2000 Watts of power!
So here’s the trade off – more heat from the small electric unit means you might spend less on your gas …